#3189: Spartan Buck

SPARTAN BUCK

HALO UNIVERSE (MATTEL)

Wow, is this me, doing another Halo review?  Already?  I mean, yeah, I guess so.  If I’ve got the figure to review, I might as well.  During the lead-up to Halo 5‘s release, Microsoft was trying to move past the purely older age range of the franchise up to that point.  In keeping with that, they moved the master license for the property from McFarlane Toys over to Mattel.  Mattel’s handling of the license was kind of lackluster for the most part, but they were also doing stuff for Halo 5, which was also kind of lackluster, so I guess it fit.  While Mattel’s first batch of products were pretty much everywhere, the weak response to their offerings meant that all of the follow-ups were generally scarce.  Amongst those scarce items: the second series of their Halo Universe line, which happened to feature the only ODST-related figure the line had to offer, Spartan Edward Buck!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spartan Buck was part of the aforementioned Series 2 line-up of Halo Universe, which started to just show up online in little trickles over a year after the release of the first series.  Buck wasn’t even truly confirmed as part of Series 2 prior to its release, and he’d been long assumed cancelled when he just randomly showed up.  Yeah, that was really just how the end of Mattel’s run on the Halo license went in a nutshell.  The figure stands just shy of 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  This line’s scaling was definitely weird; the Spartans are supposed to be pretty big compared to regular people, so at only 6 1/2 inches tall, these guys don’t fit in with much.  But, I guess they had each other?  Sure is great that Mattel gave us a deep cast of characters, right?  Yeah… Given the general bulkiness of the figure and how Mattel figures generally were at the time, Buck’s articulation is surprisingly well-handled.  The range of motion is pretty decent, and he can pretty easily hold his weapon with both hands, something that I know the Series 1 figures really struggled with.  For this line, Mattel designed all of the Spartan figures to feature removable armor.  Given that we rarely see the Spartans without all of their armor, it was an odd choice, but I suppose their desire to do something different isn’t the worst thing. The construction means that he’s even bulkier than a Spartan usually would be, but it was consistent with the overall look of the line.  Mostly, it’s just the head being a bit too small that’s the issue, but I don’t hate it.  The armor actually looks pretty nice, and, apart from the calf armor having a tendency to pop out of place, it’s actually pretty secure.  The underlying suit is kind of goony looking, and I’m not ever gonna display him that way, but, again, it’s at least something different.  Buck’s paint work is largely on the basic side, but the application is clean, and he’s got a few pretty cool smaller details.  Buck is packed with an assault rifle, a knife, and an unmasked head.  The unmasked head is kind of on the large side relative to the helmet, but it’s a decent enough sculpt, and kudos to Mattel on actually giving him the extra head to swap, rather than trying to get an extra sale out of it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m amongst the people who though this figure got cancelled back in the day.  I was really not into the first series of the line, and was at least a little curious about this guy, but when a year went by and the others all got clearanced out, I called it quits and didn’t pay it much attention.  In the years since, this figure’s value’s gotten really high on the aftermarket.  Fortunately for me, I was able to snag a loose one that got traded into All Time for a reasonable price.  He’s a better figure than I’d expected.  He’s still got his own odd quirks, but I actually kind of like him.

#3172: Jun-A266

JUN-A266

HALO: THE SPARTAN COLLECTION (JAZWARES)

In early 2021, after a five year break, I wrote a Halo review…and the proceeded to take a break again. Look, you guys, this is what happens when none of your products are focused on ODSTs. I lose interest. I just can’t help it. But, I’ve got at least one more of these reviews in me, even if it’s not an ODST. No, instead, it’s another Spartan, but this time it’s actually a named one. So, let’s have a look at the only surviving member of Team Noble, Jun-A266!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jun-A266 is part of the fourth assortment for Jazwares’ Halo: The Spartan Collection.  He continues with the line’s overall heavy emphasis on Reach, and is the fourth member of Team Noble to be added to the line.  He’s one of the two named Spartans in the assortment, with the other being the Halo 2 version of Chief.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  In terms of build and articulation, he’s very similar to the Spartan Mark V I already looked at from the line.  He’s a little bit more restricted in terms of movement on a few spots, just due to how the armor is laid out, but beyond that, he’s still pretty posable, with a very solid range of motion for most of his joints.  He struggles a little bit getting his rifle held properly, but is otherwise alright.  Jun’s sculpt, which appears to be all-new, is again about on par with the Mark V figure.  The detailing is generally pretty sharp, and a good match for the in-game models.  The legs are still a little bit tube shaped, and there are some spots where the details get a little soft, but it’s an overall decent set-up.  He’s still got the cool gimmick with the flip-out panel for mounting his side-arm on his leg, which is still cool.  He’s also got some fun, more character specific pieces, which help to dress the armor up just a little bit more.  Jun’s color work isn’t bad.  The base colors are all molded, and they match well with the in-game stuff.  He’s got a little bit of accenting, including some wear and tear, which works well at the scale.  He’s also got that really cool chromed visor piece, which is just super slick.  It was dropped from a few of the named Spartans, so I’m glad to see it’s still turning up at this point.  Jun is packed with his sniper rifle, a Magnum, 7 different hands, and an unhelmeted head.  The rifle features moving legs, and is generally just a cool piece, even if he struggles a little bit to hold it properly.  The Magnum is the same one seen with the Mark V, and the hands are all pretty similar.  While it’s nice to get the unmasked head (especially after McFarlane versions made them wholly separate releases), the sculpt is definitely much softer, and the paint much thicker, making it look somewhat out of place on the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jun isn’t a character I really have much attachment to, since he’s not an ODST, and, even within the context of his own game, he’s not even Jorge, objectively the best member of Team Noble. But, I can’t really say I dislike Jun, which does at least put him above Carter and Kat, making him sort of this middle ground. Why do I have this figure? Well, my son Matthew really wanted to get me an action figure for my birthday, and he dragged my mom down the action figure aisle at Target to get me something. We’ve been playing a little bit of Halo together, so he jumped on these figures. He knows the ODSTs are my favorite, but without any of them to choose from, he opted to get me Jun, who he felt looked the coolest of the options present. I do have to admit, he certainly makes for a cool figure.

#2713: Spartan Mark V [B] – White

SPARTAN MARK V [B] — WHITE

HALO: THE SPARTAN COLLECTION (JAZWARES)

Oh man, a Halo review?  What is it, 2015?  Or, I guess 2016?  It’s gotta be one of those two, because that’s where they all fell.  What’s that?  Something new?  From Halo?  Are you sure?  Can that be right?  I guess it is.  Yes, it would seem that Microsoft is set on at least *trying* to get people to care about Halo again, and part of that drive is new toys.  Previously, both McFarlane and Mattel had thrown their hats in the ring on that front, but this time around, Jazwares is taking advantage of their general upward trend to put out their own offerings.  As with Fortnite, they’ve got two scales at play, both dedicated to the franchise as a whole.  I’m looking at an offering from the larger scale line today, with a look at the Spartan Mark V [B].

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Spartan Mark V [B] is part of the first assortment of Jazwares’ Halo: The Spartan Collection.  As a Halo: Reach design, he fits with line’s overall emphasis on Reach-related product, hitting right alongside the Kat figure in the same assortment.  He’s just meant to be a generic Spartan, of course, as opposed to one of the named characters from the main game content.  I suppose, technically, you could consider him to be Noble-6, but, of course, he doesn’t fit the “default” Noble-6 configuration that we usually see.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  His sizing makes him technically just a little too small to fit in with 6 inch lines like Legends or Classified, but given the variable sizing on the Spartans, especially the Spartan-IIIs, you can easily fudge it a bit.  I personally don’t find them to be too out of place.  B’s articulation scheme is a pretty impressive set up, with a solid range of motion, and is certainly an improvement over McFarlane and Mattel’s offerings.  Notably, he can actually hold his rifle two handed, and also manages to get a reasonable range on both the hip and knee joints.  In general, the joints a quite nicely implemented, and he’s a lot of fun to mess around with.  I have heard that the tolerancing on the joints can vary a bit from figure to figure, but on mine, they’re really in that “just right” territory.  The sculpt itself is pretty solid for the most part.  It’s not quite on the same level as, say, a Hasbro sculpt, so there are definitely some parts that are a little more basic or rudimentary.  In particular, the upper legs do seem a little more tube-shaped than they should be.  Additionally, the armor is definitely much cleaner than Spartan armor tends to be in the games, which brings him a little more in line with Jazwares’ usual offerings.  The actual armor details are still nice and sharp, though, which is certainly a plus.  There’s also a rather clever piece of design innovation worked into the legs.  Att first glance, there’s no where to place the side-arms on the figure’s legs, which is a bit of a bummer.  But, you can pop out part of the thigh panel on each leg and flip it around, there’s a peg on the underside.  It’s quite sleek, and stays in place well, creating a rather ingenious way of simulating the games’ holster-less storage.The color scheme on this guy is the most notable bit on this particular figure, since differently colored Spartans are kind of a thing for the franchise.  This one is white, which is a fairly nice first color scheme, I suppose.  It’s pretty neutral, but distinctly different from the named characters.  The paint work is largely pretty basic, but there’s some nice accenting for wear on the lower arms and legs.  The coolest part by far, however, is the visor, which is a separate, vac-metalized piece.  It looks really slick.  The B’s accessory selection is pretty strong, with seven different hands (in pairs of gripping, firsts, and relaxed, as well as a flat left hand), plus a VK78 Commando Rifle (which is, rather oddly, an Infinite design, not Reach), and a plasma pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve fallen out of Halo in the last few years, so I haven’t really been keeping up with the toys.  It’s not like there was much to keep up with, of course.  Jazwares really impressed me with their Fortnite stuff, so when they were announced to have the Halo license, I was certainly intrigued.  I was admittedly a little sad that that there weren’t any ODSTs in the first round, because they’re my favorites, but I like the Mark V pretty well too, so when I saw him in person, I figured he was a good figure to try out the line with.  I’m really impressed by this first figure, and I’m definitely going to be paying attention to upcoming releases.

#1349: Kat & Carter

KAT & CARTER

HALO MINIMATES

I own an amusingly small quantity of Halo Minimates.  How amusingly small?  Well, this will be my third and final Halo Minimates review.  More amusing?  I don’t actually like either of the characters in this set.  Why do I have them?  Read on to find out.  Onto the review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair was released in the second Toys R Us exclusive series of Halo Minimates, as the resident Halo: Reach pairing in the assortment.

KAT

“As second in command of Noble Team, Lieutenant Commander Kat was considered an exemplary soldier and brilliant cryptanalyst. Even during times of limited intel, her ability to read a situation and react accordingly was considered supernatural, making her invaluable to the team.”

Of the two figures in this set, Kat’s the one I loathe the most.  God does Kat suck.  Especially when she’s driving. She’s like the worst driving AI ever implemented in a video game.  But none of that has anything to do with the figure, I guess.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation (she loses one wrist joint and both ankle joints).  She uses the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for her helmet, chest plate, left shoulder armor and glove, belt, and boots, as well as a unique right arm, which replicates her robotic replacement from the game.  The pieces are on par with the other Halo ‘mates I’ve looked at; not bad overall, but slightly soft around the edges, when it comes to the finer details.  Still, it’s pretty solid.  In terms of paint, Kat’s okay.  The colors seem to match up pretty well with her in-game counterpart, albeit much cleaner than her armor in the game.  Under the armor, there’s a fully detailed face, with hair and everything detailed.  For some reason, the hair has no actual color, but other than that, the detail work is pretty solid.  Kat comes packed with a Magnum handgun.

CARTER

“During the Fall of Reach, Carter was the Commander of an elite team of Spartans referred to as the Noble Team. Charismatic, reassuring, and also known to be cool under pressure, Carter was considered a born leader. He inspired confidence in all of those under his command.”

Okay, so, admittedly, I don’t dislike Carter quite as much as Kat.  Mostly, I just find him sort of “meh,” which isn’t so great when you’re leading a team of fun, colorful characters. I guess not everyone can be Jorge and Emile.  Like Kat, he’s built on the standard body, though he’s got movement on both wrists.  He has add-ons for his helmet, chest armor, gloves, and boots, as well as unique pieces for his upper arms and legs.  He’s a little on the chunky side, but the pieces are generally pretty  nicely sculpted. The paint on Carter is okay; a little on the drab side, and the blue and grey run together, but it’s decent enough.  As with Kat, there’s a fully detailed head under the helmet.  He actually gets hair color, so that’s a nice step up.  Carter includes a DRM battle rifle, which he can only hold with one hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, Ethan, you don’t like these two, so why do you own them?  Two reasons: 1) I hadn’t yet played the game when I got them, so I didn’t really know the characters, and 2) my local Toys R Us was closing down, and everything was 75% off.  I’m not crazy about the characters, but the figures are actually pretty cool.

#1225: ODST Romeo

ODST ROMEO

HALO HEROES (MEGA BLOKS)

romeo1

“Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?”

That’s the question that Juliette and all the other Halo 3: ODST fans have been asking ever since we started getting toys based on the game’s titular team.  McFarlane held the main license at the time, and one by one gave us each member of the team, mixed in with other assortments.  Romeo, the team’s plucky sniper, was slotted to be part of their Halo Universe line, which would be comprised of figures from all of the games, but the line was cancelled rather last-minute, leaving poor Romeo out in the cold.  Fortunately, he’s finally made his way to the toy world, courtesy of our friends over at Mega Bloks.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

romeo2Following the trend started by ODST Buck, ODST Romeo is the resident ODST presence for the second series of Halo Heroes.  The figure stands about 2 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Like Buck before him, Romeo is really just a slight variation on the standard ODST look, and as such is built on the same basic body as both Buck and the Copper ODST from the Drop Pods series.  That being said, he’s probably the most unique of the ODSTs we meet in the game, so he gets his fair share of newer pieces.  His head has been tweaked to add Romeo’s signature goggles (easily the coolest part of his design), which are comically large, but that’s in keeping with the style of these little guys.  He also sports just a single shoulder pad (allowing him to better hold his sniper rifle), which is a different design than the base ODST shoulder armor used on both prior figures (and the ODST Rookie, which I never got around to reviewing).  As with all the prior figures, the shoulder, torso, and thigh armor is all removable.  The Heroes line is notable for the slightly stepped up paintwork the figures sport.  Romeo features mostly basic color work, but it’s all pretty cleanly applied and it matches up with his in game look.  It also mostly matches Buck and the Rookie for the shared colors, with the only real difference being the color of the visor, which is a more vibrant blue on Romeo than it was on the others.  If I’m honest, I think I like the color they chose for Romeo a bit more, and it’s not like it’s completely implausible that his visor is just a slightly different color than everyone else’s.  Romeo is packed with his sniper rifle (with actual paint ops, like the rest of the Heroes weapons), as well as the same three-piece display stand included with the rest of the Series 2 figures.  I’m not sure I like the orange as much as the blue for the stand, but that’s minor.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The first series of Halo Heroes snuck up on me, but I knew the second series was coming.  While I could take or leave the rest of the assortment, I knew I was getting Romeo.  The guy’s probably my favorite member of the team (and that’s saying something, given that he’s on the same team as characters voiced by Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion), and I was really bummed that his McFarlane figure wasn’t released.  Seems I wasn’t the only one, as Romeo was pretty consistently the first figure to go from cases of Series 2.  I did finally manage to track one down last summer while on vacation with my family, so that was a relief.  I quite like this figure, and I’m happy to have another piece of the team!

#1159: ODST Rookie & Spartan Hayabusa

ODST ROOKIE & SPARTAN HAYABUSA

HALO MINIMATES

odsthayabusa1

Hey guys!  For today’s review, I’ll be doing something just a little bit different.  Today marks mine and Super Awesome Girlfriend’s third anniversary, and in honor of the occasion, we’re going to being partnering up for a review!  We’ll be looking at something that combines two of our favorite things: Minimates and Halo!  The set in question is ODST’s main character Rookie and Halo 3’s Hayabusa armor.  I’ll be looking at the Rookie, and Super Awesome Girlfriend will be following up with the Hayabusa. 

Ready Super Awesome Girlfriend?

Yes? O.O

Close enough!  Let’s see how this goes!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Rookie and Hayabusa were released as part of the fourth TRU-exclusive series of Halo Minimates.  Both of them are exclusive to this particular two-pack (though there was another Hayabusa released later in a different color scheme).

ODST ROOKIE

odsthayabusa3It’s no secret (Seriously, it’s no secret at all, he geeks out about the armor every time he see it!) that I’m quite a fan of the ODST design.  Recently (well, several months ago, but within the last year), I played through Halo 3: ODST and it’s probably my favorite game in the series.  The only ODST proper to get released as a Minimate was the Rookie.  He’s not my favorite member of the ODST squad from the game (I didn’t really care for him either…), but he’s certainly better than nothing (and still plenty cool).  The Rookie stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation (the boots remove the ankle articulation).  The figure uses the usual Minimate body as a starting point.  He’s got add-ons for his helmet, chestplate/belt, shoulder pads, thigh armor, gloves/wristbands, and boots.  It’s also worth noting that he uses the special thin waist piece created specifically for the Halo line in order to keep the belts from making them too tall.  The general quality of the sculpted pieces is pretty solid.  The helmet is the same one used on the Spartan ODST; I have some minor issues with it, but by-and-large it looks pretty good.  The rest of the parts capture the general ODST armor pretty nicely, though they do end up making him a bit bulkier than even the Spartans in this same line.  Still, independently he looks pretty awesome, and since scale’s never been totally perfect in ‘mates anyway, I don’t really mind all that much.  The paint on the Rookie is rather on the dull side, but that’s actually accurate to his in-game design, so that’s not a knock against him.  The application is overly pretty clean.  Not the sharpest work ever, but certainly not bad.  The Rookie included his signature silenced SMG, which he can hold decently enough, though not two handed as he does in the game.  I must say, it’s weird reviewing a ‘mate that predates when clear display stands were standard.

SPARTAN HAYABUSA

odsthayabusa2Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written an action figure review! I should probably catch up…

This isn’t the first Hayabusa figure that I’ve received from Ethan. The other figure is a much larger (blah-blah inches tall? It’s about 5 —Ethan) and is the only other Hayabusa figure that I know of (riiiiiiight Ethan? Apart from color variations, yes). Like the figure above, Haya is about 2 1/2 inches tall with a whopping 12 points of articulation. He has the standard Minimate body with the special Halo waist piece, he puts anorexic skinny to shame, see why it’s different in the section above. He’s got add-ons for his helmet, chestplate/belt, shoulder pads, thigh armor, gloves/wristbands, and boots. Haya’s boots and gloves/wristbands are thinner than previous Spartan minimates. His other add-ons are obviously unique, the Hayabusa armor is much different than your standard Spartan design or any other amor variant. I really enjoy the sculpting of this figure, I believe it’s a pretty good replica of the original armor considering the size of the figure. My favorite part of the figure is the helmet, I believe it’s the most difficult piece to make true to the video game design, but they did a fantastic job of it. It’s my favorite part because it looks like the figure is sporting a white Tom Selleck mustache. I know, it’s an odd thing to note about a figure but what can I say, I’m weird that way. The rest of the armor is also pretty cool, makes him look slick and intimidating. Haya’s paint job is a magnificent shade of bright red, much brighter than other Spartan Minimates. The white accents on the helmet and shoulder pads also help to brighten the red and make the figure POP! The only thing that I’m disappointed about with this figure is that he comes with just your standard battle rifle, which is my least favorite weapon. In the Halo games you can unlock a katana to go with the armor, which would have been wonderful to have. Now, I can understand why they wouldn’t include a katana, because it might’ve been to difficult to do. However, the figure doesn’t even come with an energy sword, one that the Elite’s tend to carry, which I believe would’ve added to his badassatude and definitely shows up in many game shots of the armor. Overall, it’s a pretty stellar figure that triggers the nostalgia and the memories of the hours spent over the summer collecting all the damn skulls to unlock that armor. Some of those memories were fonder than other, all of them had cursing or some childish variant if parents were in the room, it was a difficult armor to get.

THE US HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this set from Yesterday’s Fun, while on vacation this year.  I’ve got a real soft spot for the ODSTs and I knew Jess really liked the Hayabusa, so the pairing was really quite convenient.  I know I was pretty happy wth the final product.  How ‘bout you, Super Awesome Girlfriend?

I really do love this figure! Hayabusa is by far my favorite Halo armor. Me and a friend of mine spent the majority of our summer in Middle School trying to get this armor in Halo 3. It took a lot of time, cursing, and Googling to find those skulls. We spent most of our time not in finding the skulls but getting to them without dying, our older siblings and parents had a lot of fun watching us and hearing our outbursts. This armor will always hold a special place in my heart, mostly because of them memories that went with it. As for figures, I have to agree with Ethan and say that I’m happy with the final product, really happy!

#0899: Spartan Buck

SPARTAN BUCK

HALO 5: GUARDIANS (MCFARLANE)

SpartBuck1

Well, as sad as it is to admit, the master Halo license has been passed to Mattel, bringing an end to McFarlane Toys’ eight year run with the franchise.  McFarlane isn’t quite done, though, as they had one last series of Halo 5 figures already in production when the changeover was worked out.  So here’s their last hurrah.

Spartan Edward Buck, the focus of today’s review, was the one member of Agent Locke’s Team Osiris that wasn’t new to game players.  He first showed up as an ODST in Halo 3: ODST (shocking, I know), and he’s had a few other cameos throughout the series, before making the jump to a Spartan.  In Halo 5, Buck ended up being a replacement for Gabriel Thorne, whose actor wasn’t available to do the game.  Lucky Buck!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SpartBuck2Spartan Buck is part of the second (and final) series of Halo 5: Guardians figures from McFarlane Toys. He’s the only unique character in the series, which will no doubt prove frustrating to those hoping for Linda and Vale to finish up the game’s main teams.  The figure has 32 points of articulation and stands 5 ½ inches tall.  There seems to have been a gradual creep upwards in scale on this line, as Buck ends up being the largest of the Halo 5 Spartans, despite not being noticeably larger in the game.  Also, he’s got the somewhat questionable hip joints that all the post-Halo 4 figures have gotten, and his general mobility is a bit limited.  However, he still moves on par with the rest of the Halo 5 figures.  Buck wears the Helljumper armor in the game, which is in many ways meant to be a call back to the ODST design (the  name “Helljumper” is even a slang term for ODSTs in the game’s universe).  The armor’s clunky and made to take a beating, just like the ODST armor, and I like the design a lot.  Since we haven’t seen the Helljumper armor before, Buck’s sculpt is new(though it’s mostly shared with the basic Spartan Helljumper figure from this same series).  The sculpt does a pretty nice job of translating the game design into plastic form; it’s a little rough around the edges in a few spots, but there’s a ton of really awesome detail work present here.  Buck gets a knife/sheath on his shoulder and a pair of pouches on his right calf to help set him apart from the basic Helljumper.  Buck’s paintwork is overall pretty great.  There are a few sloppy spots here and there, but not enough to distract from the good.  The best work is definitely on the insignias on his shoulders, both of which are nice and sharp, as is Buck’s name tag.  Buck is packed with a Hydra Launcher and a standard issue Magnum.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While out and about, I stopped at an out-of-the-way Walgreens, which netted me not only the Walgreens-exclusive Yellow Daredevil, but also this guy.  When Buck was absent from the first series of Halo 5 figures, I was a little bummed, since he’s by far my favorite design from the new game.  I was quite happy to see him show up in the second assortment, but now that he’s out, his arrival is a bit bittersweet.  He’s not a perfect figure, but he’s good enough to make me sad that we won’t be getting the rest of the teams.  Now, I guess all I can do is wait and see what Mattel does with the license.  Yay.

SpartBuck3

#0895: Spartan Vale

SPARTAN VALE

HALO HEROES (MEGA BLOKS)

Vale1

One of the main dynamics of Halo 5 is the presence of two distinct teams of Spartans, whom the player alternates between as they progress through the level. Series lead Master Chief was given a team made up of previously established characters from expanded universe stories. However, excepting fan-favorite Edward Buck, Spartan Locke’s team was made up of newcomers, including today’s focus, Spartan Olympia Vale. Vale had the misfortune of being the only member of Spartan Locke’s team not to make it into McFarlane’s line of figures, but she did manage to get a figure in the Mega Bloks line, so she wasn’t totally overlooked.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Vale2Spartan Vale was released in Series 1 of Mega Bloks’ new blister-packed line of single figures, Halo Heroes. The figure stands about 2 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation. She’s based on her appearance in Halo 5, which I do believe is her only official appearance to date. In the game, Vale wears the Copperhead armor, though it was actually designed for her, and she’s the first Mega Bloks figure to sport it. As such, she’s got a lot of new parts. The sculpt does a pretty nice job of translating her look into the Mega Bloks style. She’s even more stylized than the last two figures; in the game, her design is fairly sleek and streamlined, but here it’s a bit more clunky, due to the nature of how these figures are constructed. It’s still pretty clear who this is supposed to be (if you’re familiar with the game, anyway) and the design looks pretty cool. Vale has a removable chest piece and thigh armor, like her compatriots, but she foregoes clip-on shoulder pads in favor of painted on parts, which aid in streamlining her just the tiniest bit. Vale’s paint is probably the least exciting of the three Halo Heroes figures I’ve looked at so far, mostly due to her in-game design just not having as many necessary details. Still, what’s there is pretty nicely handled, and she looks like a good match to her game counterpart. Vale is packed with an SMG, a plasma pistol, and a three-piece display stand. I love that the SMG is painted, but I wish the plasma pistol had gotten a few details too.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Vale is third and final figure I picked up on the trip that netted me Buck and Thorne. I don’t have quite the same attachment to her that I do to the others (due to not having played Halo 5 and her not having any other figures), but I think her design is a pretty cool one. I would have loved to get a full-scale version of her, but this figure is certainly an acceptable consolation prize.

#0894: Spartan Thorne

SPARTAN THORNE

HALO HEROES (MEGA BLOKS)

ThorneMB1

The main character of the Halo series is John-117, aka Master Chief. Well, he’s the main character in the main games in the series, anyway. However, the series has spawned a few off-shoot games, each with their own protagonist. Halo 3: ODST had the Rookie and Halo Reach had Noble 6. While the Spartan Ops levels in Halo 4 just had the player using their basic multiplayer appearance, the animated shorts that went along with said levels needed a unique protagonist, so they created Spartan Gabriel Thorne. He just found his way to Mega Bloks form, and I’ll be reviewing that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ThorneMB2Like ODST Buck, Spartan Thorne is part of the first series of Halo Heroes, Mega Bloks’ new blister-packed line of single figures. The figure is roughly 2 inches in height and he has 16 points of articulation. He’s based on Thorne’s only appearance, Halo 4: Spartan Ops, where he was wearing a modified version of the Rookie armor. Since he just uses the basic armor, he shares his sculpt with all the prior Rookie armored figures. The design is a little more noticeably stylized than the ODSTs, but it’s translated pretty well, and there’s a ton of great texturing and small detail work. The chest, shoulder, and thigh armor is all removable, but stays in place very securely. The underlying body is a bit different that the ODST body; the musculature is a little more defined, and there’s some extra “tech-y” detailing. Technically, as a Spartan, Thorne should stand a bit taller than the ODSTs, but here he’s the same height. However, this is kind of forgivable, since one of Mega Bloks’ big things in interchangeability, and they wouldn’t be quite as interchangeable if they were different sizes. Continuing what we saw with Buck, Thorne is a bit more detailed than the usual Mega Bloks figure. He’s mostly just cast in the appropriate colors, but he’s got some nice accent lines to spice him up a bit, as well a cool insignia on his left shoulder. Thorne includes a three-piece display stand and a Promethean Suppressor. The gun gets extra painted details, which are pretty cool, but it’s also got a big nub where it was originally attached to a Promethean Knight, which is kind of annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this guy at the same time as Buck. Thorne has the notoriety of being my first ever McFarlane Toys Halo figure, so I have a bit of a soft spot for the guy. While I’m not sure he’s as much of a standout as Buck was, I do really like this figure, and he’s a whole lot of fun!

#0893: Buck (ODST)

BUCK (ODST)

HALO HEROES (MEGA BLOKS)

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A little over a year ago, I wrote my very first Halo-themed toy. It was an ODST, which, as anyone who has followed my Halo reviews can tell you, is one of my very favorite designs/concepts from the games.  That particular toy came from the Mega Bloks Halo line, possibly the cheapest and most expansive collection of Halo figures on the market. The figures are offered with larger building sets, as well as in blind packaging, but very recently, they started offering them in more conventional blister-style packaging, under the new heading Halo Heroes. Characters from throughout the franchise are being offered. Today, I’ll be looking at one of the older characters in the set, ODST Buck.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BuckODST2Buck was released in Series 1 of the Halo Heroes line. The figure is about 2 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation. In case the name didn’t clue you in, this particular Buck is based on his appearance in Halo 3: ODST, where he serves as the commanding officer (well, until ONI Dare butts in) of the group of ODSTs that serve as the story’s protagonists. Buck’s design is a slight variation of the basic ODST design, and as such, this figure uses a lot of the same pieces as the previously reviewed copper ODST from the Drop Pods series. He has a slightly tweaked head (which adds an antenna to the side of the helmet) and his chest armor also has an extra nub so that his knife can be mounted there. The rest of the figure is sculpturally identical to the other ODSTs. The basic sculpt is pretty nicely done; the proportions are a fair bit less skewed than other minifigures. That can look really strange for some characters, but it doesn’t look bad on a mostly armored character. His torso, shoulder, and thigh armor is all removable, should you feel the need to do that, but the figure definitely looks better all armored up. Buck’s paint is more detailed than a lot of the Halo Mega Bloks; it’s an accurate depiction of his look from the game, and he matches up quite nicely with the previously released Rookie minifigure. The actual application isn’t super clean, but it’s certainly passable. Buck includes an assault rifle, a knife, and a three-piece display stand. The rifle is fully painted, which is an awesome change, and the new stand is definitely an improvement on the standard block prior figures have had.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Buck was a rare surprise find. I was at Walmart, picking up some stuff (after being snowed-in for four days in January), and just happened to see the small display with these figures. Obviously, I wasn’t going to turn down another ODST, right? Buck’s not super different from the prior ODSTs I’ve gotten (in fact, he’s nearly identical to the Rookie), but I like the character, and the few small changes and extra details really make this guy feel worth it.

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