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Ultimate Warrior Predator

Predator 2
by yo go re

I was going nuts trying to figure out how the Ultimate Lost Tribe had gone from #04 Guardian to #06 Warrior - turns out the Battle Damaged City Hunter somehow gets to be #5 in the line. I mean, I guess technically he is part of the Lost Tribe...

A student of ancient Yautja fighting traditions, Warrior is one of the few Elite hunters forged in fire by the "Blood Ring," a combative fighting sport created ages ago when the Amengi invaders forced the Yautja ancestors to fight one another in a colosseum-style battle. As was the case, hundreds of generations before, the use of energy weapons in this sport is not permitted; however, mastery of melee weapons is essential to survive. In modern times, this combat tradition continues as a measure of strength and skill, pitting the strongest Yautja fighters against vicious alien creatures, often Xenomorphs, fighting to the death. Despite his Elite status, Warrior continues to revisit the "Blood Ring" when not on hunts to keep his skills sharp. Celebrated for his victories, he is considered by many to be the toughest among all hunters. One of the eldest mambers of the Lost Tribe, Warrior is the trusted right hand of Greyback and is the weapons master for off-world missions in addition to acting as an effective "plan B" for taking down the most dangerous targets wherever necessary. Some hunters use a self-destruct device as a last resort, but the Lost Tribe calls in Warrior.

Because it's been nearly two full years since NECA released any of these, how about a refresher? The Lost Tribe was just cobbled together from existing costume pieces in order to make the finale of Predator 2 look crowded. None of them had any personality or specializations, so all that stuff on the back of the box was invented by NECA. All of it. Until the release of this toy, there was never any such thing as a "Blood Ring," which is apparently Predator MMA? Not to be confused with Predator MDMA, or Predator EDM. Sadly, the logo on the front front of the box keeps us from seeing the coolest feature of Tristan Jones' artwork: Warrior is standing on a defeated Predalien! Love the way he ties in different facets of the property with each release.

A decade ago when NECA was doing the Penultimate Lost Tribe, Warrior was the last one released. As Monkey Boy taught us in that review, "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." And so it is! Of course, there's a different City Hunter sculpt for them to use today, with more detaling and improved articulation - you know, double-knees and elbows, a balljoint in the chest, stuff like that.

He wouldn't look like a double of City Hunter anyway, thanks to his colorscheme. While most Preds are on the orangey-brown part of the color spectrum, his skin is done in blues. We're surprised NECA's bio paragraph didn't give some info on that, considering how the various Kenner homages were all about explaining their unusual appearances. The base color is a very pale shade, with darker stripes and splotches on the chest and limbs. The armor remains that same warm metallic shade they all wear; a cooler silver color might have suited the character better, but then it wouldn't look as much like they were all working together.

Whatever fan christened this design "Ram" must never have seen a sheep before. A ram is known for its giant, curling horns, yes? Well, there are two tiny, tiny little elements on the sides of the helmet that could possibly be interpreted as downward-facing horns if you were really willing to stretch, but certainly nothing that would make any sane person think first of ovines. This mask is the same mold used for the old figure, because that's not something that needed upgrading; it was already sculpted and molded well.

What is new is the inclusion of a second head. The 2010s-era Lost Tribe were all dedicated to reproducing what was seen on-screen: whatever armor they wore, whatever accessories they carried in the film, that's what the toy came with. That's all the toy came with. The 2020s Lost Tribe isn't afraid to go wider, including giving all the Losties both masked and unmasked heads. Warrior's head is originally from Bad Blood, recognizable by the prominent secondary ridge around the scalp, and the addition of extra bumps out by the tips of its flared mandibles. A great choice that makes him look fearsome even among his species. The stripes on his skin here aren't as dark as on the rest of the body, but the interior of the mouth is a great indigo that looks terrific on the figure.

The 2012 Warrior only included a single accessory: his smart disk. A closed version, to fit in the holster on his leg (theoretically - ask Monkey Boy how tough it was to get that stupid thing to stay in place). Becaus the 2022 version is better, we also get an open version, that can fit onto the fingers of his right hand.

Okay, that's not the only new accessory, we're just kidding. He's also been given collapsed and extended versions of the typical Predator spear, which is a problem with mine: the long one was put in the tray incorrectly, so now it's vastly bent to the side, with like a 30° angle by the handle. I heated it up, straightened it as best I could, and then put it back in the tray the other direction, hoping that will correct it over time. Other pre-existing accessories include the flat and extended blasters for his left gauntlet, a shot of blue energy for his shoulder cannon, and two human skulls: one with a spine attached, one without.

And then there are the newly created pieces no one's seen before. Since the bio goes on about how you can't use plasma casters when you step inside the octagon, he gets two new melee weapons: an axe and a club. Both are original designs, but still fit the Predator asthetic. The axe is a total polearm, so it's patterned a lot like the spears are, with a thick "grip" and a long, striated staff for length, then ridged detailing near the axehead that's reminiscent of the armor they wear. The mace, meanwhile, is a bendy PVC piece, because that's easier and cheaper than making a bunch of balljointed segments. The stock photos made it appear there would be silver in between the brown chunks, but that didn't make the final product.

Until now, the only thing carrying Warrior was his unique colors. Now it's unique colors and a few weapons, so that's a step up, at least.

-- 02/05/23

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