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.