Tagged: Halo

The Best at (Lumpy) Space.

It’s March, which means it’s no longer February. This is the basic concept of months and calendars people, what’s so hard to understand about it?

It also being March means there are 2 video games I”m excited for dropping this month (“Bioshock Infinite” and “Tomb Raider”) as well as the final Mass Effect 3 DLC, which drops this Tuesday. Serving as an unofficial tie-in to this event is the release of 2 new Mass Effect 3 Play Art Kai figures- the female default version of Commander Shepard, and female alien companion Tali’Xorah nar Rayya (yes, I had to Google the proper spelling of that name.). This marks the first all-female release for Kai line since…”Bayonetta” in 2010 FYI.

With the original (male) Commander Shepard, I had issues with the body sculpt, especially in the shoulder area. Female Shepard does away with those issues, and has a better default face, at least in my opinion. Tali’s no slouch either. A little difficult to stand up by herself due to her feet, but a damn fine figure regardless of that. The sculpt alone is worth the price of admission. By now you all know the drill, $60, best damn video game figures out on the market, etc.

Mass Effect isn’t the only space-based new release from Squenix in stock! The first wave of Halo 4 Play Art Kai figures are in stock, and DAMN, they are impressive looking. Granted they’re a lot more bulkier compared to more Play Art releases, they also meet and maintain the same levels of quality in sculpting, variant parts, paint jobs  and articulation their peers posses.  Wave 1 consists of both the Master Chief and the Blue Spartan Warrior, and you should definitely expect to see future releases be variants of said Spartans.

Focusing in on Square Enix based on actual Squenix properties, the 2nd wave of Final Fantasy Trading Art Kai figures are out, consisting of Tifa, Tidus and Lighting. I’d make fun of Tidus for a bit, but he comes with both a body that allows him to ride a Chocobo and a face that make him cry. This is both adorable and hilarious to me. Anywho, not much has changed since wave one with the products, with the exception of there maybe being more animals in this wave (Red XIII comes packaged with Tifa, and Tidus obviously with said chocobo). They’ll set you back $20 each, and if they’re anything like the first wave, expect them to fly off the shelves.

I’ll end the article with a slight shift in focus, one not related to Marvel Comics. As of late, Jazzware has begun to corner the market on Cartoon Network based toys. Another wave of Adventure Time figures has hit our shelves, as well as the first wave of figures based on the equally off-beat “Regular Show”. Aside from new spins on Jake and Finn, this series of AT toys is joined by fan favorite characters like The Ice King, Marceline the Vampire Queen and Lumpy Space Princess. All very cool, but the lack of Lemongrab is whack IMO. The Regular Show  figures also heavily focus on Rigby and Mordecai, but are forgiven because there are figures that are actually packed with Shudder Shades. It’s amazing what I’ll forgiven when those are involved. Since these are focused on younger audiences, they’re prices cheaper at $10-$20, but if you buy em for yourselves I won’t tell anyone. But you’ll owe me.

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Halo Reach Rocket Launcher with RFO

by Loran

Okay, I’ve stated it before, but who doesn’t love the Warthog? The thing has become as synonymous with the Halo franchise as the Chief himself has. It’s a cool vehicle and whenever you see it, you know what it is. There’s no mistaking it for some random G.I. Joe vehicle or whatever. Really, I’d rather see Cortana go from the franchise before this thing. Okay, that’s a lie but you know what I mean. In a way, the Warthog is to Halo as mushrooms are to Mario and Luigi—you get rid of them, the whole atmosphere is lost. Over the years we’ve seen a few variants on the good ol’ hog, and I’m here to cover just one of those.

To support the release of the Warthog, McFarlane put out both attachments for the vehicle’s turret, the Rockets and the Gauss Cannon. This was a wise move, as it kept fans from needing to buy additional $30+ vehicles just isn’t economical. So instead, they made a pair of optional turrets at $20-$30 with an included figure! Actually that… isn’t very economical either, but it’s certainly more practical, because at the very least, the packages are nice. Continue reading

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Halo Reach Red Team Mongoose Review

By Loran

I’ve always loved the vehicles in Halo. They really felt like the one thing that made the game stand out and reach its current level of popularity. Also, putting the vehicles in a third person perspective instead of staying in the first person was a wise move. When you keep it in the first person it just feels like you’re moving faster with different physics, kind of like in Half Life 2. Here, the vehicles made an added experience, giving you both a way to move faster and a way to blow stuff up faster! Shame it took so long for them to get decent toys…

The Mongoose has seen four releases in the Halo Reach line thus far: one with Noble Six (who himself has received about four releases…), one with an ODST, one in blue, and the one in red here. Several Mongooses (Mongeese?) were released in the Halo 3 line, but I’ve heard many issues regarding the quality control with the drivers. Thankfully, this version of the Mongoose has no such issues.

The new Mongoose is an entirely new mold and at a larger scale to work better with the Reach figures. It’s a pretty nice looking vehicle, but not as nice as the Warthog. McFarlane never really was a “vehicle manufacturer” so I can give them a pass. The only real disappointment from a functionality standpoint would be the lack of any steering. It just seems like it can only go straight. The handlebars can pivot, though, but it’s kind of pointless without the wheels doing the same.
However, the tires ARE made of rubber—something that feels like a lost art on toys these days.

On the rear of the vehicle, a little platform swings down so a second Spartan can hang on to the handlebar. It actually manages to work pretty well, I’m surprised! Once the Team Objectives set hits shelves, this toy will be a lot more fun—you’ll be able to have one red guy driving while the other carries the blue flag!

The driver has a pair of footpedals that don’t really seem to do much except get in the way. They’re on a swivel, but I think they would’ve been fine fixed in one position. Because the figures don’t havethe best articulation, it can be difficult to get them to properly sit down. Although let’s be perfectly honest—the Spartans don’t really sit on these to begin with…

The included driver for this set is a custom Scout Spartan. This figure utilizes the Scout head, the default torso, a JFO shoulder pad, and a Grenadier shoulder pad. Maybe it’s the chest piece, but this figure doesn’t really do it for me; which is ironic considering it’s the one piece in it I was after, but that’s another story. The Scout head on the default torso just makes him look boring. Maybe if he had the UA torso it would look a bit better, but as it stands, he’s one of my least favorite Spartans thus far.

To make things worse, almost every photo on the package shows him with a different colored visor. The stock photo has a red (!) one, and some of the package art show him with a blue one. I think that would’ve made the figure a lot more interesting, in my opinion.

With four releases, there are plenty of Mongoose toys to choose from, and I do quite like the red here. However, if you’re looking for a cool new Spartan to add to your collection, you can definitely do better elsewhere. It’s a worthwhile purchase, and I’d recommend getting one if you see it at FPNYC. Now I just need the Grenadier armor pack to put the body and chest piece here to work…

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Halo Reach Female Assault Spartan

By Loran

Female Spartans in toy form aren’t something I really thought about until the Reach toyline. Much like female Stormtroopers, the idea of giving them a separate mold is actually kind of silly if you think about it. You’re wearing big, full body armor. Would any defining feminine features actually be visible through that much armor? Heck, I think the Alice-130 figure from the Spirit of Fire three-pack uses the same basic body as her two male teammates! Still, thanks to Kat, female figures are here to stay for the remainder of the Reach toyline… all two of them, not including the unmasked Kat figure…

Using most of Kat’s mold, McFarlane decided to create a female multiplayer Spartan for the Reach line. The last time I reviewed a figure that used a Campaign-specific mold for a multiplayer figure, I was completely enthralled. Unfortunately, the female Air Assault Spartan comes up short in way too many regards, mostly due to the mold itself, and a few unfortunate choices on a design standpoint.

First, the figure isn’t all that exciting when compared to Kat. While the Gungnir took everything to a new level by creating an entirely new Spartan using the base, the Air Assault doesn’t fare as well. At the end of the day, she’s really just a repainted Kat with no robot arm. Air Assault IS my favorite helmet choice, but I would’ve liked to see more variety in her design, especially since she’s the only multiplayer female in the line.

My biggest gripe with this figure concerns the mold itself. First, while the chest piece is removable like the males, it is NOT compatible with theirs. I’m not entirely surprised, but let’s be honest here, why make the piece removable in the first place if there’s NOTHING TO CHANGE IT WITH? Not only that, there aren’t ANY ports for supplemental armor—no spots for shoulder pads or extra rounds on the waist. There’s one the left forearm for a forearm attachment, but for the life of me I can’t think of any figures that have one.

Then of course, there’s the color scheme. Hey guys, she’s the girl, so we should make her pink! Really? I don’t think any seasoned space warrior would be running around in pink armor. Why not purple or even yellow? Pink just makes it seem like they’re trying to drive the fact that she’s a girl home.

However, the female mold has one piece of articulation the males lack: an extra joint on the hips. Yes, the female mold has an extra hinge on the hips, which allows for her to stand much better than any of her male counterparts.

Her weapon selection is unsurprisingly lacking: an assault rifle and a frag grenade. Gee, who saw that coming? I’d suggest picking up the weapon pack from Wave 5 and throwing the jetpack from that set on her, and maybe putting a battle rifle in her hands.

It’s nice to see McFarlane finally throwing a bone to female Halo fans (we exist…), but the effort could have been a bit better. Standing on her own, she’s a decent figure, but she falls short next to the males in the line. Still, FPNYC’s website sells her, and she’ll make a great base for custom figures!

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Halo Reach Elite Ranger Review

By Loran

If there’s one thing I can’t stand in the video game world, is the current influx of “realistic military shooters”. I can’t explain why, but they just bug me. They all feel like the same game in a different package. It’s just soldiers versus more soldiers. It feels like if you want a first-person shooter with zombies or robots or aliens, you have to go with either the Halo series or Half Life series… and only one of those is getting new games at regular intervals… Still, the one that IS getting frequent games has some pretty cool-looking aliens, especially the ones you can play as.

First introduced in Halo 2 (to a certain degree), the Elite Ranger is the Covenant’s jetpack trooper. These are the guys you’ll see harassing you in Firefight games or guarding Zero-G sections of Covenant Battlecruisers. I’ll have to say they’re one of my favorite armors for the Elites, if only because it looks so different from the regular armors. I like the lack of exposed mandibles. One would have to wonder why a warrior race would leave their mouth so exposed in their armor…

Appropriately, the new mold for the Elite towers over the Spartans. It’s big and heavy and the blister certainly reflects that. I really like that McFarlane managed to keep all of these figures at the same price point, even if it means paying the same for a Brute as you would a Grunt. However, I’m not entirely sure I like the new Elite mold more than the one from Halo 3. While the hands are much, MUCH more manageable, they really falter when it comes to the legs. The lack of a ball joint in the hips combined with the construction of the feet make them sort of difficult to stand properly, and the added weight of the torso doesn’t help much, either. Continue reading

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Halo Reach Spartan CQB Custom Armor Set

By Loran

As my love for Power Core Combiners probably showed, I have a soft spot for toys with parts-swapping gimmicks. I can’t explain it, really! It just gives me so many hours of fun. It’s like having two (or more!) toys in one. When I heard McFarlane was doing this for the Halo figures, I thought it was one of the best ideas ever. I’m sure most players of the game would like to make the Spartans (or Elites) they use in the games, even if some custom painting is needed.

I needed a Spartan fix, so I grabbed the rust-colored Spartan CQB Custom. This figure includes armor and helmets for the Operator, Mark V, and Security Spartans, plus a bonus head for a pilot. I guess the pilot doesn’t have any distinctive armor to speak of. It is a nice bonus, however, and gives people an incentive to buy these sets. Note that this set comes in two colors, rust and steel. I might purchase the steel one to combine it with the Grungnir set to make the Spartan one of my friends uses in Reach.

Since the base body is identical to the one I covered in the “Caboose” review (save for the kneepads), refer back to that one for my opinions on the articulation and whatnot, as this will focus mainly on the armor.

The main armor set is the Spartan CQB. For whatever reason the CQB helmet never really did it for me. It looks like a Jegan from Gundam, just kind of… squashed and round. The torso armor isn’t very exciting either, just the standard Mark V with an extra piece of armor on the front. Even the shoulders aren’t anything special. I do like the addition of the ammo belt, however, though he’s not the only variant in this set that uses it. I’ll probably display mine with this armor the least. Continue reading

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Halo Anniversary Master Chief Review

By Loran

Gimmick figures tend to be kind of a mixed bag to me. By “gimmick” I don’t mean something like spring-loaded weapons or whatever, I mean something based around an idea, like say, a clear version of a character that’s supposed to turn invisible or something. Usually those tend to be cool when they have some sort of status attached to them, like as a convention or mail-away exclusive. When they end up on the retail shelves, they usually end up staying there for quite awhile. But once in awhile, a pretty neat idea comes along that hasn’t really been done before, one that makes me go, “okay, I gotta try this”.

For Halo’s tenth anniversary, McFarlane decided to put out a special Master Chief figure for it, a “low polygon count” version that emulates the graphics from the first game. Some people didn’t like this idea but honestly, I got a kick out of it. I can’t really think of any other toylines that have done something like this, and I figured it was a cute way to celebrate ten years of the franchise.

Save for the joints (which need to be round because otherwise, they wouldn’t work), everything on the Chief is angular. It’s a very cool look and under certain lighting, it looks like it isn’t even sculpted that way. Of course, it would be a bit more convincing under actual video game lighting, but that wouldn’t really work…

The most noteworthy part of him is his very square head and visor. Since computer models can’t make curves all that well (or at least, make them look natural), the Chief’s visor is made up largely of small squares. You can’t really tell in the game, but on the figure it’s more noticeable. It’s neat, but probably the most distracting part about him. He just looks “off” when standing alongside the other Reach Spartans, which I’m sure is why most people are buying him. Really makes you wish they made an HD version. Continue reading

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Best of 2011: Super late edition part 1

By Chris Troy

My 2012 is off to a brutal start, as the first day of the year started with me having no power in half of my apartment for 4 days, but rebounded when I went down to DC for MAGfest 2012 for another 3. The latter was rad, but explains my absence. NO WORRIES, NOW I’VE RETURNED, I CAN TALK ABOUT TOYS THAT CAME OUT LAST YEAR, SEVERAL OF WHICH YOU CAN STILL PURCHASE AT FPNYC!! So without further delay, my ultimately meaningless list:

Let’s start off with some import goodness shall we? While not the strongest year for Figma as a brand (IMO, people who love them some Madoka may disagree), Max Factory managed to pop out a few rad figures this year, one of them being the Figma based on Evangelion 2.2 ‘s Mari. In a sea of Asuka/Rei merchandise, Mari was a welcomed addition and her Figma, which came with a cockpit and a ton of variant parts and accessories, was great. In addition to that, the Dorothy (of Big O fame) Figma dropped as well, and I am bias as hell towards Big O merch, so that makes the list. Also Robocop, because, well, he’s Robocop; why wouldn’t he, right? 2012 looks solid too, as we’re expected to get a Figma based on Guts from Beserk, as well as Samus Aran of Metroid fame. This is best in life. We still have the Eva girls and Dorothy in stock BTW, as well as several other characters I couldn’t tell you about.

Revoltech had a stellar year, especially if you’re into giant robots. Evas? A ton of them, all of them rad. Zone of the Enders finally got some love, with the release of Jehuty, and more are on the way apparently, which pleases me to no end. A ton of American properties got some love as well, including the likes of Iron Man, War Machine, Optimus Prime, and Bumblebee, rocking their Michael Bay designs. 2012 looks to be full of more giant robots AND more movie stuff, including the likes of Pixar movies NOT named Toy Story. In the words of Achewood‘s Ray Smuckles “That’s alright, coz that’s okay.” And wrapping up the super pose-able import toy trinity is SH Figuarts: which, while delivering awesome Godzilla, Gundam, Dragon Ball Z, Megaman X, and One Piece figures, stole my heart with the release of their Tiger and Bunny line. This line is hot, and I think we had the Tiger and Bunny Figuarts in for like a few hours before they sold out. We do have a nice variety of non-T&B Figuarts still in stock though, so hey, it’s not a complete loss if you come in looking for some. We also got a ton of new Gunpla in this year, including kits from the new series Gundam Age. Continue reading

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Transformers Generation Warpath

By Loran

Don’t you hate it when Hasbro saves the awesome stuff for last?

I never really had this problem up until a few years ago, with the G.I. Joe movie figures. The last wave—the one with City Strike Snake-Eyes and Duke, Jungle Ripcord, etc was IMPOSSIBLE for me to find here (I never even SAW the Desert Viper at regular stores). Some of the figures from the last wave of Revenge of the Fallen never showed up here, either. It’s really just a case of stores being clogged up with so much older crap (LIKE MUDFLAP) that they don’t order new stuff. It sucks, but that’s unfortunately how it is. Remember folks—for each crappy figure you pick up, you bring the stores one step closer to putting out the awesome stuff!

Warpath here was the unfortunate victim with Transformers Generations, and a damn shame because he is AWESOME. Continue reading

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Short Packed: Square Enix Explosion

By Chris Troy

I remembering pointing out some time last year (post New York Comic Con) that Square-Enix’s Play Art division is schedule to explode in terms of non- Final Fantasy related content. That’s finally come to be, as FPNYC has been hit with a ton of new Square Enix product not related to the RPG monster (For the record though, all 3 waves of the Final Fantasy 13 Play Art Kai are in stock, and are fairly awesome). I’ve already covered entries from both the BLEACH and Bayonetta series, so today we’ll be looking at what else Square Enix has released over the last few weeks/months.

And yes, why I already covered the Bayonetta Play Arts, I recently picked up Jeanne on the cheap and figured I show the girl some love in this review. In the hit SEGA game, Jeanna plays the role of  Bayonetta’s rival, which is ironic, as this Play Arts is the polar opposite of Bayonettas. She’s slightly less poseable than her counterpart, but she’s also a lot more sleeker and slimmer in term of design, which is also no where as nearly complex. It’s a cool counterpart to Bayonetta, I just wish Square just had the dual-heel guns pre-attached to her shoes, as slipping them to the back to Jeanne’s feet has been a severe pain. Also, I really wish Square tossed in a stand for Jeanne, because if there’s a line that needs help standing, it’s this one. Continue reading

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Back to School

by Jeff Ayers

“Bring us a pitcher of beer every seven minutes until somebody passes out.  And then bring one every ten minutes.”

This past Saturday I was struck by a sudden, sharp, and sobering realization, with lasting ramifications for the next nine months or so.  Y’see, my lady and I had brunch at Petite Abeille in sleepy Tribeca, checked out the Moscow Cats Theatre (featuring 35 cats, 5 clowns, death defying balancing acts and acrobatics, and yes, I’m comfortable admitting that, and yes, moms and dads should take your progeny and everybody you know to see this asap) and braved the amassed hordes of the Canal Street subway to head back uptown for a stroll before my closing shift at the FP.  All on what normally would be a calm, bucolic late summer afternoon in my beloved East Village.  Friendly confines and all that.

The neighborhood was steeped in a kind of pandemonium.

From Houston to 14th, from Ave. B to Broadway, the area surrounding our store was abuzz with so much activity and cacophony so as to only, perhaps, be rivalled by the beach scene in Apocalypse Now.

Now sometimes I can be pretty dense, so I didn’t notice til much later that I’d passed dozens of families carrying furniture, computers, mini-fridges and other such accoutrements on every block.  Didn’t notice the sudden influx of 18-24 year-olds in the neighborhood. Nor the copious amount of hello and farewell hugs. And why the hell we were selling so many posters?  Only later, at work, did it dawn on me…  Of course!  It’s Back to School!

Whether it be NYU, SVA, Pratt, Columbia, New School, Cooper Union, whatever… Welcome back, ladies and gents.  Welcome here, freshmen.  If this is your first visit to the store or FPNYC on the web, know that Forbidden Planet is one of the premiere sellers of comics, collectibles, and Science Fiction stores in the world and has been since 1981.  We ain’t going anywhere, your college student ID nabs you 10% OFF everything in the store [ed. note: we no longer offer this at FP], and we’re in the most happenin’ location in the city.  We also offer a snazzy subscription service for comics, wherein we’ll hold your books for you until you dig up the scratch to buy them.

And sell posters for your dorm.

And that goes for the rest of ya!

New Release Highlights:

Halo Uprising #1- The Eisner Award-winning team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist extraordinaire Alex Maleev (Daredevil- 2001-2006) pull a “Dude, we’re gettin’ the band back together!”  for a sequel story to video gaming’s biggest franchise of the early 21st Century, Halo.

Ultimate Spider-Man 100 Project TP– brought to you by The Hero Initiative, a deserving non-profit that bails out comic creators in need; creators who can’t pay medical bills, buy groceries, what have you.  This book collects the fruits of one of the organization’s most creative and successful fund-raising endeavors- a print run of 100 blank-covered Ultimate Spider-Man #100, wherein prominent creators of today would draw their take version of old webhead. Sold as one of a kind collectibles online and at New York Comic-Con and Wizard World Chicago- for up to $6700 apiece- this fabulous, limited artbook collects all 100 covers, featuring Mark Bagley, J. Scott Campbell, Frank Cho, Neil Gaiman, Adam and Andy Kubert, George Pérez, Joe Quesada, John Romita Sr. and Jr., Frank Quitely, JG Jones, and dozens more and features a forward by Stan Lee, who is by no means a creator in need.  Just sayin.

I’m a Lebowski You’re a Lebowski: Life The Big Lebowski and What Have You–  The ultimate fan’s guide to the Coen Brothers cult phenomenon “The Big Lebowski,” with a Foreword by the Dude himself, Jeff Bridges.  I’ve waited for this book for nearly a decade, convinced that no such thing would ever be released.  But thanks to the film’s insatiable fanbase, of which I am an unashamed and rabid member, goodies such as this book and and events like Lebowski Fest (the Star Trek Convention of the 21st Century) are possible. “If you will it, dude, it is no dream.”

Bunnies & Bees– by Mark Ryden.  Beautiful boxed portfolio from Ryden features thirteen 8″ x 10″ prints from the Bunnies & Bees gallery show.  Images include all the paintings, plus some details and drawings from the show. It is a limited numbered edition of 10,000, and includes a certificate of authenticity in addition.  Also in stock: Fushigi Circus, a survey of 55 of Ryden’s most impressive works from past to present.

And to all you wide-eyed freshmen? All you new New Yorkers? My sincerest welcome once again! I hope you enjoy your stay in our fantastic City! Just leave some polite room on the crowded streets for us “townies,” okay? And walk, bike, or use mass transit.

“Now that’s what I call Marine Biology!”


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