Halo 3 series 2
Spartan EVA, Brute Stalker and Drone

Halo 3 Brute Stalker action figure McFarlane Toys

Mcfarlane Toys hit a grand slam with the first wave of Halo 3 figures.  With terrific sculpts and paint, and even better articulation, fans of the game ate them up.

They are following up with a big second series, including a number of Spartan variations and exclusives once again.  But just to make sure you'd have something a bit more to add to the mix, they have a Drone, a Brute Stalker, and an Arbiter to go along with all those Spartans.

I picked up the Spartan EVA, the Brute and the Drone at Toys R Us last week.  These are running $12 a pop, certainly not cheap considering they are smaller than many other lines, but pretty much in line with the current increase in prices across the board.

The EVA is a Toys R Us exclusive, and part of the 'multiplayer' line up. The Drone and Stalker are part of the 'campaign' wave, along with the Arbiter, Odst and another Master Chief.  For full details on the wave, check out Mcfarlane's website.

Halo 3 series 2 Drone action figure McFarlane Toys

Halo 3 series 2 Drone action figure McFarlane Toys
Halo 3 series 2 Spartan EVA action figure McFarlane Toys
Halo 3 Brute Stalker action figure McFarlane Toys
Halo 3 series 2 Drone action figure McFarlane Toys
Halo 3 series 2 Spartan EVA action figure McFarlane Toys
Halo 3 Brute Stalker action figure McFarlane Toys
Halo 3 series 2 Drone action figure McFarlane Toys
Halo 3 series 2 Spartan EVA action figure McFarlane Toys
Halo 3 Brute Stalker action figure McFarlane Toys
Halo 3 Brute Stalker action figure McFarlane Toys
Halo 3 series 2 action figures McFarlane Toys

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 two.

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 next level.

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 potential.

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 ball.

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 know.

Accessories - Stalker ***; Spartan/Drone **1/2
This is a category where they fall off a bit, particularly at the higher price point.

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 figures.

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.

Value -**1/2
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!

Score Recap:
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.

- Clark Toys has the singles for $15 and up, and has a lot of the exclusives available.

- in the UK, Forbidden Planet has them for around 18 GBP each.

- or you can search ebay using For the Australian readers, check out, a 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 over at QSE.

- 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 Guard.

- And you can't forget their version of Master Chief!

Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!


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Halo 3 Brute Stalker action figure McFarlane Toys

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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