Halo: 12-inch Master Chief by Jazwares

I’ve had a bit of an unintentional video game theme going these last couple weeks. First it was Pac-Man, then The Witcher, and now Halo. Well, I wouldn’t read too much into it. I stumbled upon this figure for a crazy low price and decided to make it an impulse buy. Ages ago, I had that Joyride Master Chief figure, which was excellent, but did not survive a shelf-dive. Sadly, his leg exploded against the shock of the carpet, and he was beyond fixing. Sobbing, I turned to The Ebays to replace him, saw how much it was going for now, and gave that shit a big HECK, NO! But hey, now I’ve got The Chief back in the collection. Let’s see if this cheap sum’bitch is any good.

Straightaway, this release reminds me of those cheap 12-inch figures that Hasbro has done for Star Wars and Marvel. They’re sometimes referred to as Shampoo Bottle Figures, I guess because they’re hollow and cheap, and feel like the novelty themed recepticals that you might find containing kids shampoo. Most of those are terrible, some are OK, but this one looked a little better. But make no mistake, cheap this figure is! I got him off Amazon for $11, although I think the MSRP is around $20. And yes, that is about twice as much as Hasbro’s Shampoo Bottle Figures, so maybe it’s not fair comparison. The packaging is consists of a very long and narrow window box, that’s barely big enough to contain his Spartan might, but is otherwise serviceable. There’s a J-hook so he can hang from a peg, but I’ve never seen this guy in the Toy Aisles around here.

Out of the box, this figure actually impresses me. Now, let’s qualify that a bit, because my expectations were pretty low. The sculpt is excellent. Sure he’s got some unsightly seams, but they’re not any worse than any number of other figures on the market these days. And all the detail in the armor is certainly there. The plates have panel lines, and all the little bits and bobs that I remember seeing from the last time I played a Halo game, albeit that was probably five years ago. The green looks a bit bright under the studio lights, but in hand under normal lighting it looks fine. The undersuit is black with some texturing, and you actually get some silver dry brushing on the armor to signify wear and tear. It actually looks about on par with the stuff Hasbro was doing on their Transformers Siege figures. Take that how you want, but I think it looks fine. If I’m going to nitpick anything here, I don’t remember Master Chief having such small feet, but I’m really reaching for something to complain about.

The helmet also looks pretty good, with more of those silver abraisions on the green finish. The gold paint used for his visor looks excellent. I should also note that while the figure is hollow and not all that hefty, it doesn’t feel like junk either. And there ya go, Jazwares! Feel free to use that as a pull quote for the box!

What surprised me the most about this guy was his articulation. I was expecting retro five points of articulation, like Hasbro’s big bois, but this guy actually has rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees, and swivels in the wrists, and in the neck. He’s fun to play with, although give me a little articulation and I just want more. He would have been amazing if they sprang for a waist swivel and some ankle tilts. Still, what’s here is great, and he has a pretty decent balance.

Master Chief comes with one accessory and that’s his trusty assault rifle. Sadly, the weapon is not as impressive as the figure. The big fail for me was having it silver. Jazwares may have been trying to add a little more color to the package, but I would have much rather they left it black, and it would have saved them some money too. It’s fairly well detailed, even if the sculpt is very soft. It fits perfectly into his right hand, and it even has a peg that allows Master Chief to carry it on his back.

There have been plenty of good Master Chief figures on the market over the years, so if you’re looking for a nice collectible you can sure do a lot better than this guy. But, if you’re looking for a big, rugged Master Chief toy to knock around and have some fun with, I think you could do a lot worse than this guy. Hell, if Hasbro’s 12-inchers were more like this in terms of quality and articulation, I’d probably actually own some of those. Jazwares has a few other Halo figures in this line, but Master Chief is enough for me. He was definitely worth the $11 I paid for him, and hell, I’d even go so far as to recommend him at $20.

Halo: Series 2 Mini Figures by Mega Bloks

It’s bad enough that I’ve resolved to buy more Lego sets next year, but it’s hard for me to walk down the toy aisles without hearing Megabloks’ Halo sets calling to me too. Now, I’m not a big Halo fanatic. I loved the original game and spent a ridiculous amount of time playing it, but I was really put off by Halo 2, so much so that I haven’t been back to the franchise since. Still, these sets seem to capture the vehicles and weapons really well and they look like they’d be a hell of a lot of fun to build. But this week is all about stocking stuffers, so I grabbed a couple of these little Mini Figures to check them out.

Like the Lego Mini Figures, these guys come in little printed cellophane style baggies. They’re blind packed, which means you have no idea what you’re getting until you tear it open and dump it out. I think that prospect is a little less vexing here, since you can build armies of these guys, and it doesn’t matter so much if you get a lot of any particular figure. Unlike the Lego mini-figures, though, the Megabloks guys come assembled and ready for action. Of course, their arms, legs and head are all attached by ball joints so you can feel free to pull them apart. Each figure comes with a black block/stand and a weapon. They also come with a sheet showing you the different figures available and which ones are common, rare, or ultra-rare.

I was really hoping for the green UMSC pilot, but I had no such luck. Instead I wound up with a purple Covenant Brute and a pink Hayabusa Spartan. The Spartan is supposed to be rare (or is that TEH RAREZZZ!!!11?) so good on me, I guess? The Brute is listed as common. I know the Brute from the game, but I have no idea what the Spartan is supposed to be. It is indeed pink and it comes with a katana style sword. The sculpting on these figures is surprisingly good for their size and their paint apps are pretty good.

The articulation is pretty solid for such tiny figures. You get the aforementioned ball joints in the neck, shoulders and hips and you get hinged elbows and knees.

I don’t have much more to say about this pair. For some reason, these don’t seem like as solid a deal as the Lego minifigs, but then we’re only talking fitty cents more, and these are mostly army builders. It’s tough for me to really judge them without having some of the vehicles for them to interact with. Still, not a bad thing to find in one’s stocking and overall I’d say they’re really well done.