NECA has been killing it with their inventive and quirky sub-lines over the past year. Cool, meta-references like the Kenner wave of Predators have proven to be cool and clever ways to keep a toy line fresh, even after so many waves and figures have been released. But the coolest sub-line by the toymakers, in my opinion, is the Nintendo game-inspired “8-Bit” series. The Predator is the latest figure in the lineup, and he’s one of the best yet.
Like the other 8-Bit figures, what we get here is a straight up repaint, this time a new paint app on the Jungle Hunter figure, designed to match the shades of blue and purple in the old school pixelated rendering of the creature. Not unlike the 8-Bit RoboCop, Predator’s new deco is stunning, with hints of cell shading that make this great sculpt come alive in a completely unique way. I love that the light blue highlights only kind of make sense, as if cast on our villain by a light unrestricted by physics– it’s totally true to the weird attempts at shading that often resulted from illustrations being adapted into blocky pixel format.
The highlights on the Predator’s mask are particularly striking, tracing the strong outline of the unique mask shape with a surprisingly diverse mix of shades of purple and blue. Even the wrist blade, shoulder cannon and necklace get a multi-colored wash which subtly shows off the intricate detail of this figure’s original sculpt.
Every 8-Bit figure comes packed in a special box, designed to replicate the old school cardboard Nintendo game boxes, and the Predator package once again borrows artwork from the NES game for its cover. This one’s kind of a challenge– seeing as how the box art features Dutch and not the hunter himself, leaving some customers likely curious as to what, exactly is inside the box– but I applaud NECA’s commitment to their box art aesthetic… and this whole collection of 8-Bit figures is looking very sharp when all displayed together, both loose and in their packaging.
NECA isn’t done with this fun sub-genre of action figures… they already announced Rocky, in all his flag-draped, cell shaded glory, and I am betting we’ll see at least one more figure revealed at Comic Con later this month. In the meantime, Predator is showing up now at Toys R Us stores, and he’s available from NECA directly through their eBay store. If you’re a fan of the movies, or old school video games, this guy should be a total hit.