Who Are The Kenner Predators?
DISCLAIMER: I’m sorry about my lack of home-grown photos here. I own two of the Kenner Predators figures (Nightstorm and Lava Planet), but not the third Warrior. So I googled the best, most “normal” pictures I could find, and came across this fellow’s eBay store HERE. Go give him some business and salve my conscience!
Anyway, there’s been a lot of hubbub over NECA’s upcoming Predators Series 10. Or at least there had better be. I love them, but some people seemt o have taken the tact of “Waaaaah! How dare NECA do something different for one wave, even though it’ll be back to normal later! WAAAAH!”
…Okay, okay, I exaggerate. And I won’t knock you guys for thinking that a neon red Predator is a little ludicrous. But don’t worry – it’s just one wave! Anyway, these upcoming figures are designed as tributes to Kenner’s 1990s-era Predator toy line. Those figures got pretty out there, from Spiked Tail (who had horns, and might have been female) to Lasershot (who had cybernetic implants), to an unreleased four-armed Heavy Weapons Predator! Yes, they went a little crazy, but look at it this way – one of the recent comics had a four-armed Predator, too. So maybe the idea’s not all that crazy.
But NECA’s dudes have only two arms each. So hey, why don’t we take a look at these guys, and see if the context will make them seem a little more interesting, eh?
The Predator known as “Lava Planet” was a repaint of one of the first Predators in the line, named Cracked Tusk. Cracked Tusk was the original leader/elder Predator in the line (soon supplanted by an actual Clan Leader), as detailed in the lone mini-comic that came with some of these figures. Cracked Tusk was my favorite of the original toys, and mine (which I still have) has lots and lots of scuffed paint from all the play! He was big, fierce, scarred, and had a really awesome face mask. He also looked relatively “traditional” for a Predator, though that’s clearly not the case with lava Planet’s skin tone.
Lava Planet uses Cracked Tusk’s sculpt, but is cast in translucent red with a “lava” deco on the front. There was no explanation, but my assumption was always that he’s using his active camouflage, and is simply on a lava-filled planet. Or maybe he’s a Predator mutant who glows red, who knows. But hey, maybe it IS Cracked Tusk!
NECA’s Lava Planet uses the Predator 2/Lost Clan body, with some new parts added. His wristblades and gauntlet are different, as is the piping connected to his shoulder. And, of course, the head, which wears his distinctive mask – wouldn’t it be cool if that were removable? Some of the other pieces, like his loin cloth, clearly came from the Predator Shaman, showing how well NECA knows how to re-use pieces.
Nightstorm is the star of this set, and the only one with an official publicity/catalogue photo! Just like Cracked Tusk, Nightstorm was another repaint of one of the original three Kenner Predators. The original figure, “Scavage,” was green-skinned and had red dreadlocks, kind of like the Super Predators from the 2010 movie. In fact, so similar that I can see what inspired the sculpt. Nightstorm/Scavage originally came with a gigantic, complicated weapon – sort of a dual harpoon/bola launcher that had to be mounted on a post in front of him. They didn’t bring THAT one back, I see! But I did notice that they took the cannon’s post and turned it into a weapon – see the Xenomorph tail and human skull? Nice!
Nightstorm’s new update looks regal – not a normal hunter, more like some sort of leader. SO, what is he? A Predator Clan Leader? Elder? Judge? Something else? The dude looks like nobility!
NECA’s Nightstorm uses the Super Predator Body. Yes, I am aware that its articulation is slightly limited, but its legs are also sturdier than the other bodies, so it evens out. He’s also got some new body armor, a wrist gauntlet, his staff, and the mask. The armor matches up really well with the old toy, and gives him sort of an Egyptian-Steampunk look. Well hey, I like it! His new wristblades look like they can curve around to grab something, and are extendable up to a pretty good length. His staff again supports the whole “Judge” theme, and looks servicable as a weapon, too. But the big thing is his mask – the first removable Predator mask from NECA! This is something I REALLY hope shows up more often! Whereas the original mask looked insectile, this one seems more regal, and reminds me of “Lord’s” mask from one of the Alien Vs. Predator games. SO really, there’s no confusion about why this guy is the one NECA has been featuring.
The last new figure might cause some confusion – he’s a blue-skinned Predator called “Warrior.” But one of the Lost Clan Predators is also a blue-skinned Predator called “Warrior!” The original version of this guy was not a repaint of an existing figure, and actually came out really late int he line, when it had been rebranded as “Hive Wars.” SO maybe he could be called the “Hive Warrior” Predator? That might work. Maybe. Either way, I’ll call him that.
Hive Warrior had an interesting gimmick – his mouth could open and close! Chances are that NECA’s figure will not replicate this, since it looks like his mask is staying on. Ah, well – I would really like to see a blue Predator unmasked sometime with one of NECA’s quality paint jobs. We may never know.
NECA’s Hive Warrior uses the Jungle Hunter body, which is similar to but distinct from the Predator 2/Lost Clan body. He has a new head, wrist blades, shins, and weapon. The mask looks like it could have come out of one of the Predator movies… or maybe just J. J. Abrams’s Star Trek. Seriously, compare it to the new Klingons. Crazy, that. The weapon is a pretty cool halberd that most definitely fits in the line – for one thing, it looks a lot like the maul weapon from the game, Predator: Concrete Jungle! And hey, I think it would be aweswoem to get a figure of Scarface Predator from that game, but for now I’ll be content with one of his unique weapons. Awesome!
Hopefully this post will give some context to the upcoming figures, and explain my INSANE enthusiasm. It’s not just nostalgia – these guys really are cool! And hey, what if NECA made figures of the other Predators? Stalker’s ram horns look cool. Spiked Tail might be female. Imagine the possibilities!
Maybe I’ll post about them sometime, too…