It has been a while since I profiled an astronaut figure. That's mainly due to the fact that I've exhausted what I can say about the space element in the Joe line and I kind of ran out of figures to showcase. However, I recently opened up one of my spare carded Predacon figures that had been sitting in a box for almost 4 years. I had long wanted a loose Predacon, but found that the experience of owning the figure was substantially less fun that wanting to find a loose one.
As a mold, Predacon is probably the most useful Lunartix alien. Carcass is decent, but his bendy arms prevent him from being truly useful. Lobotomaxx is just a bit too out there with his long neck, four legs, and tail. He looks neat in the package, but is a little awkward to use. Predacon seems fairly useful. He is well colored in shades of light blue, white and green. His four arms are all articulated in standard Joe fashion and have some detailed adornments that look like ceremonial armour. His head is well formed and highly detailed with his molded teeth and snake-like hair. His eyes retain a truely reptilian look. As such, Predacon seems almost like he could be a Cobra genetic experiment gone awry.
Where the Predacon figure fails, though, is in his body construction. He has huge feet. These over sized appendages tend to cause loose knees in the figure as the standard knee joint was not made to withstand the increased mass of the figures lower legs. As if this weren't enough, Predacon is sculpted so that he is permanently bent over. It's difficult to explain, but his torso is bent so that he can stand up straight only when his knees are bent. (Such as in the photographs below.) This feature makes the figure nearly useless as he can not move in a manner that enhances play. Frankly, I think that had the Lunartix alien portion of the Joe line continued, it would have failed due to the figure quality rather than the concept. While aesthetically pleasing, all three aliens are lacking in play value and would have made for a boring toy line to most children.
Where this construction does help Predacon, though, is that it makes him more animal like. Even with his knees bent, it appears as if Predacon is from a species that has only recently been able to walk erect. This feature has lead to my using him as a hybrid genetic experiment. I use Predacon as the result of an early failed experiment to give humans certain animal reflexes. As a horrid shell of a human, Predacons (There are more than 1. It took Mindbender a while to get it right!) roam the swamps on Cobra Island. From time to time, one is rounded up and set loose as either a training exercise for some Cobra Troopers or an act of terror against a Cobra enemy. As the Predacons are animalian, though, they are mostly dangerous as raging beasts. They lack the intelligence to properly utilize their physical abilities. Hence, my use of the figure is rather limited.
If you want to know my take on Star Brigade and its place in the Joe line, you can read any of a number of my other Star Brigade profiles. My stance on Star Brigade as a concept has not changed. I still think they are among the most eye-pleasing subsets ever offered. But, I'm not naive enough to think that a Star Brigade's return to retail would be a big hit among collectors. As such, as we see more and more themed ARAH style Joe sets released, I think that we would be best served to avoid Star Brigade for some time. Eventually, after most other subsets have been done, there could be a call. Properly done, a Star Brigade set could be cool. However, it simply would not sell fast enough to justify its production. Released now, such a set would probably kill the potential for any future ARAH style themed sets. So, while Star Brigade remains among my favorite parts of Joe lore, I would prefer them to remain in the past rather than risk future Joe offerings by having them appear now.
While they were produced in limited quantities, Predacons are actually kind of easy to find. MOC, they are just about everywhere. He will, though, usually set you back a bit more than the other 2 Lunartix aliens as he remains the most popular. Loose is a different story. As such, if you want this figure, it's probably easier to just buy a carded one and open him up. However, my experience has been that this figure is much more interesting MOC than he is loose. While I normally recommend all things Star Brigade, that is not the case with Predacon. He is a cool addition to a collection. But, his design is just not conducive to use. As background in a Dr. Mindbender's lab diorama, the figure would work. As an enemy to Star Brigade, though, he leaves a lot to be desired. As that is most fans' assessment of Star Brigade as a whole, though, Predacon is probably destined to remain a collecting afterthought.
While I've got all the American Predacons I need, I would still like a Mexican version. If you have one available, email me.