It’s Halo Week here on my blog, where I’ll be reviewing a different Halo Reach Series 2 figure each day! I started off with a review of Kat yesterday, and today I’ll be covering the Skirmisher Minor.
Along with the first appearance of the female Spartans, Halo Reach also gave us the Skirmishers, an all-new group of Covenant aliens… sort of. The Skirmishers are a specialized subset of the Kig-yar, the same species as the much-hated Jackals from earlier Halo games. The Skirmishers are both faster and stronger than the Jackals, and are adept at close-range fighting unlike the traditionally long-range Jackals. The Skirmishers casulaty count was so high during the crucial Fall of Reach that the Skirmishers were nearly driven to extinction, and thus do not appear in the original Halo trilogy of games.
The Skirmisher Minor is shipping in the Halo Reach Series 2 cases arriving in stores now. He’s packed at 1-per-case in all three assortments shipping: Internet specialty stores, mass retail, and Gamestop assortments. As this is the only version of the Skirmisher scheduled for release thus far and he is not being repacked into any known future assortments, this figure may be a tough find at retail at first. Those wanting to army-build Skirmishers would be wise to pick these up right away, as we may not receive any more Skirmisher figures until 2012 (if ever) once this assortment is sold-out in stores.
Monster action figures are what McFarlane Toys is famouse for, so it’s no surprise that the sculpt on this figure is absolutely gorgeous. The Skirmisher has the most expressive facial sculpt of any figure in the Halo line that I can think of, and the paintwork is just as good as the sculpt, really bringing this figure to life.
The Skirmisher comes with a plasma grenade and the first inclusion of the brand-new Needle Rifle. The Needle Rifle debuted in Halo Reach, and is the signature weapon of the Skirmisher Minors. While it fires explosive needles like the Needler, it’s actually a high-powered rifle different from the Needler in every other way and capable of headshots. It has been replicated very authentically in plastic by McFarlane Toys, and both the paint and sculpt are highly-detailed and accurate. It’s a little strange that the Skirmisher includes a plasma grenade, as Skirmisher do not carry grenades of any kind, but I’m certainly not going to turn my nose up at a bonus free accessory.
The Jackal Major figure from the Halo 3 line (also by McFarlane Toys) is put to shame by the level of detail and badassery of his Skirmisher cousin. As he should, the Skirmisher looks much larger and more fearsome than the Jackal. The difference between the feathers on the Jackal and the mane of quills on the Skirmisher is very apparent, and makes the Skirmisher look much deadlier than his cousin. Unlike Jackals, Skirmishers do not carry the giant energy shields, although hopefully we’ll see a variant down the line with the small wrist-mounted energy shields that Skirmishers carry.
The Skirmisher has 22 points of articulation, which is almost all you could ask for on this figure. (23 points would have been perfect–more on that later.) Pretty much every point of articulation that could be put into this guy has been–neck, shoulders, wrists, elbows, knees, legs, ankles, and are all here. The wrist joints are pretty phenomenol, as they’re ball-jointed as well as swivel-jointed so they can turn in any direction as well as piveting forward and backward for intense poseability. Unfortunately, a lot of the excellent articulation goes to waste, since this figure has a little bit of trouble standing up. More on that below…
I have more trouble getting this figure to stand up than any figure in the entire Halo 3 or Halo Reach toylines. The inclusion of a small stand of any kind would have been much appreciated with this figure.
As imposing as the facial sculpt is on this guy, a hinge joint on the jaw would have been excellent for adding variety to a crowd of these guys. As it is, it’ll look a little silly to have multiple Skirmishers standing around all gawking with their mouths open. It sounds like a minor complaint, but adding articulation to the jaw would have made the head for this figure absolutely perfect. I hope we see this added for future Skirmishers.
Overall: I really struggled with the grade for this figure. The sculpt and paint are both top-notch, and creatures like this are the area where McFarlane Toys really excels. However, I couldn’t quite get myself to score this an ‘A’ due to the stability issues and lack of a hinge joint on the jaw. Even so, this figure is fantastic and is absolutely recommended to anyone collecting the Halo line, as well as for someone curious about a cool-looking monster figure. A great first Skirmisher figure that it’s going to be hard for McFarlane Toys to beat.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
This figure was sold in early 2011 and is totally sold out at all regular brick-and-mortar stores at this time. As far as I can tell, the last store that’s keeping this figure in-stock regularly is Amazon.com, where the price is fluctuating constantly. This figure originally retailed for $11.99 plus tax, and he wasn’t very rare, so he’ll only cost you a dollar or two more than retail now. It’s highly unlikely this figure will ever be re-released, so I’d get him before he’s only available on the aftermarket.