Kenner Predators: Lasershot Predator by NECA

Even with a seemingly endless variety of Yautja hunters available, from the movies and comics and video games, to cast into plastic, NECA is still always looking for new material. They mined the old Kenner Toys line for their Aliens line, so it’s only natural they would do the same for Predator. And that’s exactly what they did here, plucking Lasershot Predator straight off the pegs of the 90’s and giving him a complete overhaul so that he will fit in with just about any modern NECA Predator on your shelf… Groovy!!!

The box is similar to what we’ve seen with NECA’s Ultimate releases. It seems like a fully enclosed box, but there’s actually a front flap that opens to reveal a window to show off the goods. It’s also an extra thick box to accommodate Lasershot’s significant stature and all the extra bits and bobs that come with him. I dig the artwork and its distinct 90’s flavor. The colors are great and the front panel mimics the old figure in a sort of clam-shell packaging. Of course, everything is collector friendly, which is great for me, because I do keep these figures in their boxes when I’m not displaying them. The box also exclaims that Lasershot features an Electronic LED Targeting Eye which I was damn excited to try out. Lasershot is known for his obsession with technology and his willingness to augment his own body to make himself the Ultimate Alien Hunter, so you know we’re in for a treat!

Many of the Kenner Pred designs were about as goofy as you can get, which makes NECA’s figure here all the more impressive. I think they managed to burn away almost all the gimmicky wackiness of the original figure, while leaving behind mostly just Yuatja badass. OK, maybe there’s still a little bit of campiness left in this guy, but I still love him. Probably the most distinctive thing about Lasershot is the purple skin, which includes a black wash to bring out the detail. Why purple? I don’t know. Maybe it has to do with all the augments he’s performed on himself. Combined with that lovely purple is his golden armor, most prominent on his lower legs, hips, forearms, and upper body. The armor trades the usual tribal flavor and trophies for what looks like ancient Yautja designs mixed with high tech improvements, and there is a ton of detail in this sculpt to reflect it. I’m particularly fond of the large blades attached to the lower legs and the organic curves of his shoulder weapons, which rests dormant on his back when not in use. He also has a skull sculpted into his belt, that’s very reminiscent of a T-800 Terminator. Lasershot is a lot to take in all at once, and the sculpt and coloring conspire to make him quite the work of art.

His portrait is no slouch either! Like any Yautja, he’s got a face only a mother would love. The purple skin is still prevalent here, and it really makes those teeth at the end of his mandibles, and the spikes around his cranium, stand out. He’s got one deep set piercing eyeball, and his other has been replaced with an artificial targeting system,nesting in a mess of grafted golden tech. A nest of brown dreadlocks spill out the back of his head, each one with a sculpted gold band. By now, NECA are pros at sculpting the uniquely hideous Predator head, and like the all the others, this one is just a marvel of tiny detail.

Lasershot comes with a bio-mask that can be worn over his head. It’s vaguely like your average Pred mask, but it has a lot more panel lines sculpted into it. The upper right side is also missing to accommodate his facial grafts. The bio mask is painted with a copper finish, which puts it at odds with the golden armor, but it still looks pretty good on him. Although, to be honest, I think I prefer him without the mask. NECA did too fine a job with that head sculpt for me to be covering it up.

The LED light advertised on the box is activated by pressing a disguised button on the top of Lasershot’s head, producing the familiar triple light targeting system we’ve seen in the films. The lights are nice and bright and can be seen fairly well even under normal lighting conditions. They can also be seen while he is wearing the bio-mask. Let’s move on to some of this guy’s weaponry.

The double cannon rig on his back can be slid up the track and angled over his shoulders. His left shoulder features the standard plasma-caster, while the right one is a harpoon launcher, complete with two optional heads. One is capture-claw and the other is just a nasty looking spike. You also get a rather thick, bendable tether to make it look like it’s been fired. The cable has a strong wire running through it, allowing it to be bent any way you like it, and it holds up really well too. The claw is good for grabbing hold of prey, while the other just looks like it would make short work of most anything.

Next up, Lasershot has an energy shield that deploys from his right gauntlet. There are two pieces that can peg into the hole there. The device looks like a pair of golden horns with a red crystal in the center. It’s actually got something of an Egyptian flavor to its design. The second piece features a translucent purple disc of energy, simulating that the shield is activated.

Finally, you get an interchangeable left hand, which is a larger claw with articulated fingers. The socket on my figure’s claw was too small, so I had to dremel it out a bit to get it to fit, but now it goes on and off easy-peasy. It looks like a nasty piece of business, and when combined with the energy shield, it gives Lasershot some nice options for close-quarter melee combat.

It’s no secret that I’ve been a big fan of NECA’s modernized Kenner Aliens, and now I can happily say that their magic works on Kenner’s Preds just as well. Lasershot is a great looking figure and lots of fun to mess around with. He also displays well going up against those Kenner Aliens or even with any of the other NECA Preds on my shelf. The addition of the LED targeting system is a particularly nice bonus, especially since at $27.99 it didn’t really drive up the cost of the figure that badly. Indeed, I’d love to them revisit the gimmick in some of their future Predators. I’ve been trying to be a little more selective about my Predator purchases, because of space limitations, but when I saw this guy on the shelf at Target he just had to come home with me, and I’m glad he did.

Aliens Vs Predator by NECA

We’re just a few days out from Christmas and this time of year always reminds me of my favorite seasonal TV program as a kid: The Aliens Vs Predator Christmas Special! Getting to see the Aliens and Predators team up to save Santa Claus, while learning the important life lessons of peace and harmony was always a treat. Alright, you got me. I made it up. But hey, as long as we’re on the subject, let’s look at NECA’s Aliens Vs Predator two-pack!

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To the casual eye, this may seem like just an awesome two-pack featuring those two great extraterrestrial adversaries, but it’s actually an homage to a similar pack released back in Kenner’s old toy line. NECA’s been doing some amazing things with both the Predator and Aliens licenses, and I’ve been able to show restraint, mainly because I’m so late to the game. This set, however, has had me drooling for a while now, and it seemed like a good jumping on point. Anyway, the packaging is simple, but impressive as all hell. It’s a giant slab of a clam shell that prominently shows off the two gorgeous figures. The front of the window features a silver “Toys R Us” Exclusive sticker and another sticker that calls out the Dark Horse comic reprint that’s bundled inside.

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Flip the package over and you can see why I’ve been reluctant to get in on these. Look at all those figures! I’ve already decided that I’m on board for the Alien Isolation figures, as I really do dig that game a lot. As for the rest… maybe I’ll try to hunt down some of them there Predators as well. The only downside to this gorgeous package? It’s a sealed clam shell and therefore not collector friendly. It’s more or less typical for NECA over the ages, but they have been breaking into more collector friendly window boxes lately, so it’s a shame they didn’t do it here. Either way, I’ve got to get out my razor blade and do some cutting as I wipe away tears. At least I’ve probably got a glorious whiff of intoxicating plastic coming my way when I unseal it. Mmmmm… delicious plastic fumes! <cough> That’s potent stuff!

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The Xenomorph is an absolutely amazing figure. He’s appropriately large for a 7-inch scale beastie and the sculpt here is just mind-blowing. All the little details of his exo-skeleton are reproduced here and I had a great time just turning him over in my hand and checking out every last Geiger-fied inch of him. The lanky proportions, the insect-like elements, and the giant, bulbous head make this one of the creepiest sci-fi designs ever as far as I’m concerned and every bit of it has been reproduced in this figure. He also stands surprisingly well. Sure, the tail helps, but I’ve been able to pose him with the tail off the ground as well.

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The head is just as amazing as the rest of the body. The super glossy finish on the dome looks spectacular and all that great detail in the body carries over to the head as well. Just look at all the sinewy bits stretching from the mouth and those sharp, silver painted teeth. God, the paintwork overall is just so striking on this guy. And yes, the jaw is articulated and the secondary extending mouth is present. Incredible!

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The Xenomorph is loaded with useful articulation, so let’s break it all down. The arms feature rotating hinges at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and there are swivels at the biceps. The legs have rotating hinges at the hips, double hinges in the knees, and hinges in the ankles and toes. There’s a ball joint in the torso and again in the neck. As mentioned, the jaw is hinged and the secondary mouth slides out. The tail is a fashioned from a nice bendy material. Moving on to the Predator…

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With so many different varieties of Predators inhabiting NECA’s line up, I suppose you could consider this one just a straight vanilla Pred and damn is he gorgeous. He features some amazing texture and paintwork on the skin and the armor bits show some sculpted pitting and wear. All the little controls and instruments on his arm bracers are present, he’s got his two serrated blades on his right arm, and he has some little hoses connecting to the armor pieces in his left arm.

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But it’s clearly in the head sculpt where this guy truly shines. One thing worth noting is that the upper right tusk on mine is broken off. It was like that in the package and there wasn’t a piece of it rattling around in there. I’m not sure if it’s just a factory defect or all of them were like that. Frankly, I think it gives him some character. Anyway, the disgusting mandibles look fantastic as do his beady, deep set eyes. Oh yeah, each and every one of his dreads are individually sculpted. Incredible!

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The Pred also comes with a swap-out masked head. Again, every one of his dreads are sculpted separately.

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The shoulder cannon is a removable piece that tabs into the shoulder and again at the back. It’s articulated in two places so it can be positioned in an inactive state or activated and targeted.

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You also get two weapons with The Predator. He’s got a blade and a gun. The sculpt and paintwork on these accessories are great. I particularly like the crazy design of the gun. Unfortunately, the blade weapon snapped in half while I was taking it out of the package. I’m going to put this mishap on me, as I didn’t even realize they were one piece and the other half was still secured. He can still wield the larger piece as a good looking weapon.

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The Pred also sports some solid articulation. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and double hinged at the knees. The ankles are hinged and swivel. There’s a swivel in the waist, but it’s really tight on my figure and I didn’t want to over stress it. Lastly, there’s a ball joint in the neck. I’ll confess, I was a little nervous moving the right arm a lot, as those two cables look rather frail, but they seem to have been designed with enough slack to allow for a fair range of motion and to pull out rather than snap.

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I picked up this set from TRU’s website when they were doing a free shipping deal and it ended up costing around $42. I absolutely adore these figures, and I have to admit that having them in hand is making it really hard for me not to go after any of the other Aliens and Predator figures in the series. And let’s face it, with my willpower as poor as it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more from this line turning up on FFZ in the year ahead.