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Predatorstuff Reviews the Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider 1:2 Scale Bust by Art Department!

August 3rd, 2009

Hello everyone, welcome to a new review of a very exciting piece by Art Department in their 1:2 scale bust line… it’s their Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft 1:2 scale bust kit and today we’ll check out this gorgeous kit, which has been painted up by my main man, Mister Joe Dunaway!

I Have been a Tomb Raider fan ever since Angelina Jolie took on the role on the silver screen, and I’ve been an Angie fan since her name first started appearing on movie credits.  I think she’s a fantastic actress, she’s gorgeous and her humanitarian work is second to none… you don’t see too many Hollywood folks half a world away on their hands and knees helping build outhouses.  So when Clubhouse member Pankey posted initial pics of this piece, I was VERY excited about it and couldn’t wait for him to update the thread day-to-day with the latest work-in-progress photos.  Much to my sadness, Angelina has really never been done properly in a decent sized scale, so I was PUMPED to see someone finally tackling the job.  I offered a ton of critique as Pankey posted updates, including the eyes, lips and the gun, which initially was way too small.  After many long months, she was finally done and my order was placed, and she was shipped off to Joe Dunaway of Modelzone.com fame for sweet paint lovin!

The bust is cast in a very heavy solid cold cast porcelain material, making the bust weigh in at over 10lbs and measuring about 13.5" in height when assembled.  She comes in 5 pieces…  base, main bust and head, gun, bottom section of the gun’s grip, and the braided ponytail.

The most important part of this bust for me was the likeness… It seems that Angelina’s likeness is hard to capture properly and I wouldn’t even consider this piece if it was a dead-ringer when unpainted.  A lot of folks don’t realize how the PAINT can make or break a likeness, but I wanted to make sure Joe had the best sculpt available to him when it came time to painting up Angelina to perfection.  I can honestly say that when I received the bust, I couldn’t believe how dead-on it looked like her.  Even my wife, who is usually horrible at identifying likenesses, looked over my shoulder and stated how amazingly close it was to the real thing.  Like most sculpts, there are a few angles where it’s a bit off, but generally it looks amazing and there no question who it is.  The best angles in my opinion are from the sides, she looks fantastic!  So, if you’re picky about likenesses, this is the way to go!

Unfortunately, this kit does have one flaw that makes it somewhat of a pain for model builders, and that’s the inferior low quality casting material that had Joe cursing every step of the way.  The best way I can describe the casting material is to imagine the same material used to make a dinner plate, except with a flat finish instead of shiny.  It’s hard as a rock and the castings aren’t very smooth, so the time you spend trying to smooth out lines and pits can take up MANY hours of your time, instead of maybe the 30 minutes it would have taken had it been a softer high quality resin.  I think Joe worked on the cleanup for a week on this bust and STILL couldn’t get it smooth…  thankfully the small pits and lines only show up when your nose is 8 inches from the piece and are pretty much invisible when she’s on the shelf.  So be warned… the casting material sucks and you’ll need a lot of elbow grease to smooth her down if you want perfect smooth skin.  I’m not sure if it’s the only material available where Pankey lives (I believe it’s the Philippines), but I did tell him the material was fairly terrible and should consider changing, but I have no idea if he changed it.

And then, Joe went at her, and what a job he did!  Unlike the predator kits he builds for me where I just let him do whatever he likes, I stuck my nose in this paint-up every step of the way… poor Joe was probably ready to stab me by the time it was done.  I had him tweak the skin over and over, change the eyes, played with eyelashes and God-knows what else until I was sassified!  When the final result finally showed up at my door, I wasn’t sure if I should put her in my office with the rest of my collection or place her on my nightstand in my bedroom… she was HOT!  He even swiped some hair from a gal at his work to make the trademark long pieces of bangs that hang down in her face.

Bottom line?  If you’re an experienced builder who loves Angelina Jolie and not afraid to take on casting material that’s as hard as diamonds and are comfortable with painting human pieces, then this is the way to go, I haven’t seen anything that can beat this in terms of likeness.  I also love the pose with the gun, it’s perfect and leaves no question as to who the actress is and what movie she’s from!

Now, we can’t have a review of Angelina with video can we?!  I’ve put together a little video review of the kit, so clicking HERE or the icon below to check it out on YouTube in HD:

 Video Available on YouTube!

Of course, we need sexy photos too!  Check her out from all angles by clicking the photo icon below and visiting the gallery:

 

I’m really happy I decided to go ahead and pick this piece up, she’s really my pride and joy in terms of female pieces in my collection and my only wish at this point is for a life-size piece lol!  Hope you guys enjoyed this piece and I welcome your thoughts and comments, so please be sure to click the comment button and leave me some feedback!  You can also contact me if you have any additional questions about this piece.

Thanks!
Dan 

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Predatorstuff Reviews the Hot Toys Iron Man Mark II Figure!

July 31st, 2009

The latest offering from Hot Toys in their Iron Man line has arrived and it’s a beauty!  Read on for my review of the Hot Toys Iron Man Mark II figure and we’ll go over what’s hot and what’s not in usual Predatorstuff fashion…

 

First off, if you haven’t already read my review of the Hot Toys Mark III figure, you should probably check that out first because the overall sculpt minus the rivets is exactly the same, as well as the articulation and overall features, so I won’t be going to deep on those aspects like I did last time.  I should also note that this is the regular Mark II edition, NOT the Sideshow Exclusive edition.  HOWEVER, the Exclusive version is IN-STOCK as a second opportunity at Sideshow, click here for the product page if you want to place an order!

Let’s have a look at the general specs shall we?

Sideshow Collectibles is proud to bring you the latest addition to Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series of 12-inch figures, Iron Man! Each 12-inch Movie Masterpiece Series figure features Hot Toys’ fully articulated 12-inch figure body and a generous number of accessories. Now, from the recent MARVEL blockbuster film comes the Iron Man MARK II figure!

The Sideshow Exclusive version of the Iron Man Mark II 12 inch Figure includes a unique feature available nowhere else: Pedestal with Armor Display

The Iron Man Mark II 12 inch Figure features:

  • Stands approximate 30 cm tall
  • Over 36 points of articulation
  • Metallic paint
  • Light-up eyes and heart (battery operated – included)
  • Three pairs of interchangeable hands, including light-up repulsor hand
  • Alternate unique head with authentic likeness of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark
  • 12-inch figure stand
  • Full color display packaging
  • Separate Iron Man heart in display box
  • Sideshow Exclusive: Pedestal with Armor Display

By the way, the Sideshow site has this listed at 23lbs…  I would think that’s a booboo, as it actually weighs about 3lbs.

Once again, Hot Toys ROCKS this figure with an amazing sculpt with tons of detail and awesome articulation just like the Mark III, allowing you to pose it in tons of classic movie poses.  The main difference between this piece and the Mark III in terms of sculpt are the rivets all over the body (which look AWESOME) but also the paint.  I found the Mark III’s red color to be quite dull compared to the prototype photos, but the Mark II’s silver paint application looks AMAZING!  Granted, it’s not a brushed metal look at all, but it’s still a high quality lustrous metallic paint effect with a slightly reflective satin finish that looks amazing in different light conditions.  I had a lot of fun photographing the piece because it almost looks like it’s real chrome when shot in the light booth.

Unfortunately the head sculpt still lacks, and the Tony Stark head once again stays in the box as it looks nothing like him.  In fact, I honestly think this new head is worse than the first one for the Mark III.  The alternate head features Tony Stark with his helmet on, and you have a removable visor that you can lift up and pose as though he’s taking a breather with his suit on and he’s lifted his mask open to cool off.

Whether you ordered the Sideshow exclusive or the regular edition, both include a nifty little tribute to the movie…  you get the first Arc Reactor mounted in a display case like the one Miss Potts makes for Tony Stark with the words "Proof that Tony Stark has a heart" around it.  The tiny case, roughly the size of a quarter, has a switch on the back to turn the Arc Reactor on, and the little tiny clear lid comes off the base.  No word on whether the Arc Reactor can power a micro sized Iron Man suit, but I thought it was a pretty cool little goodie to add to the figure.

The figure also includes the 3 pairs of hands that are standard (open, semi-closed and fist), the hands, chest and helmet that light up via tiny toggle switches on the back and forearms, as well as the base and holder with the little "Mark II" raised name plate.  The articulation is also the same as the Mark III, with the calves that open, forearm mini missiles and the back air flaps.

I am absolutely LOVING what Hot Toys is doing with their IM line and once again, this Mark II is a PERFECT representation of the Mark II for your collection even though it’s a figure and not a statue per-say.  In fact, I would say I like this one even better than the Mark III figure because of the superior paint job and it’s a must-have for you Iron Man fans out there.  Congrats Hot Toys, I hope your Mark I figure is equally as amazing as your Mark II and III pieces. (I have been seeing people state they saw photos of the production Mark I pieces and that they don’t look very good…  apparently the armor paint job looks too plasticky.  I personally have not seen them, so I still have faith these will ROCK!)

With that said, I think it’s time for VIDEO!  Check out YouTube for the full HD video review of the Iron Man Mark II Figure by clicking HERE or the icon below:

 Video Available on YouTube!

I had a blast photographing this piece… he’s really photogenic with that pimpin paint job of his.  Click on the photo icon below for all the high res goods!

 

I think I’m really hooked on the Iron Man thing…  I can’t get enough of these collectibles!  And with the Iron Man Mark III Maquette coming out from Sideshow, looks like the fun won’t be stopping for quite some time.  Hopefully the Maquette’s paint job is up to snuff as that piece is fairly pricey but worth it for a 1:2 mind-blowing movie maquette.  And remember, this piece is back in-stock at Sideshow as a Second Chance opportunity, you can grab it by clicking HERE!

That’s it for me today gang, have an awesome weekend and see you soon!
Dan

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Predatorstuff Reviews the Sideshow General Grievous Life-Size Bust!

July 17th, 2009

While being attacked by the armies of the Republic, a ship carrying Grievous explodes and crashes to the ground, leaving Grievous mortally wounded. Kept alive by technology and a blood transfusion from the deceased Jedi master Sifo-Dyas and from the powers of Count Dooku, his body is transported to the planet Geonosis. As a foreshadowing of the future of Anakin becoming the cyber-organic Darth Vader, most of Grievous’s body is replaced with Droid parts and he eventually becomes the pupil of Count Dooku and the General of the Separatist Army. So begins the story of the AMAZING Star Wars character General Grievous, and the KICKASS new full-sized bust from Sideshow Collectibles!

General Grievous Bust

Didn’t know I was a Star Wars junkie now did ya? Yep, I’m a Star Wars nerd and it ranks right up there as my favorite movies along side my beloved Predator and other favorites. I’ve seen all the cartoons, movies, books, novels and other story tidbits centered around the Star Wars universe, but for the sake of my sanity have refused to start collecting the genre. Why? Because of the second mortgage and impending divorce that would result from my purchases, that’s why! The only Star Wars collectible I have in my collection to represent my beloved series is an extremely rare full-size ESB Yoda statue built by Howard Senft, 1 of only 2 ever made. But when General Grievous, who is one of my favorite antagonists in the Star Wars Universe, was announced last year at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con, I absolutely HAD to have it. Here we are almost year later and at last, the General is MINE, and today I get to review him for your viewing pleasure!

Let’s check out the details from the Sideshow Product Page for Grievous:

Sideshow Collectibles proudly presents the latest addition to the Star Wars Life-size Bust series, General Grievous. The General Grievous Life-size Bust has been meticulously sculpted to capture every detail of Grievous’ techno-organic visage. The General Grievous bust is mounted on a Star Wars inspired display base, including a ‘General Grievous’ nameplate. The hand crafted, hand painted General Grievous Life-size Bust is sure to become the premier addition to any Star Wars display.

Limited Edition: 750
Product Size: 23″ H x 11″ W x 11″ D
Product Weight: 20.00 lbs

Artists:

Don Rutherford
Anthony Mestas
Scott Klauder
Howard Senft
The Sideshow Collectibles Design and Development Team

Before we keep cooking, I would like to mention a couple of things you should bear in mind on this review… For one, I have repainted the eyes to my tastes, so the eyes you see in this review do not reflect the production pieces accurately. The eyes are actually completely yellow on the factory pieces, however when looking at close up movie-stills, I noticed Grievous has a yellow base, but also splotches of green and dark red like blood. So with some of my wife’s nail polish and bits of cosmetic sponges, I was able to re-create that look fairly accurately. The other thing I did was use 5 minute epoxy to add a heavy coat of high gloss to the eyes and fleshy eye sockets to give them a heavy wet look, which also seemed more accurate to me. For those of you brave enough to mess with your statues, using a 2-part 5 minute epoxy is a GREAT way to add that wet look to eyes and mouths… it’s a common technique used by model builders.

I should however mention that these are not necessary tweaks at all, the statue still looks awesome (heck, you might even prefer the factory look over my modifications) so don’t worry that if you pick this guy up for yourself that the eyes are poorly done. It still look great, I simply wanted a different look and I knew how to go about it. OK? Cool, glad we got that out of the way…

When talking about this piece, Sideshow says “The hand crafted, hand painted General Grievous Life-size Bust is sure to become the premier addition to any Star Wars display.”. Read on and we’ll cover the sculpt, painting and finishing bases and see if this guy is worth the coin and if Sideshow delivers on that promise.

General Grievous Bust

SCULPTING

I actually had to re-watch Star Wars Episode III to double-check my suspicions, but I think perhaps all is well although I am not 100% convinced… when I first opened the box and took out the head, the first thing to pop in to my head was that is looked too small. General Grievous is quite large and it never occurred to me that he actually does seem to have a tiny head on a huge body.. so when you see the head separate from the body, it seems on the small side. But if you pop in the movie, you suddenly realize that he does in fact have a small noggin, and it’s simply his shoulders that make him look so massive. It’s still a decent size, but you may find it a tad smaller than you expected, so just consider this a heads up on that (no pun intended).

Aside from the initial question of overall size, the sculpt looks awesome and very accurate with nice smooth castings with only a little bit of rough pitting around the eyes, although that may or may not be on purpose, I’m not sure. The marble textured surface is smooth with clean lines and has numerous cracks and fissures similar to what we seem in the movie, although these look more like claw marks than the rough uneven cracks the movie-stills reveal. The internal area with the throat/gillet parts are clean and look great, and the real metal tubes and mesh wiring look fantastic and compliment the sculpt extremely well.

The base itself is the same standard base Sideshow uses for all it’s life-size busts and looks great as always, they picked a real winning design for the bases and I’m glad they are using it as a standard on all their pieces.

In terms of casting materials, the piece is a mixed-medium product, with almost everything made of polystone, with some plastic and metal parts, as well as transparent resin. We’ll get in to that in the painting and finishing area in just a second. The overall sculpt and castings are very good quality (That’s really a non-issue with Sideshow products typically) and has a good heft to it at 20lbs or so. The bust itself is broken down in to 4 pieces… you have the main neck section, which is already connected to the base, the head section and the two plastic “ear” pieces that connect to the sides of the head.

General Grievous Bust

PAINTING AND FINISHING

One of the biggest concerns on this piece was the final production finish of the marble texture paint effects on Grievous’s outer shell… the prototype photos looked great, but the forum users were definitely worried about the final production run. Despite a few people saying that perhaps the marble effect is a bit too dark, I personally think that they did a good job on it, especially for a factory paint job. The effect seems to be subtle enough not to be overdone, and the overall look does achieve the marble effect they were looking for as far as I can tell. So for those of you reading this review and wondering about the marble texture paintjob, I think it looks good and isn’t an issue at all.

The other concern was the eyes, and I think that while they are a bit plain with just the mottled yellow, I still think it looked fine even though not quite as detailed as they could have been. In fact, I believe the prototype may have shown eyes with a bit more mottled detail in the eyes, but the production pieces just had the yellow. I did however feel that the final finish of the eyes was too flat and needed to be shinier, which is why I added the gloss finish. So bottom line on the eyes is that the factory job looks fine, but a little glossy epoxy really makes them stand out with next to no skill required and if you’re brave, you can add some extra green and red mottling to the eyes for added detail.

The interior areas of Grievous look great and everything is painted well and cleanly.. I found no areas missing paint, no paint runs, no stray paint brush hairs etc. Everything looks great! The metal ribbed tubing is made with real metal spings and the mesh parts are real metal mesh wiring, which looks awesome and I am SO glad they used instead of having them as part of the casting. The other awesome idea is the use of translucent resin for the throat/gillet piece, which is really the perfect way to do that part. It’s a redish orangy color and looks very realistic because the translucent resin allows light to pass through it, making it look organic. It could have used some additional glossing to make it look wet, but I can see how that would be a pain in the butt to pull off and it still looks good as is.

The one area I do have an issue with however is the material and paint finish on the “ear” sections, the two pieces that attach to the sides of the head. Unlike the rest of the statue, these parts are made of a light plastic material that is smoother and has a satin finish that the polystone doesn’t… the end result of that difference in material is that paint dries slightly differently on it, and it ends up not being the same color. Under certain lighting conditions, I found it very obvious that those side pieces were not the same color as the rest of the head, they seem much lighter. The other issue is that the beige outer shell of Grievous is lightly spattered here and there with tiny light grey spots, just to add some texture to the paint. That looks fine… the problem is that they went and did this on the “ear” parts, but instead of light coverage with grey, they used a blue color and spattered it on very heavily and this only further highlights the difference in color between those two parts vs the rest of the piece, and it shouldn’t be. In all honesty this is really the only problem I had with this piece, however it is fairly minor and is only really noticeable upon close inspection from perhaps a foot away.

The only other light plastic parts on the bust appears to be the voice pickups on the mouth, which are thankfully quite flexible as I accidentally smacked one and had it been cold cast or something fragile, it would have broken off for sure. (The voice pickups are the small dark parts that stick out the sides of the mouth on each side and wrap around towards the front to his silver audio outputs.)

So overall I am quite happy with the paint job and extremely pleased with the use of polystone, metals and translucent resin as they really help make this bust a stand-out piece.

General Grievous Bust

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall I have to admit that Sideshow does back up their claim, this is indeed a premier addition to my Star Wars collection and I don’t regret for a second picking this guy up as he looks AWESOME! I’m hoping someday to score myself a Darth Maul bust to display with him, but that’s a whole other write-up in itself. The painting is well done and the mixed mediums used for the different areas of the bust was beautifully planned and executed and I only wish every Sideshow piece was as successfully brought to completion as this guy. (Although the last couple of reviews have been extremely positive for Sideshow, this is an exciting trend after those last 2 disappointing AvP Helmet reviews.) As I mentioned earlier, my only issue is with those “ear” pieces… the flimsy plastic material just doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the piece and neither do the blue speckles they painted on to them. I should also mention that these pieces connect via two pins that plug horizontally in to the sides of the head, but that is actually not right. In the movie, you can clearly see that they connect via rods that go vertically in to the top and bottom sections of the side parts. I have to admit I’m going fanboy on this one though, because I don’t even see how you could really pull that off without permanently gluing things in place, so for the sake of logistics I think Sideshow didn’t have much of a choice but to go with the horizontal pinning method.

By the way, am I the only one that thinks these life-size busts should come with motion sensitive voice chips that play quotes from the movies when someone walks by? Too cheesy maybe? I dunno… it’s late and I’m tired but I would love this thing to spit out Grievous quotes at me. Ever notice how all the bad guys in Star Wars get the cool voices?

Oh and before we move on to eye candy, for those of you that want to pick this guy up, Sideshow actually has this in-stock as a second opportunity item! You can click HERE for the product page or to place an order!

Time for VIDEO! I put together a fun little HD Video review you can check out by clicking HERE on YouTube or just click the icon below! Be sure to pay attention to the beginning, I made a little custom adjustment to the Predatorstuff intro for shits and giggles!

Video Available on YouTube!

And what’s a review with sexy photos right? I fired off a bunch of shots from all angles, but mostly I wanted to give you a good idea of what the marble texture looks like up close, and how the custom eyes I made turned out. Click on the icon below to check out the gallery and I hope you like my work:

Phew, it’s been CRAZY busy for me with all these reviews and with SDCC coming up, this isn’t likely to slow down much! I hope you enjoyed this review and I hope you’ll check back often next week for tons more goodies, including some news about SDCC 2009 which is coming up later this month. I’ll be giving you some tips on how to keep updated on all the latest cool Predator gear and other awesome licenses even if you’re not attending.

Oh and let’s not forget… please feel free to share your feedback on this review or Mr. Grievous by clicking the comment button below and using the comment form to share your thoughts, or if you need to send me an email, use the contact form.

Have a great weekend!
Dan

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Predatorstuff Reviews the Sideshow Raiders of the Lost Ark Indiana Jones Premium Format Figure!

July 15th, 2009

Good morning everyone, welcome to another review where we step back from the world of Aliens and Predators and visit the exciting world of Doctor Henry Jones Junior, aka Indiana Jones! Several months ago Sideshow Collectibles began shipping their Raiders of the Lost Ark Indiana Jones Premium Format statue, one of their most exciting and highly anticipated Premium Format pieces ever. Today I would like to share my thoughts on the piece, photos, and why a re-paint forced me to put a hold on this review for so long.


Easily one of the most exciting pieces to come from Sideshow in a long time that isn’t Predator related, I could hardly wait to get my hands on this piece, so you can imagine my huge disappointment when he arrived within 2 days of shipping out from the Sideshow warehouse in perfect condition but yet was seriously flawed. All movie-related accuracies aside, the figure’s clothing, pose and sculpt are AMAZING, easily making this one of the best PFs ever issued from Sideshow, yet for some reason mine appears to be Obama dressed up as Indiana Jones! The skin tones of the head (the hands were fine) were clearly too dark, painted a dark brown shade that was almost the same color as his brown hair! So while everything else was PERFECT, the face paint job was a disaster so I contacted Sideshow for a replacement as I felt this was a defective unit.

Now let me just tell you the difference here between returning a DEFECTIVE item vs returning an item you are not satisfied with… When Sideshow is dealing with a defective item, they will either have you destroy it like I did with my defective Scar helmet, or return it AT THEIR COST to their warehouse. If the item you received simply isn’t what you wanted or for some reason no longer want it, you can return it for a full refund, however you must pay the shipping costs to return it to Sideshow. Here’s the official word from Sideshow (read the last paragraph).

So naturally I called in and submitted this as a defective item and requested a replacement, especially when I saw other folks receiving and posting their Indiana Jones PF photos and they were fine. Obviously this was a fluke right? Nope… Sideshow came back saying that due to the fact that these are all hand painted, each piece may be a bit different, and that’s what makes each piece unique blah blabbiddy blah. Umm.. my Indiana Jones has a dark brown head, how is that NOT a defect? So they offered a refund to me if I wanted to return the statue on my dime instead of a replacement, which I declined because A) I felt that was a piss poor response from Sideshow (I sent photos and video footage of the very obviously WRONG paint application) and B) I could get the head repainted for the cost of shipping it back to Sideshow! By the way, I should mention here that I’ve dealt with great folks over at Sideshow in customer service and their returns department like Jaclyn Yudkowsky, Kathy Harter, Mike Hollister and many others who treated me like collector royalty but I feel whoever dealt the decision on this piece totally dropped the ball.

The issue became know as the Obama Indies or too-dark-tanned Indies and it quickly became apparent that for whatever reasons, this only affected a limited number of NON-EXCLUSIVE statues. I only saw a handful of people with Indies as dark as mine, and every single one was the non-exclusive edition. OK so someone in China got his freak on with the dark brown, and somehow that should make me feel unique… thanks but no thanks. So off this near-perfect statue went to my buddy Joe Dunaway for a face repaint and I hunkered down and waited until I could finally review it and make it a well loved part of my collection!

Before I give this guy a quick undressing (ho ho ho), let’s get the specs from Sideshow’s product page:

The Premium Format Indiana Jones figure presents the adventuring archaeologist as he appears in Raiders of the Lost Ark, standing tall with the fertility idol and bullwhip in hand. The figure features a belted holster that houses a removable revolver. (Please note: revolver cannot be held in whip hand.) Down to the tilt of his trademark fedora, each figure is sculpted to Sideshow’s museum-quality standards and dressed in an expertly tailored real fabric costume that captures the essence of Dr. Jones. Each piece is hand-cast of high-quality polystone, hand finished and individually numbered.

PLEASE NOTE: The removable revolver has not been designed to be held in either hand. The whip is a separate piece, designed to fit into the left hand only. The fertility idol is removable for safety during shipping, and is held magnetically in the right hand.

The Sideshow Exclusive version of the Indiana Jones – Raiders of the Lost Ark Premium Format Figure includes a unique feature available nowhere else: Interchangeable hatless portrait for alternate display!

Product Size: 22″ H x 10″ W x 10″ L
Product Weight: 15.00 lbs

Artists:

Joe Allard
Greg Mowry of Geppetto Productions
Kevin Ellis
Heath Hammond
Anthony Mestas
Trevor Grove
Jared Chapman
Tim Niver
Bernardo Esquivel
Mike Arbios
Chadwick Andersen
Jesse Lincoln
Seth Rinaldi
Tom Gilliland
Erick Sosa

The development team did a FANTASTIC job on this guy, I absolutely love this statue.. but what’s with the decision of having a no-hat pose as the exclusive?! I guess maybe some collectors will disagree with me, why would you possibly want to display him WITHOUT his Fedora?! Although in all honesty, as I sit here and look at my PF, I can’t think of what would have been a decent exclusive either, so maybe they just decided to go with the hat thing instead of arguing for months over something else lol! Either way, I was perfectly happy getting the regular edition because it came with the hat pose, the only pose acceptable for ol’ Indiana right?

SCULPT AND CLOTHING

All I can say it WOW! I’m the first guy to say that using real material for clothing instead of sculpted clothes usually ends up looking ridiculous, with giant buttons, zippers the size of hands and shirt and pant pockets big enough to haul watermelons. But Indy’s clothing is AWESOME and fits the statue beautifully and looks like something you would have in a museum or sitting on Steven Spielberg’s desk. The jacket is a tad too short and the wrong color (In Raiders, Indy’s jacket is brown and this PF is some kind of olive/grey color and goes below the belt) but honestly that’s pretty minor to me as the jacket still looks great. There was some mention that his jacket looked too shiny and clean, but that didn’t really bother me… for anyone that is bothered by that, you can scuff and dirty it up with some sand in the palm of your hand a little elbow grease. The pants and shirt are also very nice and fit him perfectly. One thing that really bothers me in real clothing applications is the fit of the pants, where they are pulled up too high or they’re too short as though someone is expecting a flood. Indy’s pants are waisted in the right place and fall nicely over his shoes in a very natural and realistic way. All his accessories look great too, although many people reported problems with their holsters coming unglued. Sideshow was sending out replacements, but you can also glue yours if need be… I used epoxy when I accidentally split mine open. You should also adjust his belt and satchel a bit, and perhaps give the bag a bit of fill by stuffing a couple of little balls of tissue in there so it’s not so flat. Play around a bit with it until you’re happy with the look… things tend to get flattened in shipping, so you need to tweak him a bit to get him looking in top shape!

As for the sculpt, I will be the first to say that this is by far the best likeness of Harrison Ford I have ever seen, it’s pretty much near-perfection… and this is coming from someone who thinks it almost impossible to find a good likeness on human characters. A HUGE hats off to whoever sculpted the head, it’s kickass! There are a few angles where it’s off a little tiny bit, but from so many angles it’s bang-on and leaves no doubt as to who it is even if you cut the head away from the Indy gear and asked strangers who the head looked like. Brilliant job and we can only wish that all head sculpts were as dead-on as this one.

The base is a tall round piece with engravings all over it styled after the ruins and pedestal of the golden idol from the famous scene right at the beginning of the movie that sets the tone for the rest of the movie and remains one of the most famous scenes in movie making history. Some folks thought the base was too tall, but I think it works great and looks perfect with great detailing all around and works to compliment the statue overall. It was a great choice for the base and well executed from where I stand.


PAINT AND FINISHING

As previously mentioned there was a small issue with the color of the jacket, and the rather strange issue with the skin tones of the head. I should also mention that the color of the hat is wrong as well, it also had a greyish olive cast to it instead of the brown rabbit felt coloration. The hands and base were great and I should mention that I saw many factory paint jobs posted on the various forums that looked awesome, so I’m sure had I received a well painted head I would have been very satisfied and given top marks.

From a painting standpoint, there’s very little that is actually painted… the hands, shoes, hat, head, pistol, whip and base and it’s hard to try and say this is well painted considering that out of that list, only the hands, pistol, shoes and base were done properly and accurately. The head was WAY too dark, the hat was the wrong color and the whip’s two-toned color doesn’t match photos of the bullwhip seen in the movie stills. But the over all finish combined with the wonderful and realistic looking clothing, the wicked good head sculpt, awesome classic pose and overall attitude of the statue overshadow pretty much all of these issues and sets itself as one of the best PFs Sideshow has issued to date. In fact the only Premium Format statue I can think of that scores better marks is the Lurtz PF, but there is no question that this is the BEST Indiana Jones statue I have ever seen. I know there are some real die-hard fans of CM out there, but I think they totally bombed on their Indy piece and this PF, which is a fraction of the price, looks far better.

So with all that said, I would have said this statue was near perfect had it not been for that darn failure of a paint job on the head, but with the repaint now back from Joe, I am COMPLETELY happy with this piece and he will remain as the definitive Indiana Jones collectible to represent my love of the movies in my collection unless someone somehow tops this, which I think is very unlikely. Anyone on the fence about this piece should not hesitate to pick it up, I can honestly say that as long as you get a properly painted head (try to get the exclusive version, which seems to be unaffected or have your statue verified for this issue prior to shipping), you will be blown away by this piece. Congratulations Sideshow on putting out one of your BEST Premium Formats to date!

Now, if you could just fix the head sculpt on the Crystal Skull Premium Format Statue that is coming up, I’d be a happy camper!

In addition to this written review and photos, I’ve put together a little video review in full HD on YouTube, which seems to be becoming a fan favorite for those of you that enjoy these reviews. In all honesty, the video reviews take ages to put together, but I absolutely LOVE doing it so I’m really glad that work is paying off and people are enjoying the reviews. Click here to check out the Indiana Jones HD Video Review, or click the YouTube icon below:

Video Available on YouTube!

Ready for photos? I’ve taken a bunch of photos, mostly showing the new painted head done up by Joe Dunaway, but you will definitely see the awesome details in the clothing and overall look of the statue. Bear in mind that in these photos, the hat has been re-colored, the face repainted, and the shoes have some additional detailing added. Other than that, everything else is exactly as you would get from a regular production unit. Click the icon below for the goods:

That’s it for this review guys and gals, hope you enjoyed and as always, please feel free to share your feedback on this review or the Indy PF by clicking the comment button below and using the comment form to share your thoughts, or if you need to send me an email, use the contact form.

Take care!
Dan

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PredatorStuff.com Reviews the AWESOME Cinemaquette Predator 1 Statue!

July 7th, 2009

Last week I promised you guys the biggest, baddest review ever and tonight, I deliver on that promise by presenting you my review of the world’s most expensive scaled Predator collectible… the Cinemaquette Predator 1 statue! Sit back and prepare to read a small novel, watch 30 minutes of video footage and check out half a hundred photos from every angle. Let’s get rolling…


First off, before we go any further, I need to thank TerminatorMan over at the Freaks board for hooking me up with this piece… he was AMAZING to deal with and sent this baby with ultra secure packaging and really followed through on the deal in every way. Thanks so much man, you ROCK!

Ringing in at $2000 retail price and a set release of 1000 statues worldwide, the Cinemaquette Predator statue has the honor of being the most expensive scaled licensed Predator collectible created to date, and today I will hopefully help you decide if this piece is worth it. The brand new sculpt from Steve Wang also has the distinct honor of being the longest awaited collectible ever made for Predator… rumblings about this piece started over 4 years ago! Measuring just over 31″ in height and a total shipping weight of 97 lbs, this sucker is HUGE and commands enormous presence in any one’s collection, and pretty much dominates just about anything you could possibly imagine.

I have to apologize in advance for the length of this review, simply because I have so much information and opinions on it that this is likely to be quite a small production and wear out a few keys on my keyboard. Let’s begin by talking about the sculpt, which is actually the most talked about point of this piece.

SCULPTING

The statue is completely sculpted from the ground up by Steve Wang, and it features what he states is an idealized version of the Predator 1. There has been massive debate and discussion about the accuracy of this piece vs the movie vs the Sideshow Maquette, so just to set the record straight, there is no question that the Cinemaquette piece is NOT movie accurate, and this is done on purpose. The final result is what Steve Wang preferred in the look of the Predator, and if he could go back and redo the Predator 1, this is how it would look. The overall body is slightly changed with a different stance in the legs and the head is flatter with a higher crown, closer to a P2 style head. The Sideshow Maquette is definitely closer to the movie version, and with very good reason… the Sideshow piece is taken from a 3D scan of the full size Predator that once sat in the foyer of the Stan Winston Studios building. The slight inaccuracies that crop up in the Sideshow piece such as the cannon being too large are due to the fact that these were not part of the original scan, and were scratch built and added to the piece. There’s also been talk of the legs being too thick, too skinny, not looking right etc… but they look fine to me either way.

So in terms of accuracy to the film, the Cinemaquette is obviously based on the Predator 1 character, but there are slight purposeful changes that Steve worked in to his sculpt that look awesome. The Sideshow Maquette is clearly more true to the film.

Looking for a display case? For this kind of money, spend the extra cash and get yourself an acrylic display case to protect him… the MINIMUM size you need is 26″ W x 23″ D x 32″ H. If you have no idea where to get a case, click HERE for the perfect case at a great price from casesforcollectibles.com. I already did the shopping for you lol!

In terms of sculpting details, you really can’t get better than this… the statue is huge, but it is LOADED with tiny details all over the Predator itself and the base. All of the armor is intricately worked with massive abouts of little bolts and bits all over the place… the gauntlets alone are extremely impressive. A close visual inspection over the entire statue shows no casting problems and the detail work is crisp and clean anywhere you look. The armor seams are perfect and even the bones on the necklace are worked with tremendous amounts of details, showing pores and small fissures and cracks en masse. Same deal with the base… the rocks and tree roots are loaded with realistic detail, bringing the entire piece to life.

PARTS AND MATERIALS

Judging by the sheer weight of the statue, the Predator body is cast in solid resin and the base appears to be a thick hollow casting… definitely nothing flimsy here, and the weight alone speaks for itself. You could use this as a really expensive boat anchor or perhaps a unique weight training device. Let’s go over the materials and part breakdown of this statue, starting off with the base and working our way up the piece…

The base feels like a thick hollow-cast material… it’s very heavy but not quite heavy enough for me to think it’s completely solid. The base features roots and water with the helmet and feet already bonded in place by the clear resin they used to make the very realistic water. The top of each foot has a hole for the body’s pins to slide in to place when installing the body to the base. The plants are in a separate bag and simply plug in to keyed holes along the back of the base. There is an included manual in the box that shows you which plants belong in which holes, it’s all fairly idiot proof. The base also has a brushed metal name plate along the front with the Predator logo on it… be sure to peel off the protective plastic film.

The helmet does NOT come off the base, it is embedded right in the clear resin and does not come off and cannot be worn by the Predator. This is an advantage to the Sideshow Maquette, the design concept of having the masked and unmasked poses available was really an excellent idea by Sideshow, too bad CM didn’t copy this idea as well.

The body itself is mostly already assembled, with just the cannon and forearms needing to be attached… the bone necklaces are already strung on leather twine and tied in place on the body, you will just need to unwrap the foam wrapping off them. You’ll find 3 separate strings of the skulls… the one with the single human vertebrae, another with 5 animal skulls, and finally the last one with various smaller bones tied around the neck. The body is also covered in the trademark cloaking material, which is of course the netting. The netting is a completely separate material that has been attached in place, it is not sculpted in then painted. The fact that it’s separate definitely adds to the realism and it looks fantastic! The knees and elbows are all accented with some ribbon material to mimic the tied pieces of leather as seen in the movie and the cod piece and butt area are covered with some great looking pseudo leather material. Love the buttflap material, it has a great and very realistic animal skin pattern to it, similar to alligator or something, it works very well for the statue’s look.

The forearms then pop in to place and stay attached via magnets hid in the castings. For the wristblade gauntlet, the blades are already attached and not come out or slide in and out of the gauntlet… they are set in the opened position and can’t be moved. The wrist computer has some sneaky fun stuff going on too! The arm computer itself slides right out of the gauntlet and reveals a small battery door underneath for 2 AAA batteries. Install the batteries, drop it back it to the housing and you’ve got a light-up computer display and bomb countdown sequence when you lift the computer’s lid! There is no on/off switch, it automatically turns on and off when you open and close the lid, and the sequence restarts in a continuous loop until you shut the lid. Please click HERE to view a video of the entire countdown sequence I put together.

The head itself is already attached to the body and cannot be removed… same with the dreads, they are all pre installed and are made of a flexible rubber type material. You can’t really pose them, but they have a very natural and realistic look that is perfect for the statue, it all fits in very well together. The last piece you need to attach is the plasma cannon, which just pops in to place once you move a couple of dreads aside.

Unless you happen to pull something trying to move this beast, you should have it up and ready to display in 5 minutes, it’s very easy to assemble it. Just be careful not to drop him when setting his ankle rods in to the feet in the base!

PAINT WORK

When it comes to the world of pre-paints, you can’t really get much better than this! While I know the prototypes painted by Steve Wang were obviously more impressive, you can’t find very much to complain about on this guy. The paint detail is as good, if not slightly better than the Sideshow Predator Maquette, with some nice transparent effects on the skin and decent spot patterns on the body. The armor is beautifully weathered except for the blast marks, which I will go in to later in this review. The color of the mouth is perfect, with just the right amount of skin tones, pink flesh and veins… I noticed a couple of people said it wasn’t red enough, but that’s actually wrong, it shouldn’t be red like they do for the Hot Toys Predators. That’s actually TOO red and I find that Predator paint applications with red mouths ruin the entire thing.

I should mention that I love this base and it’s beautifully painted with very realistic water that has very cool swirling mud and green effects. The rocks, feet and helmet all have water drops on them and it all looks VERY realistic and beautifully detailed. I always felt the SS Maquette had a shoddy base that was poorly painted compared to the rest of the statue, whereas the base on the CM piece is as outstanding as the statue itself. The head is well detailed, however some of the spots do have some speckling from the airbrush around them, which is common on a prepaint and expected. You only see this when you have your face a few inches from the paint, so it’s not really a big deal.

Overall the paint is quite good for a factory type application, I definitely don’t have an issue with it and it looks significantly better in person that I had assumed based on some of the photos taken by other collectors. In fact, I quote plainly see why everyone was saying “the photos just don’t do it justice”.

PACKAGING

There’s no question this thing is heavy and awkward, so it had to be packaged to take a beating and I feel they’ve definitely given this piece the protection is needs to survive the wrath of the postman. The box is heavy enough at 97lbs, but what makes it hard to move around is the fact that the box is just so huge. Unless you have long arms and some decent strength, I wouldn’t recommend moving this around by yourself. At 6’3″ and an avid weight lifter, I managed to muscle it up 3 flights of stairs, but it was tiring and I could easily count 2 or 3 times where I almost had a disaster.

The piece is wrapped in 3 boxes… the outer brown shipping box, an inner protective white box, and finally a gorgeous thick black retail box with foam cardboard sides and re-enforced corners. You don’t actually have to remove the boxes from each other, you simply open the flaps on the brown and white boxes, and then remove the lid from the retail box like you remove the lid off a shoe box. Inside is 3 layers of protective foam shell packaging with parts you need to remove from each layer. The top layer has the COA, so you remove that and then pull out the foam to reveal the body, arms and other parts, as well as the manual. Take all that out, pull out that shell, and finally you have the base nestled at the bottom. Take out the base, set it where you want to display you piece, then set the body in place, add the plants and cannon and insert the arms last. You’ll want to install the arms as the last step to avoid accidentally knocking one off as you are installing plant life or the cannon. If you hit and drop one of those arms, you can bet you’ll be crying about 2 milliseconds later. Once you have all that done, you’re good to go!

OK, with our general rundown of the piece finished, let’s look at the good, the bad and the ugly that come with this piece.

THE GOOD

There is no question that overall size and finish on this statue make it EXTREMELY impressive and it basically overshadows everything in your collection with it’s kick-ass energy. With Steve Wang’s amazing abilities, the sculpt is an obvious win and with decent quality factory paint, it makes this piece a must-have for Predator collectors and easily the flagship product for Cinemaquette. I’m actually not a fan of CM simply because they usually do human characters and I find their human likenesses to be WAAAAY off (and we all know where I stand on that) but holy cow did they knock this piece out of the park. Bigger IS better in this case!


The pose is also excellent, and I know some people didn’t like the Sideshow pose and prefer this museum style rather than the action look of the Sideshow piece. By the way, for the record, the Sideshow piece does NOT look like he’s falling over… he’s simply leaning forward because he’s about to strike and he’s got his momentum forward just like anyone does when running, tackling, fighting etc. I think the pose is very dynamic and works well, but hey, that’s just me! In addition to what seems to be a preferred pose for some is that I think the base is far superior on this one in terms of final finishing. The extensive water effects look awesome and all the rocks and roots are beautifully painted with some realistic moss added in for good measure.

I also love the material they used for the dreads, it looks awesome and with their flexible material, no chance of breakage in shipping or when handling it… I actually managed to unglue one of my Sideshow Maquette dreads once while assembling it, OOPS! The armor is also GORGEOUS on here, the weathering and metallic paint work is dead on and very realistic, it looks great!

Overall, it’s the first thing people see when they walk in to the office and the last thing they look at on the way out… it has a huge commanding presence, looks awesome and has an overall realism that gives the impression that it will walk off the base and attack my dog at any second.

THE BAD

With this being a $2000 collectible, you can bet that I am going to nitpick and be very hard on this piece, but honestly the problems I have with it are borderline laughable to most, and probably ridiculous to the rest.

The first and obvious thing I noticed was the inability to display this in a helmet pose like the Sideshow Maquette. I LOVE that feature and genuinely think it was a very smart move for Sideshow to include both poses in their exclusive version. For 2 grand, I think both poses should have been offered on the Cinemaquette piece as well. The other thing that seemed odd is the scale of the bones, especially the vertebrae he wears that is supposed to be from a human. If that’s a human vertebrae, then this Predator must be 20 feet tall or more! So yeah, they made that way too tiny, in fact the vertebrae on the Sideshow Maquette is bigger even though it’s 1:4 scale and the Cinemaquette statue is 1:3.

In terms of the paint job, there are two little things I don’t like. First thing is how they did the blast marks on the armor… unfortunately they look a lot less like blastmarks and a lot more like airbrushed eyelashes of some kind! Both the chest and leg armor have these eyelash blastmarks and they just suck. Thank goodness they are very faint though, so it’s not really a big deal as it doesn’t stick out very much. Had the blast marks been darker however, I think I would have really been annoyed and made a bigger deal out of it in my review.

The second issue with the paint is that the head appears to have more orange to it than anywhere else on the body and in photos, it really sticls out that the head appears to be orangy… more so than the body. It’s not so obvious in person, but when looking at photos of it, you’ll really see it stand out. Actually while I’m at it, why do companies insist of painting that white dot on the eyes to re-create light shining in the eyes?! If you just make the eyes very glossy, they will do this NATURALLY! All you prepaint companies out there need to stop fudging the light shining in the eyes, it looks weird!

As much as I love the rubber style dreads, I’m not a fan of the rock hard and sharp quills… they are super prone to breakage so be careful with them! Doesn’t take much to snag yourself on them and snap one off!

And finally, the last thing that may bother you are the plastic plants… some people say they can’t stand them and it looks cheap, others don’t seem to care. Personally I am in the “don’t care” camp, I think they look fine, and with them garnering maybe 0.00001% of my attention, I barely even notice them while drooling at the rest of this beast! Worse comes to worse, you don’t have to install the plants and the holes in the base where they go are barely visible.

THE UGLY

The only major issue I have with this piece is what seems to be a serious quality control issue on the part of Cinemaquette. White glove treatment or not, a HUGE percentage of collectors are receiving damaged statues so I HIGHLY recommend that if you buy this, get the seller to visually RE-INSPECT EVERYTHING for damage of any kind, ESPECIALLY for damaged or missing quills on the head and arms and for scratched armor. These two issues are the most common by far…

The member Hellboy over at the StatueForum.com actually put together a poll for Cinemaquette Predator owners to get an idea of the QC problems, here are the stats out of that poll that 53 people replied to:

The question asked was: How did your CM Predator arrive?

1. Perfect – no breakage/damage
27 People or 50.94%

2. Minor Damage – Can live with it or fix it myself
15 28.30%

3. Significant Damage – Debating sending it back but may fix
4 People or 7.55%

4. Major Damage – Definitely needs to be replaced
4 People or 7.55%

5. Major Damage – Getting or got a refund
3 People or 5.66%

So based on those numbers, only 50% of buyers in the poll received a statue with no problems, that’s a pretty serious failure rate. In fact, one of my dear friends Ian suffered pretty much all known reported problems all on his ONE statue! When he contacted BBTS, the store owner checked his stock and found that ALL his current stock had defects and could not be shipped as replacements. Not only that, but for the statues that were missing quills, the quills were not found in the box, so it looks like they were packed with the quills missing right at the factory.

So if you do pick this up, be VERY cautious and do everything you can to have it inspected properly before it’s shipped to you. Nothing could be worse than finally getting this to your house and finding problems that require replacement, especially for international customers that paid a fortune in shipping and duty and barely have the will to face a returns procedure at this point.

If you do receive the statue with broken or missing quills and that is the ONLY issue, you can easily make a new one for under a 1$ that looks perfect, just check out the video review series for how to do it with a dental floss pick! (Video link coming up).

THE BOTTOM LINE

The battle rages on between collectors on which statue is the better one… the Sideshow Maquette or the Cinemaquette Statue. With the price of the Sideshow Exclusive version now selling for $1600 or more (I’ve actually seen it hit well over $1800 in the past), the Cinemaquette is maybe $500 more at this point, and if the budget allows it, I would say go for the Cinemaquette. The Sideshow piece is more accurate to the movie and you get the masked and unmasked heads, but the Cinemaquette simply mauls it in terms of overall presence when side by side, it’s just bigger and the overall presentation of the statue is superior.

I did see an interesting question asked earlier today though… a forum member asked what we would do if both statues were the SAME SIZE, then what would you do… if that were the case, I would have to pick the Sideshow piece at that point, the improved accuracy and two head poses would win it for me.

HOWEVER, with that said, both are extremely gorgeous statues and must-haves for any Predator fan and both look VERY impressive in your collection so owners of either statue should be very proud of them. When it comes to the Cinemaquette, the question is really a matter of budget… $2000 plus shipping (and customs if applicable) is a lot of scratch for a statue and it’s the kind of thing that starts divorces. If you can do it, go for it, you won’t regret it as it will likely become the definitive piece for any Predator collector, especially for those of us that don’t have room for a full-sized statue. Lord knows I can’t with my 9 x 12 office!

VIDEO AND MEDIA

With all that said, you can bet there was NO WAY to fit my video review in to 10 minutes no matter how I tried to edit it, so I’ve broken the video review down in to 3 separate videos for a total of almost 30 minutes of footage! In case you were not aware of it, YouTube only allows videos up to 10 minutes long, so I have to try and work within that limitation but there was just too much to talk about and show you. I’m also excited to introduce the new opening credits sequence I finished up last week in Adobe After Effects! This is an 18 second intro I created to put in all my videos as the opening intro, I hope you like it… a lot of hours went in to it lol! Here are the videos all in HD (bear in mind HD may still be processing depending on how soon you see this review… if you see it’s still processing, give it a couple of hours and the HD version should be available):

START HERE – Cinemaquette Review Video Part 1
Cinemaquette Review Video Part 2
Cinemaquette Review Video Part 3

Full video of the wrist bomb light sequence

Or for you YouTube savvy folks, just click on the YouTube icon below to watch Part 1 and then check out my YouTube channel for parts 2 and 3!

Video Available on YouTube!

And you just KNOW that I took a ton of photos right? For 50 high resolution photos taken from all angles of this AMAZING piece, please click the photo icon below! (By the way, this thing was WAAAAAY too big for my photo booth… I ended up stapling bedsheets to the ceiling to diffuse my lighting!) Please note that my photos begin on page 3 and they are the ones named “dancmpred_xx.jpg”.

And that, my friends, concludes my largest, longest winded and finger aching tutorial ever, I hope you enjoyed it! As always, I encourage anyone to please leave your comments good or bad by clicking on the comment button and sharing your feedback. Please feel free to talk about this review or the collectible in the review, just keep it civil and I’m happy to hear it all! Have a good one and I will see you all soon! Don’t forget my Sideshow Celtic Lense change video is coming up later this week!

To purchase this amazing statue, check out the Cinemaquette Product Page by clicking HERE.

Take care!
Dan

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Predatorstuff Reviews the Sideshow AvP Celtic Predator Bio Helmet!

June 30th, 2009

At long last… I’ve managed to get my hands on a Sideshow AvP Celtic Predator Bio Helmet and today it’s REVIEW TIME! Ever since I ran over the last AvP helmet I reviewed and mercilessly abused the idiotic paper lenses, you guys have all been anxiously waiting to see what I do to this one since I first reported that from the high resolution prototype photos on the Sideshow site, it looked like the Celtic would have NO LENSES AT ALL, just paint! Shall we dance?

Sideshow AvP Celtic Predator Bio Helmet

OK guys, let’s just get this out of the way… *takes out the soap box*

Sideshow… I love you guys, your company comes up with awesome ideas for collectibles, you have awesome staff and have even managed to impress me with some of your releases. But screw you and the horse you road in on with this completely STUPID idea of not having lenses and just painting over the resin. It looks like ass, it’s poorly done, and your lame cheap cop-out completely drags down the look of what could have been an AMAZING piece. Wake up and stop screwing over collectors with the piss-poor finishing on your pieces! Iron Man bust, Scar bio, Celtic Bio, Indy PF and Moria Orc (and that’s just what I’ve ordered from you) all looked awesome on your site but ended up being complete cock-ups because your production department failed to catch China spitting out crap or you simply took the cheap route and made the collectible a joke through lame development ideas. Paper lenses on a $300 collectible?! Are you serious?! You’re starting to piss of your loyal fans… start fixing this!

*breaths* OK.. I feel better already. Alright, so as you’ve probably guessed or already found out on the collector forums, the Celtic does indeed NOT have any kind of lenses… they simply left the resin over the eye holes and painted it over with silver paint and some black flecks of paint, and it looks TERRIBLE. There is simply no glossy lense effect at all… no clearcoat, no plastic over the paint, nothing. I’m actually not ranting and raving about this because unlike the paper lenses on the Scar bio, I knew about this ahead of time and was mentally prepared for the idiocy ahead of time lol! OK so the lenses are a MAJOR FAIL and no, I won’t be running over this one, blowing it up or destroying it, sorry guys! In fact, I already like this way better than the Scar bio, but we’ll get in to that later.

Let’s look at the stats on this guy:

Product Size: 15″ H x 11″ W x 15″ D
Product Weight: 21.00 lbs
Limited Edition: 750

Artists:

Tom Gilliland
Brock Otterbacher
Scott Klauder
Amalgamated Dynamics Inc
The Sideshow Design and Development Team

Sideshow is proud to partner with Amalgamated Dynamics Inc (ADI) to bring you the Alien vs. Predator Prop Replica line, featuring some of the most advanced weaponry and armor ever conceived for the Predator arsenal. Each prop replica is an exact 1:1 reproduction of the original screen used prop, as created by ADI. The Celtic Predator Mask Prop Replica is cast in fiberglass and features a light-up targeting feature. The piece is complete with a display stand that can be displayed on your desktop or mounted on your wall. Each piece is hand-cast, hand-finished, and hand-painted to exacting standards, then individually hand-numbered.

Sideshow AvP Celtic Predator Bio Helmet

The Celtic is easily my favorite helmet from the AvP designs and is probably my second favorite design after the Wolf bio in terms of all Predator movies… Of course the original P1 will always have that special place in my heart, but design wise the Wolf and Celtic tickle my fancy. So when Sideshow announced that this bio was coming out, I was very excited to have this guy direct from the ADI molds. A few talented fans out there have sculpted and released some very nice Celtic bios out in the community for a couple of years now (Stever Hird, Pete Mander, Weaslefinger) but they were all slightly off in one way or another and many of us were waiting for something pretty much dead on. Sideshow definitely made a good call on releasing these, MANY collectors love these helmet designs even if the movies themselves were a bit meh.

The casting is very nice, clean and quite heavy… the detail looks great and they’ve used that same fiberglass resin combination with the fully finished inside with a black hammered texture. As with the Wolf and Scar, you have the magnet for connecting it to the base and the small switch to activate the LEDs in the laser shroud. Nothing unexpected hear and everything looks great. I did see some people concerned with warped castings or symmetry issues but in-hand it looks perfect with no warping or weirdness to it when it sits on the base. There’s also no detail loss anywhere due to air bubbles or anything like that, which my original Scar DID have and resulted in it’s asphalt death. Comparing the helmet to the ADI book does confirm the exact same detailing as the original prop piece, so the molds do seem to match. So top marks on the casting quality, absolutely no complaints on this one.

The paint job is the same boring silver and black wash they used on the Scar helmet, and then it looks like they used a spatter effect where they dipped a brush in black wash and flicked the bristles with a finger to cover it in fine black dots. The entire helmet is covered using this process, including the lense area. As mentioned before, they painted the resin over the eyes silver and flicked some black over them. On the rest of the bio, it looks OK, but on the lenses it looks like garbage. I’m also noticing that mine seems to have a bit heavier weathering than some of the other photos people have posted although it’s STILL not as weathered as the prototype photos on the Sideshow Website. Someone needs to show those guys how to weather armor on full size prop pieces a little more realistically… The other paint issue of note is the fact that unlike the movie prop, the Sideshow piece has copper paint on the cheek, jaw and nose detailing. I can confirm that this was requested by ADI for the final finishing, but I have no idea why. In all honesty though, I like it… it’s actually an improvement to the piece to be honest and helps lessen the yawn factor of the boring paint job. They should have done it like that in the movie too!

Sideshow AvP Celtic Predator Bio Helmet

The base is the exact same wall mountable base used for all their other helmet releases, which is fine, they look great and it’s painted in the same scheme as all the other bases.

As a little side bit, I am going to offer you guys some suggestions on how you can pimp the lenses and make this helmet look AMAZING in just a few minutes. I’ll offer you permanent and non-permanent solutions to fixing the lenses up so they have a nice glossy semi reflective look and it will increase the look of your helmet tremendously.

Permanent: If you don’t mind doing something permanent to your helmet, you can simply add a layer of clearcoat to the helmet with either a spray can, airbrush or brush. Any art store will sell brush-on clear coat (Liquitex offers many levels of gloss in tiny bottles) or you can use Future Floor Polish in an air brush to shine up the lense areas. Basically what you want to do is make them look like they are covered in a plastic lense.

Non-Permanent: Carefully cut out and fit a piece of plastic perfectly in to the lense socket and pop them in place… if the material you are using is rigid enough, you can pinch it in place and use a heat gun to shape the plastic perfectly to the eye lense. This is probably the best option and will look the best. My suggestion for materials is to go to Home Depot and find their section where they sell the sheets of plexi glass and they always have a spot where they put in smaller scraps from customers that had them cut pieces for them. Find the thinnest piece possible for ease of use. The other source for easy plastic lenses is a dollar store type place and you can usually find fake glasses with clear lenses. If you can find lenses big enough for the helmet, you can carefully sand or dremel down the edges as needed to fit them and again use a heat gun to form it. If you see that the lenses won’t stay in place, a TINY strand of hot glue in a couple of spots on the edges of the lenses will hold them in place and you can remove it later on without damaging the paint.

Ooooor you can just leave it as is and enjoy it anyhow depending on how picky you are. In the next few weeks I am going to put together a video tutorial on how I modified my lenses, which I plan on doing as soon as possible.

With all that out of the way, the bottom line on this helmet is that despite the idiotic lack of lenses, this is actually a better helmet than the Scar simply because the sculpt is so much cooler and detailed. The paint job is pretty much the same quality but with an easy lense fix I think overall the helmet would look gorgeous. In fact, that’s what is so frustrating… had Sideshow simply put a couple of pieces of plastic over the painted lenses, it would have looked GREAT! I still think the value is there, for $300 you get a prop from the ADI studio mold that is finished and painted, has LEDs and a cool base. It sucks that you have to customize the helmet a bit to get it top notch, but it’s well worth it.

And what’s a review with some video… check out the HD video review I put together on YouTube by clicking here or on the icon below. Apologies in advance for the lack of violence, explosions or vehicular destruction – I’m keeping this one! (The video was JUST uploaded when this article was published… the HD version may not be available for a couple of hours until it is fully processed)

Video Available on YouTube!

Ready for eye-candy? I’ve gone ahead and snapped a ton of photos for your viewing pleasure, focused mainly on showing you the detailed areas of the bio so you can see for yourself how nice the castings are. Unfortunately they also show how lame the lense areas are, but I digress. Click the photo icon below for all the pics:

That’s about all I have to say on this guy, what do you guys think? Click the comment button below and share your thoughts on the Celtic bio or this review, I’d love to hear your feedback! Hope you enjoyed the review everyone, see you soon with more goodies! Remember next week is Predatorstuff’s BIGGEST REVIEW EVER!

Take care,
Dan

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Predatorstuff Reviews the Hot Toys Iron Man Mark III Figure!

June 29th, 2009

Good afternoon folks! As promised, I was finally able to get back to recording reviews and the first one I have to show you is my review of the Iron Man Mark III figure by Hot Toys. I would have liked to have done the Celtic Bio Helmet from Sideshow but it still hasn’t arrived although I am expecting it any minute now. So without further chatter, let’s get to it!

Hot Toys Iron Man Mark III Figure

Collectors all over the world were EXTREMELY excited when Hot Toys first started showing off their Iron Man figures, and rightfully so because the images were positively STUNNING! They looked more like high end collectible statues than plastic poseable figures with weird proportions and funny looking joints. Say what you want about the RIDICULOUSLY popular Hot Toys Predators, you can’t tell me they have weird skinny looking bodies and funny looking heads. Needless to say I was VERY excited about getting a Mark III in my hands (I have the Mark II on the way and the Mark I is on pre-order) and I am happy to report that I am not disappointed with the final result at all… it’s stunning!

The Mark III is part of Hot Toys’ ever improving and extremely popular Masterpiece series, which covers all kinds of awesome movie licenses such as Terminator, Rambo, Predator, Aliens, Iron Man and more! They are 1:6 scale figures, so human type pieces tend to be around 12″ tall, which is exactly the height of the Iron Man Mark III. The figure comes with over 36 points of articulation allowing you to pose it in many of the iconic movie poses including the classic arm blast pose, flying and the kneeling fist pose, and all the poses look awesome. Most articulated figures tend to look goofy if you try to pose them beyond their default pose, but the Mark III pulls off a ton with no funny looking arm or leg positions.

The paint is a metallic looking dark red and gold with light-up eyes, chest and hands and comes with 3 pairs of hand configurations along with an interchangeable head with authentic likeness of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark (more on all this later). Top it all off with a typical Hot Toys stand and a GORGEOUS retail box and you’ve got yourself one hell of a kick-ass figure!

Hot Toys Iron Man Mark III Figure

First let’s talk about the good stuff (there’s very little bad stuff that I noticed) and why I think this is probably the best Iron Man movie-based piece released so far! Overall I think the sculpt is fantastic and from a non-fanboy standpoint it looks exactly like the movie version. No idea if there are some bolts or lines that are wrong, but it looks spot on to me. And for once, the articulation does not ruin the sculpt at all, in fact it enhances it! This can sit in your display and look like a high quality statue and the beauty of the ingenious articulation is that you can repose it… typically figures suffer from either silly looking articulation joints or weird looking arms and/or legs when trying to twist them in to different poses. The Mark III has no such problems, it gorgeous and perfect in terms of sculpt and articulation, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Presentation wise, the box itself is a collectible! I have collectibles worth over $1000 and not even they can come CLOSE to the gorgeous retail boxes Hot Toys seems to come up with for all of their Masterpiece figures, they’re simply stunning. In fact these boxes are starting to sell EMPTY on forums and eBay with Predator boxes fetching over $150!!! (Are you people NUTS?!) So who knows… hang on to your boxes (I chuck all of mine out *shudder*) and you might be sitting on a gold mine later on down the road. The box has multiple flaps that open up in to a wide landscape type layout with a clear window on the main box showing the figure inside. I was very pleased to see I didn’t have to build the entire figure like those damn Predators… I HATED that!

There’s no question that the best thing about this figure is the inclusion of lights in the helmet, the chest and the hands… it’s the icing on the cake and look fantastic. The head and chest lights are controlled via cunningly hidden switch under one of the opening flaps on the back (see photo below) and each arm has a light switch for the hands located on the inside of the forearm. I’ve seen reports from people stating that some folks are having issues with poor LEDs but all of mine seem very bright and look awesome. Honestly, at this point this is the best and highest quality looking articulated figure I have ever owned, and believe me I’ve owned A LOT lol!

The figure also includes a stand, but call me a Hot Toys noob, I have no idea how to use it when the figure is standing. Basically I use the stand because I like the little text on in that IDs the collectible, but I just take the wire support. On the Predator HTs I had, the wire thing was shaped so it would grab around the waist, which was a no brainer to figure out. So if you look at the base and wonder how to use it, don’t worry about it… I couldn’t figure it out either. BUT what you CAN use it for is to pose your Mark III as though he’s flying in the air! You can place him horizontally face down with his waist cradled in the wire frame of the base and with the right arm and feet positions and with the two open hand options, he looks pretty cool. So yeah, apparently I’m not equipped to deal with Hot Toy bases *red face*

I should also mention that I love the detail work UNDER the flaps and things that open up… the servos and wiring under the calve flaps looks awesome. I also love that both forearms have flaps that open up to reveal with little mini-missiles like the one he uses in the movie to blow up the tank that blasted him our of the air.

Hot Toys Iron Man Mark III Figure

OK, time to go over the dirty stuff… the BAD! While this is not a major issue, I don’t like the dark and dull looking maroon color of the paint, which should be much brighter. Hot Rod Red is NOT dark maroon or a dark candy apple color. The prototype photos had a much brighter and accurate color, the production pieces just didn’t turn out like that at all. The gold looks great, but that red is just not right… it’s not a HUGE problem, but it dig bug me slightly when I first took him out of the box. The torso is especially dark… darker than any other areas on the figure.

The second and pretty much irrelevant thing I don’t like is the Tony Stark head… call me anal (giggle) but I do not like human figures because I find it very rare that a company comes up with a good likeness. And when the likeness is not nearly spot-on, I HATE it. As I’ve mentioned before, that is why I have almost NO human characters in my collection, there’s always a problem with the sculpt being way off of the pre-paint application is ridiculous. A great example is the Indiana Jones PF… the sculpt is gorgeous but the paint job on my was a complete cluster-you-know-whatter. Anyhow, the trend continues with the optional Tony Stark head, which looks about as close to Robert Downey Junior as it does David Beckham. Sorry, but it sucks and won’t even make it out of the box. I haven’t received my Mark II yet, but I’ve seen photos of the head on that one and it’s even worse. But like I said, to me that’s irrelevant as I have zero interest displaying this badboy without the helmet on anyhow so this is a non-issue.

The bottom line? This to me is the PERFECT piece to represent one of my favorite super-hero movies and kicks total ass in every way aside from the slightly “too dark” red thing. For under $200, it doesn’t really get any better than this and I would tell anyone not to hesitate to pick this up if they are an Iron Man fan. HOWEVER, for those of you with some serious bling, you might want to wait a bit… word has leaked out that Sideshow will be announcing a HUGE 1:2 scale Iron Man Maquette!!! (No official announcements yet from Sideshow) Check this out…

Upcoming Sideshow half scale Iron Man Mark III

If it’s the first time you see this pic, don’t feel bad… I had to change my underwear the first time I saw it too.

So that’s it guys, I hope you enjoyed the review because now it’s time for eye candy! First off, I’ve just uploaded a full video review in HD to YouTube that you can watch by clicking here or click the icon below! I JUST finished it though, so the HD version may not be ready yet… check back after a couple of hours and it should be ready (It will tell you if the movie is still processing on the YouTube page).

Video Available on YouTube!

And of course we can’t have a review without some sexy pics! Click the photo icon below to check out the Iron Man Mark III gallery I put together for your viewing pleasure:

Thank you so much for checking out this review and please be sure to share your comments on this product or my reviews by clicking on the comment button below! I have a TON of reviews to do over the next couple of weeks, including a review of the MUST-HAVE PREDATOR COLLECTIBLE in what will likely be our biggest review EVER! Watch for that early next week… I would also like to recommend for those of you that want to see all the different poses and display methods you have for this figure, check out this thread over at the Sideshow Freaks Forum for hundreds of more photos from other collectors.

Take care gang!
Dan

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Predatorstuff Reviews the Predator 2 Bio Helmet by Art Gonzales!

June 9th, 2009

Let’s face it… it’s hard to find a nice Predator 2 helmet out there lately, and even when you do one, there are casting issues, or the paint job isn’t too hot, or there’s no lasers/LEDs, or it’s simply overpriced. I know HCG is coming out with one that is way too expensive, but seeing as they’re a bunch of unprofessional asshats, their products won’t be getting any face-time on here either way. Well folks, today I want to introduce to you a GOREOUS Predator 2 helmet that has it all at a price you won’t believe!

My friend and fellow board member Art Gonzales (aka Nucking Futs on the Lair) recently sent me a sample of the Predator 2 helmet he makes and I have to admit, it’s probably the best P2 I have ever seen, the paint job on it is absolutely AMAZING! The helmet weighs in at around 4 lbs and measures 21″ in height and 14″ in width and seems to be a nice thick and solid casting. There are no thin or warped areas at all, and I love how both the outside as well as the inside of the helmet is fully painted and weathered. One thing that I found unique to this bio is the battle damaged effect to the side details of the helmet, it looks AWESOME! So in terms of sculpt, the added lip and the battle damage effects make for a gorgeous bio and the casting seems to be very high quality.

I honestly believe that out of all the movie based helmet designs, the P2 helmet is easily the most difficult paint job to re-create properly as most tend to slap on a single copper color with some black weathering and leave it at that. It looks good, but the aged and weathered look of the P2 seems lost so I was extremely pleased with the finish Art had applied on this helmet! You’ve got copper, browns, gold and everything in between all applied in a gorgeous texture that looks absolutely perfect. The helmet is then finished with strategically placed bits of “copper oxide”, that greenish-blue color that seems so hard to re-create on these pieces. And believe me, I know it’s hard to pull off, I’ve tried! So in terms of the paint job, this helmet gets full marks in every way… gorgeous coloration and paint textures both inside and outside the helmet.

On to the next bit of awesomeness that makes up this helmet… LASERS! Yep, this baby sports 3 real lasers lined up in a perfect tight triangular targeting reticle that looks good even pointed at houses across the street. The laser trigger system is also quite unique, with the use of a cable push trigger rather than a switch located inside the helmet, which makes this perfect for display or costume purposes. The lasers are contained in the laser shroud housing on the helmet as well as the battery pack, which is located in the snout area. Here comes the neat part… then battery pack is then wired to phono jack receptacle right where the hoses connect to the bio in the movie. (PS – 2 AAA Batteries not included) Next, you are provided with a separate cable that looks like one of the hoses and on the end of it is a red trigger you push to activate the lasers! How cool is that?! So if you are using this as a costume, you can actually fish the wire down your sleeve and in to your hand so you can activate the lasers without having to touch your helmet or have someone turn it on for you. If you’re using this for display like I am, then you just roll the cable up and keep it inside the bio and use the trigger in the off-chance that you want to show it off to a fellow pred-nut. Overall, I think the entire way the lasers are rigged is really cool and especially costume builder friendly.

The helmets are made and shipped direct from the USA by Art himself, and you are going to LOVE the price! You get the FULLY FINISHED helmet, including painted, mesh screen lense, REAL LASERS and trigger for $250 plus shipping! That is easily the best price I have ever seen for a fully painted helmet that also has lasers, and based on this piece I have here in hand, I would NOT hesitate to grab one of these for your collection, that price is a STEAL!

Want to order one for yourself or contact Art about this piece? You can email him by clicking here, he can take your order directly.

I had a lot of fun photographing this piece and I lit the office in a way that would really make the colors and textures pop out and look rich and detailed… to the naked eye, the helmet doesn’t look quite so colorful, but I think the paint job really deserved to be shown off so you could see just how detailed it really was. Click the icon below and enjoy the photos!

In addition to the photos, I also had a little fun and put together a video review in HD for your viewing pleasure, which you can check out by clicking the YouTube icon below:

Video Available on YouTube!

In the video I discuss the qualities of the helmet and show the laser wiring and trigger system used to activate the tri-laser reticle and just show it off in general. I JUST uploaded it though, so if you click and it’s saying the video isn’t available yet, try again in an hour or so… it’s probably not fully converted yet.

That’s it for this review gang, thanks again and I hope you enjoyed it! Remember to click the comment button below and share your thoughts!

Take care,
Dan

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