McFarlane Toys Halo 3 - 12" blue Mark VI Spartan

McFarlane Toys Halo 3 12" Mark VI action figure

It's getting close to Thanksgiving, and I suspect that around the McFarlane table this year, there will be a prayer or two said for Halo 3. In a year when the company saw a lot of lines crash and burn, their Halo product was a shining star. The 5" series of action figures has sold through several waves, and looks strong going into the holiday season.

McFarlane has expanded the line with their much anticipated 12" figures. These have been so anticipated in part because of the promise of articulation. The smaller figures are inventive and exceptional when it comes to their design, so fans are expecting more of the same in the larger scale.

They have three 12" figures on the books for this year - Master Chief, a brown Mark VI that's exclusive to Toys R Us, and a blue Mark VI (reviewed tonight) that's exclusive to Walmart. Expect to pay between $25 and $30 a pop.

McFarlane Toys Halo 3 12" Mark VI action figure

McFarlane Toys Halo 3 12" Mark VI action figure
McFarlane Toys Halo 3 12" Mark VI action figure
McFarlane Toys Halo 3 12" Mark VI action figure
McFarlane Toys Halo 3 12" Mark VI action figure
McFarlane Toys Halo 3 12" Mark VI action figure
McFarlane Toys Halo 3 12" Mark VI action figure
McFarlane Toys Halo 3 12" Mark VI action figure

Packaging - **
Job number one for any package is to keep the figure safe. Job number two (hehehehehe - I said 'number two') is to show off the figure in an eye catching way, enticing you or your seven year old to want it.

The open front box fails at both. The arms and fingers (especially the jointed fingers of the right hand) are exposed to all kinds of pulling and prodding, not to mention getting banged up against other toys on the shelf.

The selected pose isn't all that attractive either, and the graphics and style don't really do much to pull you in.

The boxes aren't collector friendly either, since you'll need to destroy them to get the figure out, and they aren't all that parent friendly either, what with a number of twisties and even a heat sealed plastic tray holding in the grenade.

Sculpting - ****
If you loved the little buggers, you're going to love the bigger cousins.

He's not quite in sixth scale, since the character is supposed to stand 7' tall. That would have required the figure to be about 14" tall for sixth scale, but at 12 1/2" he still fits in pretty well with your average 12" action figure, if you're not being too picky.

All the obvious requirements are here - proper scaling internally to the figure itself; sturdy, solid plastic with very strong joint pins and discs; a sculpt that works well with the articulation; and the ability for the figure to stand well on it's own in a number of poses.

The hands are designed to hold the weapons, with an articulated right hand for the gun grip and a static sculpted left hand for the stock. The left hand also has a peg hole in the palm, making it easy for him to hold the grenade.

The sculpting on this figure overall is so good, that it could easily be confused for a high end statue. Really, it's that good.

Paint - ****
Great sculpts deserve great paint, and this figure has it.

While the basic quality issues have been covered nicely, there's even more to this paint job that sets it apart from the rest.

The cut lines are clean, especially around the visor and yellow highlights. The gold color of the visor is a tough one when it comes to getting a consistent coverage, but they've managed to do it here. They've also given the black under suit a worn, weathered look that makes it much more realistic.

But the big, huge plus in this category that boost it to four stars is the rough paint finish on the blue alloy suit. This slightly textured surface really makes the difference, elevating this from a toy to a real work of art. They could have easily gone with a normal, smooth paint texture, but that would have looked like the plastic that it is underneath. Nobody would have complained, but that's because no one would have realized how much better it could have looked.

These are the kinds of small details that make huge differences, and the folks working on this line should be applauded for having the vision to see how critical this slight change would be to the overall appearance.

Articulation - ****
Now, the articulation here isn't quite as perfect as that score might make it seem, but let's keep in mind what sort of other figures this guy is competing with in this price range.  There's stuff like Mattel's 12" superheroes, or Hasbro's Marvel Icons, or even Hasbro's 12" clothed figures. And when the articulation on a solid plastic figure is even better than a clothed 12" figure, you have to recognize and respect it.

We start at the top with an excellent ball jointed neck.  Not only can he look up and down, but the head tilts side to side as well. That makes every pose a bit more lifelike and allows for some real personality to come through.

The shoulders are ball jointed as well, with joints on both sides of the ball. The armor restricts the full range of movement a little, but it's not enough to complain too loudly. You can get the elbows in tight and far out from the torso, which allows for some good posing with the gun.

The elbows are also true ball joints, with a ball that sits between the upper and lower arm. The ball can turn against both halves of the arm, allowing for a ton of posibility at the elbow.

The wrists are sorta, kinda ball joints, but these really work as cut joints with a little play in them. The right hand has articulated fingers and a thumb, and each has two joints, one at the hand and one at the first knuckle. This makes it very easy for him to clutch the weapon, but the bent finger sculpt doesn't allow for as many hand gestures.

The chest looks to be similar to the smaller figure, with a sort of ball joint up under the armor, but I can't get much movement out of it. It does turn well enough though, allowing for movement between the torso and pelvis.

The hips are similar to the small figures too, but in this larger scale they are much easier to work with. The interior joint is a clicky cut joint along the pelvis. This allows the legs to move forward and backward.

Inside this joint is a ball joint, jointed on both sides as well. This ball can turn in relation to both the pelvis joint and the thigh, again creating a ton of posing potential.

Both the knees and ankles are the same sort of ball joints as the shoulders and elbows, and it wraps up with a half cut foot joint that is also a pin joint, allowing the front of the foot to turn AND move forward and back.

That's a ton of articulation, but what's more important is that it's USEFUL articulation. It allows him to stand in a very natural, flowing way, critical to making the figure look great on the shelf.

Take your time playing with the articulation as well. The more I worked with it, the better I got finding poses that I liked. The joints work best when used in concert with each other. Trying to get that perfect leg stance but it's not quite working? Start by moving the interior ball of the hip or knee, then lining up the halves of the leg, then working on the next ball, etc. You'll find that using all the joints together will give you far more possibilities.

Accessories - **1/2
If there's one place he comes up a little short, it's in accessories. Gun, check. Grenade, check. But that's it for this guy. Fans of display stands might be disappointed that there isn't one, but he really doesn't need one, and if it helped them keep costs down, I'm all for it.

The grenade and gun have small posts that allow you to attach them to the suit of the Spartan, similar to the smaller figures.

Fun Factor - ****
Your kid doesn't need to be a Halo fan to think this is one cool figure. That's the beauty of the suit design, as it simply looks bad ass whether you care about the character or not. I like to think of it as the Boba Fett Effect.

Value - ***1/2
Other figures in this market cost up to $30, with far less articulation and detail. And they aren't necessarily exclusives either, so this guy gets extra points for being a very good value. I paid about $26 for him at my local Walmart, plus a little piece of my soul died when I shopped there.

Things To Watch Out For
When you're picking him off the shelf, check the articulated fingers on the right hand to ensure little Billy didn't tear one up.  Also, while I'm betting the paint quality coming out of the factory is pretty uniformly good, you'll want to still check it on the shelf since the package doesn't give this guy much protection.

Overall - ****
I'm telling you now - these figures are as good as anything you'll spend $80 and more on in the statue market. The paint and sculpt quality is just as high, the hard solid plastic is sturdy and heavy, and the articulation allows YOU to be the one that decides the pose. You'll be able to get natural, interesting poses out of this guy with just a little effort.

You can get the Artfx statue for around $90, or the 18" poseable figure from Master Replicas for around $135. But I gotta tell you, I don't think you'll be happier with either one than you will be with this under $30 alternative. He's on my short list as one of the best 12" figures this year.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Accessories - **1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
This blue version is supposed to be exclusive to Satan's store, Walmart. Online options include:

- Clark Toys, your one stop shop for everything McFarlane, has a good price on the Master Chief for just $30.

- the regular Master Chief is available through Urban Collectors for $35.

- Entertainment Earth has him for $40. They also have their exclusive yellow ODST (6" scale) in stock right now.

- for the UK buyers, Forbidden Planet has him for 23 GBP.

- or you can search ebay using

Related Links -
I've covered earlier figures from the smaller line:

- I covered some of wave 2, and I split series 1 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!

Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP. Converting my Overall to a five star system for comparison is: 5

Share this review with others! 
  Digg it!    StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!      Reddit

McFarlane Toys Halo 3 12" Mark VI action figure

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2000 - 2008, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour