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Lost Predator

Predator 2
by Monkey Boy

Most of the "Lost Tribe" of Predators seen at the end of Predator 2 are wearing some variation of the City Hunter Predator's armor. Some have extra bits, some are missing bits, and the Elder is almost entirely modeled after the original Jungle Hunter, but for the most part other than the masks and a few distinct pieces, they clearly share a collective design motif.

Except for one. One Predator of the Lost Tribe eschews the dull, weathered, spare metal armor and bone trophies in favor of a more robotic and futuristic aesthetic. He looks very out of place, but that's kind of his appeal: he looks like he belongs in a different movie.

And that's actually not too far off the mark. The armor in question is eerily similar to the cybernetic body used for the titular character in the 1986 Canadian B movie known alternately as The Vindicator, Frankenstein '88 or Roboman. The effects on that film were handled by one Stan Winston... who is notably the same man responsible for the look of the creatures in both Predator movies. Coinkidink? Of course not.

The Predator in the robo-armor is known to most fans as the "Borg" Predator, but NECA uses the more generic "Lost Predator" to identify him. It's possible they're borrowing the label from Hot Toys's Lost Predator 1/6th scale figure, but that figure was more of an amalgam of many Lost Tribe Predators, which may have contributed to the nomenclature. The Hot Toys figure is definitely based on the "Borg" Predator, but he features the mask of "Boar," the spear of "Shaman" and the throwing disc of every other Lost Predator.

NECA's version uses the same base body as the other (non-Elder) Lost Tribe members, with a new head that features closed mandibles, as well as new forearms with smooth gauntlets, and extensive new armor pieces. The new headsculpt looks very nice, and the chest armor is covered with awesome detail. it's got tons of tiny wires sculpted under the main armor plates, and two large separate tube pieces that run over each shoulder. In addition to his new gauntlets, he also gets a new right thigh armor piece and a new multi-piece loin cloth. The shoulder armor, the left thigh armor and the lower legs are the only holdovers from the City Hunter.

So the sculpt is great, as usual, but what about the paint? The Lost Predator gets a very distinct paint scheme, with bright green and yellow skin, as well as deep blue for the armor. Below the forehead the paint looks great, and the forehead pattern is very complex and applied mostly well, but it doesn't quite pop the way it should. At a distance, the yellow markings get lost on the green forehead, and the ring of red dots isn't quite centered on many examples. It's a nice attempt, but with just a little more contrast it would have been excellent. As it is, I customized mine and am much happier with it.

Here's where I usually complain about the painted net lines not matching up with the sculpted netting on the arms, legs and torso, but that's not the case with my Lost Pred and the netting matches more or less perfectly. The figure is molded in kind of a mustard yellow with the green striping painted on, and the color pattern makes for a very striking figure. The armor is a very nice dull metallic blue with a wash to bring out all those intricate details.

The articulation is the same as the other Lost Preds (as well as the new and improved Jungle Hunter base body), but the familiarity does nothing to dampen my love for how well this guy can move. I remember long ago when McFarlane revealed that they'd be making Predators in Series 6 of their Movie Maniacs line, and the promotional images had me drooling. It looked like the figures could be posed in awesome, natural ways that blew me away. The figures themselves ended up being a poor, awkwardly-proportioned facsimile of the promo pics, lacking joints like rocker ankles seen in the pictures, and just being a mess from an articulation standpoint in general. NECA's Preds move the way we wish those McFarlane figures had. The articulation is slightly lessened by the wire loops that pop out of the gauntlet tops, but they're somewhat pliable so it's not by very much.

The back of the packaging lists a throwing disk and sword as his "weapons," without explicitly stating that they're included as accessories, so we won't hold the lack of a disk against him, especially when there's no tray in his thigh armor for it to lock into. He does get his sword though, and it's a wicked looking serrated blade with a thick bone handle. In the film, the sword is attached to the loincloth, but production photos don't really specify how it attaches and the film stills are frustratingly blurry. NECA has solved this by including a loop in the left side of the loincloth to slip the sword into, blade-first. His left hand is sculpted to grip it, and he holds it well.

Despite my disappointment at the forehead paint, this ended up being one of my favorite figures from the Lost Tribe. The color scheme and distinctive armor make this guy one of the most unique among the Lost, and NECA delivered a (mostly) great figure. Even though he only gets one accessory, it's totally unique to him, and it's lots of fun to pose him with his sword. Way more fun than, say, the same old disk or retracted spear. He's a very enjoyable figure, and his uniqueness sets him apart from the same old combo of various City Hunter armor bits, broadening his appeal to more than just the Predator completist. His armor looks way more advanced than any other Predator, yet he doesn't even get a plasma caster and his only weapon is a bone-handled sword! He's a walking anachronism. What's not to love?

Thus concludes our reviews of NECA's Lost Tribe figures. They could have thrown in the towel once they'd accomplished this feat, but the future of the Predator line is indeed shining bright, with fan(-film) favorite Big Red and upcoming Major Dutch Schaeffer figures (with full Arnold likeness goodness). Here's to a job well done, and long live the line!

-- 12/30/12

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