Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Action Figure Review: Predator Limited Edition Trophy Skulls Pack from Predator by NECA


     I'm really excited by what I'm looking at today: it's the Predator Trophy Skulls Pack from NECA.  For the past few years as NECA has released various figures from PredatorPredator 2, and Predators,  they've also included various skulls that appeared on the trophy wall seen at the end of Predator 2.  Well, besides just being cool, in March NECA announced that those various skulls can serve a purpose in your display by being stored on the Predator Trophy Wall Diorama that's just recently been released.  This was such a cool idea, but it left me with a massive problem: I only owned a couple of the skulls and some of the figures they came with have since become notoriously difficult to find.  Well, since NECA is a company that I truly believe respects it's customers, they've created a really cool little pack of all 10 unique skulls which have been previously released that is available as a limited set (I found it on their Amazon store). If you've already bought the individual figures that came with these skulls, you're all set to just pick up the wall or snag some extras. If you're a slacker like me who held out until Dutch was released, this really solves a lot of problems.  This is a simple set of 10 accessories that ships in a plastic tray in a plain, white mailer, but it can definitely make the difference in deciding if you want the Predator Trophy Wall. Ready for a brief look at these trophies? Then join me after the break....

I call this guy "The Chin"

     These skulls came with figures in the 6-7 inch scale and they seem to be appropriately sized. Some of them are human skulls, some are Predator or Xenormorph skulls, and some of them are the skulls of various random creatures that the Predator has defeated in battle.  They look to be appropriately sized and should work in a multitude of different toy lines. 


Just your garden variety human skulls...
   Surprisingly, a few of the skulls do feature articulation of sorts.  The Xenomorph skull and both of the Predator (also called the Yautja or the Hish) skulls feature hinged jaws.  Be careful moving them, but it is a cool feature for an accessory like this.  You know that crazy Grandpa Predator often picks up the skulls of his enemies and makes them talk to the embarrassed Predator grand kids during Predator Thanksgiving Dinner.


      The sculpts on these are unbelievable. NECA almost always turns in solid work, but these...these are in a class of their own for small, sculpted accessories.  I'll try not to bore you, so here's a brief look at each piece:
Here's the Alpha Predator skull.

Xenomorph Skull- This is the skull from the Xenomorphs as they appeared in Aliens.  It's got lots of small ridges on top and is fairly complex.  The top plate looks to be a solid sheet of bone with three smaller, segmented pieces running towards the back of the skull.  It does have eye holes, and possible holes for the nostrils as well.  It originally came with a Toys R' Us Alien and Predator pack from 2010.
Here's the non-bloody skull and spine set

     Predator Skull--A basic Predator skull--it's got the four mandibles, the ridges all over the top of the skull, and a really weird series of divots on the bottom. It kind of looks like a sponge down there! It also originally came with the Toys R Us Alien and Predator 2 pack.

2x Human skulls with spine: One's bloody, and one's not, but they're the same sculpt. The bloody came with the SDCC 2011 "Gort" Predator, and the vanilla version came with the 2012 Berserker Predator/City Hunter 2 pack.  It's a super detailed miniature human skull with a disturbingly realistic spinal cord in place.  What figure wouldn't look cool holding one of these?

"The Chin"--This is some type of large alien skull that came with the cloaked version of the City Hunter Predator.  It's got a huge chin with spikes on the end, deep eyes, and a jagged hole in the back of the skull. Perhaps this is how the Predator finished this guy off?
Here's "Underbite"! Looks like a rough dude!

"Under-bite"- This came with the 2012 Battle Damaged City Hunter/Jungle Hunter 2 pack.  It's a creature with jagged teeth and a massive under bite.  It also appears to have lots of decorative frills on the crest of it's head.  Possibly some type of plumage?  This is one of the 2 skulls I had previously.
Here's the "Keenser" skull

"Keenser"- This skull reminds me of Mr. Scott's little friend from the new Star Trek films.  It's an elaborately detailed skull with plenty of ridges and a small mouth.  Looks like it might have had some jaw power, though. It also came with the Battle Damaged City and Jungle Hunter 2 pack from Toys R Us and is the other skull I previously owned.

"Alpha" Predator skull--This skull came with the Toys R' Us Berserker and City Hunter 2 pack and looks kind of like the first Predator skull, but it's larger, has longer mandibles, and a rounder head. The little spongy designs on the bottom are still there, though.
The Xenomorph, or Alien, skull

Human skulls w/o spinal cords x2- One of these comes with the new Water Emergence version of the Jungle Hunter Predator from series 9. It's a basic human skull, but could you really have enough of those in your collection?  I know I needed an extra so I can customize my own version of "Skull Attack Jack" from Mattel's Last Action Hero line.

A standard Predator skull


     The paint work is really effective.  While the skulls are molded in the various bone colors, they really have excellent washes applied that give them all unique, aged looks.  Some, like Under-bite and Keenser, even have multiple washes and little extra paint apps to give them a more elaborate and exotic touch. Of course, the bloody human skull with spine is just that: covered in a blood red paint as if just ripped from the Predator's prey.

A bloody human skull with spine, just like the Predator likes them!

    I really, really appreciate NECA releasing this set.  Some companies like to brag how much fun tracking down their exclusives is or how they like to keep things special by never again releasing certain parts or figures people really need. If these skulls hadn't been re released, I wouldn't even consider ordering the Trophy Wall, plain and simple.  Since they have been, though, let me just say that a review of the wall will be posted relatively soon. I'm just waiting for my order from Big Bad Toy Store.  While this is merely an accessory pack, it is a well done accessory pack that is a tremendous value for the money. Easily Great, no doubt about it.

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