You’re gonna have to forgive my lack of home-grown pictures here – I don’t own all three of these guys (I have a Nightstorm coming in the mail… tomorrow). But there’s been a lot of hubbub over NECA’s Predators Series 10 reveals. Some people – like me – are ecstatic, but others seem angry. Furious, even. ”How DARE NECA make something nostalgic and fun and new instead of retreading the same things they did for the last few series! How dare they make series 10 something more than Predator 1 Wave #s 3…4…5? How DARE they continue to produce AVP preds for Series 11 and beyond as scheduled? WAAAAAAAAH!”
…Okay, I exaggerated the response a little. But seriously, folks. It’s only one wave. It’s fun and awesome. It helps the line stretch a little further. And these guys are COOL! Predators Series 10 is going to be based on a few selections from Kenner’s 1990′s Aliens Vs. Predator toy line, which took a few liberties with the basic Predator Design. Notably, there is an unreleased four-armed Predator they had planned to produce… and a four-armed Predator showed up in one of the comics years later! Also, they had planned on a female Predator, though one of the earlier figures in the line (Spiked Tail) was likely female, as well. That would be an interesting one for NECA to tackle…
So, let’s have a look at our new buddies. Images have been snagged off Google Image Search. If you took a photo and are upset, let me know and I will replace it with something else! I only own Lava Planet of the three I am going to mention, though at different times in the past I had more. I do plan on reacquiring them all, eventually, anyway.
“Lava Planet” was actually a repaint of an earlier, more traditional Predator, Cracked Tusk. Cracked Tusk was the Predator “Leader” in the first wave of Kenner’s Aliens Vs. Predator line. I know this because of the one mini-comic released with one of the figures – Tusky led the hunt and looked cool. Cracked Tusk was my FAVORITE of the group when I was a kid, and mine has a lot of scuffed paint. He’s big, gnarled, a little barbarian-ish in his outfit, and has HUGE lower mandibles, one of which is broken. he’s also got a gigantic harpoon gun instead of a plasma caster, and a mask that looks like an alien all by itself.
Lava Planet is a redeco in translucent red, with some “lava” paint on the front. It was never openly explained, but I assume that this is a Predator using his invisibility cloak in some fiery terrain, not a Predator mutant who glows red. So it probably is Cracked Tusk, just in a really, really hot place. Again, I love that mask – and I know it’s a pipe dream, but wouldn’t it be cool if that mask were removable?
Lava Planet appears to use the Predator 2/Lost Clan body as its base, with some new parts – new wristblades, gauntlet, piping from the gauntlet, and a head. Some pieces, like his loincloth, appear to be redecoed from the Predator Shaman.
The star of this set, and the only one with an official publicity photo, Nightstorm was another repaint. His original, “Scavage,” was a green-skinned Predator with red dreadlocks. This actually sounds a lot like the Super Predators we actually saw in Predators, so much that I can see why they went with his repaint. Nightstorm/Scavage originally came with a fairly complicated weapon – a large mounted twin cannon that strapped to his waist. The two missiles could be tied together to turn it into a bola, too – it was a pretty good gimmick that worked well, and the post that held the cannon up could also double as a staff or spear. And HEYYYY, look at that weapon! It’s the staff!
Nightstorm looks very regal, less like a standard hunter and more like someone above even a clan leader – a Predator noble? Ruler? Judge? The dude’s very intimidating and powerful, and the color scheme/armor detailing on the new parts gives him kind of a steampunk look. Those claws, for example, look like they can either extend a short distance to slash and stab, or a long distance to hook and grab. Note the human skull and Xenomorph tail on his staff! Is it ceremonial? And wow, that mask – it reminds me of Lord’s mask from the third AVP game, and it’s the first removable NECA Predator mask ever!
The new Nightstorm uses the Super Predator body – yes, it has less articulation in the legs than the others, but the tradeoff is that it’s sturdier, and doesn’t have those garish ball-jointed hips. I’ve grown to like it. He’s got new armor, a new wrist gauntlet, and a new weapon.
The last figure is one that might cause some name confusion - he has the same name as the OTHER blue Predator, the Warrior in the Lost Clan (aka Ram). But this figure, which was released pretty late in the line, was part of the “Hive Wars” series. So maybe he’s a Hive Warrior, or something?
The Hive Warrior was not a repaint, and was one of two original Predators released really late in the line, the other being a “Night Recon” scout with HUGE jaws. Hive Warrior had a very interesting gimmick that set him apart from others in the line – his mouth could open and close (a tiny bit)! I know that there’s no way his mask is removable, too, but that would have been awesome. Warrior (Ram) made me really curious as to what a blue Predator’s face would look like, and it’s too bad that we probably won’t find out yet.
This guy uses the Jungle Hunter body, which is pretty similar to the Predator 2 body, but distinct enough not to seem like a retread. He has a new head, new wrist blades, new shins, and a new weapon. The mask is cool and surprisingly Klingon-esque – which I like, since a decent number of Kenner Predators had that ridge on their foreheads, and it’s nice to see it make a return, more or less. The wrist blades are big and wide, and look good for chopping, but the big thing is that weapon. See, I look at it and think multipurpose – it really, REALLY resembles some of the weapons wielded by Scarface in the game Predator: Concrete Jungle. And getting a Scarface figure would be really awesome, but for now I’m glad to see something similar to his Maul weapon. Nice!
Hopefully all of this helps explain my insane enthusiasm. It isn’t just nostalgia, these guys really are cool! I hope that NECA tries this again sometime – I’d like to see a plain Cracked Tusk, but I’d also love some other unique Predators, like the glow-in-the-dark Stalker (who had curly horns, and whose armor was partly made of Xenomorph bits), or Spiked Tail (who had a spiked dreadlock ponytail, and was probably female), or Lasershot (who had two huge plasma casters, black skin and red hair, and some cybernetic implants in his face). The possibilities are endless!