Itís always nice when you see a company strive to improve its products, which sadly seems to be more of a rarity these days with increasing production costs and companies trying to cut back in these hard economic times. Thatís why I find myself impressed with companies like NECA that seem to be moving in the opposite direction. NECA has already made a name for itself by producing visually appealing action figures that often times look like they climbed right off the movie screen, but one area where NECA often suffered is the articulation department. For some, just having the detailed sculpting found in most NECA products was enough. For others, especially those who have been spoiled by figures with over 30 points of articulation, the statue-type figure just wasnít enough to appease them. I place myself in this demographic. So when NECAís newest wave of 7Ē Predator figures hit shelves and I heard that NECA was striving to improve articulation on their figures, I was curious if the improvements were significant or not. I picked up their new Big Red Predator figure to take a look and see, so read on to find out if this is a figure for articulation junkies or not.
Check out hi-res images for this figure in our GALLERY below.
Packaging - Similar to NECAís previous Predator offerings, Big Red comes in pretty standard blister cardback packaging. The figure is fully visible on the cardback with the name of the figure at the bottom and a small picture of the Big Red Predator. The cardback itself is in dark blacks, reds and oranges with a picture of a Predator mask to the left side and the Predator language placed sporadically throughout. Basically, the cardback is designed to look like what you would see through the Predatorís mask.
The back contains the Predatorís name, a drawing of Big Red on the right and a brief description about the character. The bottom shows all three figures available in this wave.
The dark colors on the package donít exactly stand out on the store shelves but if you are familiar with Predators, the design is unique enough that it will probably pop out at you fairly quickly. The way the figure is displayed in the package is nice because you can see exactly what you are getting.
Sculpt - Sculpting is where NECA as always excelled with their figures, and this Big Red Predator is no different. The attention to detail from the skin textures to nicks on the armor are incredible. The sculpting was so detailed, I actually had to feel and see if the netting on the Predatorís chest, arms and legs was real string or sculpted on. It was sculpted on but visually itís very hard to tell. The dreadlocks coming out of the back of the helmet are made with a rubbery material that gives it some flexibility so it doesnít hamper the figureís head movements yet looks very realistic at the same time.
Paint - Another area were NECA tends to excel and once again they donít disappoint with this figure. The reds of his armor stand out nicely but donít look gaudy. The yellow, brown and black washes give the figure a glossy almost slimy feel and again the netting over the skin is flawless. There is even nice detailing and paint on the katana handles accompanying the figure. The helmet which is sculpted on the head of the figure has some nice black markings painted on the red which stand out nicely, and when you look underneath you can see the figureís chin and neck skin color exposed which is nice. I could find no noticeable paint errors or blemishes on my figure.
Articulation - As I mentioned before this is an area I tended to find lacking when it comes to NECA figures in the past, but the packaging boasts new and improved articulation so I was curious to see if there was indeed improvement. There has been.
The figure head is on a ball joint giving a good range of movement. As I mentioned before, the dreadlocks in the back are made of a soft rubber material so they donít restrict the headís movement at all. The figure has ball-hinged joints at the shoulders, elbows, and where the legs attach at the waist. The waist swivels, and the hands and feet are attached with a ball joint. The figure comes with an extra pair of interchangeable hands, one pair of open hands and another set closed so he can hold his katanas. Some type of chest-ab joint would have been nice, but overall you can get this figure into some pretty nice poses and the joints remained pretty tight while I was photographing it for this review.
One thing I do want to caution you about: On the left arm, a little piece of string material goes from the red shoulder pad to the red chest plate. If you are not careful, you can easily pull this off when moving the arm around. Mine came off while I was posing him. Itís a cool and detailed touch but does somewhat restrict the figures movement in that left arm.
Accessories - The figure comes with two katana swords and two interchangeable hands. The figure holds the swords tightly in the closed pair of hands. The figure also comes with two sheaths attached to its belt to hold the swords. The figure has a retractable gold blade on its left arm. The blades are made with a thin plastic so they can bend out of shape easily if you arenít careful. One last accessory the figure comes with is a skull bandolier. It is removable but I would recommend extreme caution if you try to take it off. It is a tight fit to get it over the body of the figure and since itís made with a string material, it can break if you try to stretch it too much. Getting it back on is harder than getting it off.
Quality Control - The only (minor) problem I had with this figure was that little piece of string that goes from the shoulder pad to the chest plate. If you arenít careful, you can easily pull it off. If you do, I donít think that really ruins the figure in any significant way, in fact you may just opt to pull it off yourself. Either way, be aware of it.
Fun - If you are a Predator fan, then I think you will love this figure. Another cool thing to note about this figure is the characterís origins. Apparently the Big Red character never appeared in any movie or even the comics. It is based off a Batman fan-made film that debuted at the 2003 San Diego Comic-Con called ďBatman: Dead End.Ē If you havenít seen it, you can check it out on YouTube below.
Hats off to NECA for really delving into the fan community to find inspiration for this figure.
Overall: NECA with their detailed sculpting, paint job and now even good articulation has really hit this one out of the park. The figure is fun to pose and play with or just sit on your shelf and have it look good. The unique armor of this particular character will also allow it to stand out nicely in your collection.