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Predator with "Gort" mask

NECA Reel Toys
by yo go re

It's time for some movie history.

The Predator is an alien humanoid with advanced technology and a penchant for hunting difficult game. They possess superhuman strength, reflexes and stamina along with interstellar travel capability, multi-spectrum vision enhancement, and a light-bending armor suit with equally advanced weaponry, the Predator is able to travel anywhere and hunt anything they recognize as honorable prey.

You may be aware that what we think of as the "classic" Predator design was not the original idea for the character. The first pass at the unseen hunter (which would have been played by Jean-Claude Van Damme) was a skinny, insectoid thing with an exposed ribcage and a head like a preying mantis. It was definitely creepy, but the backward-bent legs were unsuited for shooting on location in the jungle, so after filming for six weeks the project was abandonned and Stan Winston was brought in to redesign the monster from the ground up.

This figure uses the same mold as the Classic Predator from NECA's Predators line. We know there are some fans out there who think NECA is somehow "cheating" us by reusing bodies to much, releasing figures with only minor changes, but in this case it's easily forgivable. The detail on the sculpt is impressive, from the texture of the skin to the pits and dings on his armor. The only disappointment in the sculpt is his leather underwear or whatever: it has sculpted fringe that falls across the hip joint, so it gets cut off. Yes, it's minor, and that should tell you how good everything else is that we're pointing it out as an example of a problem.

What's different about this figure is the mask. You're familiar with the smooth, nearly featureless look of the mask in the film, but that wasn't the original intention, either: the first design made the mask look like a mechanical interpretation of the Pred's face, but it was later simplified so it wouldn't give away the surprise. Yes, it may be weird to think of now, but at one point in time, the Predator's face would have warranted a spoiler alert. And looking at the "Gort" mask, you can see how it traces the contours of the mandibles beneath.

So why is this mask called "Gort?" Well, none of the Predators have ever been named in the films, so fans have to make up nicknames. Boy do they love to make up nicknames. Stupid, stupid nicknames. Anyway, this mask was used in Predator 2 for one of the Preds on the ship at the end. And you should recognize "Gort" as the name of the robot in The Day The Earth Stood Still. Well apparently someone who used that as his handle ended up selling the actual costume used in Predator 2, and so his nickname somehow managed to transfer to the costume in the fans' minds. That's the story.

The Gort mask will show up again later this year on a Predator 2 mold, so it's just the fact that it's on the P1 body that makes this an exclusive. It's what the first movie creature would have looked like if they never changed the mask, a movie figure from an alternate reality. The paint is brown and yellow with black dots, as you'd expect, but since this is an exclusive and there's no comparing paint jobs, we can't tell you whether they all look identical or if there's some variation in the highlights and shadows. We can tell you that the black lines meant to go on the netting are slightly misaligned on this particular figure's right leg, but that they still look fine.

Since the body is the same, the articulation is naturally the same, as well. He's got the same extending blades in his forearm, the same backpack, and even gets the three sets of bones the two-pack version wore. But he also gets a new left hand to accommodate his new accessory: instead of being splayed wide open, the hand is curled into a typical "holding" pose. The new accessory? A 2⅞" long skull and spinal column, ripped freshly from the body of some victim. A male victim. A male victim who stood about 7" tall, which would make him the perfect scale next to this 7⅞" Predator. Woo! Forensic anthropology FTW!

I didn't make Rustin buy NECA's SDCC exclusives for me this year - I was already sending him enough of my money, and I'd discovered something last year with the Liquid Metal T-1000: NECA lists all their con exclusives on Amazon! And more than that, they're eligible for free shipping! So Wednesday night, when Rustin was still waiting to get into Preview Night, I was putting the Gort Predator (and Gizmo!) in my cart. Yes, they were listed as "out of stock," but only because NECA hadn't handed over the product yet. The price is exactly the same as at the con, but the hassle is much, much less. Now if I were a MOC collector, I'd be pissed about the condition the packaging arrived in (it was shipped in one of those cardboard sleeves they use sometimes, rather than a real box), but I'm not - this is a decent exclusive, as long as you realize you're only buying it for a hand and a skull, and being able to order it online without so much as a loading screen standing in the way was a great shopping experience.

-- 08/11/11

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