We're now in the 8th series of NECA's Predators line of figures, and we're getting our first human figure for the Preds to hunt. This isn't the first non-Predator figure in the line, as that distinction goes to the Predator Hound, but Major Dutch Schaeffer, as the first human character, still achieves a noteworthy milestone. Unfortunately, he's also the only human character we're getting for the foreseeable future. We get two Dutches in the 8th series, and we'll get two more in the 9th, so there'll be plenty of Dutch to go around, but NECA has been very clear that they won't be making the rest of the team from the 1987 film.
Deep in the Central American jungle the Predator
is hunting humans for sport. Armed with his plasma caster, wrist blades, and cloaking technology the Predator methodically stalks and kills the opponents he deems worthy. The Jungle Hunter Predator collects the skulls and spines of his victims as trophies and skins his prey, leaving the bodies hanging from the trees. When a special forces team is dispatched on a "rescue mission" they soon become the Predator's prey
NECA has stated that the only thing that made Dutch feasible was the re-use potential, and both figures of him in this series utilize a lot of the same parts. Still, they don't use as many as you might expect. While "Jungle Patrol" and "Jungle Extraction" Dutch feature the same torso and (mostly) the same legs, there's still quite a bit to set them apart. My original plan was to only pick up the Patrol Dutch, but once I saw the Extraction version in person, I knew he'd be coming along as well.
The sculpt is very, very nice. The likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger is spot-on, even better than NECA's Terminator figures, and those captured Arnie very well. Extraction Dutch's headsculpt is different than Patrol's, featuring a cigar and a squinty left eye. As usual, the heads can be swapped if you want Extraction Dutch to be a non-smoker.
JED here also gets a separate torso-covering piece that represents his button-up tan shirt and brown vest. The sculpt on the areas meant to represent cloth are very nice and wrinkled, but not overly so. The vest has some nice pockets, and a little grenade on each side.
The sleeves, pants, fingerless gloves and boots are equally nice, so let's credit Kyle Windrix, David Silva, and Alex Heinke for their amazing work. I love that there's a little bit of sculpted wrist sticking out between the shirt cuffs and the gloves, and there's even a watch sculpted on the left wrist. Nice!
The rubber belt is a separate sculpted piece, featuring a knife sheath and a pistol holster. The holster is particularly well done, with a tiny working strap that plugs into the main holster to keep the gun in place, which is a really cool element that you rarely see in this scale. There's a second, larger sheath attached to the lower right leg, with straps sculpted (but for some reason not painted) around the leg. There are straps around the thighs, too, to indicate where the other sheath and holster would attach, but they float freely to preserve the articulation.
Paint can be a tricky subject when NECA figures are concerned, but there aren't any major issues with JE Dutch.
The wash on his vest, the dry-brushing on his shirt, and the camouflage pattern on his pants all look great. For the skin, the figure is molded in a fleshtone plastic and given a wash to bring out the details. This is the same technique NECA has been using on its Rocky figures, and it looks really good. It makes the figures look "real" when compared to a face that's been fully painted. I'm not sure how they get the flesh-colored plastic to not look like plastic, but whatever it is it, it works great.
There are a lot of little painted details, like the gold buttons on his belt,
and even the metal loops that connect the watch face to the band get a teeny tiny dot of silver paint. The stubble on his face also looks great, and that can be tricky to pull off in this scale. There's only one complaint I have with the paint: the unpainted straps on the knife sheath on his lower leg. They're painted on the promo images, but on the production figure they blend right in with the camo pants. It's nothing a bit of flat black acrylic paint won't fix, but it definitely stands out when the rest of the figure is painted so nicely.
Unlike NECA's other Arnie figures, Dutch is loaded with articulation, even below the waist. He's got a balljointed neck, peg and hinge shoulders, peg and hinge elbows, balljointed wrists, a balljointed torso, balljointed waist, peg and hinge hips, peg thighs, peg and hinge knees, and peg and hinge ankles. All the joints worked great on my figure, and he can hold lots of poses while still looking totally natural.
I initially was only interested in the Patrol Dutch, but what really sold me on Extraction Dutch was the accessories.
Or rather, one in particular. Both Dutches get an M-16 with grenade launcher, a pistol, and a small knife, but only Extraction Dutch gets the wicked "Steek Ahround" knife. His right hand can hold both guns and the large knife quite well, but he can't quite grip the small knife's handle, though he can still hold it by the blade. The left hand is open, mainly so he can grip the M-16 in both hands. All of the smaller accessories can fit in their respective holsters and sheathes, and the rifle has a strap so he can sling it over his shoulder.
This may at first appear to be the less desirable of the two Dutch figures in the series, but don't dismiss him right away: his sculpt and articulation are excellent, and aside from the unpainted leg straps, his paint is top-notch as well. And he's actually a better value than Patrol Dutch, since he's got an extra accessory. If you're only getting one Dutch, Patrol may still have the slight edge for being the more iconic design, but NECA is definitely doing their best to make it hard to choose.