NECA’s Predators toy line is extensive, to say the least. They’ve practically made at least one version of every Predator on film, which meant that they had to look elsewhere. Back in 2003, Sandy Collora made a short film titled “Batman: Dead End” as a sort of director’s reel to show off his abilities. The story involved Batman chasing after the Joker, and then being interrupted by a Xenomorph from the Aliens franchise. And then, of course, the Predators show up as well and before you know it it’s just like those old Dark Horse comic books.
One of the predators on screen was the subject of today’s review, the aptly named “Big Red”. He was named so, due to all of his red armor, partly made in a samurai theme, complete with katanas. He was visually interesting and his unique armor set him apart from the others. The crazy thing is, Big Red only ever appeared in that short film. He never appeared in any actual official Predator movie, which makes the fact that NECA made him all the more awesome. I never even thought they legally could make him, but I suppose either they were allowed, or nobody wanted to tell NECA “no”. Either way, smart move.
I love the Predator films, especially the original. However, This is my first NECA Predator figure ever, and I’ll be honest and say that I was initially only wanting it, because I’m predictable and such a Batman geek that anything connected to him at all I MUST OWN. So join me as I take a closer look at Big Red and see if he’s worthy of a spot in your collection.
|PACKAGING – Big Red comes in the standard NECA Predator style packaging. They’ve been using this style since they first started making Predator figures many years ago. It’s nice, and sets it apart from the standard NECA clamshell. It’s a blister pack attached to a card back .It’s got a unique shape to it, likely to make it feel alien. There’s a lot of great graphics on it, with pictures of the actual figure, and many words written in their alien language.
The figure is plainly seen inside the package, with his accessories visible as well. I will say though that this figure almost blends in perfectly with the card back. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or not. At any rate, the Predator logo is at the bottom, along with the figure’s name.
The back of the package shows off other figures available in this wave, and gives an awesome bio for the Big Red character. It also has some really great looking concept art of Big Red, and at the bottom it lets you know that it’s actually Sany Collora’s original concept art for his Dead End short film. It’s very cool that they actually collaborated with Collora, however much, on this figure.
SCULPT – Big Red here is almost entirely the same sculpt as previous Predator figures, most notably the original Jungle Predator. This is because Sany Collora had to use the armor and costume already available for Predator and just repainted it, as opposed to spending money making something new from scratch. So the figure is accurate to the short film. His armor is really detailed, with lots of panel lines and rivets, and many cracks and pieces of armor missing due to battle damage.
One of the differences between this figure and the Jungle Hunter is that his wrist blade gauntlet is on his left arm, instead of his right. This is accurate to the short film, and a great attention to detail on NECA’s part. They also gave Big Red his bandolier of random creature skulls. They all look alien, and very wicked. What’s a Predator without his trophies, right?
His skin looks great, and is textured just like the Predator suits from the film. Everywhere you see wire mesh on his body is actually sculpted on, and not just painted. The effect is incredible and makes me wish Mattel could have done the same for their few DCUC figures that wore fishnets. His belt/loincloth piece is all new, and made to resemble ancient Japanese Samurai garb, and his katanas are in their scabbards attached to the belt.
The head sculpt looks great, of course. The mask looks so awesome, and it’s very detailed. You can actually see the meshing over the eyes that the real Predator masks had to have, so the actors could see through them. The dreadlocks look great, and are very rubbery, so they move almost like real hair. NECA’s sculpt nigh disappoints, so it’s not surprising that Big Red’s sculpt came out so well.
PAINT – The paint on this figure is just as great. There’s so much detail int he paint applications, it’s hard to know where to start. I guess I’ll start with the skin. The skin on this figure looks just like a Predator. From the base flesh tone, to the brown spots that really add a lot of texture with paint alone, it looks awesome. Not only that, but the skin has a glossy overcoat as well, making the skin look slimy like it did in the film.
The armor has some really great paint washes applied that seep deep into the cracks and help make it look worn and dirty, and really bring out the sculpt. This figure’s paint job is very well done for the most part. There’s the standard couple of flecks of stray paint and parts of the fish net on his body aren’t completely painted, but overall I have to commend NECA for the paint job on this figure.
ARTICULATION – Big Red has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, swivel-hinged elbows, ball jointed wrists, waist swivel, ball jointed hips, thigh rotators, double jointed knees, and ball jointed ankles.
All of his joints have nice, fluid movement and are really tight as well. I actually had to struggle breaking some of them in so they could move properly. He has no ab crunch, but it’s not missed here. The figure looks so good and still has a great range of motion.
I love that NECA has started using ball jointed hips and double knees on their Predators, because it makes a world of difference if you can actually pose their lower body. Even if the upper body is restricted, being able to pose the legs makes all the difference, and Big Red has plenty of articulation for a wide range of poses.
ACCESSORIES – This figure comes with two swords, and two alternate hands to hold them. The swords are a Katana and Wakizashi, a combo of swords used by Japanese Samurai. They look fantastic, and have no problem fitting in the scabbards on Big Red’s side, or in his alternate hands. The grips are red with silver lining (never let it be said that a Predator doesn’t know how to color coordinate).
It’s kind of crazy seeing such a big creature like a Predator wielding such small, skinny (at least compared to him) swords, but the movies have given us a rich mythology that shows that the Predators have been interacting with humans for thousands of years, so one picking up on the sensibilities of the Samurai is not far fetched at all.
And while this isn’t technically an accessory, I would like to mention here that his arm gauntlet is very cool. The blades can move in an out of the gauntlet, and look awesome. They’re kind of loose, but it’s sill a very cool addition to this figure, to have that level of display options.
FUN – This figure is so much fun. I remember playing with Predator toys as a kid, and getting this guy made me feel like a kid all over again. Not only is it a freaking super posable Predator with SAMURAI SWORDS, but he’s inextricably linked to Batman through the Dead End short film, meaning that you can have epic Predator Vs. Batman action figure fights.
Seriously, I can’t say enough how cool it is to have Batman fighting Predator. NECA makes very collector oriented action figures, but when they can, they really know how to make them fun.
QUALITY CONTROL/THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR – Not a single problem with Big Red. He’s sturdy, and very well made.
OVERALL – This is a great figure. It blends in well with any Predators collection, and he looks awesome posed fighting Batman figures, so I’d definitely say this one is worth getting. The sculpt is incredible, the paint job is almost perfect, the articulation is great, and his accessories are fantastic additions.
It’s crazy to even think this figure actually exists, considering it’s from a short fan film, and the novelty of that really does add to the cool factor of the figure. Maybe this means NECA can delve into some other non-official or non-movie concepts, like from the comics, or heck, even making up their own Predators. I don’t know if there would be much fan demand for that last one, but with a series of characters like from the Predators movies, there’s a lot of possibilities.
So, if you’re a Predator fan, a Batman fan, or just a fan of great action figures, this one won’t disappoint.
FINAL SCORE: 4.5 / 5
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Be sure to check out these extra photos below that couldn’t fit in the review.