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Warrior Predator

Predator 2
by Monkey Boy

NECA has finally done it. They've finally released figures of every Predator seen in the final minutes of Predator 2. Known was the "Lost Tribe," they appeared on screen for just a few seconds to collect their fallen brother, but their arrival stands out as one of the more memorable scenes in what remains, to me, a seriously underrated movie. Though NECA is continuing the Predators line of figures, Series 6 definitely marks a significant milestone, especially considering the line only initially covered the film Predators and wasn't always guaranteed to branch out beyond that.

One thing that definitely helped the Lost Tribe see completion was the ability to use the same basic body between almost every figure. Since the Lost Tribe are all part of the same clan, there are a lot of shared design elements between the various costumes, which meant that even with the heavy re-use, NECA could remain as accurate as possible to the creatures on screen. Many of the armor elements are separate, glued-on pieces, which allows them to be removed or switched out on a case-by-case basis. Using what little references they could find, from film stills to behind the scenes shots to a goofy video where Danny Glover emcees a Predator breakdance party, NECA was able to recreate the nuances between the different designs surprisingly faithfully.

Some Preds required more alterations to the basic costume than others. The "Warrior" Predator, known to most fans as "Ram" (because someone somehow thinks his helmet looks like a ram), was definitely one of the easier to adapt, I'm sure. His body sculpt is 100% that of the standard "City Hunter" Predator, with a new head.

He shares a "loincloth" piece with Stalker from Series 5, but the torso armor, gauntlets, shoulder pads, thigh armor, knee pads, and calf armor are all straight up City Hunter. (Which is how it was in the film, so that's not a knock against NECA.) The helmet is brand-new, and while I have no idea why it's supposed to look like a ram, it's a very nice rendition of the film helmet. It's got a Darth Vader-esque grill on the faceplate, and some shark-like gills on the cheeks.

It makes sense that NECA chose this Predator to join the City Hunter as an upcoming ¼-scale figure: it utilizes almost the entire City Hunter body, so there's minimal retooling required. The only other Lost Tribe Preds to do that are the Scout and Guardian Predators, but the Scout shares his mask with the Pred from Predator, while the Guardian features the "Gort" mask, both of which have already been used in the release of the original Predator ¼ scale figures. The Warrior design allows NECA to minimize tooling costs while still giving something "new" in the helmet area, rather than just popping a Gort or old school Pred mask on there and calling it a day.

While the sculpt is almost all City Hunter, the paint is very unique to Warrior. His skin is pale bluish rather than the usual cream or tan, and he's got a pattern of darker blue markings where most Preds would have brown or orange. His armor is a mixture of copper and silver, with certain areas painted in a dull "patina" finish. His mask is silver with some dark ribbed lines painted across the forehead. NECA seems to be slowly getting a handle on the issue of the netting paint matching the sculpted netting lines, as each series of Preds has improved in this area, but if you're buying in person you'll still want to do a little comparing to make sure you get one with lines that match up to your satisfaction.

There are no surprises in the articulation or accessory department. He moves just like the rest of the Lost Tribe (discounting the Elder, who used the older Pred sculpt), and he comes with the usual smart disk. It theoretically plugs into the tray on his right thigh, but mine absolutely will not stay put in there. Thankfully, his right hand is actually sculpted to be able to stick his fingers into the corresponding disk holes, so he can properly wield it even if he can't store it.

There's not a whole lot to say about Warrior, since he's amost entirely a re-used sculpt, but he's still a fun figure. His mask is unique, and his cool color scheme is a nice departure from the usual warm tones of most Preds, so he stands out on the shelf. If you're not a Pred completist, he might not appeal to you, but he's definitely got more going for him than, say, Guardian.

-- 09/21/12

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