When Kenner had the Aliens and Predator licenses, they released a whole bunch of crazy variations, as any company would. But in 1993, they also released a two-pack with perfectly vanilla versions of the characters. It was an immediate hit, and remained one of the most popular items from the line for years. Now NECA has taken a cue from that set, not by simply selling an Alien and a Predator together, but by directly homaging those decades-old figures.
The Predators have seeded a planet with alien eggs. The hatchlings infest all living creatures on the planet to spawn new breeds of gruesome aliens. With this well-stocked hunting ground of ghastly aliens, the Predators are ready to stalk the ultimate in big game. WHO WILL WIN...?!?!
The Alien (called a "Warrior Alien" on the original Kenner packaging, but given no special designation here) is a repaint of NECA's "Big Chap," the one that came out in Series 2 alongside Sgt. Windrix.
Since that was one of the figures my TRU never seemed to get in, it's new to me!
Most of it is new to me: comparing this sculpt to the Aliens sculpt, the upper and lower torso appear to be the same sculpt. But the new arms, legs and head make it look like an entirely new creature.
For a long time, I didn't realize there was a difference between the xenomorphs in the first and second movies - they're both black, buggy things with a wiener for a head. The Alien alien had a smooth dome while the Aliens aliens had lumpy ones, but it's more than that. The original has feet that are small and simple, almost like human feet rather than crazy animal claws. The sunken, ribbed panels on the limbs are smaller on the original xeno, and the fingers are shorter and straighter. Basically, the design got less human in the sequel, while this one still looks very much like a Nigerian man in a costume.
The head is, of course, the kind that's smooth on top. Since this toy is an homage to the Kenner release, it's not a clear dome (as it was on the Series 2 figure), but rather solid black. The skull underneath is still fully detailed, you just can't see it - and even if you could, it doesn't have any paint apps. The Alien's mouth opens, and his inner jaw extends. That's certainly something Kenner's couldn't do!
It also couldn't move: that toy had the Big Five (plus tail), while NECA's moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, hips, thighs, knees, ankles and toes. The spike in his back pulls out, so you can tip his head back, but I've never been able to move the Aliens' heads back far enough for it to be an issue. Additionally, his right leg wasn't pushed all the way onto the peg, so I had to boil and pop it off, then reassemble. The tail is bendy, allowing you to point it whatever direction you want.
In the original two-pack, the Predator was called "Renegade." Then, in Series 3 of their Predator line,
Kenner reused that name for a green repaint of the same mold. NECA, continuing their trend of updating the "Kenner Tribe," released a greenish Pred with grey armor, and naturally named it Renegade. Therefore, the Pred in this set gets no special name - but that's okay, because we know who he really is.
Unsurprisingly, the figure uses the usual NECA "Jungle Hunter" body - that's fine, it's what the old toy was supposed to be. There are no new parts to the sculpt, but there don't need to be. Though to be truly accurate, they should have given him the wide-open right hand - the old toy could not hold any accessories on that side.
And he does have accessories! Just like the original Renegade Predator, this one comes with a Battle Gun and Hunting Spear, though they're as drastically improved as the figure itself. The old toys had the
barest hints of detail, and while these keep the same basic shape, they're far more detailed. The gun is thin and blocky, with a large rear grip that wrapps down to connect with the fore-grip and has spikes all along the bottom, possibly allowing him to slash at his foes. The "spear" looks like an even more dangerous version of a bat'leth, with a large axe-like blade at one end, and lots of spikes. The original could plug into the figure's back, but sadly this one cannot. However, both the gun and the spear get lovely brown and silver paint apps, rather than being merely molded in color.
Renegade Predator also had a removable mask, but NECA doesn't do that for their figures (very often), so instead, they included a second masked
head! Nice way to work around those limitations. His armor is a rich, chocolately brown, and his skin is pale yellow with grey stripes and speckles. It's a cartoonified version of the actual Predator's colors, much like when Hasbro would release a blue-tinted "comic colors" Darth Vader. The old toy definitely influenced what I think of as the "right" way for a Predator to look, which might explain why I was so blasé about the Mystery Mini. There's a bit of pink for his mouth, and his eyes are solid green, as they were in the past.
The Predator moves at the ankles,
knees, thighs, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck. Unlike the Alien, everything was in place properly, and didn't require work to get moving. The claws in his gauntlet extend, and I think he's supposed to have a plasma caster on his shoulder, though mine doesn't - this set is rare enough that I'm not going to bother looking for a replacement.
You'll recall that the Kenner two-pack came with a free minicomic. NECA was so committed to updating the old set that they got Dark Horse Comics to reprint it! The inside front cover now promotes other NECA figures, rather than Kenner ones, and the coloring is superior, but it's otherwise the same. And of course, the packaging is an update too, with similar graphics both front and back.
Until Movie Maniacs 5, Kenner's Alien and Predator two-pack was the definitive piece of merchandise for both characters. Clearly there are lots of better options now, but it's great to see NECA homaging this classic retro collection.