I told myself I wasn’t gonna do it. When NECA announced they would be releasing the three Predator brothers from AvP as their next lineup, I planned to skip the wave. I mean, AvP is a movie so bad, it killed not TWO franchises… so forgettable, I had honestly forgotten the movie featured three Predators, and that they were brothers… so lame, than I was convinced not even the talent at NECA could make action figures from this movie that would be worth the purchase.
On that last point, I was wrong. NECA’s AvP figures are some of the finest they have ever created, packing in more detail, more accessories, and more articulation than any Predators we’ve seen so far. The Hunters feature all-new sculpts, and despite the praise already heaped on these new, super poseable bodies, I have to commend them again. These figures aren’t a huge departure from the previous Predator body designs, but small additions like the mid-torso ball socket, the double jointed elbows and the masterfully rendered double knees make these figures incredibly dynamic, and loads of fun to play around with.
All three Predators share the some amazing base body, which makes sense as they were all of a similar size and skin color, and wore basically the same armor in the movie. Each figure still looks distinct, thanks to their varied head sculpts, weaponry and some extra armored parts. The Celtic and Chopper Predators are each depicted with their masks on, and each conveys a dynamic sense of personality. Chopper is more “Predator-standard” in his appearance, but the visor-style eyes and segmented ridges on his mask still let him stand apart. Celtic has a whole lot of strange, almost bio-organic details going on in the lower half of his mask, making him one of the most unique-looking masked Predators in the collection.
Scar is sculpted unmasked (though a masked version to match his brothers is coming in the next assortment), and the head is one of NECA’s best Yajuta sculpts yet. The hunter’s mandibles are fully open, and combined with his piercing green eyes, make it clear Scar is not someone you want to mess with.
Each of the three AvP Predators includes distinct armor on their legs, arms and waist, as well as their own unique wrist blades and shoulder cannons. Each piece looks great, and the cannons on these guys features an all new design that poses and stays in place far better than the more fragile older Predator guns. The cannon pack on the AvP figures actually snaps and locks in place firmly, which means it’s less likely to pop off when the figure’s dreadlocks inevitably press up against it. I like the unique wrist blades, as well, although the over-the-top nature of these designs (the movie’s fault entirely, not NECA’s) makes them appear a little silly.
Chopper, true to his namesake, gets the most blades, with one mounted on each of his gauntlets, with space for two more on his right hand. To simulate the extending of these weapons, NECA includes extra blades with the figure, at different lengths, which is a fun feature that allows you to customize your figure with ease. Chopper and Scar also share a very cool hinged remote panel on their left gauntlets, while Celtic gets another blaster on his left arm.
The sculpting is great and the design impeccable on these figures, but NECA really brings them over the top with their outstanding paint apps. The Predators all wear tarnished silver armor, and the color work on these toys is perfect. The multiple tones of silver paint layer in a very realistic way, and the heavy black wash enhances the sculpt while adding a realism that would make you swear you were looking at pewter instead of plastic. The metal armor is offset perfectly by the Predator’s exposed skin, the familiar pale yellow mottled with patterns of dark brown and black. The paint leaves all three Hunters with a very sleek and stylish appearance… while each is distinct, it’s clear these guys are still a uniform team.
In the past, NECA has always included a fair amount of accessories with their Predators, but the AvP figures again take it up a level. In addition to the wrist blades and unique shoulder cannons, each Predator also includes a short sword, a staff (either contracted or fully extended), and a bladed throwing weapon. All the gear is interchangeable, so if you want to display Scar with an extended spear, it fits easily in his hand, as well as Celtic’s. The only one who suffers here is Chopper, who is sculpted with two closed fists and includes no alternate hands to hold his other weapons. It’s not the end of the world– it wouldn’t make a ton of sense for a guy with SIX blades mounted on his wrists to require holding even more blades– but an alternate set of hands with this guy (even if they were just recasts of his brothers’ hands) would have gone a long way. Aside from that shortfall, the amount of accessories each figure includes is truly impressive, and it goes further in making these standard figures feel more like NECA’s Ultimate figures in terms of quality and quantity of stuff within their packaging.
I almost hate gushing on these figures so much, just because they’re based on such boring characters from such a lousy movie… but it’s really hard to find any fault with them. NECA knocked it out of the park with the AvP Predators, and while toys this good still won’t convince me to give the movie another chance, they do leave me very interested in the prospect of seeing some older, better Predators re-envisioned using this great new body design.