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Ultimate Boar Predator

Predator 2
by yo go re

I'm gonna go get my Spider-Gremlin and have the weirdest re-creation of Charlotte's Web ever!

Slightly older and more aggressive than his brother-in-arms Stalker, Boar is the muscle of the mercenary duo known as the Boar Brothers. Having been forced to flee their tribe as youths, Boar became his brother's protector, and they soon found a home in the planet's secret underworld. Avoiding Enforcers as well as Bad Bloods quickly became routine, and without Boar's combination of courage and rage, the two would have never reached maturity. Born with a talent for physical combat, Boar developed a strong admiration for the Hunters (Predators) and used their treacherous new surroundings as a training ground for his and Stalker's quest to become Hunters themselves. When they weren't scrounging for food or work, Boar would teach his younger sibling how to fight using anything available. They often sought to join groups of Hunters passing through but were ignored due to their young age and inexperience. It wasn't until the were caught stealing from an Elder Predator that they accidentally earned their way into a tribe. Boar and Stalker would go on to prove their worth to Elder Greyback and his Lost Tribe, establishing themselves as Hunters and eventually becoming a force of their own.

So just as with the Ultimate Shaman Predator release, the box art on big baby Boar here is not done by Tristan Jones, like the first six figures in the line were: rather the duties have fallen to Michael Montenat. We'd love to know what preciptated the change. The illustration still good, but it lacks... flair. Good draftsmanship, but no storytelling. Like, all the previous boxes had the Preds in interesting new situations, hinting at a larger story; this one shows Boar attacking some people in a subway car. It's like he was just dropped into an existing Predator 2 scene rather than being given something of his own.

The whole "Boar is Stalker's brother" thing was made up by the fans, just like all these characters' names - I don't know how those ancestors managed to decipher anything through the shadows of the scene, but two of the cobbled-together Pred suits had the same (or at least very similar) masks, so the pair suddenly became related. And those masks had distinct "snouts," so a porcine name was assigned. However similar the movie masks may have been, NECA has always made them at least slightly different, with Boar having different ridges over the top of the mask and shallower vents on the cheeks.

While the masked head is the same that came on the Penultimate Boar, this set also includes an unmasked head. This is the same closed-jaw head Borg had, though obviously in different colors - yellow, rather than green. There's a dark marking on his scalp in the shape of an X, a very distinctive marking among all the Predators we've seen so far. Since this is the first time we've ever seen him unmasked, it's a full NECA invention, and it looks pretty cool.

What really made Boar unique among his brethren was below the neck, though. He didn't wear chest armor like the other Preds, instead concealing his space-nipples behind a flap of dried animal hide. Predator in a leather bandeau. There's also a necklace with several small skulls strung along it, but he's hardly the only one to wear something like that. The pauldrons are the typical Predator 2 type, and both forearms have the same style of bracer, the one with the self-destruct flap and little pop-up blasters to trade in and out as you like. The pins that allow the panels to hinge open want to slide out of place far too easily, and if they do, they'll be gone forever.

NECA's been giving all these Ultimates more accessories than they ever had before, and Boar follows suit. He's not been gifted any crazy new weapons, sadly, but rather a little armored vest. You can just imagine the other Losties getting fed up with him just wearing the equivalent of a T-shirt into battle, and forcing him to dress up, whether for his own protection against a dangerous foe, or just because they're tired of him looking embarrassing in public. It's similar to the one his brother wore, though obviously a new design. No one would be lazy enough to give both brothers matching armor.

Both brothers have matching plasma casters, that oversized backpack thing with the foldaway slot for the weapon to rest in when it's not aiming over his shoulder or being held in his hand as a separate pistol. The gun and pack are the same sculpt that came with Stalker, but oddly, not the same mold: Boar's attaches to the left side of the armor, not the right side, and the shape of the plug that allows the backpack to attach is different. The pack doesn't feel like it was assembled from multiple pieces (not counting the sliding gun, obviously), which means they would have had to remold the entire thing. Why not just leave the attachment point the same, but put it on the other side of the figure? That would have worked fine. It's just an unexpected choice.

Other than that, all the extras are fairly mundane: open and closed smart discs, open and closed spears, and the forearm blasters we mentioned before. There's an orange blast effect to fit on the plasma caster, and an oddly grey human skull. Why are there so many human skulls included with these Lost Tribe Ultimates? Is that the only mold that's still useable? Imagine if NECA had used this opportunity to re-release all the weird alien skulls, and then gave new fans a chance to catch up by doing a second run of the Trophy Wall diorama.

The first time the Lost Predators were released, Boar was the third, really showing NECA's commitment to the bit. This time, he comes in at the end, when the creativity stream is starting to run dry: all the others have gotten cool stories and new accessories; Boar's story is "he strong" and while his accessories may be new to him, they're basically the same things his brother came with. It's like the two of them are meant to be a mini-set within this overall set, but they got spaced out so we didn't get overwhelmed by the sameness; whichever one of them came out second was always going to suffer for that.

-- 04/16/23

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