Packaging - ***
McFarlane has dumped the clamshells with this line, going back to a cardback/bubble
style of package. That means they are easier to open of course, but it also
means more shelf damage.
The interior of the card behind the figure has some great graphics, but it's
a tad hard to see until it's actually open. The back of the card shows the
huge line up of figures, and includes some basic info on the character,
always a plus.
I wouldn't say that these stood out particularly well on the peg - I almost
missed seeing them there - but they are reasonable attractive once you do
figure out that they are new.
Sculpting - Stalker ****; Drone, Spartan ***1/2
I'm not a huge fan of Halo, so I pick and choose based on what figures I
think will look good on the shelf. Even in the package, there was no doubt
the Brute Stalker was coming home.
The sculpt on this figure proves once again what an amazing job the folks at
McFarlane can do when they are on their A game. The detailing is gorgeous
and realistic, and even though this is a character that is painted in colors
very close to each other, all that detail still comes through.
Of these three, I thought the Brute sculpt worked best with the articulation, allowing for plenty of cool posing potential. The hands hold the
weapons nicely, and the included helmet fits tightly on the head. This guy
is perhaps my favorite of the line so far.
The Drone is a cool character, but the design is very hard to actually
execute in 3-D. As with the Stalker, there's a ton of detailing in the skin
and armor, but he did seem just a smidge softer in appearance than his
bigger brethren. He can hold the weapon in either well designed hand, but he
can't stand on his own. That's probably not too surprising, considering the
spindly insect legs he has, and McFarlane has included a small stand to hold
him upright. It works pretty good, although I did have one issue that I'll
mention in the Accessories section.
Finally, there's the E.V.A. version of a Spartan soldier. He features a
helmet that looks bigger to me than the first series E.V.A., although I
don't have one handy to be sure. Like the other Spartans in wave 1 and 2, he
has swappable shoulder and chest armor, as well as a swappable head. As with
the other Spartans, I had to work a bit to get the chest armor off, but this time
the shoulder pieces tended to drop off a bit too easily.
This guy holds his weapon great, and
stands fine on his own in just about any pose. The Spartan is about 5 1/4"
tall, with the Drone at about 5" and the Stalker at 6". These aren't really
in scale with anything else, since the Spartans should be about 7 feet tall.
That would make a normal 6 foot man about 4 1/4" tall in this line, and
there aren't any other figures out there that really fit in perfectly.
However, some of these figures do have potential with 4" lines like Hellboy,
particularly with the monster theme.
Paint - ***
All three of these have very nice paint ops for mass market toys, much
better than we generally see. However, the complaint that McFarlane figures
are getting fewer ops per figure these days is clearly evident here.
The Spartan is similar to his first wave cousins, although I thought there
was a bit more slop this time around. It's not terrible, but not quite up to
the quality I saw on the first series Spartans, particularly on the helmet
visor and on the insignia stripes.
The Drone is the most colorful, with the bright gold and blue on his 'armor'
really popping out. Still, these colors are pretty broad and cover quite a
bit of area, without a lot of small detail paint work added in. Where there
is some, like the eyes, it's a tad sloppy.
The Brute is the least colorful of the bunch, but he's my favorite in this
category. He has a nice wash that brings out the details, and while his
color palette might be a bit boring, there's less slop and more small detail than on the other
Articulation - ****
Who would have thought that McFarlane and NECA would be redefining
articulation in action figures in 2008 with Halo and TMNT? Bet you didn't
see THAT coming.
Had McFarlane Toys been content to stick with standard style joints, they
could have made these figures good...but not great. Instead they opted to
design new joints special for these characters, and they took them to the
One of the keys here is that the joints do NOT effect the appearance of the
sculpts at all. They blend in beautifully, and yet maintain an excellent
range of movement.
Let's start with the Spartan. There's a ball jointed neck that allows for
quite a bit of movement, tilting and turning, even with the helmet. The
shoulders are pin/post going into the torso, but they have a unique
swivel/post sort of joint at the bicep that allows the arm to move out from
the body and turn a bit on its axis.
There's pin/post elbows, ankles and knees, so that they turn and move
forward and back, as well as ball jointed wrists and pin half foot joints.
There's also a good ball jointed ab crunch, and he tilts forward and back
much further than I expected.
Finally, there's his hips. These are very unusual, and allow for a ton of
positioning. They are actually a series of three joints - the 'cup' up
inside the pelvis moves, the ball inside the cup moves as you'd expect a
ball joint to, and the thigh has a pin joint similar to the shoulders, a
unique design that also gives the leg the ability to move back and forth.
These three joints together give the legs an excellent range of movement,
and also work well with the knees and ankles to create very natural,
flowing, realistic stances.
Take the Spartan's articulation and copy it exactly and you get the Stalker.
The one exception is the shoulders, which are more traditional ball joints
(with a joint on both sides of the ball) than on the Spartan. This
expansive articulation was
true for the Brute Chieftain as well, but in his case the armor restricted
much of his movement potential. That's not the case with the Stalker, and he
is able to take much more elaborate poses.
The Drone's articulation is a bit different of course, since he's a very
different design overall. His top neck joint is a ball, but the design is
much more restrictive on the movement. There's a second joint at the bottom
of the neck where it attaches to the torso. The top wing 'armor' has cut
joints that allow it to turn, and all four wings attach to the body with
small ball and socket type joints, allowing for some reasonable positioning
The shoulders are pretty standard single ball (pin/post) joints, with a cut
joint just above the elbow and a pin elbow. The wrists operate as basic cut
joints, as does the waist. The hips are simple ball/socket joints, with pin
knees and nice ball jointed ankles that are jointed on both sides of the
Finally, there's his tail, which turns on the body and has two pincers that
turn inward and outward as well. That's quite a bit more articulation than
you were probably expecting, but for all those joints, he can't stand on his
own. You'll need to use the display stand to keep him upright, but only one
of the two feet have to be attached for it to work. Believe me, I
Accessories - Stalker ***; Spartan/Drone **1/2
This is a category where they fall off a bit, particularly at the higher
The Brute still does alright though, with two excellent weapons and the removable
mask. As mentioned earlier, the mask goes on and off smoothly, and the
weapons fit nicely in his hands. The paint work on the blades is a bit
inconsistent in coverage, but it's a minor issue. There's a peg included for
each weapon to attach it to his body.
The Drone comes with the aforementioned display stand, with two small pegs.
Be forewarned - it is VERY easy to snap these pegs off, particularly the
smaller of the two. I broke that one just trying to pose the figure, and now
have to be extremely careful with the thicker one lest I lose it too. He also has a small
weapon that fits in either hand, even with the itty bitty fingers.
The Spartan comes with one grenade and a rifle. I'm not a huge fan of the
neon color of the rifle, but I can always swap it out with something from
wave 1. He has a couple of the small
pegs to allow you to attach these to his body, similar to the wave 1
Fun Factor - ****
These are fantastic action figures, combining all the best of sculpt and
articulation. They look good enough for any fan of the game to display them
proudly on a shelf, but they have the sturdy articulation and cool play
value that kids will love. This is one of those rare lines that's just at
home in the sand box as on the display shelf.
I'm not jumping up and down for joy over twelve bucks a pop, but with the
current rising prices, it seems to be pretty average for the mass market
right now. If you're going to spend that kind of money, at least it
should be on some of the better figures on the pegs.
Things to Watch Out For -
The only issue I had with these three was the pegs on the Drone's display
stand. I broke the smaller one without much effort, so you'll want to take
extra care. I suggest getting the figure in the pose you want first from the
knees up, THEN attach him to the base and adjust him on the pegs only as
much as you absolutely have to.
Overall - Stalker ****; Drone/Spartan ***1/2
McFarlane has a huge winner on their hands with the Halo line. This is also
great proof that it's not just about the license - it's how you execute on
the license. Joyride had the Halo license, but never developed anything as
cool or playable as these figures. McFarlane has put the time, energy and
investment into making a terrific line, and now they are being rewarded for
it at the stores.
If I could only pick up one of the new series, it would be the Brute
Stalker. The Chieftain has some articulation issues due to all the armor,
but the Stalker has none of that. His amazingly cool sculpt makes him a
great figure even if you don't care about Halo.
I don't know how many more Spartans you need, but I'm betting that all on
the shelf together they look pretty kick ass. And much like Stormtroopers
and Clonetroopers, they make a great army.
The Drone's only real issue is the pegs on his display stand. Be careful
with those, and you'll be able to pose him in a ton of different ways.
Bring on the next series!
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Stalker ****; Drone/Spartan ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - ****
Accessories - Stalker ***; Dron/Spartain **1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall - Stalker ****; Drone/Spartan ***1/2
Where to Buy -
The best place to get the EVA Spartan is TRU, since it's an exclusive.
You can get the others at sponsors like:
- CornerStoreComics has
the singles for around $12 - $13 each.
- Urban Collector has them
by the case for $150, or has some of the exclusive singles for $15.
Toys has the singles for $15 and up, and has a lot of the exclusives
- in the UK, Forbidden
Planet has them for around 18 GBP each.
- or you can search ebay using MyAuctionLinks.com. For the Australian readers, check out
member of the Ebay family.
Related Links -
I've reviewed a few related items:
- of course, there's some of the wave 1 Halo figures, including Master
Chief. I split the series between here and
- I also had a guest review of Master Chief.
Before Halo 3, and before Mcfarlane got the license, Joyride Studios made
larger action figures based on Halo 2. Here's some guest reviews:
- here's their version of the Grunt.
- there's also a guest review of the Elite
- And you can't forget their version of Master
Want to chat about this review? Try out one of these terrific
forums where I'll be discussing it!
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