In 2013, NECA’s SDCC Exclusive for the Predators brand was Albino, first seen in Batman: Dead End. This was awesome – it worked as a symbol of one of 2013’s main themes, including characters from that fan film spread out through the year. With Big Red in January, Albino in July, and Wasp in December, it was an awesome thing… to say nothing of the Kenner tributes or Battle Armored Lost, or other such things.
2014 has seen less product in general – a good move to keep from oversaturating the market – but aside from another round of Kenner tributes, the Predator line will see another awesome theme by mining from Dark Horse’s comics! Yeah, I can’t wait for the Bad Blood Predators, either. The convention exclusive for this year goes one step further by featuring a character who hasn’t even appeared yet!
Fire & Stone is a pretty awesome upcoming comics crossover project, tying together the Prometheus, Aliens, Predator, and Aliens Vs. Predator franchises in one big, overarching story! I don’t know much about what it will cover, but a major character in the Predator side (and possibly AvP) is Ahab, an aged Predator who costars along with one of the humans.
In his prime, Ahab took deadly trophies from countless worlds, his scars a proud record of glorious battle. Now an elder of his tribe, he leaves small game to the next generation as he looks to his final hunt. Following a lifelong obsession, Ahab searches for a creature more formidable than any Predator has ever faced before.
Well, the visual comparison with Ahab is there – he’s a grizzled, scarred charcater with a harpoon. Ahab Predator has all of his limbs, though, with his lopsided injury being a dead eye and missing mandible. Giving him a prosthetic leg would certainly have added to production cost, and clearly it’s just something they chose not to do in the comic. I do wonder what Predators do for limb replacement, especially after seeing how little it fazed the City Hunter in Predator 2. But alas, not this time!
This raises another question. The comic isn’t out so I can’t comment, but is Ahab looking for the best challenge he can find, or is he chasing after a specific prey? His bio could be either, but sounds like the former. His name suggests the latter, but I see no hint of a personal vendetta in his story there. So which is it? Gah! And of course, there’s one more thing I must comment on: Any time something has a hero or ally Predator, he dies. I want to see one live. But considering Ahab’s plot arc, a death might actually fit without being eye-rolling. Or maybe he succeeds in his hunt and flies off for more adventures, who knows! Nah, he’s probably toast. By the way, fun trivia – did you know that Moby Dick was named after a real whale? The real whale’s name was Mocha Dick, which sounds like a setup for a “Thats what she said!” joke. But anyway, on to the review!
Ahab comes in a NECA blister pack, same as all the Predators! His is different because it doesn’t follow a specific template – the ones used for Predator, Predator 2, Predators, Batman: Dead End, or Kenner just don’t apply. Instead, it has artwork of Ahab himself with his very own bio! The lack of previews of other figures is kind of sad, but I like this one. It even contains the prototype sketch of the figure! His spear is in a separate tray behind the main one, too.
The Predators line uses a few body types – Jungle Hunter, City Hunter, Super Predator, Classic Predator, and Wolf. Classic and Wolf are really outdated, but the other three still see use. Ahab uses the Jungle Hunter design because it is the most “standard” of them all. That specific outfit – the netting, the armor plates, the tassles on the loincloth – appears to be the same as a generic suit and tie. Seriously, even Predator chieftains wear it! Ahab’s body contains very few surprises on the sculpting front – that’s for his head! Both his hands are open, though the right one is wide enough to most comfortably fit his spear.
The first little surprise is Ahab’s trophy necklace – he lacks the two smaller strings worn by the Jungle Hunter, instead going for one medium-sized tusked skull. What was it? An especially strong prey animal? A beloved pet? An anniversary gift from the wife? Who knows!
Ahab’s head is new! Well, mostly new. His extra-long dreadlocks are reused from the Shaman, including a hair clip that I hope Ahab has in the comics. They can get in the way of his plasma caster, but they look awesome. As for his face, although it is mostly a normal Predator face, he’s got his scars – scar tissue covers one eye, and he’s missing a mandible, too! The damage is good, albeit reminiscent of Wolf, and it looks so much like a burn that I wonder what happened. Hopefully it isn’t just another Alien Acid splash, since that has been done before. Still, it looks good on him.
So, how does Ahab stand up overall? He certainly has more original pieces than Albino, who relied on paint. His face really needed to be unique, and NECA pulled that off – the scar tissue even looks realistic! As long as that hair clip is accurate, he looks pretty good thanks to judicious use of a longer hairpiece. A lot of the generic aspects of his design are the fault of the comic, which should branch out Kenner-style sometime.
Unlike some of the more creative entries we have seen recently, Ahab’s color scheme is pretty normal – he’s tan-ish – though he is noticeably less yellow than a lot of normal Predators. He isn’t as gray as the Elder, but he has some shades of brown on his skin tone. Most multimedia likes keeping its Predators simple (see also: Jungle Hunter costume), but his colors work for him. The skull around his neck is also pretty sharp, even including painted teeth that you are never likely to see! And I like the light blueish patina over his metal gear – he’s had it for a while, and the age shows. Well, at least his netting isn’t antique!
And of course, I have to bring up his face. Ahab’s face is molded in flesh-colored plastic, providing it with a lifelike tone, but it’s also got a good gloss as well. He isn’t too dry! The various levels of shading and tone are very precise, his scar tissue is highlighted nicely, and even his eyes are painted very expressively. His face is fantastic!
As an interesting detail, Ahab’s dreadlocks are black. Time and time again, elderly (or even late middle-aged) Predators are shown with graying locks – whether in the movies (Predator 2 and Aliens Vs. Predator) or other sources, they do gray as they grow older. But not this guy. He’s old, but his dreads are all black – just like in the comic, too. I suspect he dyes them.
Now, his paint is not perfect – it almost is, but Ahab carries the one flaw that all Predators must face. His netting is uneven! I knpw, I know, the stamp is too complex to apply perfectly, but this being an exclusive makes it a little more of an issue than usual.
Ahab has the exact same articulation as any other Jungle Hunter Predator variant – ball-jointed head, hands, and feet, ball-and-socket shoulders, elbows, and hips, double-hinged knees, swivel waist, and extendable wrist claws.
In practice, he’s just as good as other Predators. Not the greatest poser (heh) in the world, but good for most Predator actions. I have to admit that he has a little more trouble fighting with his staff than some others due to the thickness of his weapon, but you can manage a few good poses regardless.
Ahab Predator comes with quite a few accessories. Importantly, he’s the second-ever NECA Predator figure to come with a removable mask! See, it’s a difficult thing – those masks don’t actually work in real life. The actual Predator costumes have to remove the mandibles for one to fit, so in order for a toy to be screen-accurate, the mask can’t be removable. It worked for Nightstorm because the design was open and ad space for his mandibles. Believe it or not, so does Ahab’s! It’s open at just the right spot without being overtly obvious about it. As for the rest of the mask, it is detailed similarly to Wolf’s from Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem, including the tiny spikes on its ridge up top. It has some nice detailing on the side – reminiscent of Gort – and a little bit of wear and tear, like the scar where his injured eye should be. Clearly, those couldn’t have been the same injury – Ahab’s face is WRECKED, but the claw marks on the mask don’t cut all the way through the metal. But hey, it’s his blind spot. Makes sense that he would be hit there more often.
And just as with Nightstorm, the inside of Ahab’s mask has some great detail! It’s technically sculpted to fit against the contours of his face, but the sculpting reflects an actual device more than a mere toy – note the tiny rebreather just below his eyes, for example. And speaking of the eyes, those lenses are painted red on this mask. Nice!
Ahab also has a spear, and what a spear it is! For the most part, it seems like a typical extending Predator combi-stick. But take a look at that blade! It’s one part glaive, one part harpoon, and… hah. Ahab’s got a harpoon. Hee hee! Anyway, it’s a pretty good weapon, uniquely distinct from other Predator staves, and fits the character quite well. its not too fancy, but he’s got his signature weapon. And it’s certainly more practical than Hive Warrior’s scythe or Nightstorm’s spear.
And finally, Ahab comes with a bog-standard plasma caster. It’s the same that every Jungle Hunter-based Predator gets. It has an unobtrusive clip for his back and two little joints for the gun itself – mine is kind of weak and easy to take apart – and one tiny wire in the back. Ahab’s wire feels more rubbery and thus more durable than on many previously-released Predators, which is a bonus.
At the con, this guy was $25. Ordered and shipped from NECA obviously added more for shipping. Ahab’s aftermarket value is bound to rise – Albino ended up averaging out at $40, after all – but if you can find a good deal, go for it!
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
A lot of NECA’s Aliens and Predator options are a little on the fragile side this year, and they have even confirmed an upcoming factory change for the Aliens material. So a few things do feel somewhat fragile on this guy: His shoulder cannon has the same falling-off problem as the NES Predator’s, for one.
Mine also has a loose head – the peg holding it on does not flare up as on other figures, so it slides on and off more easily. This isn’t bad enough to be a problem, and in fact it can get quite convenient, but it is worth noting. Finally, his left mandible piece – again, on mine, not on others I have seen – was not fully pressed into its slot when glued, so it has a really visible seam.
WHERE TO BUY:
NECA had this figure up for flash sales throughout SDCC, but don’t expect that to happen again. Scour eBay instead!
A convention exclusive should be something really awesome, but not vital. You know, awesome to draw people in, but not so vital that its low availability becomes a curse. Last year’s Albino was edging toward vital for anybody who wanted the Dead End gang… sort of. Albino essentially does not appear outside of the “making of” features, but then Wasp’s coloration also wasn’t seen on-screen. Ahab is from Fire & Stone, but as far as I know nothing else is scheduled to be produced from that series. This also hinges on how good it is, too. What if Fire & Stone turns out to be terrible and nobody likes it? Or what if it’s awesome and everybody wants one?
Well, either way, we are getting a really cool-looking scarred Predator with a unique mask and weapon. He also reminds me a lot of an oft-requested Pred – Scarface from Concrete Jungle. I know that the folks at NECA want to make a good Scarface one day, but that’s not in the lineup yet. So, this guy? He’s really cool, and not super-duper “necessary.” Or at least, not yet.
Now, despite his reused parts, Ahab really has a personality all his own. I have a ton of Predators, and NECA manages to make them distinct despite all their similarities. Ahab is another applause-worthy specimen, and I’d recommend one if you can find a good price!