- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thanks to the proliferation of film, comic-book and cartoon characters, companies are bombarding consumers with an incredible selection of action figures. With tongue in cheek, let’s take a peek at Predator - The Cleaner, a specimen worthy of a place in Zad’s Toy Vault.

Hot Toys LTD, a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of high-end licensed collectibles, offers a wide range of action figures and dolls. The company’s three-dimensional tributes include “The Dark Knight’s” Joker, Rambo, Rocky, Edward Scissorhands, James Dean and even Michael Jackson.

One of its latest posable-model kits offers a 14-inch-tall masterpiece of an aptly named warrior that co-starred in “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.”

Figure profile: From the Web site - A lone Predator is sent to Earth to destroy a crashed ship from his home world, containing deadly Xenomorphs. Before he reaches the wreckage, however, several Xenomorphs escape into a nearby town. As the Predator hunts and kills the acid-blooded aliens, a new, even more deadly creature is tracking the Predator.

Accessories: It’s an eye-watering Christmas-present-style surprise for owners who crack open the rectangular plastic cube packaging loaded with goodies for this Predator.

Start with the fabric net bodysuit, extendable wrist blade, extendable spear, skull necklace, rolled-up whip, battle-damaged mask, hand-held cannon, wrist computer, melted Alien corpse display base, and an in-scale, too-cool Alien Chestburster (Sideshow Collectible exclusive only).

Now really marvel at the detail that provides two sets of mandibles (opened and closed), a backpack medical kit that opens to contain a buildable syringe and a canister of the stuff that melts the evidence of an Alien/Predator infestation.

Every piece is meticulously sculpted and pre-painted, down to the figure’s tattoos, pleather strapping for the thigh armor and the 4-mm springs attached to the shoulder cannon.

Most impressive is the facial design, with half of the poor Predator’s mug damaged by an Alien acid bath - yuck.

Assembly process: First, I did not want to build this thing. Having worked on the Elder Predator, a multihour chore, I thought this ugly dude looked equally vexing. With about 30 delicate pieces to construct, the average collector with little patience will find a minefield of disappointment if he does not plot a strategy for the assembly.

I took my time about two hours - and here are just a few of the issues I encountered:

* Tried to get the skirt on without popping off part of the buckle (failed); pulled out the Krazy Glue.

* Tried not to bend the minisprings that attach to the helmet (failed).

* Engaged in a 30-minute struggle to attach the left leg (succeeded).

* Tried to put him in the metal jaws of the display pole (failed, plastic mount split); pulled out the electrician’s tape.

Story Continues →