AVP: Alien Vs. Predator was finally released in 2004, a film that fans dreamed of since Dark Horse Comics first started bringing them these two epic extraterrestrials’ battles in 1989. The comics grew in popularity, multiple video games titled Aliens Vs. Predator were released in arcades and on home consoles. So, fans and nerds alike waited for the eventual film adaptation.
The plot of the original Aliens Vs. Predator comic involved a Predator elder named Broken Tusk partnering with a woman named Machiko Noguchi, the administrator of a planet colony, to defend themselves against Aliens after a hunt goes wrong.
Some of these elements were brought into the film adaptation, but not many. When you read the original story and then watch the film, you can see how the character of Machiko turned into Alexa Woods played by Sanaa Lathan.
The budget necessary to bring the original story set in far space would have been huge. So, it was changed to Antarctica. Previous films established that the Aliens spread and multiply very quickly, so if it was going to be set on Earth, an extremely isolated environment would be needed.
Fans reacted generally positively to the film, however the Predator designs garnered some criticism. I’m one of those who were a little put off by some of the costume choices. The Predators were huge, taller and much thicker stuntmen were used than in the previous films. The armor looked more like plastic than metal. The colors of the Predator’s skin were much more muted than previous versions of the creature.
So, when NECA Toys announced they were going to make figures of the Predators in this film as the lineup for the fourteenth Series of their number one selling Predator line, fans asked about these design issues. Randy Falk, NECA Toys’ director of production, responded on Twitter by saying that NECA’s artists would be taking slight artistic liberties in fine tuning the details of the Predators.
Well, they’ve been released and those artistic liberties are making fans rave online. And I completely agree. The attention to detail, the quality, the variety of accessories and the interchangeability of the weapons and hands make each one of these figures a bargain at less than $25.
We’ll start with Chopper Predator.
Chopper features the most intricate trophy accessory ever seen in a Predator film or figure, two totems with skulls and beads attached to his back. Many fans, including myself, were surprised to hear that these trophies would not be attached to the molded figure, but loose.
One of these totems is attached to Chopper’s plasma caster backpack while the other is attached to a “C” clamp on Chopper’s back.
Each of the Predators in this series comes with one of these clamps that can also be used to attach their spears.
Chopper also features a brand new feature in this series, wires running from the side of the mask to the plasma caster backpack. They slide into two, small holes near where the backpack meets the shoulder.
I found the best method to attach these wires is to remove the Predator’s head, attach the backpack, connect the wires and reattach the head.
Chopper has the most accessories in this series with three sets of blades, plasma caster, collapsed spear, shuriken and previously mentioned totems. He also features rear, extended blade holders.
The next figure is Scar Predator, the main protagonist Predator of the film who partners with Alexa.
Now, I’ll be honest, this Predator’s face is horrible in my opinion and I’ve found that sentiment is shared fairly consistently among fans in my experience. This was my primary concern when I heard about this figure. NECA rightfully prides itself with capturing creature’s likenesses very well and I was concerned they would do so with this face…
This is the face created by Amalgamated Dynamics Incorporated or ADI for AVP: Alien Vs. Predator. Compare this to the original Predator animatronic face created by Stan Winston Studios in 1987.
This was the one feature of the Predators in AVP that fans wanted changed the most and NECA delivered. The face was vastly improved.
Scar comes with a collapsed spear, plasma caster backpack, removable, extended wrist blades and shuriken. Each figure in this series comes with one of these throwing shuriken.
The last figure is Celtic Predator.
Celtic quickly became a fan favorite due to his unique mask and the fact that he is the first Predator in the film to battle an Alien, finally giving fans the cinematic duel they had imagined for fifteen years. Celtic comes with wrist blades, extended spear, shuriken and plasma caster.
Celtic also features the mask wires that come with Chopper. A ceremonial dagger sheath is attached to Celtic’s right leg and he comes with a removable dagger. Each figure in this series comes with one of these ceremonial daggers.
Every figure in this series features at least one pair of wrist blades, plasma caster, shuriken, spear, bone necklace, back “C” clamp and ceremonial dagger. Scar and Chopper come with flip open wrist computers. This is a first for NECA Predators at this scale.
Each Predator has a unique plasma cannon and unique wrist blades.
The tabs connecting the backpacks to the Predators have moved from one going up and one going down to two going directly into the back.
They are meant to be purchased as a set of three to give you access to all the accessories options. Meaning that if you buy Scar, you get a collapsed spear. If you buy Celtic, you get the extended spear. The same applies to the Predator’s hands. Buying the set gives you access to all hand options. For example, Chopper comes with two closed fists, yet also accessories that would require different hands to hold. Buying one of the other figures would give you access to an open hand and an object holding hand. Some people have complained about this being a problem for people only buying one figure, but I think it’s a fair trade off to have the hands packed separately in exchange for many more accessories being included.
Now, as I mentioned, these figures are meant to be purchased as a trio and I can now say it is absolutely worth it. The poses you can create by being able to switch between the three sets of hands and accessories is worth it for a collector. NECA really took these Predators to the next level in terms of quality and detail and with Series 15 already being announced as having three more Predators from AVP, I very much look forward to this line’s future!
Predators Series 14 is available in stores and online now retailing from between $22 and $25.
Check out NECA’s website at www.necaonline.com and on Twitter @NECA_TOYS
I’m Ash and you can follow me on Twitter @Ode2Ash