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Predator Series 13: NECA’s Kenner Clan Expands

kenner-predators-featThe newest wave of Predator figures once again pays tribute to the delightfully silly Kenner toy line from the 90s.

Last year, NECA released their first Predators based on Kenner’s classic toy designs from the early 90s.  Now, NECA has re-created three more Kenner Predators, including the first characters from that collection– Cracked Tusk and Scavage– as well as the Renegade Predator, the closest Kenner ever came to releasing a movie accurate hunter.

Cracked Tusk and Scavage both reuse a lot of tooling from NECA’s previous Kenner Predators, Lava Planet and Nightstorm, and this makes sense; in the original toy line, Lava Planet was a repaint of Cracked Tusk, while Nightstorm was a redecoed Scavage.  NECA went in reverse with releasing their versions of the characters, but there’s certainly a logic to each design, and each figure gets a few minor tweaks to make them more than straight-up repaints.

Kenner Predators 026I was mildly obsessed with Kenner’s Cracked Tusk when I was a kid; I dug his brown and tan, almost cat-like skin pattern, wide-set wrist blade and weird mask.  NECA’s design employs that same paint job, including some great tiger striping on Cracked Tusk’s skin and another instance of the fantastic weathering NECA has employed on their Predators’ armor and gear.  My only issue with Cracked Tusk is he’s lacking his iconic broken mandible.  The original figure got his name from one of his pronounced lower teeth, which was broken in half and protruding from the bottom of his mask.  Adding these tusks would have required minor sculpting on top of the Lava Planet headsculpt, but would have further served to distinguish Cracked Tusk as a unique figure.  Even without his signature feature, this Predator remains a cool toy regardless, and I love NECA’s backstory, which posits Cracked Tusk as the elder leader of this clan of Kenner characters.

Scavage is the other OG Kenner Predator, and NECA has taken more liberties with this guy.  Like Nightstorm, Scavage has been adapted into a Super Predator, employing the taller, lankier body type which makes him look quite unique among the majority of the Yautja.  How you feel about this choice will likely vary based on how important articulation is to your figures, as the Super Predator body is nowhere near as articulated as the more recent classic Predator sculpts.  The parallel to Nightstorm continues thanks to the removable mask and skull and spine staff which both hunters include.

Kenner Predators 016The broad strokes of this figure’s design– silver armor, green skin and deep red dreadlocks– matches the vintage figure, but the specifics are kind of off.  The old Scavage was big and burly, now skinny and tall, and his skin was an olive green, more akin to NECA’s Renegade than the teal tone of the new Scavage. Maybe there’s purist types out there who will get bent out of shape by NECA deviating from the classic figure design, but as a visual nod to the old school character, I think the new Scavage still works well.  My one legitimate wish is that NECA had included his final signature weapon, a twin cannon which connected to his staff.  Especially considering how little tooling this figure required, an all new accessory such as that would have been a welcome inclusion.

Rounding out the new wave is Renegade, who was originally released as half of a two pack in combat with with an Alien figure.  Once again NECA has taken some liberties with Kenner’s design, which makes complete sense here.  The old Renegade was, in essence, Kenner’s analog for a movie accurate Predator, and NECA has already done plenty of movie accurate hunters.  So instead the new figure borrows a visual design very reminiscent of the vintage toy, while opting for the colorway of the KB Toys exclusive repaint– gunmetal armor and a two-toned bright green and yellow skin tone– which result in a figure that really pops.

Kenner Predators 039In addition to the cool new colors on this figure, Renegade also sports two all new weapons, a curved blade and a blaster gun, which are excellent punched-up sculpts based on the 90s toy’s arsenal.  Each piece looks great, and Renegade can wield one or both quite well.  One quick note to be aware of, though– the blade is made of a very hard plastic, which keeps it perfectly straight, but also leaves it liable to break easily.  Be careful when you’re putting this weapon in the figure’s hands.

I loved Kenner’s Predator toy line, which exemplified that gleeful era when we could see toy companies soften their morality enough to release kid-friendly toy lines based on hyper violent, hard R movies.  NECA has made it no secret that they adore this classic toy line, too, and once again they’ve released three figures which are both thoughtful and fun in the way they pay homage to their vintage source material.  Hopefully this new trio of hunters will not be NECA’s final visit to the Kenner corner of the Predator universe.

Thanks to NECA for hooking us up with the chance to review these awesome new figures.  Predator Series 13 is available now at specialty retailers and on NECA’s eBay store.

 

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