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The Jungle Comes Alive with NECA’s Quarter-Scale Predator Figure (Toy Review)

The Jungle Comes Alive with NECA’s Quarter-Scale Predator Figure (Toy Review)

It’s not entirely accurate to say that as a toy company, NECA is the house that Predator built, but you could certainly say it gave them a huge shot in the arm. Back when they made the first quarter-scale (20-inch tall) Predator figure, quarter-scale was considered a massive risk, as plastic prices had surged and toys in that size would now have to sell for close to $100 rather than the $40-$50 they had previously. It was a gamble slightly mitigated by the fact that they made three different head variants to ensure completists would buy extras, but a gamble nonetheless.

One that wound up paying off so well that they brought back quarter-scale as a format in a big way, and made their money back many times over on the Predator by reusing the basic body for many subsequent variants. The latest of these, Jungle Demon, is a special edition 30th anniversary figure with some cool new features.

Because it’s reusing an older body type, Jungle Demon isn’t as articulated as more recent large NECA figures, with joints like hips and waist being simple cuts. But what he lacks in poseability, he makes up for in deco. Never content to simply use a completely clear figure as a “cloaked” Predator, they’ve given him a translucent body with paint apps that reflect his jungle surroundings. Depending on what background you put him against, this may not seem like foolproof camo, but it makes the figure visually interesting and brings out some sculpt details that might be lost otherwise.

Jungle Demon could really use some instructions, which he does not come with, though a seasoned collector will ultimately figure it out. The back cannon is a separate piece that snaps on, though on mine the gun itself came broken at the pop-on hinge part, and will require some superglue.

Activating his light-up self-destruct panel is easy enough — it requires pulling out the plastic tab from his wrist and then feeling around for anything button like that you can press in. Because the figure is translucent rather than actually cloaked, the effect is a little different than in the movie.

To get the light-up features on his helmet to work, though, you have to open up his head, and with no guidance on how to do this, you’ll just have to find the seams.

Then you pull the plastic tab out from between the batteries, and you’re good. Well, almost. After one good run, it stopped working for me, and I had to shake it a bit to make the batteries line up perfectly again.

There are four different effects. you can light his eyes and his three-dot targeting system together or individually, and you can make his eyes do a fade-in/fade-out effect. The activation switch is where the hoses are on the side of the helmet. (I still have no clue if they’re supposed to plug into his armor at all. They look like they should, but you can totally fudge it.)

As for the targeting dots, they look cool on him, but you aren’t going to get that movie-style effect of the three dots appearing on a victim’s forehead. It’s not that powerful.

As an additional bonus, the wrist blades on his right gauntlet extend.

Not sure what to make of his “thumbs-up” gesture? Me neither.

One edge — from a certain point of view — that Jungle Demon has over the original Predator is that he feels like a solidly playable toy, and not something super-fragile. You probably don’t want him to fall and hit his helmet, but you won’t feel like you’re handling a Ming vase if you pick him up.

Right now (as of this writing) you can buy him on Amazon for under $100. Given the electronics, that’s a decent enough deal.

And he just might be the largest domestically available translucent action figure ever. That makes him…drumroll please…a clear giant in his field.

Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Comment below to tell me how groan-worthy that was.

Images: Luke Y. Thompson

Luke Y. Thompson likes toys a lot. If you do too, you may Tweet him your thoughts.

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