Predator Series 14 saw the introduction of a new body designed by the NECA team, which lead to the release of the biggest, best articulation, and overall coolest Predator action figure’s we’ve seen yet. The only downside of them was the source material on which they were based– the Aliens vs Predator movie– which was pretty much the nadir of the franchise. I feel I’ve harped on that enough in my Series 14 review, as well as my look at the AvP Aliens, so I’ll gloss over the conflict of buying toys based on a truly terrible movie which I genuinely hated this time… which is actually an easy task because once more, NECA has created a trio of outstanding toys in this wave.
Series 15 feels like an ancillary assortment, continuing what was started with last wave’s three brothers, Scar, Celtic, and Chopper. From that trio, Scar (the movie’s “hero” Predator) was the only one without his mask, and I like that NECA is offering up the masked version of this hunter in such short order. Masked Scar is identical to the previous release, except for his new head featuring his scar-dented mask. He fits in perfectly with his brothers, and it’s nice to have the option to display all three figures with their masks in place.
The other two figures in Series 15 are the ancient Predators that feature into the film, and both add variety to a collection of figures which are– essentially– all the same base body. Ancient Warrior and Temple Guard both feature newly sculpted armor, and each gets a unique pallet. The Warrior’s gear gets a striking blue finish, while the Guard features a reddish copper wash. The color differences here are subtle, but very effective– were you to look at any one single AvP Predator, you’d at first assume they’re all colored the same… but standing them side-by-side highlights the difference in each figure’s color patterns.
As always, the paint work on these figures is fantastic, with a realistic sense of weathering that confirms these guys as fearsome and seasoned warriors, and the new articulation working into the sculpts lends itself to plenty of posing options. Each Predator is armed to the teeth (or mandibles, I guess?) with accessories, ranging from spiked throwing disks to removable wrist blades, to extended and retracted spears which they can hold or store on their backs. The Guard and Warrior also feature some cool little skulls and totems, each with a hook on the end, which can be draped from their necklace or belt to further customize their appearances.
I quite like the modular approach to the accessory design NECA introduced in their AvP sub-series. Each alternate hand and wrist blade features a universal plug, so you can mix and match these parts between any of the six AvP figures. This will be even more fun with the release of the Comic-Con exclusive Cloaked Scar, who comes packing a holographic map of the Temple from the movie, which again can be shared between any AvP figure.
NECA knocked it out of the park once again with this second wave of AvP Predators. The Temple Guard and Ancient Warrior make for two great new characters to add to the collection, and the variant Scar is well worth picking up to join his two masked brothers. I’m happy that NECA will be rolling some of the design upgrades featured on these figures into more of their Predator toys going forward, because the improvements, while subtle in appearance, have a huge impact.