Finishing off my reviews of the Halo Series 5 figures I purchased at “retail” at Toys R Us, tonight I’m reviewing the Skirmisher Murmillo. I’ll be receiving my cases of Series 5 singles and multi-packs mid-next week from BigBadToyStore, and will complete the reviews for Halo Reach Series 5 once I get them. I reviewed the only previous Skirmisher, the Halo Reach Series 2 Skirmisher Minor, back in February. I loved the sculpt and paint, but hated the near-impossibility of getting the Skirmisher Minor to stand up. Three series later, McFarlane Toys is giving a new rank of Skirmisher a shot. Good news is that the Skirmisher Murmillo is immensely cooler-looking than his predecessor. Bad news is, he still can’t stand up…
The Skirmisher Murmillo is one sharp action figure! The Skirmisher Minor and both of the Jackals that we got in the Halo 3 line were some of the most drab, uninspiring figures in the whole Covenant army. The Skirmisher Murmillo is anything but drab. Although he has the same base body as the Skirmisher Minor with 23 points of articulation, he has all-new armor pieces and an all-new helmet to differentiate his higher rank. The difference is a stark one–instead of looking like a backwater, primitive-looking creature, the Skirmisher Murmillo looks like a futuristic teched-out commando to be reckoned with. The head sculpt was great when we saw it in Series 2, and it’s exactly the same now and just as well-done. The helmet fits snugly over his face and makes the Skirmisher Murmillo an imposing foe.
This figure is actually the fully decked-out Champion version of the Skirmisher Murmillo, as shown in the sprites. Adorned in bright-orange, gold, and gray armor, the Skirmisher Murmillo doesn’t need to hide in the shadows and snipe you–he’d rather be up in your face kicking your ass. The paintwork is stellar here as you’d expect on a McFarlane Toys action figure, with no problems whatsoever with uneven paint application, paint slop, or anything of the like. In addition, the paint apps on the head have been altered and you can see a definite improvement in paint when comparing the helmetless Skirmisher Murmillo to the Skirmisher Minor.
Accessory-wise, the Skirmisher Murmillo comes with a plasma pistol and a plasma grenade (which, again, makes no sense since Skirmishers of any rank do not carry grenades). But the big prize here is the all-new removable Energy Gauntlets. The Energy Gauntlets are made of a sturdy transparent plastic and plug tightly into slots on the sides of the Skirmisher’s arms. Unlike similar plug-in accessories that I’ve had frequently fall off (such as Marvel Universe’s Darkhawk), the Energy Gauntlets lock into place extremely well–so much so that no matter how many times the Skirmisher Murmillo topples over, they’ve never fallen off yet.
I had two problems with the Skirmisher Minor, and to my dismay, neither problem has been addressed. First, the jaw is not articulated on the Skirmisher’s head. It looks like there’s a joint there, but that’s actually part of the construction of the head. I actually almost broke the Skirmisher Murmillo’s head in half trying to close his jaw and thinking it was just a stuck joint before I remembered it wasn’t articulated. This one lacking point of articulation makes posing the Skirmisher acutely more difficult, as his head looks slanted and awkward as it is when turned sideways.
Considerably more disappointing is that the stability issues of the first Skirmisher haven’t been fixed in any way. Whereas the Series 5 Elite Ranger I reviewed is able to balance much better than the prior Elites due to increased joint quality and his new armor helping to balance him, the Skirmisher Murmillo actually stands worse than the Skirmisher Minor. No, really. It was like my own personal Hell just trying to get the two of them posed next to each other for a photo, as every time I’d get one standing, I’d breathe and the other would fall over and cause the other to collapse with its impact. The leg joints are a fair deal looser on the Skirmisher Murmillo, and the added weight of the shield gauntlets seems to make things ever worse. This figure has so many great qualities that it’s a crushing disappointment to see it brought down (no pun intended) by its failure to be engineered to stand up properly. I really do like this figure, but it’s hard to maintain good will towards a figure that keeps falling over, knocking over about 5 Covenant comrades each time he does.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
Halo Reach Series 5 is starting to trickle into Toys R Us and online stores right now, and should follow at Target and Wal-Mart within a few weeks. I paid $15.99 + tax at Toys R Us because I’m obsessed, but I absolutely don’t recommend anyone else do the same for this figure.
BigBadToyStore has the Skirmisher Murmillo in-stock for order at $11.99, and ready to ship out. That’s the regular retail price, so that’s what you’d pay at Target or Wal-Mart. They also have a variety of other Halo Reach Series 5 items available at the best prices of any online store.
CMDStore have the Skirmisher Murmillo in-stock right now and available for $14.95. They also have the whole Series 5 set of 6 for $71.95.
Overall: I found myself in a bit of a bind grading this figure. I awarded the Skirmisher Minor a ‘B+’, and while the Skirmisher Murmillo is a drastic improvement visually and has great new armaments, he fixes neither of the problems I had with the previous Skirmisher. It’s hard to give an ‘A’ to a figure that can’t stand up. So despite the improvements, the Skirmisher Murmillo receives the same ‘B+’ as his predecessor. This is a beautifully-sculpted figure with a striking paintjob and awesome new shield gauntlets. It will look great in any Halo display–provided that it doesn’t topple over and take half the display with it. If you want a Skirmisher for your army, the Skirmisher Murmillo is absolutely recommended, so long as you’re aware of and okay with his engineering drawbacks.