Friday, 28 March 2014

Crashlings Series 1: Monsters

Company: Wicked Cool Toys
Year: 2014
RRP: Varies

The Trash Pack seems to have been a phenomenal success over the last couple of years. So I suppose it’s no surprise that we’re now seeing a few similar products show up in stores – miniature blind-packed figurines, centred around bizarre themes. The most recent of these is Crashlings – more than 150 figures spread out across five subsets – Dinosaurs, Insects, Aliens, Monsters and Sea Life.

I bought a Crashlings Monsters 4-pack, which had two visible and two blind-packed figures. The green werewolf (Moon Howler) visible in the packaging was the strong point for me. Cast in a firm plastic, each character comes with its own meteor which it can be stored in. The colour of these meteors varies according to subset; for Monsters, they’re black.

There are also 10-packs and individual meteors available too. These meteor containers can also be used to play a number of Crashlings-themed games, which are outlined on the back of the checklist. Some of the meteor halves are also cast in soft rubber, and can be used as pop caps. Beware though – these ones leave an oily residue in the packaging.  

Moon Howler

Though 150+ characters are advertised on the box, there are actually only about 50 individual characters to collect, 10 in each subset. The remaining 110 are made up by recolours of the main figures – some are simple repaints, others are cast in metallic colours. As might be expected, some are rarer than others.
Zombie Zoomer

Compounding this further is the fact that there seem to be some colour variants which aren’t listed on the included checklist. My Moon Howler is a lime green, similar to glow-in-the-dark shade – that’s how he’s depicted on the packaging, but I can’t find any trace of this variant on the checklist. There’s just brown, lavender and metallic red. Crashlings are quite new, and there’s very little information about them online at this stage – so I can see these toys starting a lot of rumours and urban myths in the playground about rarity, value and even existence. From memory, it was a similar situation with Monsters in My Pocket back in the 1990s. 

The four characters I got were Moon Howler (a werewolf; green version), Bigfoot Dipper (brown version), Franken Star (Frankenstein’s Monster; metallic green version) and Zombie Zoomer (brown version). Yep, pretty much all the characters have pun names related to the cosmos. Moon Howler is fantastic, Bigfoot Dipper is pretty ordinary, Zombie Zoomer is okay and Franken Star would be cool if he wasn’t metallic green. He may be “rare”, but I’ve never really enjoyed these single colour variants, unless it was glow in the dark. I may sell him off via eBay.

Franken Star
As might be expected, paint apps tend towards being a little sloppy. That’s okay for this type of toy; they’re tiny and cheap.
Bigfoot Dipper

Crashlings are a cool idea – I loved blind-bagged stuff and miniature figures, so it’s always cool to see another variation on this theme. There are some cool ideas in series 1, but I think they may have stretched themselves slightly too thin by including so many colour variants and themes within in the one series. A tighter focus in future will serve them well, I think. I’m curious to see what series 2 brings. Include some glow in the dark characters and Wicked Cool Toys could have a real hit on their hands!    

Black Meteor container

Friday, 21 March 2014

Fall of Cybertron Kickback

Series: Transformers Generations

Year: 2012
Company: Hasbro


Typically, my Transformers preferences lean toward vehicles. Imaginary or “realistic”, it doesn’t matter. I’m more ambivalent to Transformers that change into animals (except dinosaurs) and insects. But every now and then one will catch my eye. Kickback is one such character – his bot mode looks incredibly cool, and his alt mode isn’t too shabby either. Best of all, he is purple – though I don’t much care for the colour in real life, it always looks particularly cool on Decepticons.

My local Target was clearing out Generations figures for $16 each – presumably due to the new movie on the way – so after having my eye on Kickback for some months, it was time to pull the trigger on the purchase. Is he a fitting addition to my growing Transformers collection? Read on to see.

Even in bot mode, Kickback looks quite insect-like. His long, stalky limbs and his clawed hands make him look less humanoid than many Transformers, which I feel is a good thing. They’re robots after all – they don’t need to have “human” features at all, in theory. On the negative side, he has a light-piped “eye”, but it seems to have been painted over, blocking the effect. Still, he’s an excellent looking robot.

His alt mode -- a Cybertronian Insect  that looks a lot like a grasshopper -- by comparison, is okay but not great. I feel it looks better on the box than in real life. His arms join together to create the “tail” of the insect, and the join on mine is a little fragile. So it’s quite easy to pop it open, rendering you with a dismembered-looking bug.   
Articulation-wise on the main body, we’re looking at:

*ball-jointed head
*swivel-hinged shoulders

*ball-jointed elbows
*cut wrists

*ball-jointed hips
*swivel thighs

*hinged knees
*ball jointed ankles

The arms on his back have two joints as well – a balljoint where they connect to the back and a hinge in their middle.
The transformation process is one of the most convoluted I’ve seen. The first time I attempted it, I raced ahead a little, got a couple of steps wrong in subtle ways, and the whole thing just looked a little off as a result. But I gave it another try, and fortunately it worked properly then (though I did pop off a balljointed leg in the process). The instructions are in that horrible black, white and purple colour scheme again, making things needlessly difficult. They need to either include words and/or use properly coloured illustrations/photos.

One of my co-workers commented that he thought Kickback looked a bit fragile, and though I argued the point at the time, I’m now inclined to agree. I would be hesitant giving this to a kid for rough play – but hey, how many kids are actually buying this particular Transformers series?

The paint on Kickback is probably the best I’ve seen of the three Generations figures I’ve picked up. Most of him is moulded in the appropriate colours, but the areas with paint are quite clean and neat. The others were all a bit sloppy and fuzzy at the edges, but there’s a lot less of that here.

Kickback comes with a disc-shooter. Despite the stern warning on the back to not aim it at people’s eyes (as there should be), it seems to only shoot a couple of centimetres. It’s an okay gun, but it’s far too big and makes him overbalance unless you’re careful. So I’ll probably display him without it most of the time. 

As I’ve said in my previous two Transformers: Generations reviews, Hasbro has stumbled onto a good thing with these toys – and this time, the price was definitely right! If they were $16 all the time I’d probably buy the whole range. Though of course, that’s wishful thinking.

I’m still looking to pick up a Skywarp (another purple Decepticon!) and Scoop, though time will tell whether we actually see that wave get released in Australia. With these ones on clearance at Target, and some of them having been round for quite a while, I’m nursing some doubts about it. But hope springs eternal.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Eighty Pop Classics from the 1980s

The 1980s are one of my favourite eras of pop culture, having birthed many of the pop culture icons I hold so dear today, such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Predator, RoboCop and The Transformers.

As a result, I’m quite a fan of a lot of pop music from the era too. Not in an ironic way either – I genuinely love the songs listed here. Some of you will be familiar with, some you won’t. Some you’ll like, some you’ll think are utter garbage. Such is the nature of compiling these lists. Feel free to leave comments below, with your own preferences.

And now, in no particular order, I present 80 of my favourite pop songs from the 1980s!

1. Dan Hartmann – I Can Dream About You

2. Hall and Oates – You Make My Dreams Come True

3. Stan Bush – The Touch

4. Stan Bush – Fight to Survive

5. Billy Ocean – Caribbean Queen

6. Toto – Rosanna

7. Toto – Africa

8. Kajagoogoo – Too Shy

9. The Psychedelic Furs – Love My Way

10. Midnight Star – Midas Touch

11. Ollie & Jerry – Breakin’… (Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us)

12. Spandau Ballet – Gold

13. Duran Duran – Hungry like the Wolf

14. Billy Ocean – When the Going Gets Tough

15. KC & The Sunshine Band – Give it Up

16. Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up

17. Tears for Fears – Head Over Heels

18. Giorgio Moroder & Phil Oakey – Together in Electric Dreams

19. Simple Minds – Promised You a Miracle

20. Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes

21. Gary Wright – Really Want to Know You

22. Time Bandits – I’m Only Shooting Love

23. Pat Benatar – Love is a Battlefield

24. The Cars – Drive

25. Pseudo Echo – Funky Town

26. Jefferson Starship – We Built this City on Rock and Roll

27. Prince – Little Red Corvette

28. The Breakfast Club – Right on Track

29. A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran

30. Billy Idol – Dancing with Myself

31. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell

32. Simple Minds – Don’t You Forget About Me

33. Hall and Oates – Private Eyes

34. Huey Lewis and the News – Do You Believe in Love

35. Pointer Sisters – He’s So Shy

36. America – You Can Do Magic

37. Go West – Call Me

38. Go West – We Close Our Eyes

39. Corey Hart – Sunglasses at Night

40. Haircut 100 – Love Plus One

41. The Cure – Inbetween Days

42. The Police – Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

43. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark

44. New Kids on the Block – Step by Step

45. Dire Straits – Walk of Life

46. Don Henley – The Boys of Summer

47. Glen Frey – The Heat is On


48. Steve Winwood – Higher Love

49. Steve Winwood – Valerie

50. Paul Simon – You can call me Al

51. ABC – The Look of Love

52. Belinda Carlisle – Summer Rain

53. Wa Wa Nee – Stimulation

54. Eddie Money – Take Me Home Tonight

55. Sade – Smooth Operator

56. Sade – Sweetest Taboo

57. Billy Ocean – Mystery Lady

58. Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls

59. Scandal – The Warrior

60. George Harrison – I Got My Mind Set on You

61. Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight

62. Simple Minds – Glittering Prize

63. Earth, Wind and Fire – Let’s Groove

64. Melissa Manchester – You Should Hear How She Talks About You

65. Icehouse – Electric Blue

66. Icehouse – Can’t Help Myself

67. The Stranglers – Skin Deep

68. The Jets – Crush on You

69. INXS – Don’t Change

70. John Farnham – Two Strong Hearts

71. Lionel Richie – All Night Long

72. Bananarama – Cruel Summer

73. The Go-Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed

74. Devo – Whip It

75. Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

76. The Church – Under the Milky Way

77. Nik Kershaw – Wouldn’t it be Good?

78. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – If You Leave

79. Frank Stallone – Far From Over

80. Fischer Z – So Long

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Lego Review – Castle Cavalry (70806)

Set: 70806 Castle Cavalry

Theme: The Lego Movie
Pieces: 424

Build Time: 1 ½ hours (castle)

        1 ½ hours (flying machine mode)
Year: 2014

RRP: $35 AUD

The Background
As my Australian readers will probably already know, The Lego Movie has been postponed until April over here (boo!). I won’t deny that I’ve been jealous of my international brethren. However, the delay hasn’t stopped most of the movie tie-in sets being released already, which means I can experience the movie vicariously.

As with every Lego theme worth its salt, there’s a broad spectrum of price ranges – from the cheap to the ultra-expensive. However, the mid-range sets are probably the most interesting. Why? Well, the main gimmick with the mid-range sets is that they’re standard Lego sets…but they can also change into something more bizarre, usually some sort of a flying machine. In this case, a castle’s gate morphs into a twin-barrelled flying machine, resembling a medieval Phantom Menace podracer.

This set comes with three minifigures – Sir Stackabrick, Gallant Guard and Sharon Shoehorn (an actress on the in-universe TV show Where Are My Pants?). The actress is the only figure with two faces – one looking happy, and the other one for looking distressed when she’s abducted by one of Lord Business’ Micromanagers.

Sir Stackabrick

Gallant Guard
I know nothing about their personalities yet, but they’re nicely made, standard minifigures that will fit in easily alongside your Castle or City theme figures, and that’s what I wanted them for.

Though it’s not technically a minifigure, I’ll include the Micromanager here – I assume it’s some sort of evil minion, but I don’t know much else at this stage. It’s a black box, with two rubber wheels (which roll) and a grabby claw-hand. Seeing the movie may change my mind, but I’m a little underwhelmed with it at first glance.  It’s a little too featureless.

Sharon Shoehorn
I haven’t really built anything since Lord Vampyre’s Castle over Christmas, so perhaps I’m a little out of shape, but I was quite taken aback at how long it took me – close to an hour and a half, I’d say.

The gate is surprisingly complex, though it definitely works to the advantage of the kit. There are lots of cool little details such as the flags on the ramparts, the skull in the tower and the vines hanging above the torches. And of course, a working catapault is always fun for the kids, if neither here nor there for me.

Its generic "Castle-y" nature is possibly its biggest strength. Add a couple more elements – like the tree from the Monster Fighters Werewolf set, some dim lighting and a minifigure ghost, and you’ve transformed the whole thing into a whole new environment too.  

Colour scheme-wise, it fits with the Castle theme that was released in 2013 – specifically, the “good” faction, the Lion Knights.
As for the alt mode, it was fun to build – but I don’t love how it looks. The 2-in-1 idea is cool (even though when I was a kid, this was a standard thing) is a good one, but I don’t think this set is the best example of it. The flying machine mode is entertaining, but if I didn’t want this as a castle front I’d probably be a little disappointed. The other sets in this range, such as the Ice Cream Truck or Recycling Truck look much better from a purely toyetic perspective, and their alt modes are definitely cooler, if not quite up my alley. Though if I collected City, I’d be all over those bad boys. 

Recently I realised that I had enough minifigures to create a Dungeons and Dragons-style party of four adventurers – the Barbarian, Elf Ranger, Paladin and Wizard. But adventurers need a place to adventure in. I have the City of Atlantis, of course, but it would be nice to have something along the lines of a more traditional castle or dungeon. This set looked like as good a starting point as any! 

So I think this is a simple, pretty cool Castle set. The only real downside is the price – for $35, I think it’s a little higher than it should be. Get it to $29, and I think I’d be even more satisfied, and might have even bought two. I suspect that the slightly raised price is to do with the third minifigure – and the “2 sets in one” gimmick.* 
As for the wider Lego Movie range? I have mixed feelings. I may change my mind once I see some of them in action in the movie, but I’m not in love with this theme. Of course, I said that about Monster Fighters, and look where that got me! 


*Oddly enough, I think it may also be experiencing the “license tax” that affects themes such as Super Heroes, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit et al. Warner Bros are the ones who actually produced and distributed the movie, so the price may be slightly higher to make sure that they get their cut too? But this is only speculation on my part.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Kre-O Transformers Microchangers -- Preview Series

Company: Hasbro
Year: 2012

RRP: see below

In my previous Micro-Changers review, I mentioned that Collection 4 was the first set I’d seen in Australia…or at least, in Sydney. But lo and behold, I came across a few Collection 3 bags in a local Big W shortly after publishing that article. Swiftly consulting OAFE’s decoder, I decided to pass on them – Nemesis Prime looked cool, but I knew his vehicle mode would be rubbish. And Sharkticons have just never grabbed me in the way they do some of my friends. But looking scanning over the list, I also spied the Preview Series from 2012 – a set of six Decepticons, released as a teaser. Collection Zero, if you will.

“No chance of finding them,” I thought to myself. “They came out almost two years ago, and they would have been some kind of American exclusive.”
Well, I was in for a big shock – the next department store I walked into had them and they were only $2AUD each. Sometimes God will send you a pick-me-up in the most obscure ways.

I ended up buying three, in total – Galvatron, Scorponok and Sunstorm. Some will ask why I didn’t buy the other three (Spinister, Waspinator and Crankstart) when I could have had them all for a mere $12, but it was mostly came down to their designs just not grabbing me as much. I just don’t have the completist bug as severely as I used to.
So, how do these bad boys compare to collection four?


Galvatron has a great base body, and I like his lavender colour. However, his backpack is quite clunky, and its base attachment spent a lot of time popping off when I first put him together. His arms are also a little wonkier than I'd like -- they don't sit up too well.

His alt mode is okay – in theory. It’s a big artillery-looking cannon, much as he had back in ye olden days of the G1 cartoon. Unfortunately, you cannot get it to stand upright. It’s very front-heavy and just keeps toppling over. Hence the absence of a photo.  

Verdict: Least favourite of the three I picked up, but he’s still a pretty cool bot.

Sunstorm is what we’ve heard – bot mode cool, alt mode not so much. While the plane definitely works better than the cars we saw in collection four, it doesn’t work quite as well as I’d hoped – the waist is fairly wonky. Sandstorm’s helicopter remains my favourite flying alt mode at this time. 
He also comes with what I assume is some kind of gun. It’s pretty bizarre, and doesn’t look like a gun in the conventional sense, but I still like it.

Verdict: Possibly my favourite of the three I picked up. Sunstorms’ green counterpart Acid Wing (Acid Storm) is in the mail from eBay at the moment, and it will be cool seeing them displayed together.

Scorponok is a really cool bot design. Unfortunately, his claws were actually quite difficult to fit onto the Kreon arms, and you can see the white stress marks from where I had to essentially force them on. I was worried they’d either break or just pop straight off again. However, now that he’s together I’m quite pleased with him – his transparent purple claws are surprisingly menacing for such a cutesy design.
The alt mode? Sigh…I’m sounding like a broken record here, but again I find myself being fairly unimpressed with it. I think the cars are more visually appealing, even if they don’t work as well.

Verdict: Awesome bot mode. Ordinary alt mode. Still one of the best bot TF Kreons, once you get him assembled. Easily the best colour scheme of the TF Kreons I currently own – you can’t go wrong with green and purple.  

Paint is noticeably better on this series than on Collection Four. Though it doesn’t use intricate tampos in the same way, they don’t suffer as a result of simplicity – and I’d happily sacrifice additional detail for better overall paint execution. I assume we’ll see a Collection Five soon enough, so we’ll see how that one goes. 

Though I may sound underwhelmed above, I’ve actually had a lot of fun playing them since I bought them. I don’t regret buying them – they’re cutesy and a lot of fun just to have lying around the place. Much like their later counterparts, these Micro-Changers are cute and endearing in bot mode, but pretty ordinary in their alt mode. Obviously I enjoyed them enough to have bought more than my initial purchase from collection four, but I certainly don’t see myself spending much more on the line. Maybe the odd character, if they really grab me.

But on related news, I am excited for Kre-O’s Dungeons and Dragons blind bags. While collection one isn’t grabbing me, I think it’s a really cool concept and am looking forward to seeing what future ranges bring. DnD doesn’t get a lot of merchandising love outside of core materials, so it’s nice to see it turning up in this format.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Thoughts on the Lego Movie Minifigures

Well, the new series of Lego Minifigures is out, and it’s directly tied to the forthcoming movie (yes, it’s out already overseas, I know…). I’ve picked up five so far, and will possibly get a couple more. Let’s kick it off!

The ones I’ve bought

Emmet's regular face
Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) is the main character of the film. Apparently an ordinary minifigure who’s mistaken for a Master Builder (what this entails will presumably be revealed in the film), he's dressed in construction gear, and would easily fit in with a construction or mining related set from City. His standard face is him with a big goofy smile that’s quite reminiscent of the 1980s-1990s minifigure faces, before they started getting a little more sophisticated in their printing technique. I’d wager this resemblance is entirely intentional. His alternate face depicts him with his eyes shut and laughing…unfortunately it has the effect of making him look like a slightly racist anime caricature. Emmet also comes with an Octan pamphlet or magazine. It depicts a minifigure being eaten by a Lego shark, which gave me a giggle.

Emmet is easy to get mixed up with the Bad Cop/Good Cop, as their accessories both feel quite familiar. So you’re best to check for the absence of a set of soft handcuffs in the bag, once you’ve found a helmet and magazine/phone tile.

Wyldstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks) seems to be wearing a goth-style outfit [edit: apparently it’s Wild West-themed] – a corset and skirt, different to the skater-girl style that she’s been seen wearing in promotional material prior to now. She also comes with the same folding fan that the Kimono Girl (series 4) and the Flamenco Dancer (series 6). She’s neither here nor there as a figure, but I picked her up as she is one of the main characters. Given her seemingly intentionally “edgy” design, she’ll either be quite endearing or incredibly annoying. Time will tell, but I generally like Elizabeth Banks so I’m hoping for good things.  

Good Cop/Bad Cop (voiced by Liam Neeson) seems to be one of the most readily available characters in the range. For the most part, he’s a standard looking highway patrolman, who’d look right at home in the City theme. However, turn his face around and you’ll find that a crudely drawn smiley face has been drawn on the back of his head – just like a child would draw. Presumably this will be explained at some point during the film itself. Though I’m sure it’s meant to be cutesy, it actually reminds me of the promotional artwork for The Dark Knight, which was styled to look as though the Joker had scrawled all over it. It's a little creepy.
Regular, cool cop face

He comes with a set of handcuffs, and a mobile phone styled to look like an iPhone. Intentional or not, this is a nice reference to Neeson’s character in the Taken series.
Disturbing nightmare face

Velma Staplebot is not really my sort of figure, though the parts could well be useful for creating some sort of office manager in a City setting. I actually thought she was Emmet when I was checking the bags, otherwise I probably would have passed on her. She comes with a clipboard which notes something about “Taco Tuesday”…I assume this will become clear in the film.

Panda Guy is a cool concept, and one of the characters I was most excited for. But he has some sloppy paint apps on his headpiece and matching panda baby (teddy?) that undermine my enjoyment a little. Combine this with the lower-quality leg pieces they’ve been using in some of the minifigures series and I’m no longer so thrilled. Granted, I may feel differently after I see the film.

The Others

Calamity Drone ranks as my least favourite of the series…I don’t really want a robot woman from the Old West.
Gail the Construction Worker looks cool, and according to Brickipedia has the distinction of being the first female minifigure in a construction uniform. I suspect she’ll be endearing in the film too.

“Where Are My Pants?” Guy looks pretty funny. But I suspect his main value will be in his Hawaiian shirt piece...combine him the head of Frank Rock from Monster Fighters, and you have Bruce Campbell’s character from Burn Notice.  
President Business (voiced by Will Ferrell) is the big bad of The Lego Movie. Apparently he’s trying to undermine the world of Lego by gluing all the pieces of the Lego world together. As a minifigure, he’s a little so-so to look at, but his square headpiece is interesting. Though I’m not really fussed on him, I may pick him up anyway – seems like it makes sense to have a figure of the lead villain. He comes with an Octan coffee cup.

Wiley Fusebot is bizarre, resembling a robot Davy Crockett. I like the idea of a regular Davy Crockett minifigure, and this guy would let you make one quite easily.  So I may yet get one – but this is one that I’ll probably need to see in action in the film first.
Abraham Lincoln is apparently one of the Master Builders in the film. He looks cool, but I just can’t quite commit to buy. I’m sure he’ll be popular in America, though. I feel similarly about William Shakespeare – he’ll be big in the UK, no doubt, and lots of English teachers will probably have this guy on their staffroom desk.   

Marsha, Queen of the Mermaids – we’ve already had a mermaid reasonably recently, but this one is a bit distinct from the one in series 8, thanks to different colouring. This colouration makes her look like Mermaid Barbie or something – cool for my wife, not so much for me.
Taco Tuesday Guy veers into slightly racially insensitive territory again, similar to the Island Warrior in Series 11, but he’s quite entertaining. However, I already have the Maraca Man from series 2, so I’ll pass.

Mrs. Scratchen-Post is sort of amusing as a cat lady, but I think she followed too soon after the Grandma from series 11. I’ll pass.
Larry the Barista will fit well into a City collection. But I don't know where he'd fit in my collection, so it's a no for the time being.  

The Verdict
Now, why don’t I think I’ll collect the set? Well, there’s a lot of familiar ground trodden over from previous series – particularly with a cat lady and mermaid both seeing release relatively recently. There are no direct repeats, but the stuff I like I already have, and the stuff I don’t I didn’t want anyway.

To be fair, a lot of the repeated stuff is probably because the movie will introduce a whole new group of fans to minifigure collecting. It is good that newcomers will have access to lookalikes of some of the earlier characters – if they do this in future series, hopefully I’ll be able to get hold of a series 1-esque Ninja – but for the moment I’m happy to sit it out. Granted, this may change after I see the movie and get to know some of the characters. The Lego Movie is on my must-see list for 2014!  

Overall verdict? Cool for new collectors, but less so for those of us who have been collecting minifigures for a bit longer.

Friday, 7 March 2014

NECA Battle Armor Lost Predator

Company: NECA
Line: Predators

Series: 11
Year: 2014

RRP: $34.95AUD

Predator 2 is a movie that’s often unfairly maligned. Yes, it was always going to be hard to live up to the original, and the sequel makes quite a few questionable choices, but I still have soft spot for it, possibly because I saw it before I saw the original.

Anyway, you’ll no doubt remember the sequence near the end where Danny Glover’s character finds himself aboard the Predator’s ship, and suddenly surrounded by a whole group of Predators, who are presumably the City Hunter’s buddies – popularly known as the “Lost Predators” or "Lost Tribe". You only get a very short glimpse of each of them before they go back to being invisible, but they still made quite an impression on fans.
Lost PredatorAmong them was the “Borg Predator”– his chest armour is kind of futuristic and cyberpunk-looking, in comparison to the more primitive/tribal stylings that we typically expect from Predators. Also, his skin was green-tinged. But if you don’t remember him specifically from his 5 seconds of film time, the picture on the left is a behind-the-scenes shot, courtesy of

NECA released this guy back in 2012 as part of series 6, somewhat confusingly labelling him as the “Lost Predator”, which I assume is to do with Star Trek-related copyright issues. Almost two years later, they’re revisiting him with a somewhat different version – the Battle Armor Lost Predator.  

Any of us who played with toys as a kid, or have collected them as adults are familiar with bizarre action figure..."variations". A toy company takes a character that we’re familiar with, but releases them dressed in costumes or packaged with accessories that have no connection with the source material. Batman and Spider-Man are two of the most serious offenders, but very few toylines are immune. As another example, in early 1990s there were approximately 392730397509 different versions of the four Ninja Turtles.

Most of these figures are terrible. But every now and then, one of these variants ends up being really cool. And the Battle Armor Lost Predator is definitely cool.  
So, let’s get down to brass tacks. In the film, Lost/Borg Predator is apparently rocking his casual gear, but here, he means business. His helmet is unlike any other Predator we’ve seen thus far – it’s quite detailed, looking like some kind of robot Predator skull. The eyeslit is painted red, giving a laser-esque/Cyclops look.

There are a number of pieces that are definitely new. The first is obviously the head. The helmet looks to be a separate piece that’s glued down onto a hollowed-out Predator head, but I’m not sure whether it’s based on the original version of this guy, or simply one they’ve come up with for the occasion.
His belt is also new, incorporating a sheath for the sword, which extends up the Predator’s back. The sheath is cast in a thin but hard plastic, which I think looks and works better than soft plastic would have in this case.

Unusually, he has no wrist-mounted claws, and his plasma-caster is on his right shoulder. The plasma-caster isn’t a removable piece – it’s attached to the chest plate. It follows a similar aesthetic to the helmet, and it has three wires hanging on the side, complementing the wires on his chest plater.
Both his hands are sculpted closed, so his sword and smart-disc can be held in either hand. 

Close-up of the backpack and open plasma-caster.

Articulation is what we’ve come to expect from NECA’s Predators:
*ball-jointed neck

*swivel-hinged shoulders
*swivel-hinged elbows

*ball-jointed wrists
*ball-jointed waist
*ball-jointed hips
*double-hinged knees
*ball-jointed ankles

Additionally, the plasma-caster’s arm is ball-jointed in two spots – where it joins to the backpack and where it joins to the gun itself. The plasma-caster backpack restricts the right shoulder to a small degree, but the main issue is the elbows. The bracers have wires sculpted onto them around the elbow area, and the bend is quite restricted as a result.
It’s certainly not screen accurate, but it looks like it could be – the overall effect is great. He moves well, and looks good. I really like the Kenner-style Predators of series 10, but this guy is much more “realistic”, which makes him much easier to imagine in the world of the movies. The Kenner Preds are a little more Dark Horse comic-looking, if you know what I mean (and if you like that look, you'll probably enjoy the upcoming series 12 and 13).


This guy comes with two accessories. The first is a massive sword, which more than makes up for the lack of wrist blades. It’s about 5” long, which is far too long to be practical – but totally awesome. The blade is primarily black, with a light silver drybrush and red edging.

The other accessory is an AvP-style smartdisc, with extended blades. If you look closely, you’ll also notice there’s also a closed one sculpted onto the front of his belt. It’s a nice little touch. The main body is painted in a metallic blue to match the rest of his armour. It fits in either hand, but it’s a little prone to popping out.

His primary skin colour is the usual Predator beige-y, with the secondary skin colour being a dark green. Interspersed among it are a number of small red and black dots. It’s unusual colouring, but it looks great!
There are a few issues with slop around various points. Some silver on the backpack, some black on the toe claws – and as we’ve come to expect, the netting. But it’s not worth getting upset about. I’d just suggest that you take a close look at the figure in the store before you go through with the purchase. Poe Ghostal mentioned that the chest armour doesn’t seem to be as well-painted as the original release of this guy, but wasn’t sure if it was a deliberate choice on NECA’s part or a QC issue. I didn’t look too closely at the others on the shelf when I bought mine, so I can’t really comment myself.       

Some will definitely question the necessity of this figure – the original was great, and this look for the character doesn’t really have a canon precedent. But my verdict? It may not be essential, but the Battle Armor Lost Predator is a fantastic figure. He’s distinct enough to serve as a separate character, and just plain looks cool. I’ve bought four NECA Predators since August last year, and they just keep getting better and better. 2013 was a great year for the Predators line, and if this guy is any indication, 2014 will be too!