UPDATE: Compare it to the Custom figure HERE!
Way back when, I did an April Fool’s Joke with a custom Predator. I kind of hoped that NECA would eventually make a Clan Leader of their own… and hey, they did! THEY DID, GUYS! THEY DID! FYI, I’m not going to put up a contest of Custom Vs. NECA, because that custom figure was one of a kind. And yes, I still own it. At the moment, it’s wrapped up safely, awaiting a chance to return to the shelf (which may be soon, considering). Great custom, but we’re not here to talk about the custom – it’s time to look at the original!
Clan Leader was the Deluxe Kenner Predator figure – up there with the Alien Queen, Flying Queen, King Alien, and ATAX Marine as larger, more complex, and slightly pricier at the time. He was bigger and taller than other Predators, and had a gimmick with these dreadlock-tendrils, which you could manipulate using a lever on his back. His design was rather good, even with a Klingon-esque forehead. And of course, the tendrils were unmistakable – but could it survive in the modern age?
The Supreme leader of Yautja Prime, also known as The Grand Elder, Clan Leader has ruled for centuries and is proven to be the wisest and strongest leader amongst all Elders. His superior hunting record, fighting skill, and great cunning are legendary, earning him the highest position in Yautja society. Assassination attempts and tribal uprisings are commonplace for Clan Leader, but he has proved to be an invulnerable force, earning the respect of his people and striking fear into those who oppose him. He is rarely seen by his subjects and stories have grown from what little is known of him. He is said to be immortal, possessing abnormal strength and abilities, and many believe that his mechanical tendrils are sentient beings under his divine control. These tales have yet to be disproven.
Man, awesome bio! So now he’s the leader of EVERYTHING! EVERYBODY! I’ll go with it. NECA has released pictures of Clan Leader sitting on a massive throne, and now I wish I had one.
Clan Leader comes in NECA’s “ultimate” packaging design – a window box closed by velcro. It calls back to the original Clan Leader’s packaging, and even shows off both pieces of character art! This is fantastic work, really.
When open, you get Clan Leader’s bio as well as a look at the actual figure, so you can compare paint.
With Clan Leader, as with other Kenner redesigns, NECA had to sufficiently homage the original while making it fit in the established Predator design philosophy. And they really did – they couldn’t flat-out make him something uniquely weird like Spiked Tail, as he is the leader of the entire planet, but they absolutely made it work. He’s got callbacks to the Elders from Predator 2 and AVP, but is absolutely his own thing. In fact, this update was better than I had expected. Every little detail on his sculpt is exquisite, from the complex armor to his body netting to his tendrils. Clan Leader Predator is immediately worth a spot on the shelf.
Fun little detail – he is indeed bigger than other Predators. And it’s not just, like, longer legs or such, the entire figure is larger. He’s big, and tall, just like the original figure. Clan Leader looks great even with all the new tooling, and I love that bit of a detail. Now, I will mention that he lacks the extendable stilt-shoes of the original, but the shoes that Clan Leader wears are a good callback to them. They just don’t extend.
That said, I just want to reiterate: Intimidating, grand, complex, fantastic figure. It’s really well-made. Just saying this so you look at those pictures more.
The original was orange, and so is the new one. But unlike the original, Clan Leader hss a complex orange color scheme, which really helps him look more and more like an actual living creature, not just a monster design. Likewise, his armor is fantastic and extremely impressive.
Now, I will bring up one minor personal thing – I think the paint on his face is too thick and glossy, though I also recognize this as something that’s up to personal interpretation. It honestly looks fine, I’m nitpicking, but note the pictures if you aren’t sure. The detail work is quite good on this guy, even his tiny little AVP scar.
Clan Leader has good articulation – the expanded Predator articulation found in recent figures, as well as movement for his bendy tendrils. You can put him in a variety of fighting poses, though as always, the bendables take some work to make convincing.
Even his plasma caster – which is removable and comes apart – has great movement! But anyway, the figure’s articulation is very good, though you have a lot to keep track of. It may seem overwhelming at times, but it’s fine, and his tendrils can also provide him with support if needed.
Of course, you can’t talk about Clan Leader without bringing up those tendrils. One of mine came with a minor defect – much of the rubber was missing, exposing the wire underneath, but NECA’s customer service has already promised a replacement part, and it’s not super-obvious in these photo.
NECA uses sturdy bendy material, and the tendrils look great. They call back to the originals, but they are far more detailed. I personally keep them the way they were with the original figure, as opposed to attaching them to his wrist gauntlets, but the decision is up to you.
Clan Leader’s mask is, hilariously, the same size as the original mask. Regardless, its a great update, though it has the confusing addition of two thin wires on the side. They do not plug into anything, just tuck them into his dreadlocks.
Clan Leader’s halberd is another good update, albeit with one caveat. The shaft is rather thin and narrow, so you need to be careful when putting it in his hand. Try not to break the weapon. It can also clip onto his back, though that clip is very fragile, so be careful! The paint flaked off the clip on mine immediately, and it is liable to pop out of its socket unless you add extra glue.
He also comes with a pair of curious clips. These are meant ot plug into whichever tendril sockets you are not using, either wrist or shoulders.
At about $25-$30, you get a crazy good figure.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
I’ll be honest, this figure has fragility issues. Watch out for his hand, his spear, his backpack clip, his plasma caster, the wires on his mask, and his tendrils. When you have a good pose for this toy, then it’s fine, but be careful as you manipulate things.
WHERE TO BUY:
Toys R Us still has them in a lot of places I’ve checked.
Lots of fragility issues. Let’s get this out of the way: Lots of fragility issues. HOWEVER, under the assumption that you are not about to bash your toys together while making “Whoosh Whoosh” noises, this is a really good figure. In fact, it’s one of the best Predators out there.
Clan Leader is positively gorgeous to look at, impressive and imposing, creative, full of great callbacks, but also fits in with established designs. I really do like my old custom figure (and you’ll probably see a followup post about it), but this one is taking center stage in the toy display.