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Predatorstuff Reviews Andy Escobar’s Huntress plus we check out Early Reviews or Predators, Talk about SDCC, Sideshow Predator Releases and a Contest!

July 9th, 2010

Good afternoon everyone!  Hope you all had a great week and you’re ready for a sweet weekend as we all pretty much prepare ourselves for the restless nights of SDCC, which arrives in 2 weeks…  and of course we can’t forget PREDATORS opens tomorrow!  Let’s kick things off with a review of an older kit from Andy Escobar known simply as The Huntress.

 This is a piece I acquired about 3 years ago from a producer that goes by the name Nosfera Toys, who has been selling this kit for a number of years and you can see his items on his eBay page by clicking HERE. This kit was initially sold through a company called Rat Factory but at some point the production rights and molds changed hands and Nosfera Toys began casting them.  There has been some debate in the community about the legitimacy of Nosfera Toys producing this kit, but I have never actually heard from Andy (the sculptor) or Rat Factory say anything about it, and Nosfera has been selling this kit for about 4 years now.  So if Andy or anyone else wants to confirm the rights, feel free to contact me.

As for the kit itself, she’s sculpted in a 1:6 scale format, although she is closer to a 1:5 scale at nearly 14″ in height in a crouched position.  The interesting concept with this kit is that it can be purchased with options depending on your budget.  The base, figure and extra weapons are sold separately, so you can just buy the bare minimum figure, or you can go all out and purchase all 3 options together as a package deal. When you contact Nosfera (do it through their eBay page), just tell them what you want and they’ll send you the pricing… I bought mine years ago so I imagine the prices have since changed.

SCULPT – Let’s start off by talking about the base, which is pretty huge at 12.5″ wide, 9″ deep and the stack of skulls reaching 4″ in height.  I absolutely LOVE this base, the skulls are beautifully detailed and look awesome, and the ground texture is full of nooks and crannies and looks extremely realistic.  The cool part is that you can actually buy JUST the base and use it to display any 1:6 or 1:5 scale kits, statues or figures.  In fact you could use this base and display a couple of Hot Toys Predators on it and it would look kick-ass. So top marks on the base, it’s beautiful.

Next up is the weapons pack, which I love… the weapons are all bladed weapons that are a combo of metal blades and bone handles, and the cool thing is that you can build them in several combinations.  For example on my kit, you see in her raised hand she has a double bladed weapon, but this could have been separated to be 2 daggers.  The default weapons pack includes the following: 1 knife, 1 sword, 1 maul, 1 small glaive, 1 large glaive and 2 sheaths.  You can request specific weapons or doubles of anything, just ask!  And apparently these look awesome with Hot Toy Predators if you want some custom gear for your HTs.

Here’s a little close-up of the base, check out the details…

Now lets talk about the missus… she’s sculpted with a distinct P2 style flavor, with the obvious parts being the armor.  The lower leg armor, back, and shoulders are all carbon P2 copies with a custom heavy duty metal bra for the girly parts.  She’s also fully decked out the with usual hunting gear: wrist blades, cannon, medipack and the ol’ trusty netgun, which is also P2 style.  Did I mention she also has a bubble butt? BOOYA!

Overall the sculpt is beautifully done and the castings are great quality, no pinholes and solid high grade resin that won’t destroy dremel bits.  We all know my addiction to Super Edge and Narin kits, but I am really happy I strayed and tried something else because this kit does not disappoint.  It’s always nice when you open a kit box and the two first reactions are “wow nice castings” and “wow this is bigger than I expected”.  Minds out of the gutter fellas…

PAINT APPLICATION –Now what’s a kit without the expert touch of Joe Dunaway? This is one of the earlier pieces I bought from Joe and I was totally blown away by the hyper realistic skin he creates.  He’s able to layer the veins and colors to create an amazing translucent effect that is so realistic it’s almost scary.  The detail work in the armor is also mind blowing, he’s able to work in metallics, dents, armor paint chips and weathering in every area of metal, right down to the tiniest dot you can barely see without a magnifying glass.  Time and time again, Joe proves himself to be a paint master and top of the class for monsters and is the undisputed champion of Predators.  Joe has painted easily over 100 Predators at this point, and each one is unique and stunning and I will always be extremely proud and feel honored to have housed a collection of over 50 pieces created by Joe Dunaway. 

Video Available on YouTube!

This week I put together something a bit different in terms of video… rather than a single review, I decided to change up the format a bit and went with a news show style format by talking about the latest in the Predator world, SDCC, and included this product review.  So rather than a quick review, we’ve got a 22 minute show that covers all kinds of cool goodies.  Because of YouTube’s 10 minute video limit, I’vehad to divide the video in to two parts.  The review itself is in the second video, but I welcome you to check out both parts for all kinds of interesting info as well as a contest for free swag!  Please click the links: Video Part 1 of 2and Video Part 2 of 2. I would really appreciate your feedback on this new format, do you like a longer show covering multiple topics or prefer just single subjects at a time?

I’ve had this collectible in my case for 3 years now but never took photos of the poor lass… so here’s a brand new round of photos of the Huntress I took yesterday for your viewing pleasure!  Click the icon below to view the gallery:

Hop you enjoyed this review and the kit!  If you have any questions or comments about Andy’s Huntress, feel free to contact me directly, or contact Nosfera Toys for purchase information.  Just a heads up that the kit seen in this review is available for purchase!  Contact me if you’re interested or stay tuned as this well be posted on eBay within a couple of days.

Don’t forget today is the big day!  Predators the movie starts in theaters today, so please be sure to post your feedback if you’ve seen it!  Reviews are streaming in on http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10012256-predators/and so far the tomatometer is at 68% and it seems people either love it or completely hate it, not much middle room lol!  Personally as long as we see Predators kicking ass, I am a happy camper.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to see the movie until early next week, so keep the spoilers to a minimum.  And in case you didn’t see this, Sideshow has just announced 3 new Predators products just in time for the film release, check this out:

The Berserker Predator helmet

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

The Berserker Predator helmet – Check out all the details, photos or place and order by clicking HERE!

The Tracker Predator Maquette EXCLUSIVE EDITION

Sideshow is proud to partner with KNB EFX GROUP to bring you the Predators Collectible line from the 2010 film release. Each piece is individually painted and finished, each with its own unique quality and detail that is the trademark of a handcrafted Sideshow Collectibles product. Presenting a scaled full-figure study of the newly developed Predator and dog-like alien creature designs for the film by KNB, The Tracker Predator Maquette is an incredible and detailed addition to any Predator legacy display.

The Sideshow Exclusive version of the The Tracker Maquette includes a unique feature available nowhere else: Print of The Tracker design artwork

Product Size: 16.5″ H x 15″ W x 16.5″ D
Product Weight: 18.00 lbs

The Tracker Predator Maquette EXCLUSIVE EDITION – Please click here for all the details, photos or to place an order!

The Tracker Predator Maquette Regular Edition – Please click here for all the details, photos or to place an order!

San Diego Comic Con 2010

Don’t forget, SDCC starts in 2 weeks!  Preview night is July 21st and then the doors open to all July 22nd to the 25th.  We’ll have full coverage on Predatorstuff.com of course, and we’ll be hanging out in Sideshow’s SDCC chat, which opens same day as Preview night I am assuming (same drill each year).  So if you’re not at the show, keep your eyes peeled here for full coverage of all the coolest goodies.

Ask Sideshow – Aliens / Predator / AVP Edition

Hey guys, thought you would like to check this out… it’s some of the more recent questions collectors have asked Sideshow Production regarding new products for Predator, Aliens and AvP.  Not sure if you guys check this feature out at Sideshow, so thought I would share them here… enjoy.

Q.Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
Things have been kind of quiet on the Alien front. Would Sideshow ever consider making life-size figures of the various alien creatures from the Alien films? What about the Predator for that matter?

Certainly; possibly continuing in the life-size bust line. We’ve had the ambition of making full-size creatures for a long, long time, and eventually will devote our energies to make it happen.

Q.Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
Can we expect tons of newer product from the upcoming Predators movie?!

Yes, certainly. Roughly a metric ton of it. We’ve partnered with KNB EFX Group (the effects company who worked on the film) to create a very large range of products from Predators, and we’re eager to share them with you!

Q.Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
Is Hot Toys planning to make the Predators from the new movie coming in the summer? If so, will there be any Sideshow Exclusives to the figures?
Only time will tell, but we hope you’ll check back soon! 

Q.Monday, July 5th, 2010
Can we expect a bigger Alien Newborn than the polystone statue? Maybe as a Premium Format or, better, a life-size bust or from your future Legendary Scale Bust line?
Possibly, but we feel that there’s quite a bit of ground to cover for the Alien and Predator species products, and we’re more likely to concentrate on purebloods rather than half-bloods for the moment.

Q.Monday, July 5th, 2010
Any chance of an “ELDER PREDATOR MASK” life-size, please???
We have a very healthy line of new Predator bio masks planned for release through 2010, 2011, and beyond. We think you’ll be pleased.

Q.Sunday, July 4th, 2010
Any chance that we will see a Predator – from any movie – in the Premium Format line?

That’s tough to answer. Yes, we are likely to bring a new Predator to life in roughly 1:4 scale, but we don’t know whether it would be a fit for Premium Format or remain a Maquettesort of special release.

Q.Friday, July 2nd, 2010
In all reality, so we can put this to rest, could, would, will there ever, be a day when Sideshow will produce a 1:1 or even a 1:2 scale Queen Alien Bust from James Cameron’s Aliens?
It’s difficult to imagine that many collectors have the space for a true 1:1 Queen Alien bust or that we could safely ship one, so we’ll go ahead and say no, it’s VERY unlikely. A 1:2 scale piece could be very interesting, and it’s something we’ll give more serious consideration moving forward.

Q.Friday, July 2nd, 2010
I’m wondering in what direction you will be going with the Predator species in the near future…I have to say that I have been very disappointed that you guys have only released one true Predator maquette so far, and only two Predator busts (Predalien is more alien). Will you guys be producing more Maquettes and Life-Size busts at a steadier pace any time soon? Also, is there any chance you guys will visit the Lost Hunters from Predator 2?
Very good question. We’re very keen on bringing some new visions of the Predator species to life, both film-accurate and more imaginative. The new Predators film will have us busy for the remainder of 2010 and into 2011, but we’ve also started work with Steve Wang on some very interesting work. In short, you will see much more of the Predator species from Sideshow moving forward.

Q.Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
Please make the ALIEN maquette a standing pose. The crouched pose is getting old!

We will pass that comment along to the design department.

Q.Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
Can you please suggest (firmly, if possible) to Hot Toys to re-release their AVP merchandise? They must still have molds. Even if not, business-wise, it’s a solid idea. They can be priced at $200, and hundreds would pay that price, including me! I bought an Hot Toys Celtic Predator last night, only to find he was actually sold out. This really broke my heart.

Not a problem. We have an open line of communication with Hot Toys, and we will relay your thoughts and represent your request as friendly and diplomatically as possible.

By the way guys, check out my two videos that I posted earlier in this article for additional personal comments I made on this Q&A if you’re interested… just me adding my two cents where it’s not wanted!  You can find more Q&A on all kinds of topics on the Sideshow site by clicking HERE!

CONTEST TIME!

Did you know one of the best ways to help support this site is by using Predatorstuff.com as a referrer when you buy your collectibles?  For example, when you click on an item from this site that takes you to the Sideshow Collectibles site and you purchase something, I make a small commission off that sale.  That commission is what pays for the site, server, prizes and products for reviews.  My advertising and referrals are critical to keeping this site alive and I am VERY grateful for all of you that use me as a referrer.  So to reward all of you, I am going to keep track of all your referred orders from now until September 12th (my birthday) and then I will draw 5 random names and each person will win a cool mystery Sideshow prize.

So let me explain what this referrer thing is…  let’s pretend you went to THIS ARTICLE about the new Sideshow products from Predators.  While browsing the article, you click on the photo of the Berserker helmet and that takes you to the Sideshow site.  Sideshow knows that you just came from my site, so if you buy that helmet or anything else from their site, I get a bonus from Sideshow for referring you to them.  So if you place an order, with Sideshow at this point, you will receive a T order number and a confirmation that your order has been placed.  On my end, I receive a confirmation that someone has just purchased something after being referred to me and I also see that T order number.

So, if you do place an order after clicking on a link from my site and you want to enter this contest, all you do is contact me and send me your name, address and your T order number.  I will verify that your T order is a legit referred transaction and your name is in the hat.  If you make 10 purchases from now to September 12th 2010, then your name is in the draw 10 times!  And this applies to all Sideshow orders, be it for an in-stock item or for a pre-order item.

If for some reason there is any confusion about how this works, just post a comment below by clicking the comment button at the end of this article and I will answer ASAP.

So that’s it for tonight gang, have a great weekend and hope you dig the movie!

Take care,
Dan

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Predatorstuff Reviews the Super Edge Predator 2 kit by John Allred!

June 3rd, 2010

Good afternoon everyone! Welcome to what I suppose I should call a review redux as this is a second review of a gorgeous piece I've had for a couple of years from the extremely talented artist John Allred at herebemonsters.org.  I am now starting to sell the final pieces in my collection that I still have and I figured I would photograph and review any goodies I have left before I sell them on eBay.  So for today, I wanted to show off new photos and a video review of my Super Edge Predator 2 kit…

I've never been able to nail down when exactly the first edition of this kit was released, but I can tell you that it was in the early 2000s and came in 2 versions with a limited run of 50 kits each.  Both versions were more or less exactly the same except one had the disc weapon in his hand and the other came with the spear. Then fast forward to 2005 or 06 and Super Edge started re-releasing all of their kits and a new run of 50 additional kits was released, except this one came with both weapon options.  The kit itself was sculpted in 1:6 scale by one of the most famous artists in the GK scene, mister Takahashi Shiraiwa Hayes otherwise known as S. Hayes.  Up until the mainstream arrival of Narin's skills, Hayes was considered pretty much the best Predator sculptor around and quickly made Super Edge the most sought after kits around.

In terms of the sculpt and casting, you don't get much better than the detail and accuracy Hayes delivers in his sculpts, however it appears that Super Edge had issues wit pinholes in the second generation run of their kits… pretty much every second gen Super Edge kit I've seen had issues with pinholes in certain areas, especially around smooth armor sections. So if you do ever pick one of these up and you notice quite a few pinholes, don't be alarmed, it doesn't necessarily mean you have a recast.  The pinholes are also generally tiny and in smooth areas, so they don't destroy details and are fairly easy to clean up although possibly quite time consuming.  Pinholes aside, the castings are all with a high quality resin that is easy to drill in to and sand, and the details are magnificent.  I've since seen several more P2 kits, but this is still the most accurate and lifelike in my opinion.

In terms of the paint application, John did an OUTSTANDING job and absolutely blew my mind when I pulled this out of the box. Unlike Joe Dunaway, John doesn't specialize in Predators at all… he paints everything and anything, and if you check out his portfolio at herebemonsters.org you can check out the huge variety of statue genres he's worked with, and every one is gorgeous!  So when I asked John to paint up this P2 for me I was confident that he would do a great job, but I was nervous as the P2 is easily the most complicated paint job of any of the Predator characters, and many pro artists that are extremely talented told me they refuse to touch Predator kits as they are too complicated.  As evident in the photos, the final product delivered by John was beyond my expectations and I was completely thrilled.  I did a small article on this piece when I first received it back in 2006 (which you can read by clicking HERE), but I would like to repeat and quote what I said originally about John:

Now I would like to tell you about the “HBM Experience”. John runs his studio as a business full-time, and it shows because it feels like a professional business from A to Z but still very friendly. It was absolutely amazing and here’s what I mean… John will start off by outlining his build-up process, show you his terms, provide a quote and payment methods. Once he receives your kit, he will actually book a time slot for your build up so you know exactly when he’s working on it and when he’ll be finished it. The beauty of it is that he sticks to these scheduled appointments TO THE DAY! John also provides work-in-progress photos throughout the build up process so you can see where things stand and make any suggestions along the way if there’s something you think needs adjusting.

Once your kit is done and you’re happy with the final photos, John carefully wraps everything in tons of bubble wrap and packing peanuts to provide as much protection as possible and ships it out with as per your prearranged shipping wishes.

The “Here Be Monsters” experience was one of the most pleasant and quickest model build up transactions I have ever completed and the final product is among the best buildups in my collection, so you really can’t ask for anything better than this.

And this still holds true today… the P2 build he did for me is still one of the best I have ever seen and still seems life-like in appearance.  And John is still one of the most organized, top-notch artists I have ever had the pleasure of working with on a commissioned piece.

The only unfortunate thing about this kit is that it's been out of production for years and is nearly impossible to find these days… and when you do, they sell for $250+, although it's worth every penny.  Keep an eye on eBay for a non-Thai seller or ask around on the forums and you might find someone will to part with theirs if you're lucky.  When purchasing this kit, be sure that the box is brown and opens from the top, rather than like a shoebox with a lid.  The box should have a printed label attached to the front, almost covering the entire front and inside will be a glossy photo of the kit fully painted.  Unfortunately I can't find a pic of the box, but I will keep snooping so you know what to look for.  Bottom line though, if you see this for sale for $100 and/or it's from Thailand, guaranteed it's a recast and you should be running in the other direction.  The netting on the super edge kits is very fine and highly detailed as the master had a real mesh over top.  On an original kit, the mesh looks great, but on a recast it's extremely rough and brittle with large patches missing entirely.  I remember awhile back seeing a Super Edge Hunter of Darkness recast kit and it was absolutely brutal!

UPDATE – BUY THE PAINTED KIT FROM THIS REVIEW!

The Super Edge P2 painted up by John Allred featured in this review is now available on eBay for purchase direct from me!  Please click HERE to check out the auction and to place a bid, or contact me if you want to buy it directly.

So with that said, who's ready to see me prattle on about this kit and get a little update on what I've been up to? *listens to crickets* Right, well should you decide you want to check it out, I've put together a video review for your viewing pleasure that is available now on YouTube by clicking HERE or click the icon below:

 Video Available on YouTube!

And of course we can't have a review without photos now can we?!  This is a whole new round of photos I took (look for the photos with the white background titled "sep2redux_0*.jpg") that are a little more clear than the last round I did with my old point and shoot camera, so have a look and I hope you enjoy!

That's it for me gang!  Thanks so much for reading my review and I remind you all to please be sure to post your comments on this kit or my review (or to profess your love if you really feel the need) and I will see you guys on the next review!  Also, I will be sending out a newsletter later today, so keep an eye out for that!  If you don't receive it, you're either not on the list or your email provider is filtering it as spam and you need to whitelist @predatorstuff.com.  If you want to subscribe to the newsletter, you can do so by using the small newsletter signup form located in the middle column of the site just under the "Latest 10 Articles".

Take care Pred-Heads!
Dan

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Predatorstuff Reviews the Predator 2 Gort Helmet by Hez!

February 3rd, 2010

Time to get back to business folks, and today I have a sexy new review of a helmet I received months ago from my good buddy Paul Thornton, aka Hez!  This is a gorgeous and very inexpensive Gort style helmet based on one of the Lost Hunter Predators seen at the end of the Predator 2 movie known simply as the Gort Pred.  (This helmet was actually made at SWS when they were doing P1) Read on to get the details on this helmet and how you can get one…

For whatever reason, I've always found it difficult to find a decent Gort helmet that was well crafted, well cast with a sweet paint up, and didn't cost a small fortune to own.  So when Paul contacted me about a Gort style helmet he had recently completed and offered one to me for a review, I was all over it!  By the way, I should apologize in advance to Paul for taking so long to put this review together, but thanks for being so patient with me!

UPDATE 02-07-2010: Sorry guys, I made an error on the pricing… the RAW helmet is $140, then FINISHED version as seen in this video is $240.

When I opened the box and unwrapped the latest addition to by bio collection (which has now been reduced to 2 helmets) I was immediately in love with this piece, it's gorgeous, especially for the price, which is way under $200!  The helmet is cast in solid grey resin, with a shiny and smooth interior finish.  The casting is thick enough to be durable, but not to thick that it would be heavy to wear on a costume.  It's important to note that the casting is thick all the way to the edges, which makes the helmet less likely to get damaged if you're looking to wear this on a costume and lug it around to a convention hall.  I've seen many helmets with solid thick castings, but were paper thin at the edges.  The castings details are also very crisp… this helmet has a ton of little rivet details, lines and ribbing and all of it is clean with no details lost to air bubbles or other molding defects.

The helmet is thick but light, weighing maybe 2 or 3 lbs and measures 12" at it's widest point and has a height of about 19" snout to crown.  This should definitely fit the average Predator latex mask with no trouble at all.

As always, I like my helmets ready to display right out of the box, so I ordered one fully painted with lenses installed.  I've said this about Paul before and I will say it again, I absolutely LOVE the way he weathers his helmets, it looks phenomenal!  The helmet is LOADED with tiny details in the weathering patterns and you can see he uses several paint colors, not just silver and black.  He mixes it up in different spots making burn-type patterns and the overall effect is amazing and very realistic.  So as usual, Paul's paint job rocks my socks, no complaints at all.  And for the lenses, WOW!  No dollar store glasses uses on this guy… Paul uses 1/8" thick lexan!  The only way you could break the lenses in this thing is with a 15lbs sledge hammer!  The lenses are dark, but suitable to be worn or for display.  To me that always makes a perfect prop piece… durable enough to be worn on a pred suit, but also detailed and sexy enough to be proudly shown in a display case.  And this my friends is exactly that.

And finally, the inside of each helmet is numbered, signed and named (yes, he gives nicknames to his helmets… don't ask).

I am completely impressed with Paul… once again he proves you can have an affordable prop piece that looks absolutely fantastic and won't get damaged by a mouse farting on it.  Anyone that's had a mouse fart on their shoddy recast helmet knows what I am talking about.  So congratulations Paul on another amazing release!  Anyone looking to pick up one of these bad boys, please contact paul directly by clicking HERE!

OK enough rambling, I know you guys want sexy pics!  Click the gallery icon below for all the goodies:

I also think it's safe to say we were WAY overdue for a video review amrite?  So I put together a little bit of a blabbity blab video for you!  Might want to keep an eye on the credits, perhaps someone snuck in a blooper or something in there… Check out the review in full HD by clicking HERE or click on the YouTube icon below.  First review of 2010!

 Video Available on YouTube!

And with that, I bid you adieu and I hope you all have an awesome week.  Please be sure to share your thoughts on this piece or my review by clicking to comment button below, and I look forward to seeing you guys on the next review!  Please don't forget to check out my collection sale at http://www.predatorstuff.com/2009/11/26/950/ and contact me if you have any questions.

Take care!
Dan

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Predatorstuff Shows off Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Painted Piece Available!

January 15th, 2010

Please Note:  This item has been sold and is no longer available.  This article is for information purposes only.

Good afternoon everyone, welcome to the official first new post of 2010!  I’ve been updating the sale thread of my ongoing collection sale, but I think it’s time to show off some new pieces, what do you think?  I have quite a number of pieces up for sale that I never got a chance to photograph or review, so I thought I would get started with one of my favorites… Leonardo from TMNT!

This is a gorgeous 1:6 scale kit that was released in 2008 by Devil’s Own Resin and was sculpted by CH Member Veritas and the kit is titled “Way of the Sword”.  It’s a heavy kit cast out of solid resin and includes a solid resin sewer grate base and real metal swords!  The gorgeous painted version seen in this review (and is available for sale) was done up by one of the greats, Mister Saul Alvarez and I was able to pick it up last year.  I am a HUGE TMNT fan, so I was completely thrilled to grab this kit.

I admit I did watch the original cartoon series on TV when I was a kid and even managed to watch 1 or 2 movies, but for me, TMNT will always be the original comic book series of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird published back in 1984 by Mirage Studios.  In fact, I bet I still have my first editions somewhere buried in a box.  So when I saw this sculpt for the first time and saw that it was based off the comics rather than the cartoon series, I was already hooked and ready to rock.  Then I saw Saul’s build-up and I relentlessly pursued him until he finally gave it up.  I had him keep Leo’s cartoon blue rather than the comic book red to pay homage to the cartoon series I also enjoyed.

The kit itself is beautifully detailed, with a gorgeous sculpt FILLED with all kinds of textures and badass sculpting chops… I absolutely LOVE the shell and the twin scabbards.

And now for the bad news/good news scenario… as far as I know, this kit is no longer in production… it’s been sold out for ages and I haven’t heard of anyone getting a new one since last year.  In fact, we were told that Mikey was on the way next, but so far he hasn’t appeared.  BUT the good news, the piece in this review is available for sale!  This is just one f the many pieces I still have for sale in my collection divorce sale, which you can check out by clicking HERE!  I am asking $599.99 for this guy, so please contact me if you are interested!

This is a MUST-HAVE for any TMNT fan, easily the best Leo I have ever seen in any format and there is just no touching the details and paint job from Saul.  I took a few pics you can check out, click on the photo icon below to have a look and please be sure to click the comment button at the end of this article to share your thoughts!

I don’t have a video review yet, but I will work on one and post it as soon as it’s available!  Thanks and welcome to 2010!

Dan

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Predatorstuff Reviews Sideshow’s X-23 Comiquette Statue!

October 10th, 2009

Hello everyone!  The weekend is here and Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians (Yes, we celebrate our Thanksgiving earlier than in the US… we love Turkey THAT much!) and welcome to a new review here at Predatorstuff!  My apologies for the lengthy delay in posting some new content, I’ve been very hard at work on another one of my projects, my tutorial website www.pixel2life.com was going through a major new upgrade and we’ve been hard at work fixing bugs and doing web related duties to get all caught up.  So now that things are going pretty smooth, I figured I’d better get off my ass and get some cool goodies up on the site!  So here’s a sexy little number from Sideshow, the X-23 Comiquette…

For those of you that don’t really follow the comic books, here’s a little blurb about this character I stole from the Sideshow site:

When a top-secret program attempted to recreate the original Weapon X experiment, the project’s director, Doctor Martin Sutter, recruited renowned mutant geneticist Doctor Sarah Kinney and tasked her with creating a clone. But the only available genetic sample from Weapon X was damaged, and they were unable to salvage the Y chromosome. Kinney proposed they create a female clone, and though her request was initially denied at the urging of fellow experimenter Doctor Zander Rice, she proceeded to produce a viable female subject. Acting as the surrogate mother for the clone, Kinney gave birth to X-23 who would be raised in captivity.

While Kinney did her best to ensure that the child retained some semblance of humanity, X-23 was brutally trained as a killing machine. Rice accelerated the activation of her mutant gene by subjecting her to radiation poisoning and forcibly extracted her claws, coating them with Adamantium. Next, Rice created a chemical compound he called “trigger scent” that sent X-23 into an involuntary berserker rage with just a whiff. Turning her into a powerful living weapon, Rice leased X-23 to the highest bidder as an assassin and secretly ordered X-23 to kill Dr. Sutter and his family. Later, Rice revealed to Kinney a chamber with dozens of incubation pods containing female clones and then fired her. Before she fled the facility with X-23, Kinney gave her one last mission – destroy the pods and kill Rice. But Rice was able to exact revenge on Kinney from beyond the grave, as he had earlier exposed her to the trigger scent, sending X-23 into a rage that caused her to kill her mother. As she lay dying, Kinney named X-23 Laura.

After her mother’s death, Laura traveled to San Francisco to find her aunt Debbie and cousin Megan. It was her one chance at a normal life, but Laura’s past would soon catch up with her. Discovering her whereabouts, Kimura, X-23’s handler at the Facility, came after Laura. In a closely fought battle, X-23 outsmarted Kimura, narrowly escaping and leaving a bloody wake of Facility agents behind her. Laura knew her family’s only chance at survival would be to run – without her. Before Megan stepped over the border into Canada, she gave Laura a locket that held photos of Laura’s mother and herself, and with that, X-23 set off to find and destroy her fellow living weapon, Weapon X.

I’m actually not that big of a comic book hero collector or anything like that, and the only reason I know about this character is actually from a garage kit that was made of this character a couple of years ago that was quite awesome.  Basically I had an issue where a product that was coming out soon had new production photos released, and they looked nothing like the prototype so I cancelled.  In doing so, I forgot that I had originally dumpeda huge amount of Sideshow points on that order so I made a huge stink and ended up being offered to have my points not really refunded, but transferred to a new order.  Well, I had nothing on order and the X-23 had recently been put up for pre-order and for some reason it appealed to me.  So ordered the regular version and dumped all my points on her, resulting in this statue costing me about $50.  The question is… would I like it in person?

Before we start getting too much in to it, let’s quickly check out the specs on this statue…

Product Type: Polystone Statue
Product Size: 18″ H x 12″ W x 8.5″ D
Product Weight: 5.00 lbs

Artists:

  • Adam Beane
  • Todd Waters
  • Anthony Mestas
  • Mike Najerra
  • Jesse Lincoln
  • Chadwick Andersen
  • The Sideshow Collectibles Design and Development Team

The Exclusive Edition includes a necklace locket around her neck (does not open), which represents the locket given to her with the photo of her mother inside.  The piece seen in this review is the regular version, so you won’t see the locket in my photos or review.  You can check out the Exclusive product page for pics of the locket if you like.

SCULPT AND CASTING

I have to admit, the sculpt is totally awesome and super sexy…  I absolutely love the way they sculpted the body on this piece, with a slimmer athletic build rather than the more exaggerated proportions that dominate the world of female statues.  There was some controversy due to the face having a cartoon/anime type style, and I know many folks passed on this statue because of that, but I think it looks great and doesn’t detract from the statue in the slightest.  She’s got that cocky look with the eyebrow raised like she’s looking at someone and daring them to take a step closer.  The pose is also fantastic, with a loose, relaxed stance but also seems like she could rip your head off in roughly 2 milliseconds.  There’s isn’t a single thing I can complain about sculpt wise, it’s quite honestly flawless as far as I’m concerned.

Along with a gorgeous sculpt, the casting quality is excellent, with beautiful smooth skin and unblemished surfaces for the glossy patent leather looking pants and top.  Even super close photos show smooth surfaces, perfect for the type of paint job this piece needed.  If there’s anything to be said about Sideshow pieces, they certainly do an awesome job time and time again on the quality of their castings.

PAINT AND FINISHING

The statue’s paint application is brilliant, I absolutely LOVE the mixed textures on the pants of a shiny patent leather with a flat grey trim that also continues in to the paint application on the boots.  The shiny parts of the pants and top are super glossy and smooth… there’s no dents, scratches, swirls or orange peel issues, it’s flawless on every part of the statue.  The skin tones are also beautifully done and the eyes and lips and well detailed and precisely applied with no over-runs or sloppiness.  There isn’t a single bit of overspray, brush hairs or finger prints anywhere and no running paint at all.  The base is also well done, with a glossy red finish and the “23” painted in silver.  Some folks on the forums did say that there was silver paint overrun along the sides of the numbers (which should be red), but my sample doesn’t seem to have that issue at all.

The hair is painted in a nice flat black with some SUPER subtle and barely noticeable blue drybrushing here and there to give the hair some highlights.  The blades in her boots and hands seem to be some kind of plastic chrome finish with a bit of weathering.  Unfortunately this statue does have the dreaded dot!  Sideshow, I thought we were DONE with the dot?!  In case you don’t know what I mean, many statue manufacturers have this nasty habit of putting white dots in the eyes to simulate shine, and most people HATE IT!  If the eyes are glossy, they will have a shine just by the lighting in the room they are sitting in… there is absolutely no need for a white dot in their eyes, it does nothing but take away from the paint job. DOWN WITH THE DOT!

PARTS AND ASSEMBLY

The statue comes in 6 pieces… you have the body, base, 2 blades for the boots and the two arms, which already have the blades attached.  The arms attach at the biceps via the use of magnets where the gloves end.  I can completely understand the need to have the arms separate from the body to help ensure the piece survives shipping, but I am not liking the magnet thing…  the left arm in particular attaches pretty loosely, and I can see that flying off with the slightest touch and hitting the floor, quickly turning in to 50 pieces.  I would recommend to anyone to use a touch of super glue to make sure they stay attached and don’t fall off by something only slightly stronger than a mouse fart.

The boots are pinned and slide on to the big X base, and finally each boot is topped off with a blade, that connects to the front toe section once again with magnets to stay in place.  The whole thing goes together in seconds and everything fits the way it should with no weird seamlines.

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR

I have noticed a few repeat issues folks have been having with this piece in the community, so here’s a few things you might want to look for.  Remember to always call Sideshow’s customer support if your statue has an issue, they’re always going to try to help you out as best they can.

Loose Boots – Some folks have complained that the statue basically rocks a bit in the boots, as though the ankles are not properly glued in to the inside of the boots.  This causes the statue to either wobble on the base or come right out of the boots.  Be sure to call Sideshow if you have this problem.

Loose Magnets – Be absolutely sure that the magnets in the arms are glued in place and not loose.  Use super glue to re-attach them if necessary.  A few people have reported opening the box to find one or two magnets have fallen out of the arms, or they fell out while someone was attaching the arm itself.  So be sure to check the magnets… last thing you want is for the arm to fall off while on display.

Paint Runs – I’ve also seen reports of silver paint runs around the 23 part of the base.  If yours is sloppy, just call up Sideshow for a replacement.

Loose Blades – This is the only problem that I had with mine… 2 of the 4 arm blades fell out during shipping and were loose in the box.  So obviously the glue used isn’t too great or the bouncing and bashing that goes hand in hand with the shipping process was just too much and they broke away from the little sockets in the hands.  No big deal though, 5 second fix with super glue is all it takes!

Time for some visual yumminess!  I’ve prepared a video review for your viewing pleasure and of course took some photos and put together a couple of nice wallpapers for your computer desktops.  As usual, we’ll start off with some HD video… I put together a little review, which you can check out on YouTube by clicking HERE or click on the YouTube icon below.  By the way, I should mention that pretty soon I will finally be getting a decent mic, so no more tin can vocals coming soon!

 Video Available on YouTube!

We obviously can’t have a sexy female kit without photos right?  Click the photo icon below to browse the gallery and check out the high resolution photos I put together:

 

I also went ahead and picked a couple of photos that I really liked and made 2 new wallpapers that you can use on your desktop.  Please use the list below to download whatever wallpapers you like, just make sure you grab the right ones for your screen size.  Enjoy!

 
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.

1920×1200   1920×1200
1680×1050   1680×1050
1440×900   1440×900
1280×800   1280×800
1920×1080   1920×1080
1600×1200   1600×1200
1280×960   1280×960
1024×768   1024×768
800×600   800×600
640×480   640×480
1366×768   1366×768
1280×1024   1280×1024
1280×768   1280×768

Overall, I am extremely pleased with this statue, it’s a gorgeous piece that is extremely well done, both in terms of sculpt and the final painted product.  She’s a great size and she’s a refreshing change from the typical big hipped, big boobed fodder of female characters.  This is easily my favorite female piece Sideshow has ever put out and I’m glad I picked her up.  She looks great displayed next to my Lara Croft statue from Exhousia Studios!  So if you’re on the fence about this piece, I would say go for it…  I know some folks don’t dig the cartoon face, but as I mentioned earlier, it works fine for the piece in my humble opinion.  Way to go Sideshow, you did an awesome job with this piece…  hope this continues in to 2010!

That’s it for today gang, time to get my ass ready for Thanks Giving eatage!  I hope you enjoyed my X-23 Comiquette review and I would love to hear your thoughts on this piece, the review, the artwork… anything.  Just click the comment button below and use the form to drop me a note. I really value your feedback and try to improve anywhere I can, so don’t be shy!

Thanks everyone and have an awesome weekend!
Dan

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Predatorstuff Reviews Narin’s Series 04 Bad Blood Predator Kit, Painted by Joe Dunaway!

September 18th, 2009

Predators… known throughout science fiction circles as a lethal hunter, searching the galaxy for large and deadly game to test its skills and weaponry.  A fair hunter, the Predator does not engage defenseless animals or creatures it feels are not worthy of its attention.  But unlike others of its species, this alien intruder is no sport hunter, but a blood-crazed psychotic, a butcher of its own kind, an unhinged killing machine.. he is the Bad Blood, and Narin has brought him to life.

As promised in my Death Warrior review, here is the latest series direct from Narin, the Bad Blood Predator!  This is a brand new release that was announced a couple of months ago and is the insanely gorgeous follow-up to the successful Death Warrior kit from last summer.  The piece is sculpted and produced directly by Narin himself, and follows suit with the previous release with insane details and high quality castings in superior quality resin.  The kit is scaled in Narin’s usual slightly larger 1:6 scale (It’s a bit bigger than 1:6 scale but not quite 1:5 scale) and comes in (brace yourself) 96 parts, including 65 individual dread locks for 2 of the 3 Predator heads contained within this kit!  This is also a limited release kit with a total edition of 99 kits being released, and each base is stamped with the issue number as well as Narin’s signature.  The edition numbering method is a bit different on these kits than on the Death Warrior kits, making it much more difficult for recasters to make copies that resemble an original.  The edition number and signature is hand-signed by Narin in a small sunken area on the base, and then covered in clear resin.

The sculpt features the Bad Blood Predator, a maniacal killer loaded with battle scars and a taste for Predator blood. He stalks his prey with two Predator skulls mounted to his back armor and slices and dices his kills with a MASSIVE axe and spear, which comes decorated with his latest victim. The base features equally impressive details with another kill at his feet, complete with dreads, bio helmet and a complete upper torso. Narin’s AMAZING skills earning him the title of KING of the Predator kits come shining through once again in another MUST-HAVE release!  Both the Bad Blood’s head and the speared victim include individual dreads with a ton of beads and detail sculpted in… the third Predator head on the base has the dreads all molded as part of the base, so it isn’t complete torture for kit builders lol!  Poor Joe… he hates doing dreads.

SCULPT AND CASTING

Narin once again blows my mind with his amazing ability to include the tiniest details imaginable in every aspect of the sculpt… even underside areas you would never normally look at are meticulously sculpted with the finest details.  You’ve got a crazy amount of scars, spikes, bumps, textures and things that ooze…  the Predator on the base has an entire arm shredded right off and you can clearly see all sorts of important innards spilling out of the massive wound.  This is definitely one of the more gory kits Narin has done, even going so far as to adding an eyeball torn out of the speared Predator’s eye socket and hanging by a few tendrils of nastiness.  Every millimeter of weaponry is also exquisitely detailed, with all kinds of beveled edges and worked metal, making the weapons works of art all by themselves.  The Predator skulls Bad Blood carries on his back are also extremely impressive and detailed… I shudder to think of how long it must have taken to sculpt all of those tiny dread holes, each with little cracks and textures almost too small to see with the naked eye.  I don’t know how he does it, but Narin once again puts out the perfect kit and proves himself a sculpting master.

Once you’ve managed to assemble this killer with all his trophies, fresh kills and clanking arsenal, he stands just over 18" tall!  This is officially Narin’s tallest 1:6 scale kit to date.

The castings are once again in that peach colored high quality resin and are extremely clean and almost ready to paint right out of the box.  Joe did report to me that his copy did have a number of seamlines on the dreads that needed to be sanded out, but other than that the kit was flawless.  I do know Narin did have some problems with the mold making process on a few of the more complicated and detailed parts, but he redid the molds until the parts were coming out to his satisfaction, which apparently means damn near perfect!  Narin once again shows us the quality and time he puts in to his personal releases and the near flawless castings show it.

PAINT APPLICATION

A piece like this could only go to the only man I know that is either part Predator himself, or lives with an entire family of them… mister Joe Dunaway of www.modelzone.com and one of my good friends.  I’ve known Joe for around 5 years now and have been collecting kits painted by him for just as long.  I love how after 5 years, I am still speechless when I open up a box from him and see an all-new kit that has just been blessed with a visit to his studio.  I have yet to see Joe even come close to botching a paint job.. he simply nails everything he does and never fails to impress me.  It’s hard to fanthom how a guy that has painted so many Predator kits simply does not run out of ideas, in fact, it’s kind of scary.

Joe admitted to me after the fact that this kit would be a personal challenge for him for a couple of reasons… for starters, he was going to attempt a skin pattern, especially on the head, that he’s never tried before and wasn’t sure if it would look ok.  The other thing he’s never done before is extensive amounts of Predator blood that actually LOOKED like neon green, glowing Predator blood.  He’s done a couple of kits that have a little trickle of blood, but for this, he would need to have bloodied up weapons, limbs, and a huge gaping wound on the side of a Predator with guts pouring out.  The main challenge would be achieving a realistic glowing blood effect that didn’t turn out looking cartoony or completely ridiculous.  Not sure what he was so worried about… doesn’t he realize that all things are possible at the hands of Joe D?

So, how did it turn out?  Jaw dropping…  absolutely jaw dropping is the only way I can describe it.  Everything about the final paint job is insanely awesome and the perfect paint application brings out the perfect sculpt.  Yep, the word for today is ‘perfect’ folks.  The new head pattern design he used works beautifully, he looks fierce powerful and the red and yellow eyes make him look like an absolute berserker.  The overall skin tone pattern is awesome, with the dark blotchy areas with the spots being textured in to the lighter skin, with plenty of tiny veins and markings over every tiny fragment of skin.  The end result is incredibly life-like, you pretty much wait for him to walk off the base…

The Predator blood also turned out perfectly… it looks exactly like Predator blood and it’s very realistic.  Predator blood seems to be quick thick when show in the movies, almost looking like the same texture as pea soup or something.  Joe replicated that look down to a T, and the huge wound on the dead Predator laying on the base looks absolutely disgusting… the guts actually look wet and nasty and very realistic.  He kept the blood splatter to a minimum, which really adds to the realism and doesn’t let the super bright paint take over the kit.  The oozing blood matter on the spearhead is also kick ass and looks very realistic as well as the blood oozing down the shaft of the spear under the dead Predator’s gored head.  The metallics are also brilliantly applied and weathered…  one piece in particular really impressed me.  The large section of armor that covers the Predator’s butt is a separate piece that attached to the lower back of the kit, and Joe painted both sides… when I flipped it over to put a dab of super glue on it to secure it in place, I marveled at how amazing the metal effects were.  I swear it looked and felt like real rust or some kind of corrosion and I did a double-take thinking perhaps that part had actually been cast in iron or something.  Impressive, MOST impressive!

In true Joe form, he also added some chains, cord, quills and a bone bracelet for added detailing, which of course looks brilliant.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I do apologize if it sounds like I’m kissing ass here, but honestly, you have to see this in person to understand just how insanely gorgeous and perfect this piece is in every way.  One look at this kit or any other Narin kit painted by Joe in the last few years and you will understand exactly what I am talking about.  There is a global sense of perfection about the entire piece.. nothing is wrong.  Perfect sculpt, perfect castings, perfect pose, perfect paint.  You get the whole deal.  Of course, there are some purists out there that aren’t fans of any Predator styles that go beyond the original movies and that’s fine, but if you do enjoy the original concepts Narin puts out, it’s hard to imagine how you could find something wrong with a kit like this.  And even if you aren’t exactly on par with Joe’s skills, you can still have a blast painting something like this because of all the details and possibilities.  If you do want/have this kit or something else you wish you could get painted, remember to check out my Professional Painting Services page for contact information for all the artists I’ve used in the past and recommend.  Just because you can’t paint doesn’t mean you can’t own a beautifully painted kit in your collection.

And now we move on to media goodies!  We’ve got all kinds of eye candy for you, so please enjoy and tell me what you think… we’ll start off with a fun little video review I did in full HD, which you can check out by clicking HERE or click on the YouTube icon below.  By the way, this is first video I do using free open music under the Creative Commons License, which means I am allowed to use it in my videos without any music big wigs or YouTube getting mad at me.  Let me know when you think of the tunes I chose!

 Video Available on YouTube!

When this kit was in the mail and on the way from Joe to me, he asked me if I would be reviewing it and I said of course… he mentioned that I should be ready to take a ton of photos again (I had just finished reviewing the Death Warrior, which had the most photos I’ve ever taken for a single review) and I told him I doubted it would be as many seeing as the Death Warrior seemed to have a ton more detailed little bits that the Bad Blood.  Oh man was I wrong and I knew it as soon as I opened the box.  There is a TON of badass details on this kit that needed to be captured… the result? JUST AS MANY photos as the darn Death Warrior review!!!  Please click the photo icon below to check them all out and I hope the hours I spent behind the lens were worth it!

 

And last but certainly not least, we continue the fun of desktop wallpapers with another 3 new ones of the Bad Blood Predator.  Please use the list below to download whatever wallpapers you like, just make sure you grab the right ones for your screen size.  Enjoy!

 
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.

1920×1200 1920×1200 1920×1200
1680×1050 1680×1050 1680×1050
1440×900 1440×900 1440×900
1280×800 1280×800 1280×800
1920×1080 1920×1080 1920×1080
1600×1200 1600×1200 1600×1200
1280×960 1280×960 1280×960
1024×768 1024×768 1024×768
800×600 800×600 800×600
640×480 640×480 640×480
1366×768 1366×768 1366×768
1280×1024 1280×1024 1280×1024
1280×768 1280×768 1280×768

That, my friends, concludes another review… I hope you nejoyed this piece and I invite anyone looking for more information on this piece to contact me and I will get back to you as soon as possible.  Please be sure to click to comment button below and leave me your feedback.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this piece, the review, the artwork… anything!  I really value your feedback and try to improve anywhere I can.

Thanks everyone and have an awesome weekend!
Dan

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Sideshow Throws Down the Glove on Prop Accuracy and Predatorstuff Responds – Predator Helmet Lens Debate Saga Continues!

September 18th, 2009

It has been one of the hottest debated subjects in Predator collector circles in a long time…  BUT, before we go on and for the record, I would like to say that I love Sideshow and love the people that work there… no disrespect intended and this article is more out of fun than any actual indignation. So don’t go too crazy with the Sideshow hate… I just love a good arguement is all!  So, when Sideshow first dove in to the realm of Predator helmet replicas, they brought us the highly prized AvPR Wolf Predator helmet, which was well received and considered a highly successful release.  The helmet was beautifully detailed, featuring a gorgeous sculpt, great paint-up, lasers and a real mesh lens to finish it off.  When Sideshow then announced they would be releasing a full compliment of AvP props, including the Scar, Celtic and Chopper helmets, collectors were very excited.  Unfortunately for the die-hards, the AvP helmets were not well received and showed signs that perhaps Sideshow development had skimped on details to save money… the number one issue was the lack of decent looking lenses.  The Scar used a paper-like material with an icky print pattern of a mesh, and the Celtic had no lense at all, it was simply painted over resin where the eye holes should have been.

Needless to say, fans were VERY upset with this move, not to mention the paint job wasn’t really as well done as the Wolf… but again, the main issue was how awful the lenses were.  I mentioned them extensively in my reviews, emails were sent to Sideshow about it, people everywhere were talking about them on the forum and my videos featured semi-rants about them.  People were not impressed… the obvious knee-jerk reaction was to grab our torches and pitchforks, but I treated more as something to make fun of than anything else, despite this being a $300 prop with a paper lense glued on it.

I started doing some research and talked to Sideshow…  turns out the choice of lens material was out of their hands, as the master copy they received from ADI (The company that did the prop effects for the AvP and AvPR movies) came exactly like that and they were simply following their design and paint scheme.  I was assured that the materials and paint scheme of the master matched the screen-used props exactly and that there was no difference.  I completely disagreed despite this information and still felt that the lenses used were nowhere NEAR what was used during film production, not a chance.  But I supposed I agreed to disagree… after all, Sideshow didn’t make the movies, they can only go by what ADI tells them right?  So that was it… I figured there would be no more debate about this perhaps until the Chopper came out, which we assume will be like the Celtic… no lense, just painted resin eye-holes.

The forest was quiet, we had moved on… then Sideshow threw down a glove.  Yes my friends, Sideshow puffed up their chests, bristled in the cool California air and posted this on their website:

Some folks have been wondering how close we can really get to the actual screen-used piece with a Prop Replica collectible. Well, we’d like your input! How close do YOU think we’ve gotten? Take a look at the side-by-side photo below. One of these Predator Masks is the screen-used prop by special effects studio Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc., and the other is the Sideshow Collectibles replica. Can you spot the real movie prop?

And here’s the photo of the two masks side by side that they showed (click to enlarge):

Oooo Sideshow why must you taunt me so?  *rolls up his sleeves* You have now released the evil Fanboy Dan, and it’s time to go fanboy on your ass!  I am going to go ahead right now and say this… that is not a screen used prop, it’s the master ADI sent to Sideshow standing next to one of the replicas, which by the way has been touched up.  And I’ll prove it.

We’re going to cover 3 things in this article and I will back everything up:

1. The "screen used prop" in the photo is not from the movie, it’s a prepared master copy ADI sent to Sideshow to be used as the material and paint master.
2. The helmets had separate lenses installed, they were NOT painted resin.
3. The helmet in the photo above that is the Sideshow replica has been tweaked to resemble the master more closely.

Let’s go ahead and get number 3 out of the way right now shall we?  First off, there’s no way that is a regular factory issue Celtic bio helmet standing next to the "screen used prop".  If you haven’t already read it, please check out my review of the Celtic Predator Helmet and be sure to go look at the gallery.  Pay VERY special attention to the paint detail and weathering, and the sheen of the paint… you will notice in the review that the paint is very uniform with a dull grey with a couple of black airbrushed spots on the crown and that the finish is quite flat, meaning no shine.  Now look at the photo Sideshow posted… both helmets have extensive weathering over the entire helmet, with browns and blacks and the finish is a mild shiny satin.  Think it’s just me?  Go ahead and check the forums where dozens of people have posted their helmets and you’ll see the EXACT same thing.  If either of the helmets in that photo are from the factory floor and from a normal production run, it’s been touched up for this photo… absolutely no question about it.  All bias aside, the two helmets side-by-side look almost identical with only tiny differences, I’m not arguing that at all.  Too bad the helmets we received didn’t have that paint job and there’s no screen used prop in that photo.

Next, let’s cover 1 and 2, since they are both directly related… the question is, where do I start?  In all honesty, you could skip to the last photo and point in this article as that alone is enough to put this debate to rest, but I figured we’d go over the movie stills first and then go in for the kill.  Sound good?

The major debate here for me and most of us is the lens issue.. the lens look like crap, especially up close and we’re not liking the fact that we’re being told that this is the way it was done on the screen-used props.  Now, if we look at the comparison shot from Sideshow, we know that both helmets have the same painted resin eye holes instead of lenses.  Now, I am going to prove to you that ADI used separate lenses in the eye holes of the helmets, NOT painted over solid resin.  So with that proven and out of the way, it’s an obvious conclusion that the so called "screen-used prop" in the comparison photo is in fact a paint master, not a screen used prop.

Once again, this is the purpose of the article… we’re not happy that Sideshow is not using separate screen-accurate lenses in their helmet replicas and we’re being told that this is how it was done on the actual screen replicas.  I’m going to show you proof that this is not the case.

OK, first… the lenses on the screen-used pieces are curved like sunglasses, they are not a flat surface.  This is important when looking at the shape of reflected light…  when a reflective surface or shiny surface is flat, it will reflect light uniformly, meaning the entire surface will be bright.  When a surface is curved, you’ll notice that there will be a bright soft line of light in the middle or towards the sides (depending on the angle) and the light diffuses outward from that point.  It’s the curve that causes that, as the highest point of the curve closest to the light source reflects that light.  So, armed with that knowledge I want you to look at the comparison photo from Sideshow and you will notice that the eye hole areas are fairly uniform, meaning very little curve.  That’s because it’s just flat resin covering the eye holes, they’re not rounded eye lenses like in the movie.

Now, look at the following movie stills (click for larger):






 

See the difference?  You’ll see it in every frame of film with the Celtic in it… the lenses are curved.  Not only that, but there is an obvious color difference between the color and tint of the lens and the rest of the helmet making it pretty clear it’s not part of the helmet’s paint job, it’s a separate installed piece.

Next up, if you look at the comparison shot from Sideshow, BOTH helmets have copper accents on the rounded nose sections, the cheek detailing and jaw detailing.  Didn’t we already establish that the screen used prop had no copper detailing and that ADI added that to the master because they preferred that paint scheme?!  So if there were no copper accents on the screen-used props, why does the "screen-used prop" in Sideshow’s comparison photo have them?


Now granted, we only get limited looks at the Celtic’s side detailing on the helmet and the lighting is not very color-friendly, but from what I can see, there certainly isn’t any copper paint on the nose or jaw sections.

Another point regarding the lenses, they are reflective…  now, whether that is movie magic, lighting or the grace of god, when watching the movie, we see several scenes where reflections are clearly visible.  Now, I know that the alien jaw reflections we see are computer generated, that’s fine… but no matter how the effect was achieved, the lenses we as the movie watchers saw them REFLECTED.  The Sideshow piece does not reflect ANYTHING… they do brighten up because of the silver paint when you shine light at the prop, but that’s about it.  So now there is this argument… screen accuracy vs bench accuracy.  This is how I define the difference between a prop looking different on screen than it does sitting on the work bench of the prop builder.  When it comes to prop replicas, I personally believe the prop should reflect what we see on screen, NOT what it looks like on a work bench, because this opens the door to all kinds of BS.  Think about it for a second…  entire lines of props could look like garbage and all the company would have to say is "Oh, well this is how is was really done, it only looked good because of special effects, lighting and post-editing".  Sorry, but that’s absolute nonsense.  The facts are simple: In the movie, the helmets the Predators wear have reflective lenses, the prop replica does not.  Straight up, it’s wrong, and I don’t think using the ol’ "well this is how it was really made" makes it right at all.


Still not convinced?  OK, then I offer you the nail in the coffin… what if ADI themselves came out and said, look, we heard about this debate and we wanted to confirm that the lenses are indeed separate.  What we did was drill out the eye holes and laser area, painted up the helmet fully, and then later installed the lasers and eye lenses.  Not sure why people might think that the lenses were in fact solid resin with just some paint over them, we apologize for the confusion.  Wouldn’t that be GREAT?!  And what if you could verify that yourself and not just take my word for it?  After all, I could just make any BS up and tell you ADI told me so and you would have no choice but to believe it right?

Well luckily, we have these things called books, and ADI just happened to write one on the making of AvP and it was published by Design Studio Press in 2004.  I’m sure many of you pred nuts like me already own this book… if you do, would you be so kind as to open your book and turn to page 105 for me?  No problem… I’ll wait while you go fetch your book.

OK, all set?  Right, could you please go ahead and read me the caption for photo 7… you know, the pic of the fully painted Celtic helmet with big gaping holes where the lens and lasers should be?

OOPS!  What does that say?

The next step is a trip to the Paint Department (07) before it is finished off with any final fabrication details (such as installing a laser sight and eye lenses).

*And Jordan fades back* SWISH! I think we’re done here…

So this goes back to my first review of the AvP helmets…  Sideshow, ADI, whoever…  please put the right lenses in the helmets because they were not solid resin with a bit of paint flecked over.  It doesn’t look like that in movie, and it says right in the ADI book that they are separate pieces.  Besides, logic would dictate the actors kind of need to be able to see what’s in front of them.. last I checked, humans can’t see through 1/4 inch thick resin.  When making prop replicas, they should reflect (no pun intended) what we see on the silver screen and blowing off legit complaints by saying the studio said so shouldn’t be the end all playing card.

So I did enjoy the comparison and I’m sure the average Sideshow fan will assume that indeed you have a production run piece standing next to a screen-used prop, but to me and many other Predator fans, it seems obvious that neither helmet is screen used or a production piece.  What you’ve got there is the ADI master sitting next to a touched up production piece that’s been more intensely weathered to match the master more closely.

Would love your thoughts guys, please click the comment button below and tell me what you think. 

Thanks!
Dan

PS. Yes I know I just broke the soapbox in my nerdy display of fanboyism… and I’m happy to do it!

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Predatorstuff Reviews the Sideshow Exclusive Edition Uruk-Hai Berserker Premium Format Statue!

August 8th, 2009

Every once in awhile, a collectibles company will issue a piece that stands head and shoulders above the rest and becomes a definitive flagship product that people will use as a bar for measuring the quality and success of future and existing products.  With the release of the Uruk-Kai Berserker Premium Format statue from Sideshow collectibles, Sideshow has just raised the bar and blown us away with what is easily their best Premium Format ever created and reminds us of why they have been so successful in the first place.  Read on and discover this amazing new piece…

One of the smartest things Sideshow has ever done was to team up with Martin Canale and the Gore Group, because Martin’s sculpting abilities are simply jaw dropping, and it seems that pretty much everything Martin and Sideshow collaborate on kicks all kinds of ass.  Most Sideshow fans will agree that Lurtz is one of Sideshow’s best Premium Format statues, but with the release of Uruk-Hai, it would appear we have a new king on the block, and he deserves.  The sculpt is absolutely AMAZING, the paint is near-perfect and the clothing materials are phenomenal!  All I can do is stare in amazing and bow before it’s awesomeness, and yes, it really is THAT good!  Words, photos and video just can’t do this piece justice, you really need to see this in person to truly appreciate it… but I’ll try my best to offer you the next best thing!

First off, let’s get the rundown from the Sideshow Product page for this piece:

The Uruk-Hai Berserker Premium Format figure is a stunning 1:4 scale museum quality piece. Sword in hand and riddled with arrows, the Uruk-Hai Berserker stands 23 inches tall atop the display base, captured in the heat of battle. Each figure is cast in high-quality polystone, hand-finished and hand-painted. Each base is then individually hand-numbered for authenticity. This stunning figure is an outstanding addition to any The Lord of the Rings collection.

The Sideshow Exclusive version of the Uruk-hai Berserker Premium Format Figure includes a unique feature available nowhere else: Switch-out left hand with severed head

Product Size: 23" H x 12" W x 16" D
Product Weight: 12.00 lbs (5.44 kg)*

Artists:

 

Martin Canale
Jeronimo Duarte Argerich
Gustavo Fa Gonzalez
Martin Demonte
Manuel Silva
Leonardo Silva
Tom Gilliland
Anthony Mestas
Kevin Ellis
Tim Hanson
Chadwick Andersen
Jesse Lincoln
The Sideshow Collectibles Design and Development Team

SCULPT AND CASTINGS QUALITY

Should I even bother going in to detail, or perhaps I should just say PERFECT and leave it at that?  OK well, we can’t have a review without me prattling on for 10 pages worth of text, but the bottom line is what you are looking at is sculpting perfection.  Absolutely every millimeter of this statue is sculpted with crazy amounts of detail… the rocks and skin have amazing details and I shudder to think at how long the skin took to completely texturize like that.  The armor, the pits and nicks in the sword, the gorgeous work on the mouth and head details, the gaping wounds… everything is just kickass in every way, I can’t complain about a single thing.

The casting quality is also flawless, with no mold flaws, seam-lines or other casting relate issues.. once again, perfect!  The piece is cast in solid polystone and the sword is real metal and weighs about a pound itself and measures about 17" long!  You could literally use this thing to wipe out an intruder.  The specs page on the Sideshow sites says this weighs 12lbs, but it feels a heck of a lot closer to 20 – 25lbs.  In fact when comparing this to Lurtz, they both weigh about the same thing and both are almost the same height, with the Uruk-Hai measuring about an inch shorter but making up for it in width and depth with that crazy sword of his.  You’ll need a lot of display space for him!

With the exclusive edition statue, you get two left hands… the default hand, which is also included with the regular edition statue, is clutching a couple of broken arrows in his hand and is wearing some arm claws.  The Exclusive edition includes a hand holding up the severed head of a Rohan Royal Guardsman, complete with lots of gore around the hacked up neck.

The overall pose is absolutely killer and works really well to show the power and blood-lust the Uruk-Hai possesses.. he’s got 4 arrows sticking out him and huge gaping wounds all over the place, but he’s still got time to let out a roar and show off his latest trophy.

STATUE COMPONENTS:

The Uruk-Hai PF doesn’t have too many separate parts, just the usual breakdown to keep fragile bits from getting annihilated during shipping.  You have the main body, left arm with arrows and left arm with the severed head, the sword, 2 arrow shafts with sculpted fletching that inserts in to holes on the body, and the base.  One word of caution on the sword though guys and gals… it’s heavy so be very careful inserting the hilt in to the open right hand.  Work it very slowly by moving it up and down and be careful not to scrape off any paint from either the inside of the hand or off the hilt.  A few people have complained about the paint scraping off, so just be careful and you should be fine.  The belt and loincloth sections are all pre-assembled and attached to the waist at production.  The Uruk-Hai’s helmet does NOT come off and the Royal Guardsman’s head doesn’t come out from the helm.. they are all solid pieces.

PAINT APPLICATION AND FINISHING

You may notice that in the photos of my Uruk-Hai, he seems bloodier than you’ve seen either on your own piece or in the photos from other people…  that’s because this piece’s paint job is pretty much near-perfect and my only complaint was the lack of blood.  So I had my good friend Joe Dunaway add a little bit of extra gore and he did an awesome job adding some blood splatter on wounds, armor and on the base for me.  So when looking at the photos, just bear in mind it’s not as bloody as what you see on mine, however the rest of the paint application is very much the same.  Even Joe himself thought the paint job was pretty awesome right out of the box, and it REALLY has to be good for Joe to say that.  In my experience with Sideshow, I would have to say this is probably the best paint application I have ever seen on any of their releases.. this rivals the kind of work done by kit builders to be honest.  I don’t know which factory they used to produce the run on these statues, but I hope Sideshow keeps using them because their paint application is phenomenal!  There is not a single area on the statue that is not beautifully painted and unless you find there’s a lack of blood like I did, it’s highly doubtful that you will find a single thing about the paint that you won’t like.  It really is that well done, I promise!

The leather belt and loin cloth sections are also beautifully done, with great stain and coloration on the leather parts and they’re all very well weathered and beaten up.  The buckles and studs on the belt look awesome and I love the burlap type material they used under the loincloth sections on the front and back, it works really well.  The cloth materials are very well selected and applied to the statue and look very realistic, absolutely no complaints on that at all, unlike the Moria Orc that suffered some serious wardrobe malfunctions when he come out wearing a Santa suit.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There is no question that this piece is one of, if not, THE best Premium Format statues Sideshow has EVER released and it’s a reminder of just how amazing their products can be when a project is taken from development to the end of production and all the right choices are made.  The folks at Sideshow and Gore Group deserve a HUGE round of applause on this piece and we can only hope that Sideshow will continue to raise the bar on their future releases as they did with the Uruk-Hai and we see this kind of success on all their pieces!  I think it’s a safe bet that this statue will increase tremendously in value as these pieces get harder to find so I would recommend to any PF or LOTR collectors out there to pick this up as quickly as you can while prices are still near retail.  You won’t regret it, this really is one of Sideshow’s best.

Want to check out some video footage?  I put together a little 5 minute review in HD on YouTube, which you can check out by clicking HERE or click on the YouTube icon below:

 Video Available on YouTube!

I also spent the afternoon taking a TON of photos of Mister Uruk-Hai… it’s actually amazing how many shades of color you can pull from the skin depending on how you light it up…  you’ve got purples, reds and oranges that all come to life under various lighting conditions so I had a blast photographing it.  Have a look by clicking the photo icon below!

 

I’m not much of an LOTR collector per say, but I am a fan of the movies and do collect a few of their higher quality pieces (all bad guys!) and this was a no brainer for me.. I knew if he turned out nicely he would look phenomenal standing next to Lurtz and that’s exactly how he turned out!  If you’re on the fence about this guy, jump down and pick this guy up ASAP, you won’t regret it.

That’s about it for me gang, I think it’s juuust about time to hit the hay.  I would love to hear your thoughts about this piece or on my review, so please don’t be shy and hit the comment button below and use the form to post your feedback.  I appreciate any and all comments and read everything you guys post.  Next week look out for new kit offerings in our shop from Gabe Perna and a sneak peek at an exciting Predator bust project he’s working on!

Thanks and have a great weekend!
Dan 

 

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