#0777: Combat Elite




When I think Halo, my mind tends to immediately jump to the Spartans, who are the protagonists of <most> of the games in the series. The main character, Master Chief, is one of them, and the default settings for players in multiplayer games always have the player as a Spartan. They tend to get pushed to the forefront. With the exception of the three ODST reviews, all of my Halo reviews so far have looked at the Spartans. But, what good are a bunch of armored heroes without a foe to face off against? My personal favorites of those foes are the Covenant Elite, who make for the best direct parallel to the Spartans. So, let’s have a look at one of them, shall we?


EliteMags2This particular Combat Elite was released as part of a Team Slayer two-pack in McFarlane Toys’ Halo 3 line. He was originally packed with a Blue Mk VI Spartan. The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation. In the games, the Elite are noticeably larger than the already massive Spartans, but that’s not quite the case with this particular figure, at least when compared to the Spartans I have from Reach, 4, and 5. To be fair to McFarlane, the scale is noticeably smaller on the Spartans from 3, so this figure would probably look a lot more menacing with them. As is, he’s not terrible, truth be told; he’s about the same height as the average newer Spartan, and he’s a bit bulkier, so it works. Just don’t put him next to, say, Jorge. He looks even better with the ODSTs! As far as sculpt goes, he’s got the same basic sculpt as all the Halo 3 Combat Elites. It’s perhaps not as fantastic as some of the more recent stuff, but it’s still no slouch. The armored parts are very clean, sharp, and mechanically detailed, and the underlying areas are covered with tons of fantastic texturing. I’d say he looks like he stepped right out of the game, but I think he might even be better than the game in terms of detail. I will say the wrists look really skinny, especially in comparison to the rest of him, but that’s my only real complaint. Paint is kind of important on a lot of these figures, since it’s the one thing that sets them apart. This Elite’s color scheme is a nice red/purple combo, which looks really sharp. And it’s not just solid red, solid purple either. No, there’s a lot of great variation in the color coded areas, which adds a nice level of depth to the figure. Plus, he’s got some great wash work to help accentuate the sculpt, which does its job well. I also love the glossy finish on the armored parts; it gives him some nice pop. The Elite’s one accessory is a standard plasma rifle, which is admirably sculpted, and sits well in his hands.


The Combat Elite was the last piece of my Halo buying spree from this past summer. I actually got him at the same time as the recently reviewed Rookie figure. After getting that many Spartans and ODSTs, I figured I needed at least one of the Elite. So, I was looking at the various options, and this guy caught my eye. I like the color scheme, because it makes him look kinda like Magneto, so that’s kind of become his name, for me at least. I’m glad I picked this guy up, because he’s a lot of fun!


#0660: Spartan ODST & Active Camouflage Arbiter




What’s this? Halo Minimates? Surely this must be a guest review! Nope, it’s still good ol’ Ethan, doing what he does best. I’ve been steadily getting more and more into the Halo games, which has done a great job of making me check out all of the tons of Halo merch from over the years. Not surprising anyone, one of my first purchases was a set of Minimates.  What a shock. So, let’s have a look at the Spartan ODST and Active Camouflage Arbiter.


This pair was released in the second series of two-packs in the Halo Minimates line, which were released exclusively at Toys R Us.


ODST&Arbiter2The Spartans are the bread and butter of the Halo franchise, so they cropped up quite a bit in these sets. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 12 points of articulation (due to the boots). This particular Spartan has the basic Spartan Mark IV armor, but features the ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper) helmet. The ODSTs are themselves not Spartans, just normal guys who assist the Spartans throughout the games, but in Halo 3 (and Halo: Reach) you can customize your Spartan to wear one of their helmets. The figure has quite a few add-ons; ten in all. They are the helmet, torso, shoulder pads, gloves, belt, thigh armor, and boots. The body armor is all the same as the various other base Spartans in the line. It’s quite nicely detailed and fitted pretty nicely to the Minimate body. It’s a little on the bulky side, but that sort of comes with the territory. The helmet is the same one used on the ODST Rookie and the three other Spartan ODSTs. It’s pretty decently handled and matches up well with the armor on the body. If I’m being a bit picky, the visor seems a little thin, but other than that, it’s pretty great. Paint was pretty key on a lot of the Spartans, as it was the main thing that differentiated all of them. This one is, as noted by the name, blue, which is a pretty striking color for a Spartan. The blue is nice and bold and cleanly applied. The gold on the visor is a little sloppy on the edges, but not atrocious. The figure also has some pretty cool detailing on the black under suit, which keeps the figure from being too basic. The Spartan ODST included a battle rifle (which, according to my resident toy gun expert Tim is a Halo 3 battle rifle).


ODST&Arbiter3The Covenant Elite certainly don’t intend to let the Spartans have all the fun, not even in the whole “having the main character” department, so, behold, the Arbiter, the second best thing to come out of Halo 2 (after dual-wielding). One of the neat things about the Elite is that their base armor ability is Camo, which makes sneaking around pretty darn easy. This figure replicates that effect. He’s a little taller than the Spartan and has a whole 13 points of articulation, thanks to an extra point at the neck. The Arbiter has 12 non-standard sculpted pieces: helmet, head, neck, chest piece, shoulders, hands, leg armor, and feet. All of these pieces are the same as those used on the other two versions of the character, but that’s certainly not a bad thing, especially for consistency’s sake. The pieces are all very nicely sculpted and they make the Arbiter look sufficiently alien in comparison to a normal ‘mate. It’s a little hard to see some of the sculpted details on this guy, but they’re definitely there and they look pretty cool. Arbiter doesn’t have much in the way of paint, what with being all clear and such, but he does have some faint linework representing his face under the helmet, which is definitely a nice touch. The figure is packed with a pair of energy swords, because what else would you pack with the Arbiter?


Odd as this might be, I pretty much entirely missed out on Halo Minimates when they were at retail. That said, this is actually my second set of them (I got my first on clearance at Toys R Us, based solely on the fact that they were Minimates). I found this set (along with way too much other stuff) at Yesterday’s Fun, while on vacation. I really like this set because it has two of my favorite things, the Arbiter and ODSTs! It’s actually a pretty fun set!

Guest Review #0005: Ranger Elite




Today’s review is written by Tim Marron.  Check out more from Tim over at Tim’s Blarg and Timsical Thoughts.  Take it away Tim!

When it comes to video games, two of the traits I tend to look for are the presence of shootbangs, and a high level of polish. I don’t mean that in the sense of the game being thoroughly tested and fine-tuned, although that is also desirable. No, I mean it’s got lots of shiny things. As many of you probably know, the Halo franchise meets both of these criteria consistently across titles and it is from this series that today’s figure comes. I’ll be taking a look at the Ranger Elite from Halo Reach, the origin story of the Halo universe.


For those of you not familiar with the Halo games or lore, Elites, or Sangheili if you really want to show off, are a species of alien that are part of a military coalition known as the Covenant. This specific figure is part of McFarlane Toys’ fifth series of Halo Reach action figures and depicts an Elite in the Ranger armor. He features 25 points of articulation and stands about 6″ tall, when you can get him to stand, that is. The sculpt is pretty accurate to the look from the game and is mostly original apart from the feet, hands, and lower torso which are reused from all previous Halo Reach Elites. There are some seam lines and kibble, but anyone handy with an X-acto knife should be able to remedy these easily enough. I do appreciate how the Elite’s face can be partially seen underneath the transparent visor of his helmet instead of, say, having the visor be painted on opaque… and the wrong color. I’m looking at you, DC Direct (see my review of their Tali’Zorah figure). The sculpting does start to be an issue when it runs into certain areas of articulation on the figure. Places like the knees and elbows are sculpted to match as closely as possible to the shape of the character model in the game. However, the simple hinge joint they used on the figure aren’t entirely compatible which results in the knee caps and elbows peeling away from the rest of the arm or leg when you bend the joint. This forms weird little spikes that aren’t meant to be there and can be a little pinchy if you aren’t paying attention. The paint is decent although hardcore collectors will notice some serious areas of slop and bleed over. That being said, the average casual collector such as myself will be totally fine with the paint which has a nice variety of textures like metallic and even pearlescent in some areas. The Ranger Elite comes with a Focus Rifle, Plasma Grenade, and back plate that can be removed to attach a jetpack from one of the other figures in this line. I would have liked a stand of some kind because he is a touch on the wobbly side, but it’s not that big of a deal given that this is probably the most toy-ish action figure I have. This guy isn’t meant to be stood up on a shelf, he’s meant to be played with, and I kinda like that.


This figure was maybe one of my most impulsive impulse buys. I got him from Toys-R-Us, where I had gone initially to browse the Nerf aisle (ask me about my Nerf collection, I dare you) in search of an early release. I only saw it as I was wandering back through the store. The combination of my favorite Halo armor design along with one of my favorite weapon designs both in one box caused an involuntary reflex in which I took the figure to the checkout, purchased it, and walked back to the car. Ok, maybe it wasn’t involuntary but I am glad to have the figure. It does have its issues as a figure, but as a toy, I give it a resounding BLARG of triumph.