First I want to say thank goodness for tax refunds. I ordered this back in February and it finally got to me yesterday. I have the Sarah Palmer one paid for and waiting for it to arrive too, again paid for with part of the tax refund.
Okay now that that’s done, let’s get on to the review:
I want to be straight up here and say that initially I had no desire to collect this line. There are a few reasons.
1. Fairly expensive: In comparison to McFarlane Halo figures these are about 5X as much. On average McFarlane Halo figures cost $13-15. This Kai Arts (also referred to as Play Arts) figure was a whopping $65 (not including shipping).
2. Not a fan of the slim waistline: It’s one of the biggest reasons I didn’t go for the other figures. I don’t like it when companies choose to use their interpretation when they can easily recreate the character exactly as it is. (Mega Bloks does not count here for instance as they have to really size down their figures.)
3. Exclusivity: There aren’t many figures to this line as it is and several of them were exclusives. I really REALLY hate toy lines that do that. Exclusives to stores, fine. That may make it a little hard for some collectors, but certainly not as hard as trying to get Convention exclusives.
So then, you’re probably asking me, “Why the hell did you get this then?”
I had to really consider buying any from this line. Knowing I’d never have one of each, I had to draw the line somewhere. So I decided to get ONLY Halo 4 Campaign/Spartan Ops figures. I had seen pics of the Halo 4 Master Chief and it actually looked pretty darn good even with the slimmer waistline. Palmer I wasn’t so concerned about since she’s a female character and I can tolerate the slimmer waistline on her due to that.
So yeah, that means I had to pass on the Halo CE Master Chief, the Gold MC, and pretty much all the rest. I had thought about Noble team, but again, these figs are expensive. The waistlines on those characters really take away from them, with exception to Kat, again with her being a female character.
Okay, enough justification, let’s move on to the actual toy review…The box this comes in is very nice. Some great graphics and they all make sense.Take a look at these shots put side by side. You can see that the sides wrap around with the front to make a larger image. The back of the box depicts Master Chief in certain poses with weapons. What’s great about the box is that if you keep your stuff in the box, there is this nice flap that is velcroed on that you can open to show the figure, yet keep it minty fresh inside.
Of course, I’m not a mint in box kind of guy (though this one I did put back in the box for the time being). So here are some shots of the contents and the figure and weapons outside of the box.When you slide out the contents, you get this. It’s a clear tray over a black tray that holds the figure, weapons, and extra pair of hands in place. It’s a nice way to have them displayed inside the box.
Behind that you find what’s below. It’s a cardboard sleeve that also has a bubble glued onto it that holds the figure’s stand in place.As you can see by the pic (and yes, I photoshopped the hell out of the background), the directions are easy to see and follow. I have NO plans on using this stand. Though I won’t get rid of it either, as you never know… For now it’s back in the box with the figure.
But before I put it back in there, here’s the figure as promised (click to make pic bigger): Sorry about the high contrast/flash here.
The figure has some pretty good articulation. Ball joints abound everywhere. One thing to note is that the cod piece and hip area is actually a separate piece that sits in place. It’s moveable, but not particularly positionable. The detail on this figure is amazing as is the paint job. The only issue I really have here is that the ball joints aren’t hidden as well as they could have been. It can be distracting specifically at the shoulder area.
In the shot above you see how the pistol can attach to the leg. There is also a peg hole in the back for the Assault Rifle. Note the pegs sticking out of the weapons in the bottom right of the above pic. Also, this set comes with another set of hands.
The figure as it is in the package has the more open hands attached to it. This makes it easy to have Chief hold the AR. The extra hands are for holding the Plasma Pistol. Technically you could have Chief dual wield the weapons with the AR in his right hand and the Plasma Pistol in his right. I do think that a frag and/or plasma grenade should have been included with this set. Either to have chief hold in his left hand or to clip onto the left leg. Opportunity missed. Perhaps I’ll custom one…. (likely not).
Okay so there you have it.
What are my final observations on this?
It’s a good figure with superb articulation, excellent sculpting and paint application. It’s presented VERY well in the box. The slimmer waist isn’t as noticeable on this figure as it was in earlier figures from this toy line, so that is a plus in my book. The only thing that detracts from this then is the price. While I do appreciate the extra set of hands, a grenade or two would have helped give more of the appearance of worth. When you compare this to the McFarlane figure, visually it’s better, though only marginally. So again the price is the real issue here. Is it really worth $65 (plus shipping)?
Unfortunately, I have to say no. However, given the rather exclusivity of these figs and that they aren’t as easy to find at brick and mortar stores, therefore making it more of a collectible piece, the price is slightly more justified. Personally, I think the price of this line of figures should be at $35-40 and no more.
So should YOU buy it? Well that’s going to depend on a few things.
Do you mind the slimmer, somewhat out of proportion waist?
Do you mind paying 5X as much for this than say a McFarlane Halo figure?
Are you buying this to keep in package or will you have your kids play with it?
Answer those questions and I think you can come to your own conclusion. Am I happy with the purchase? Well, I don’t have buyers remorse. So that’s a good thing. Though I do think it’s priced more than it’s worth. I can only hope these figures gain value. Though, I’m not in this to resell figures later. I collect to collect.
Articulation: 9 of 10 medals
Paint Application: 9 of 10 medals
Sculpt: 8.5 of 10 medals
Accessories: 8 of 10 medals (include more please if you’re going to ask that much for these sets)
Overall rating: 8.5 medals of 10
I figured since I mentioned the McFarlane figure a few times within this review that I should show a comparison shot of it and the Kai Arts figure. Click to make bigger.
Okay, so now seeing the two side by side, you’d think I’d change my position on the cost issue. Well, partially. See, this isn’t quite 12 inches tall. I can get a fully articulated Star Wars figure from Sideshow collectibles for around $50-55 (yes more for certain characters). Anyway, those figures come LOADED with extras. Their sculpt is great as is the articulation and paint application. So adding this comparison as well and the Kai fig not having a bunch of extras, I’ll place it’s worth at $45. Better than the $35-40 I said above.
McFarlane had a 12 inch figure of Master Chief a few years back. Sadly it didn’t sell well at retail. It was VERY well priced at IIRC $30. That was much bigger than this figure and had decent sculpting, though not as great articulation.
So take all this updated info for what it’s worth to help you determine if you are considering buying this figure.
Oh! And if you do, PLEASE send me a photo. I’ll be more than happy to post it up on the blog!