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Predatorstuff Reviews the Sideshow Berserker Predator Bio Helmet!

January 21st, 2011

HERE IT IS!  The review that I know many of you have been waiting for!  It’s been almost a year now since we’ve been waiting for the Berserker bio helmet to ship out from Sideshow central, and after a little FedEx fun and snow delays, this highly anticipated piece has finally arrived.  Join me while we tear this baby down and find out if Sideshow has returned to bio glory or do we have another meh AvP style release.  Enjoy…


Let’s start things off with a little spec review…  here’s the breakdown from the Sideshow product page:

Sideshow is proud to partner with KNB EFX GROUP to bring you the Predators Collectible line from the 2010 film release. Each prop replica is an exact full-scale reproduction of the original on-screen prop, as created by KNB. The Berserker Mask Prop Replica is cast in fiberglass and features a light-up targeting site and the Berserker’s trademark animal jaw. Each piece is complete with a polystone stand that can be displayed on a desktop or shelf or mounted on your wall. This detailed The Berserker Mask Prop Replica is an incredible addition to any Predator legacy display, an outstanding beginning to Sideshow’s new Predators collectible line.

Product Size: 13.5″ H x 17″ W x 12.5″ D
Product Weight: 18.00 lbs

Artists:
KNB EFX Group
The Sideshow Collectibles Design and Development Team

Before we go any further, I want to shout a HUGE HURRRRRRAAAAAAY to Sideshow for hearing us out and FINALLY using REAL lexan plastic lenses!  This is a HUGE improvement and makes the helmet so much more impressive, realistic and movie accurate.  So thank you Sideshow, huge step forward in your Predator prop replicas and I am very happy to see this action was finally taken.  With that out of the way, lets move right along in to our review shall we?

Sculpt and Casting

The sculpt of course is accurate due to it’s source… the original movie molds at KNB EFX Group!  Despite the absolute deluge of movie memorabilia generated for any type of movie, you have to appreciate how studios now know the value of holding on their molds and props for fan replicas.  Years ago movie molds were generally destroyed, thrown out or otherwise abused in to oblivion… case in point – Predator 1.  There are no movie accurate Predator 1 props like the bio helmet (No, the HCG helmet is NOT from the movie molds no matter how many times HCG wants to say it is… they recast an original backup hero piece from SWS, it wasn’t even used in the movie… and don’t get me started on their cannon lol!), the cannon, backpack etc.  The molds were destroyed after production and thus forever lost.  Hindsight of course is always 20/20 and studios started picking up on the fact that fanatical die-hards would rather spend money on props than useless stuff like food, electricity and personal hygiene products.

So, the prop is dead on from the flic, not much question there.  The base has undergone some cosmetic changes from the standard base used for all the AvP bios…  the general swan design is the same however.  Yes I call it the swan base because from the side it looks like a swan in the water… don’t ask.  So you still have the option of either a shelf mount or wall mount base but this time the base seems inspired by a combination of a deeply pitted rock texture, a space ship and a plasma cannon.  I’m sure you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, but you get where I’m going the second you see the base.


The casting quality varies from helmet to base in my opinion…  the helmet is well cast, with smooth edges and crisp detail.  No complaints at all on this one… the detail areas like the craters and battle damage on the helmet are crisp and look realistic (except that little tiny damage mark at the top left that looks like a little king’s crown or something…  there’s a crown on the crown, get it?).  Same thing with the usual hammered texture Sideshow uses in all it’s Predator helmet reproductions on the inside area, it looks nice and crisp, no pockets, air bubbles or detail loss of any kind.  So full points on the helmet casting.

If I were to be fussy,  I would have to say that the base doesn’t seem to be quite as well done.  I’m going to assume that a combination of the heavily pitted texture and a non-pressured mold is the cause of my complaint… gravity based molds are easier (especially at the size needed for this base) but they tend to have problems when the piece being cast is heavily detailed and/or textured.  So when I examine the base closely, I’m able to see quite a few resin balls and little holes caused by air bubbles that get trapped when pouring the resin in to the mold.  But again, this is being really picky as there isn’t a ton of them, PLUS this is on the base, which you barely see anyhow once the helmet is connected to it.  Not only that, but even without the helmet attached, you can’t see any of these issues unless the bio is several inches from your nose.  So really not a big deal, I’m probably just being snooty about the entire affair.

The only actual valid complaint I feel is worth mentioning that will likely find a few folks in agreement is the decision to mold and cast the helmet and jawbone section as all one piece.  When I first pulled the helmet out of the box, I noticed something seemed a little off about the entire jaw section.. I know some folks were wondering if the sculpt was off or maybe it was the paint.  To me, I think the reason it seems off is because the result of the single casting completely loses the effect of a piece of bone that has been attached to a metal helmet.  The fact that there is a little bit of dark paint run-off on to the bone from the helmet portion doesn’t help matters either.  Now I certainly understand that for production purposes, it was WAY easier for everyone to have the jaw section and helmet all as one piece.  No assembly, easy to paint, easy to pack and less likelihood of breakage when product is in transit.  But there is no question this piece would have been better had they found a way to make both sections separate and then you connect them for display or have them assembled at the factory.

I will admit however that once again, this is only noticed when the helmet is in-hand… when it’s mounted to the base and standing 6 feet away from you, it looks kickass and most of us will agree that’s the bottom line.  But we’re also allowed to have our fanboy moments right?

Paint Application

Let’s get this out of the way… the paint application isn’t ANYWHERE near as detailed as we saw in the initial photos released by Sideshow.  This is plain as day so don’t even try to tell me otherwise… take a quick peek at the Sideshow product page and see for yourself.  Look at their gallery photos and compare them to my shots and you can see what I mean.  So while this is unfortunate, it’s pretty much to be expected… there is no way you’re going to get a richly textured and layered paint application on a factory pre-paint.  In this case the helmet is finishes in a semi-flat black color with a tiny hint of brown (it’s definitely not pure black.. if you hold the bio against something black you’ll see it has a slight brown tone) and then tiny flecks of dark copper was applied to the top.  See this photo to see what I’m talking about.  That’s it.. that’s the texture used for the entire bio.

After that they applied dry brushing streaks over any pitted battle damaged areas.  I’m not sure if they were trying to make blast marks, scrapes or some kind of weathered scratches but it looks weird.  It’s passable, certainly at a distance, but I certainly wouldn’t repeat this technique on future helmet releases.  Please see this photo for an example of the effect I’m talking about.  The other weathered effect is this sort of scraped look, but again it doesn’t look weathered so much as it looks like someone at the factory accidentally dropped the bio on the ground and scraped it before packing it.  It’s tough to explain but the best I can come up with is this…  rather than looking like years of wear and tear on the helmet due to battles and such, it looks more like the helmet was brand new and it was accidentally scuffed up within minutes of being used.  This effect is especially prominent all along the brow area of the helmet right above the eyes.  Here’s a photo I took showing the effect… judge for yourself.

Once again, not something you see the same when it’s up on the wall, but you know what they say… the devil is in the details.

The jaw bone section is very well painted, I love the weathering and it looks great!  It looks really old and genuinely looks like bone, so this section of the piece gets top marks.  Where the weathering isn’t so hot on the helmet, it’s beautifully done on the jaw bone.  As mentioned earlier however, there are spots on the jaw bone where the dark black/brown color of the helmet has been painted on to the bone.  Unfortunately this is unavoidable due to the issue of the bone and helmet being all one solid piece, any artist would have a hard time painting that area 100% cleanly.

 The base is very simple in terms of paint…  silver overall with a little bit of drybrushing on the top area and a little bit of a black wash over the entire thing.  Looks good but I would have added a heavier wash to give the base even more age and depth to the paint application.  Not a big deal though, but if you plan on holding on to your helmet and want to pimp it up, give it a couple layers of black wash and it’ll punch it up quite a bit.  A black wash is easy to apply as well… simply dilute some black acrylic paint in water and liberally brush it all over the base.  Then pick up a lint free towel, dip it in the diluted paint and then rub it gently all over the base and mop up excess paint.  Let it dry and if you want to darken it further, re-apply the same way.  Disclaimer: Don’t blame me if you fubar your base royally, I’m just babbling and barely know what I’m doing as it is!

Final Notes

The helmet uses the exact same lighting system as prior releases… 2 AAA batteries (included) are inserted in a small door within the inner side of the helmet power up the 3 LEDs in the laser shroud.  The switch is located just below the battery door.  Looks great as you can see in the photos (don’t forget to visit the gallery below) and is a good replacement for lasers.  By the way if you’ve never seen my other reviews, Sideshow can’t use lasers… trust me, it was the first thing I bitched about when I reviewed their first helmet release.  I spoke to Sideshow production about it and turns out that due to US regulations, they can’t use the lasers.  If they did, the product would have to be safety certified for each country they want to ship to and you can imagine how unrealistic that would be unless they would be able to sell 10 million units.  That reminds me, this run is limited to 750 castings and the helmet seen in this review is number 52.

I would also like to thank Sideshow for hearing out the fans and going back to full glossy artwork on their retail boxes!  Sideshow seemed to have crossed a dark line when suddenly retail boxes were just plain brown boxes with the product name and license logo slapped on the side and maybe a decal if you were lucky (all AvP releases, Darth Maul bust and many more for example).  The Berserker helmet includes a gorgeous glossy retail box…  thank god because that’s really important….  I mean, who the hell wants a boring retail box that you’ll see once and then pack away in storage for the next 20 years.  Right?  I expect my stored boxes to be glossy and pretty dammit!

Overall I feel this helmet is a huge improvement from the AVP series of releases… it’s obvious right out of the box that this is a superior product.  The use of real lexan semi-reflective lenses just dials up the realism of the piece enormously and Sideshow deserves for marks for going this route instead of the dreaded painted method or god forbid, PAPER. *giggles* I would still have to say the Wolf is the best Predator helmet release from Sideshow, but the Berserker is a close second.  If this is any indication of what we’re going to see in terms of quality in the rest of the Predators based helmet replicas, I would say buy confidently and get ready for some gorgeous new props in your collection.

Oh, one more thing… yes the Lexan lenses are transparent, but very dark and thick.  So yes you can kind of see through them, but the helmet is heavy and not made to be worn.  The plastic lenses are very thick and what you see through them is distorted a bit.  I definitely don’t recommend you strap this $325 prop replica to your manard and prance down Main Street.  But if you do, please get it on video and email me a copy!

Manard = your head… the one that separates your ears.  Pervs.

Now I know what you’re thinking…  stop yammering on and let’s get with the visuals!  In case you would like to spend some quality face-time with me and the Berserker helmet, I give you… VIDEO:

Video Available on YouTube!

I put together one my longest review since the Cinemaquette Predator review for you guys and went in to every detail I could think of on this piece… please be sure to check out my HD video review on YouTube and get a look at this impressive prop release…  You can check it out by clicking HERE or clicking the YouTube icon above.

And what’s a review without some photos right?  I snapped a ton of shots of this piece to really show you all the little details such as the weathering, textures and dent marks and hand some fun dealing with the glaring LEDs mucking up all my shots!  You can check out the full gallery by clicking the photo icon below (my photos are the ones with the white/light background.. the photos with the black upper background are the Sideshow promo shots):

For this wallpaper I had some fun with placing lights under the helmet to get a P1 style glow effect in the lenses.. I was finally able to get a shot I liked and it ended up being my favorite pic, and this review’s wallpaper.  Hope you like it!


To download a wallpaper, simply right-click on the appropriate resolution for your desktop size and click “save as” to save it to your computer.

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This helmet is already sold out with Sideshow (it sold out long before it even shipped) so if you plan on adding one of these to your collection, you’ll need to hit the collector forums of fleabay to grab one.  Hey don’t be mad at me… if you would just join the newsletter or follow us on twitter, you would get a heads up when cool shit like this is released!

Aight that’s it for me gang… please be sure to share your thoughts on this review or this product by clicking the comment button below.  I love to hear your feedback, so don’t be shy!

Thanks for reading,
Dan

Post a Comment!

 

4 Responses to “ Predatorstuff Reviews the Sideshow Berserker Predator Bio Helmet! ”

  1. PredatrHuntr Says:

    Great in-depth review as usual Dan. You seriously put a lot of tome and effort into your reviews with both video and photos and I’m just impressed.

    BUT ou are wrong on one account. We do in fact have a mold of an ORIGINAL P1 Bio that George dug up at his studio. I can verify that it’s authentic because I’ve spent hours comparing it to the screen shots.

    If you get a chance you should get one from George…the craftsmanship in unlike any other P1 Bio I’ve ever seen.

  2. Faken Says:

    Dunno bud, I have several sources at SWS that confirm that the old extra hero is the only surviving piece. Honestly whatever anyone thinks, anything that is dead on accurate to the film is a replica and not from the source.

  3. Otaku Surf Says:

    Looks pretty cool! I don’t like the weathered paint applications that you mentioned. But other than that it looks like a solid mask.

  4. Tim Says:

    Awesome review! Man, I wish I had the funds and space for that beast. I decided to get all the Hot Toys Predators figures, as well as the Falconer maquette. I bought the Celtic Pred mask since it’s my favorite design and was as disappointed with it as you. Those lenses still piss me off. Oh well, glad Sideshow fixed things.

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