After a strong release of HALO Reach Series 1 in August, it’s taken five months for McFarlane Toys to follow up and get Series 2 of the HALO Reach figures to the market. They’re finally starting to trickle into stores now, led by Series 2 of the two-packs, but unfortunately the two-packs are pretty much just more of the same. One of the two-packs is a lame total repaint set with a purple Elite and an olive CQC Spartan, which I passed on. This review will cover the other two-pack, a set of a repainted cyan/white HAZOP Spartan and an incredibly lame total-repacked gold/steel Mark V Spartan (both with assault rifles as their weapon). Of course, there’s a catch that makes what would be an otherwise ho-hum set worth a glance, and that’s the inclusion of two brand-new, totally rocking jetpacks…
JETPACKS!!! The most important new addition to HALO’s multiplayer has arrived, and it didn’t even take McFarlane Toys that long to get them here! The jetpacks, as you might expect, are each one non-moving piece of mostly inflexible, fairly hard rubber. They don’t move at all, and I’m glad for that as it’d probably just lead to broken pieces. The jetpacks are very highly-detailed and well-painted with their thrusters deployed, and look really great strapped onto a Spartan’s back. I have no idea if these will work on the upcoming female Spartans as well, but I’d assume they will.
- The HAZOP in this set is the first time we’ve gotten a Spartan with white as a secondary color in the toyline. Everyone else so far has been steel, so it adds a nice touch of variety to the display and makes the HAZOP stand out nicely from his brethren.
- As mentioned in my review of the Preview Wave for Series 1, these Spartans are still simply fantastic all-around in sculpting, paint, and articulation. They blow away the Spartans from the pre-Reach Halo line. As action figures, especially video game figures (which are typically not very good), these are really outstanding.
- Whereas all of the joints were superbly tight in Series 1, the leg and knee joints on these Spartans are already starting to come loose straight out of the package. It’s only Series 2 and we’re already starting to see mold degradation on the Spartan mold, and that’s a really, really bad sign. It’s possible this is just a fluke on the particular set I bought, but it seems eerily similar to the loose joints on the Spartans in the mid-to-late Halo 3 line.
- The CG HAZOP Spartan shown on the package is clearly cobalt. The actual prototype HAZOP Spartan shown the back of the box is also clearly cobalt. But for some reason possibly related to the factory being incompetent or failing to match the color, the actual HAZOP Spartan we get is cyan. I already have a ton of cyan Spartans from McFarlane’s pre-Reach line, so getting yet another is a bit of a let-down. I’d have preferred the all-new cobalt color. I do like the secondary color on this figure being white as opposed to the second steel color on every other Spartan thus far, though.
- The retail price for this two-pack is $21.99. Target mispriced this set in their sales system as selling for $10.99 (instead of $21.99), the same price as the singles. Considering you only get one new figure in this set (more on that later) plus the jetpacks, that’s about all this set is worth, too. At $21.99, I would have passed on this set. And just to complain, when did it become acceptable for companies to price two-packs’ MSRP at more than the price of two singles (if only by a penny)? The whole point of a multi-pack used to be to get a deal, but now there’s no advantage to it at all. And when you’re forced to buy a repacked figure as you are in this set, it’s even worse.
- Each Spartan comes with one grenade and an assault rifle. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve already had my fill of Assault Rifles in the Reach line, not to mention the dozens and dozens of them released in the Halo 3 line. Is it really too much to ask for to get some new weapons unique to Reach like the Focus Rifle, Plasma Launcher, Concussion Rifle or Grenade Launcher?
I already own this Gold Mark V Spartan. In fact, I already reviewed him in this blog way back in August 2010. He was released as a special “exclusive limited-release” figure with the Preview Wave of HALO Reach Series 1, and I had to hunt quite a bit to get him and bought him as soon as I could. So, the fact that the exact same figure is back, as part of a mass release two-pack, and with a superior accessory in the jetpack, really irritates me. I own a tragic number of McFarlane Toys’ Spartans (well over 100), and this is the first time I can ever remember them ever doing a straight re-release of any Spartan. The fact that they chose to re-release the Gold Mark V just a few months after many collectors resorted to aftermarket scalping for theirs is obnoxious and stupid, especially since we don’t even have a Gold CQC Spartan yet. This was a bad choice by McFarlane Toys, and it brings down the value of this set considerably for me.
“Where Can I Buy It?”
This two-pack was released in January 2011 and is mostly sold-out at all retail stores now. You can still order it from Amazon.com for about 20 bucks, which is a pretty good price considering this two-pack retailed for $21.99. Once Amazon sells out, I’d expect the aftermarket prices to go up a bit with people buying up these sets to army-build jetpacks.
Overall: I paid $10.99 for this set due to a glitch at Target. For that price, I’d say it’s just barely worthwhile to get the two jetpacks and the cyan Spartan. Whether or not two unpopular colors of common Spartan armors plus two common guns plus two awesome jetpacks is worth $21.99 will be totally up to each individual collector. Personally, at $21.99, I would not have bought this set.