#3189: Spartan Buck



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!


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.


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



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!


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.


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



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 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.


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



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!


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


“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.


“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.


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.

#1159: ODST Rookie & Spartan Hayabusa




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 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).


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.


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.


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!

#0954: Vitruvian Hacks Pt 2




Some things are worth the wait. On the list of things I would classify as “worth the wait” are Boss Fight Studios’ Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. line. In mid-2014, they ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to cover the startup costs for the line. Unfortunately, a few production snags cropped up, causing a number of delays for the line, and pushing the estimated release date back about a year. The first wave of figures (reviewed here) made its way to backers back in March, with the promise that the subsequent three waves would be arriving shortly. Those waves are making their way out to Kickstarter backers now. Today, I’ll be looking at a random assortment of those figures: the Athenian Warrior, Underworld Warrior, Amazon Warrior, Colubrida Guard, Stonefist, and Skeleton Warrior.


BossHacksP2PackagingOkay, let’s break this down. These figures are all from the first series of Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. The Athenian Warrior and Underworld Warrior are from Wave 2, and the Amazon Warrior, Colubrida Guard, and Stonefist are from Wave 4. The Skeleton Warrior is a special extra figure, given to backers to make up for the delay in production on the figures. With the exception of the skeleton, all of these figures were stretch-goals from the Kickstarter campaign.


BossHacksP2cIn my last Boss Fight review, I made it a point to give each of the army builder characters an actual name. So, what the heck, why not continue the trend? I’m gonna call this guy Burt. Burt’s an Athenian Warrior, which would technically make him an enemy of Lenny the Spartan Warrior from Wave 1. However, the backstory of the line has the forces joining together to fight the Gorgon army. So, they’re all buddies now! The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation. Burt uses the same basic male body we saw on the Spartan and Cursed Spartan from Wave 1. Burt uses the bald, bearless head (same as the Cursed Spartan), which works pretty decently. He has new armor pieces, which are different from the Spartan pieces, but similar enough that they believably share a common ancestry. The Athenian armor is much more ornate than the utilitarian Spartan armor, and it has a BossHacksP2llot of really great little details, and even a spot on his back to store a sword or spear. There’s also far more texturing this time, which adds some more depth to the design. The main Athenian helmet is similar to the Spartan design, but the Mohawk is going the opposite direction, and it is once again a bit more ornate. There’s also a second helmet, which is far more simplistic and sleek, and offers a bit of variety, should you want to army build. The paint on Burt is decent, but probably the weakest of the figures I’ve gotten. The colors are all pretty vibrant, and there’s lots of really cool detail work. The main issue with my figure is the eyes, which are just off enough to make him look slightly weird. Burt includes a sword, spear, shield, sheath, a spare set of hands, and a display stand.


BossHacksP2eAfter covering the real world armies of Athens and Sparta, Boss Fight decided to also get into some of the armies of some of the gods. Hades, god of the Underworld, apparently decided he wanted to get in on the fight with the Gorgons and created his own Underworld-dwelling army. Iggy here (props to Super Awesome Girlfriend for the name) is a member of said army. Now, you might have noticed some similarities to Wave 1’s Cursed Spartan. This is actually intentional. According to the backstory presented on the package, Iggy started his life as a Cursed Spartan, who was imbued with additional powers by Hades, in exchange for his service. BossHacksP2iStructurally, this figure is identical to the Cursed Spartan. I loved that figure’s sculpt, and I still love it here. To change things up, Iggy gets a new paint job, which adds a molten rock motif. The detailing is simple, but quite effective. The bright orange and yellow is surprisingly convincing as cracking molten rock. Iggy includes two swords (long and short), a sheath, a spear, a shield, an extra pair of hands, and a display stand.


BossHacksP2dAmazon’s are a pretty common occurrence in mythology and fiction in general, so it’s not a huge shock to see the concept appear in this line.  Apparently, they’re working for Ares. I mean, I guess that works. Not the God I would have placed them with, but I can’t really complain. The Amazon (who I’ve decided to name Linda) stands just shy of 4 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation. This marks the first time we’ve seen the full female body, legs and all. It feels pretty comparable to the male body, though it’s worth noting that the ankle articulation is a different design. It’s similar to some of Hasbro’s more recent Marvel Legends articulation. I honestly can’t say which layout I prefer. Linda has a new head, which has BossHacksP2jshort hair. It works pretty well, and it looks convincingly tough. The Amazonian armor is fairly similar to the Spartan armor in terms of design. The figure re-uses the Spartan Warrior’s helmet, as well as the Coral Gorgon’s chest armor and wrist bracers. She gets a new skirt piece and shin guards, which are rather similar to the Spartan pieces. The skirt has a small loop, which can hold one of her weapons. The paint on Linda is pretty impressive. The armor more or less matches up with the Spartan colors, though the gold appears to be a little brighter. The tribal tattoos on the arms and legs are quite nicely detailed, and add an awesome uniqueness to the design, and they even continue onto her shoulders, under the armor. Linda includes long and short swords, a spear, a shield (which is by far my favorite shield design in the set), a spare set of hands, and a display stand.


BossHacksP2bRemember how the Underworld Warrior was pretty much a straight re-use of the Cursed Spartan? Well, the Colubrida Guard is structurally the same as Wave 1’s Coral Gorgon. Once again, there’s a good explanation: the Colubrida Guard are the lieutenants of the Gorgon army, and are supposed to be similar to the other Gorgons in design. The main difference between the two figures is the paint. The Colubrida Guard trades in the more subdued red of the Coral Gorgon for a near neon-orange shade. Seriously, this thing practically glows! It’s a fantastic shade, BossHacksP2mand it makes the figure pop right to the front of any set up. Contrasting the immensely bright coloring of the actual Gorgon, the armor has been changed from gold to an almost black shade of metallic grey. The Colubrida Guard includes two swords, a sheath, a shield, extra hands, and a display stand. The swords and sheath are done up to match the Cursed Spartan, indicating that the Guards have been stealing their weapons from Medusa’s victims. That’s a pretty awesome touch!


BossHacksP2nHere’s one figure I don’t have to name, because he’s already got one! He’s STONEFIST! THE GORGON HUNTER! This dude’s a badass, let me tell you. He’s an Athenian Warrior who came face to face with Medusa and survived the ordeal but slicing out his own eyes. This resulted in his left arm being turned to unbreakable stone and also gave him super-human senses. This guy’s pretty much the Greek Myth version of Daredevil. Stonefist is the same as the Athenian Warrior in terms of construction, though he only gets the less ornate helmet. Also, worth noting: my figure ended up with two left shoulders. It’s a rather minor difference, and not enough to ruin the figure, but it’s slightly noticeable. Stonefist’s color scheme has been tweaked ever so slightly from the basic Athenian look. Obviously, BossHacksP2kthere’s the “stone fist,” which is achieved by painting his left arm up like one of the Cursed Spartans. He’s also fairly pale, and has noticeable scaring over his eyes. The color scheme of his armor has also been changed a bit: they’ve added a bit of blue, which, when interacting with the red, makes him look a little like a super hero. The gold is all slightly tarnished, and he’s done a bit of tweaking to his helmet, adding some graffiti to the front, sort of like a WWII fighter plane. Stonefist includes three swords (one of each type we’ve seen so far), a spear, a sheath, a shield (same design as the Athenian’s, but with the eyes scratched out. Nice touch), extra hands, and a display stand.


BossHacksP2fLast up, it’s the figure I wasn’t expecting, the Skeleton Warrior. Not to be confused with the Skeleton Warriors (danananuhnuuuu)!  So, Freleng here is just a basic skeleton, but he’s been done in pink. Why he’s pink is anyone’s guess; maybe he’s made of bubble gum. The figure is about 4 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation (including BossHacksp2han articulated jaw!). The sculpt of the figure is a fairly realistic take on a skeleton, and it’s appropriately sized to fit within the basic male body. The parts aren’t quite cross compatible, but I imagine you could do some swapping with minor customization. Freleng includes a basic display stand, done up in the same shade of pink as him. He also has a set of 6 clear add-on pieces. Two of them attach to the feet and are used to secure him to the stand. The other four can be attached to the arms and legs, to allow him to wear the armor off of one of the basic male bodies. Undead army FTW!


The Amazon and Underworld Warrior were the remaining two figures from my Kickstarter pledge, but I actually got the other three main release figures via Boss Fight’s online store. As cool as the Wave 1 figures were, these were the ones I was really looking forward to. My favorite of the bunch is probably Stonefist, just because I really like the concept. The Amazon is no slouch, though. The Colubrida Guard and Underworld Warrior aren’t much different from the Coral Gorgon and the Cursed Spartan, but the changes make both figures a bit more exciting. The Athenian isn’t super exciting, but I think a lot of that has to do with how similar he is to Stonefist. The real surprise star for me, though, is the Skeleton. He’s just the freebie figure, but he’s surprisingly mobile, and just a whole lot of fun to mess with. All-in-all, this is yet another fantastic set of figures. I can’t wait to get more from Boss Fight!


#0899: Spartan Buck




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!


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.


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.


#0897: Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. Wave 1




You gotta love the classics, and the fact is that it doesn’t get much more classic than Greek mythology. That stuff’s just pretty darn cool. It’s so cool that most modern-day storytelling is just reinterpretations of things that first appeared in Greek mythology. Unfortunately, if you’re a fan of the Greek myths and also love toys (like me), you’re kind of out of luck. Sure, you’ve got stuff like Clash of the Titans or some of the Hercules adaptations, but other than that, there’s a bit of a void.

In 2014, Boss Fight Studios set out to fill that void, and launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a series of figures based on Greek history and mythology. The campaign went far beyond its original goal of four figures, ending with a whopping 43 figures funded. The figures were initially supposed to start hitting last summer, but some production snags occurred, pushing them back a ways. Fortunately, they’ve started hitting stateside, and the first wave of figures has made its way to (most) backers. Today, I’ll be looking at Medusa, the Spartan Warrior, the Coral Gorgon, and the Cursed Spartan.


These four figures make up Wave 1 of the first series of Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. (H.A.C.K.S. stands for “Highly Articulated Character Kit System”). They’re the four figures that the Kickstarter was originally meant to fund.

BossHacksW1PackagingThough packaging isn’t my usual thing, I did have a few general thoughts I kinda wanted to touch on. The styling of the packaging isn’t too different from Fresh Monkey Fiction’s Amazing Heroes; the basic set-up resembles a traditional blister pack, but the whole front is actually a big plastic sleeve, which folds over the edges of the backer. The backer can be slid out, allowing the figure to be removed without doing any damage to the packaging. The execution of the packaging is pretty polished, but if I have one slight issue with the figures, it’s that the layout work on the actual backer card seems a little…amateur? It’s certainly not anything close to bad, but it lacks that professional finish that everything else included seems to have. Honestly, that’s probably just the layout designer in me being hyper-critical. My interest is the toys inside; these things could ship in egg cartons for all I care.


BossHacksw1bThe one named character in the first wave of figures is the Gorgon Medusa, who was cursed by Athena to turn all those that gazed upon her to stone. She figures prominently into the story of Perseus, and has as such been adapted to film a few times. Stylistically, this figure looks to take a lot of influence from the 1981 Clash of the Titans design for the character, giving her a generally reptilian appearance. When fully extended, the figure is just over 8 inches tall, and she has 26 points of articulation. Boss Fight has base male and female bodies that they build each figure on, and, unsurprisingly, Medusa uses the female body. Well, part of it, anyway. She uses the basic upper torso, arms, and hands, along with a lower torso and tail that’s being used on several of the Gorgons. The base pieces are a great starting point, and the basic proportions are nice and balanced. I wasn’t initially sure about how the tail would turn out, but it works really nicely in hand, and offers a lot of fun posing BossHacksw1coptions. Medusa also gets a unique head, as well as add-on pieces for her chest and shoulder armor, belt, and the bracers on her right wrist and bicep. The quality of these parts is all pretty top-notch. The armor has a ton of fun detailing. The head is pretty cool too. The hair is obviously a separate piece, and it sticks off the head a bit, but it doesn’t look terrible, and I really appreciate that they didn’t try to make her face overly attractive. That’s a scary face right there, just like Medusa’s face should be. The paint on this figure is pretty darn cool. The armor has some great dry brushing work to help accent the sculpted details and really give it a grimy, worn in look. The upper half of the body is pretty basic, but solidly handled, and the tail gets some pretty sweet pattern work, which really sells the reptilian-ness. Medusa includes a large blade-whip thing, a small knife styled like the whip, a spare set of hands with side to side wrist joints, and a display stand (which she can’t actually use, but it’s the thought that counts, right?)


BossHacksw1dSpartan Warrior seems so cold and detached, so I named this guy Lenny. Lenny the Spartan is a fairly standard Spartan soldier. Unlike what 300 may have had you believe, these guys did actually wear armor. This figure stands just over 4 inches tall (without the helmet; he gains an extra half-inch with it) and has 25 points of articulation. Lenny’s built on the standard male body, which structurally feels very similar to one of the more recent G.I. Joe figures. It’s rather muscular, but not insanely so, and it has a fairly balanced set of proportions. Lenny has a unique head, plus special sandaled feet, and add-ons for his helmet, chest armor/skirt, and shin guards. The head has hair and a beard, and has a suitably intense facial expression. He works as an individual, but isn’t so specific that he can’t also be an army builder, which is right about where you want this guy to be. The armor pieces are sculpted to fit pretty tightly to the body. The helmet is easy to remove, but also stays in place pretty well, and looks really cool to BossHacksw1eboot. The torso armor is a little restrictive, and a bit bulky from the side, but works pretty well, and has a nice, sharp sculpt to it. The shin guards actually surprised me a bit, because I didn’t think they were removable at first; that’s how form fitting they are. While Lenny’s paintwork doesn’t quite have the subtle work present on Medusa, his paint is no less well-handled. Everything is incredibly clean, and the colors are all nice and vibrant, which makes this guy really stand out amongst his peers. Also, I find his pair of red shorts pretty funny; Lenny is a modest Spartan! Lenny includes both long and short swords, a strap and scabbard for the short sword, a spear (which is really sharp), a shield, a spare set of hands, and a display stand.


BossHacksw1fOne of the big things that Boss Fight was pushing with this line was army building. Getting an army of Spartans seems pretty natural, but you need something for them to fight, and it can’t very well be one lonely Medusa, can it? No, you need a whole army of Gorgons! So, this here is the first Gorgon army builder, who, going by her bio was once a human, but was transformed into a Gorgon by the bite of Stheno. Clearly she needs a name too. I’m gonna go with Diane. Diane uses the same basic body as Medusa, but she gets a different head and the edge of her tip is no longer rattle snake-inspired. The new head is nicely detailed; it loses most of the human features, for something much more reptilian, and has some pretty awesome texturing. Diane also gets add-ons for her helmet, chest armor, and wrist bracers, all of which are nicely fitted to the figure. The armor bits are simpler than Medusa’s, but still really cool. The helmet can be a little stubborn to work with when posing the figure, but it looks pretty imposing, and BossHacksw1git stays in place surprisingly well. As her official name implies, Diane’s paint scheme is patterned after a coral snake (“red-on-yellow kills a fellow” and all that). The work is much bolder than Medusa’s, but like the Spartan Warrior, the quality is no less on this figure. Diane includes a large broad sword (different from the Spartan’s), a shield with Medusa’s face on it, spare hands, and a display stand (which, like Medusa, she can’t actually use).


BossHacksw1hAw, poor Jeff. He really shouldn’t have looked at Medusa. Jeff, like so many unfortunate soldiers before him, is the end result of Medusa’s curse, having not had the foresight to make use of Perseus’s method of dispatching of the beast. As a fellow Spartan, Jeff uses most of the same pieces as the basic Spartan Warrior, but he has enough differences to make him stand out. His helmet is a slightly different design, with more of his face exposed and a bit more detailing on the front and at the base of the “mohawk.” Under the helmet, he’s also got a different head, this time without the hair or beard, and with a slightly different expression. It’s worth noting that, while the pieces are more or less the same, the shin guards on my Cursed Spartan wouldn’t budge, most likely due to the differences in paint. It’s certainly not hindering my enjoyment of the figure in the slightest, but it’s worth noting. The main selling point of this guy is the paint. Unlike the others in BossHacksw1ithis set, Jeff here is totally painted from head to toe, to ensure that he has an appropriately rocky finish. The end result works really well, and he looks pretty cool. He’s the dullest of the four color-wise, but he’s far from boring to look at. Jeff includes the longer sword and spear included with the Spartan Warrior, the shield from the Coral Gorgon, extra hands, and a display stand.


So, you’ve probably pieced together that I got these guys by backing Boss Fight’s Kickstarter. Yep, I pledged in for these four, as well as two more add-on figures (plus another three figures that I’ve pre-ordered from Boss Fight’s online shop). Initially, the only one of these four I definitely wanted was the Cursed Spartan. He’s probably my favorite of the four in the end, but the other three are no slouches either. The two Gorgons are a lot of fun (and the Coral Gorgon is giving ol’ Jeff a serious run for that top spot), and the Spartan offers a nice, bright figure. As a whole, this set is just a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to get the rest of my figures.


#0895: Spartan Vale




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.


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.


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




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.


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.


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!