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Water Emergence Predator

by yo go re

Who's ready to get wet!

Deep in the Central American jungle, the Predator is hunting humans for sport. Armed with his plasma caster, wrist blades, and cloaking technology the Predator methodically stalks and kills the opponents he deems worthy. The Jungle Hunter Predator collects the skulls and spines of his victims as trophies and skins his prey, leaving the bodies hanging from the trees. When a special forces team is dispatched on a "rescue mission" they soon become the Predator's prey.

Yes, that's the same bio paragraph that's been on the back of a lot of the Predator toys - but so what? What else is there to say? "This is the Predator. Turns out optical camouflage doesn't react well to water. The end." We're sure that NECA could have written some dramatic copy to go back here, but no one would have ever noticed or cared that much. By giving the same text to all the P1 toys, it helps brand them as a single cohesive subline within the over-arching Predators line (of which this figure calls the ninth series home).

The most important thing about this figure is its paint scheme. It's named "Water Emergence Predator," and represents the moment when the Predator's cloak fails in a sparkly, static-electricity-y way, as he rises out of the water shaking his dreadlocks like Bo Derek in 10. There's no way to animate electric sparkles on a real toy like that (short of molding it to be lenticular, which would just be insane [but we wouldn't put it past them to try]), so NECA had to come up with something else. Something they've actually done to a lesser extent before.

The figure is molded in a semi-translucent plastic that has a slight blue tint. The armor is then given a smoky grey wash to set it apart from his skin. There are then jagged, metallic blue "sparks" cascading all over the figure. This is similar to the Stealth Mode Predator NECA did in their AvP: Requiem line, and comparing that toy to this one, it's absolutely stunning how much better NECA's gotten in just five years. Not just the paint, but the sculpt, the articulation... everything. It's great to see clear evidence of growith like this.

Like the "battle damaged" Jungle Hunter in last winter's Battle Damaged 2 Pack, this figure uses the new, more articulated Pred body. Unlike that figure, it has its mask on, rather than showing its bare face. This isn't the first time the articulated body has been released with the mask - that happened in Series 8, but we were all too busy buying Dutch Schaefers to notice. On the plus side, since the body doesn't get a traditional paintscheme, it allows us to really appreciate the sculpt.

The figure has balljointed ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, a swivel waist, balljointed wrists, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders and a balljointed head. The hips especially make us happy, since back when NECA was just making V-crotch Preds, they were asked about doing hips like this, and said they probably wouldn't because they weren't fans of the look. Fast forward a couple years, and they've upped their game because that's what the fans wanted. See, this is the reason we keep giving them money: they pay attention to complaints, rather than just listening to what they want to hear. The interiors of the joints are made from opaque white plastic, because that's stronger than translucent plastic, and will thus hold up better over time.

Water Emergence Predator comes with his backpack. It's got the plasma caster up on the shoulder, just like they all do: the gun has a hinge and a balljoint, so it's as poseable as the one in the movie. Of course, since it wasn't until Predator 2 that the really cool weapons showed up, his only other gear are the two blades in his right gauntlet. He's wearing the three sets of bones-on-strings - they're cast in clear plastic, while the plastic "strings" are black.

The thing that's really driving sales, though, is that this figure comes with the final skull needed for the Trophy Wall: the plain human skull. It's the same sculpt as the skulls that came with Gort and the masked City Hunter, just without the spine. Technically there should be a hole in the back to mount it on a spike, not underneath, but close enough.

Water Emergence Predator isn't a figure I was looking forward to - it was just the skull that sold him. But NECA did a great job designing this one, and things could always be worse: the skull could have come with a plain rerelease instead of something new.

-- 07/13/13

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