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Stalker Predator

Predator 2
by Monkey Boy

NECA continues their successful series of figures from the Predator franchise with the fifth installment, again featuring three figures from Predator 2. We get three more members of the "Lost Tribe" that appear at the end of the film to drag away their fallen brother, which means we've only got one more series before they're complete! In Series 5, we get Stalker, Snake and Guardian.

"Stalker" Predator is also known as "Brother Boar" or "Baby Boar," due to his similarity to the Lost Predator nicknamed "Boar." In fact, in our review for Boar, we speculated that we'd probably be seeing that head sculpt on this figure. Well, here we are to eat crow, because it turns out that while the two helmets are similar, there are significant differences in the designs, so NECA actually went to the trouble to sculpt an entirely new helmet for Boar's brother. Nice.

Both helmets get a piglike "snout", and the foreheads are both divided into three rounded sections, but there's a split in Boar's brow that isn't present on Stalker, and the latter's "gills" on the side of his face are more deep-set than on Boar. The sculpt is really quite good, and it's awesome that NECA has paid such attention to detail.

Most of the sculpt below the head is the same Predator sculpt we've seen for all of the Lost Tribe members, but it's a good'un. Like Boar, Stalker wears very little armor, and in fact his torso is totally bare other than a small trophy necklace. If you look closely, the charm between the two bones on the necklace is actually in the shape of a Predator mask. Pretty dang cool if you ask me.

The major new sculpt areas for Stalker are the lower arms. He gets no armored gauntlets; instead the left arm (which is shared with the Snake Predator) is sculpted with a leather wrapping that is bound with some kind of twine along the inside, while the right forearm features an intricate wrapping with some bone trophies woven in. the right hand is also sculpted so that he can grip a spear, which is something we've previously only seen on the left hands of these figures.

There's also a separate "purse" and pleated "loincloth", both of which are unique to Stalker. Also unique is his paint. His helmet and armor have a dull gold hue to them, while his skin is an orange that fades to cream. His back and arms have intricate striped patterns, so it's a wonder this guy was never called Tiger Predator (it's not like it would have been much lamer than the other Pred nicknames).

The cloth and leather bits of his costume are a deep brown, and like the armored pieces there's lots of nice weathering to make them look realistic. Stalker's body netting is gray, and as in past releases it doesn't always lay exactly over the sculpted net lines. If this is bothersome to you, you might want to make sure you can inspect the figure in-store rather than purchasing online.

The accessories should be familiar to anyone who's been collecting this line: a folded up "combi-stick" (first seen with the City Hunter/Berserker TRU 2-pack) and the "smart disk" that has come with most of the other Lost Tribesmen. The disk is gold, which is cool, but it doesn't fit very snugly in the holster on the right thigh armor the way it should. Since this feature works flawlessly on the rest of the Lost Tribe who share the same sculpt, I'm betting it's probably a molding issue with my individual figure, but it's still a tad annoying since he can't really hold the disk in his hands, what with the right hand's "gripping" sculpt. The left hand is splayed open (like Boar and unmasked City Hunter), and the disk is a right-handed weapon anyway. Oh well. It can sit in the leg holster as long as the figure's just standing there, but any movement will knock it loose. Like I said, this probably is an issue with my example, and your mileage may vary.

The articulation is what we've seen on City Hunter, Boar, and Shaman, which is to say it's excellent. Check those reviews if you need a refresher. The exposed pegs in the knee joints are molded in the same pale color as the leg around it, but they're not painted, meaning they stand out. That's never been an issue that bothered me on figures, though. The joints on my figure all work smoothly, with nothing stuck or too loose.

Stalker's a little plain overall, but if you're collecting the Lost Tribe, you'll need him. He looks great next to his "brother," especially since NECA went the extra mile and gave us unique head sculpts. The only thing to be wary of, besides the netting, is the price: you may recall that TRU upped its prices with Predators Series 4, from $14.99 to $17.99. For this series, some TRUs have again hiked the price up to $20.99. This isn't every TRU, but if you're buying it there you'll want to price-scan the figure before you buy it to make sure you're not getting gouged. If that sounds like too much hassle, the entire series is readily available online.

-- 06/03/12

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