Earlier this week I began my foray into reviewing Series 4 of McFarlane Toys’ Halo Reach action figures with the Elite General, and tonight I’m back with the nearest and dearest figures to my Halo heart: Orange Spartans! I whined about the “Gold” Spartans way back in my review of them for Series 1, but McFarlane earned my love with the Rust Orange CQC and Rust Orange Armor Pack in Series 4! We get four, four, four, four Rust Orange Spartans in just one series: CQC, Air Assault, ODST, and EVA. Is this quartet of Spartan soldiers everything I ever dreamed of? Well, yes… but at a heavy, heavy price…
Rather than getting one Rust-colored Spartan per wave for the next four waves, McFarlane is giving us the opportunity to enlist four different Rust Spartans into our collections with Series 4. The single-packed figure is the Rust Orange CQC Spartan, while the Rust Orange Armor Pack contains the EVA, Air Assault, and ODST Armors.
Packed with the Rust CQC, we get an all-new Halo weapon: the Grenade Launcher. It’s a totally unique sculpt that fits easily into either of a Spartan’s hands, and I’m excited we get a new weapon instead of more Assault Rifles McFarlane seemed intent on including with every Spartan in early series of the Reach toy line.
The Armor Pack contains some rare sets of armor this time around, which I’m quite happy about. We haven’t received any single-packed non-exclusive Spartans in the EVA, Air Assault (male), or ODST armors in the entire Halo Reach line so far, so these armors will likely add something new and different to your growing shelves of Spartan soldiers.
The EVA armor is one of the most ubiquitous armors in the Halo toy line, but this is surprisingly the first time there’s been an Orange EVA Spartan released by McFarlane Toys. I thought the gold dome might look strange with the rust orange Spartan body, but the dark colors of the detailing and accessories on the Spartan complement both the gold and rust beautifully, and make this one of my absolute favorite Spartans in the whole collection.
The Air Assault armor had previously only been released on female Noble Squad member Kat and the pink Air Assault female. I actually thought that the female helmets might be smaller than the male helmets, but in retrospect that was a stupid thought. The Air Assault helmet in this pack is exactly the same as the one released with the females (aside from the color) and looks perfectly natural on a male Spartan body. While not as “exciting” looking as some of the other armors, the Air Attack armor makes a good army-builder armor to have as part of a squad that well-complements some of the more interesting armors around it such as the EVA armor.
Finally, we have the ODST armor. Like EVA Spartans, the ODST armor is one of the most abundant in the toy world. Also like the EVA armor, it’s never been released before in orange in any toy line. The ODST armor looks a little strange this time out, as if the chest-piece is devoid of necessary detailing or an accessory to make it look complete. While I liked the Spartan ODSTs in the Halo 3 toy line, the armor is my least-favorite this time out.
I needed four CQC Rust Orange Spartans in order to use all the armor from the Armor Pack, and I was surprised to find absolutely no quality-control issues with any of the base figures. All of them were exquisitely painted and had tight, stable joints. McFarlane has come a long way from their 2008 Halo offerings where every other figure shattered out of the package, and I’m glad that I stuck it out this long with the line.
I’ll forgo talking about the price on these little gems for the moment, and talk about the only other major complaint I had with this offering: the Rust Orange Armor Pack contains only armor pieces and absolutely no weapons of any kind. I’m really not convinced that 6 shoulder pads, 3 helmets, and 3 chest pieces have the same “value” as an entire figure to begin with, and certainly not when they don’t come with any weapon whatsoever.
Since the only Rust Orange Spartan released so far that matches this armor is the CQC exclusive from the same series, you’re forced to buy an extra 3 CQC Spartans to stick the armor on. And that means you’re going to end up with another 3 Grenade Launchers. I swapped out the Grenade Launchers for weapons from other Spartans, but I have an overabundance of them in my collection now. I’m seriously looking forward to the Weapons Pack being released in Series 5 at this point.
I believe we are now in the appropriate section discuss the price of these bad boys: both the Rust Orange Armor Pack and the Rust Orange CQC Spartan soldier are exclusive to Toys R Us, where they retail for $15.99 plus tax. So approximately $18 per 5″ figure and another $18 for the armor pack. Or about $90 to purchase the four Rust Orange bodies and Armor Pack to make these four action figures.
$90. Let that sink in for a minute.
The way these are priced, each Rust Orange Spartan is going to be costing you $22.50. This is nothing short of highway robbery, and one of the most grotesquely overpriced items in the entire Toys R Us catalog. It’s not just the exclusives being sold at this obscene price either–all Halo figures are now $15.99 at Toys R Us. I cannot even begin to conceive of what was going through the Toys R Us executive’s head who came up with this brilliant stratagem, but it’s absolutely infuriating.
I was so put off by the pricetag on these that I only purchased one CQC and the Armor Pack for myself–my wife paid the near-scalper prices and bought me the other three I needed as gifts because she knew I wanted them so much. From now on I’ll be purchasing the exclusives from Toys R Us that I can’t live without, but otherwise I’m done with buying Halo figures at Toys R Us.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
Both the Rust Orange CQC Spartan (Male) and the Rust Orange Armor Pack were Toys R Us exclusives that were shortpacked within their Halo Reach Series 4 case assortments. They retailed for about $18 each after tax, as I just ranted about above. ToysRUs.com doesn’t have these available at the moment, and they’re extremely difficult to find at retail.
As far as online options go:
BigBadToyStore doesn’t have these specific Rust Spartan and Armor Packs available, but they do have the Halo Reach Series 5 Spartan CQB Custom & Armor Pack boxset available for pre-order for just $22.99. Considering that set includes a fully-outfitted CQB Rust Spartan, 3 sets of armor, and a bonus helmet for just $23, it’s a much better value than the $36 retail the CQC Rust Spartan and Armor Pack cost at retail.
If you really want these particular Rust Orange items, Amazon has both the Rust Orange CQC Spartan as well as the accompanying Rust Orange Armor Pack, although both have been marked up past the already high Toys R Us price.
Overall: I had an arduous fight between my aesthetic tastes and my conscience when trying to grade these items. The EVA and CQC Rust Orange Spartans look fantastic and are some of my favorite Spartan soldiers ever released, even among the hundreds we have now from McFarlane Toys. But these are a retail exclusive and the ~$18 after tax that Toys R Us is charging for each Halo figure right now is unconscionable. Ordinarily I would have given these an “A” for their high quality, great paint apps, sturdy joints, and army-building potential–but with the value being one of the worst around in the action figure retail world, I simply can’t do that. If you’re like me, you’re going to end up begrudgingly spending $22.50 each to create the Rust Orange Air Assault and EVA Spartans regardless. But if you’re a casual collector, you can safely pass on these and buy similar non-orange Spartans for $11 at mass and online retailers elsewhere.