The Halo Bulletin 4-30-14


As loyal readers know, the weekly Halo Bulletin has typically released late on Wednesday evening, around the same time that the sun can be seen setting over Lake Washington. Recently, I’ve been working with the community team (which includes many talented, fancy individuals who fix all of my typos and create pretty graphics) to get the Bulletin out to all you earlier for several reasons. One is that although the third floor multiplayer lab provides a beautiful view of the neighboring snow-capped mountains during the sunsets, we like to, when possible, leave work while the sun is still up. More importantly, though, is the fact that we like to get you each week’s update as early as possible, especially because we know many of you live to the right of us, and are reading from the Midwest, East Coast, or even – gasp – the UK, where Bulletins were typically published in the wee hours of the morning. Moving forward, we’re looking forward to bringing you each Bulletin at a most reasonable time. We hope this will be helpful as we begin to discuss future adventures, as we’d like for the Bulletin to disrupt the fewest sleep schedules possible.

HFFL: As a fan and blogger, I’m grateful that the bulletin is coming out a bit earlier. Previously, most often, I reported the bulletin the next morning. Now I’m able to get it reblogged the same day it was posted by Waypoint.

One of the added benefits of pushing out the weekly update earlier was the ability to occasionally join the 343 indoor soccer team in their battles at the local sports-dome-complex-facility. Week after week, I’d receive emails about the team, and I’d always have to explain that Wednesday was Bulletin day, and that I wouldn’t be able to make it. Last week, though, we got the Halo Bulletin out early in the afternoon, while the sun was still high in the sky, and I made my way over to the game and prepared to defend the 343 goal with honor, integrity, and 343 spirit. The good news is that after 40 minutes of play, the team had done just that, while also scoring quite a few goals of our own, and we went home with a win. The bad news is that I had my elbow stepped on in the process, and also took home an injury along with the win. As such, I sit here now typing away with only my left hand, and my right arm in a rather uncomfortable sling. It is difficult and time consuming, as is eating lunch and brushing my teeth, but the hardest thing is not being able to playtest future Halo experiences that are being built within the studio walls. That part sucks.

I’ve got a full month before I can pick up a controller again, but was it worth it? Yes. The 343 team was victorious, and that’s really all that matters. AXIOS!

This week, we’ve got a few cool things to talk about, including Spartan Lasers, tournaments, and more.

Matchmaking Playlist Update


Just this Monday, we released the Heavies playlist, which returned due to an overwhelming community response. After its return on Monday, we weren’t surprised to see it immediately take the #1 spot over Big Team Battle, and as I check the Matchmaking playlists now, this is still the case. We’re glad to see that so many of you are enjoying the explosions and heavy machinery. We’ve also seen some questions regarding why Heavies wasn’t rolled into Big Team Battle, and there were a few reasons why we gave Heavies its own dedicated slot. First and foremost, Heavies is a 6 vs. 6 playlist and game type, while Big Team Battle exclusively hosts 8 vs. 8 game types. Additionally, we’re confident that Heavies is popular enough to sustain a healthy population, and also provides an area where we can host all of the maps from the Crimson and Castle Map Packs, which are also optimized for 6 vs. 6 game types. Lastly, having a home for 6 vs. 6 game types also allows us to look at additional options, such as Dominion. In short, we’ll continue to monitor the health of each playlist to ensure that we’re offering an optimal Matchmaking experience in Halo 4 across all playlists and voting options. Keep an eye on each Bulletin to read about what we’re seeing in Matchmaking and thinking about in terms of playlists updates.

Multi-Team will also be available until May 12, when Dominion will return as our featured playlist. We’ll have some additional update details next week, but this week, we want to know which new game type you’d like to see added to Action Sack!

HFFL: Before I get to the vote, I have to once again say that I really REALLY want Multi-team to be a permanent playlist!


Team Ninja Assassins
A 4 vs. 4 version of Halo 4’s most popular Free-For-All game type! All of the sniping, sneaking, slicing, but this time, you’ve got ninja teammates who will (hopefully) assist with the assassinations.

Sticky Detonators, Plasma Grenades, and an Oddball. Side effects may include explosions. Sticky ones.

Shotgun CTF
Similar to Shotgun Ricochet, Shotgun CTF equips players with Thruster Packs, Plasma Grenades, and a standard issue M45D Tactical Shotgun.

Head here to vote on the Halo Waypoint forums, where voting will be open for approximately four days. Check back next week to find out which game type is the winner!

HFFL: My vote goes for Stickyball. Why? Well, we just had Ninja Assassins, even if it was FFA. Also, we have a dedicated CTF playlist. However, we are severely lacking with Oddball, for which Stickyball is an offshoot of. So if you need those Oddball commendations, THAT is the game type you should be voting for. It’s my vote!

The Spartan Laser Will Be quite Operation When Your Friends Arrive

A post on r/halo led us to this completely astounding fully functioning airsoft Spartan Laser.

Our highest admiration and awe go out to Redshirt over at He’s spent four years crafting this stunningly detailed and surprisingly functional replica of Spartan Laser terror that is not just beautiful, but ready to fire 2200 BBs per min at anyone foolish enough to cross his path in open battle.

Check this bad boy out below!

lazer1-9f4d49b765fe42dfba61a69828353ceblazer2-2062e9e9a45741de9f29d531bf21e2b6lazer3-84fb8de310c44a49ae9ab97548164517HFFL: I reported on this earlier in the week. You can see a video of this in action HERE.

Spring Showdown Recap


This past weekend, our friends at Beyond Entertainment hosted the Spring Showdown, a 1 vs. 1 Halo 4 tournament over Xbox Live that featured the Halo 4 Global Championship settings. Hundreds of competitors entered the tournament, and after a full day of matches, one winner emerged. Fighting to the final game on Onyx, GUNPLEX managed to win the match by one kill and become the Spring Showdown champion.

This week, I had a chance to sit down with GUNPLEX and chat about his history as a Halo player, and also bothered him for some head-to-head tips. Read on below for the details!

Hey, GUNPLEX! Congrats on winning the Spring Showdown 1v1 tournament. Tell us, did you expect to win going in?

Thank you! To be honest, I would say I expected to win because I felt confident going in – I knew I could win it all if I took it one round at a time.

There were 128 total players in the bracket. Who would you say was your toughest competition?

I would say my rival and runner-up Dramis. I was undefeated throughout the whole tournament and didn’t drop a game until game 2 of the Finals, and then only won by 1 kill in the final game. He was definitely my toughest opponent.


How long have you been playing competitively? Have you always enjoyed 1v1 matches throughout the Halo series?

I started playing Halo competitively back in Halo 2, and haven’t looked back since. Competitive Halo has always been my greatest passion. And absolutely, 1v1 matches have always been my favorite alongside 4v4s in all the Halo series.

What are your favorite 1v1 maps from all of Halo multiplayer? Are there any maps you could play over and over again?

Some of my favorites are Lockout, Midship, The Pit, Guardian, Narrows, Zealot, Sanctuary, Onyx, Pitfall, and Haven. I would say Midship and The Pit are maps I can play over and over again.

What tips would you give to aspiring competitive players who want to improve their 1v1 game?

Relocate a lot during the game, and don’t stay in the same spot – it will keep your opponents guessing. Timing the Powerups and Power Weapons is also a big key to winning. Patience is important and can give you an upper hand over other players, so don’t rush out to into unnecessary deaths. In Halo 4 you need to “creep walk” or crouch walk here and there – it’s the best way to be sneaky and not be heard by your opponent. Another big thing is knowing respawns and trapping opponents when they respawn. If you don’t have the hang of the main respawn locations, watch your game films and learn where opponents can respawn in various situations.

Anyone you’d like to thank?

I definitely have to give a shoutout to my 4v4 team “Empowered” which consists of: PreSchool Slays, The Impulsion, Toxic KM, and myself. Also, my montage editor Riley Hastings who has been putting together a sick montage for me recently – look for it in May. Lastly, I want to give a shoutout to Tom “T2” Taylor  who was my inspiration in competitive Halo and the player I looked up to.

Thanks for joining me today, and best of luck in future tournaments!

Thank you!

Screenshot Spotlight: Wraith

Last week, we turned the spotlight on melee attacks. Take a gander at the following Wraith screenshots, and maybe even find inspiration to make your own.

Screenshot spotlight 4-30-14 Wraith

HFFL: Hmm, I like the “14 wheels” one for fun and the “Abyss” shot for dramatic effect.

For your chance at being in the next spotlight, hop into the Multi-Team playlist (or grab some friends for a Multi-Team custom game) and take a screenshot featuring multi-colored teams and then tag it with “multi” and “Halo Waypoint,” and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

And with that, this week’s Bulletin comes to a close.
Until next week,

HFFL: Well, not as exciting as last week’s bulletin. Hurry up E3!!!


Heavies and Multi-team LIVE!

Just in case you didn’t play Halo 4 yesterday or have read it here prior, Heavies is now a permanent playlist and Multi-team is the playlist for the 2-week rotational playlist.

Both are LIVE! So go get those vehicle kills! And have fun in the chaos and mayhem that is multi-team!


The Science of Halo, Fact vs Fiction: Heads Up Display (HUD)

We all seen this type of technology in Halo for nearly a decade and a half. This technology does exist today, albeit in a slightly different form.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in this field. This article was in part written and reflagged from existing articles that I’ve included references for near the end of the article. Any facts I may get wrong are not intentional. This article is for entertainment purposes only and is by no means exhaustive with the information herein. I highly suggest you click on the links contained throughout the article if you want to get a fuller understanding of this real-world tech.


In Halo, we the gamers use the heads up display for motion tracking, ammo and grenade counts as well as health, shields and targeting. As with all technology, the HUD has changed from Halo CE through to Halo 4.

Halo CE’s HUDHalo CE HUD
Halo 2’s HUDHalo 2 HUD
Halo 3’s HUDHalo 3 HUD
Halo 4’s HUDHalo 4 HUD

The HUD in Halo can also detect what weapon the bearer has in their hands, switching targeting reticles to match that of the weapon in use. The term HUD is actually incorrect and should be call HMD or helmet mounted display. The difference being that in HUDs you have to look up to see it and it’s fixed into place. Whereas, the HMD is shown on the visor and thus moves with the user’s head movement.


Since Halo CE, we gamers have enjoyed the use of a heads up display or HUD. The technology shown in the game from the start up to the present game for a singular soldier on the battlefield was something that only a decade ago was science fiction.

The earliest for a HUD tech can be traced back to pre-Wolrd War II. HUD tech evolved from “reflector sight,” a parallax free optical sight tech for military jet fighters. Below shows an early German schematic of this tech.

reflector sightGyro gunsight was the first tech to use reflector sight. As this tech advanced, the early HUDs started displaying computed gunnery solutions. An example of this is the British AI Mk VIII air interception radar. The radar display was projected onto an aircrafts windscreen also showing an artificial horizon. This allowed pilots to now dogfight without having to look away from their windscreen to check their radar.

HUD tech evolved in 1958 by the Royal Navy. This HUD had an attack sight that provided nav and weapon release info for low level attacks. This HUD tech faced strong competition  from those who supported the older electro-mechanical gunsight. In the ’60s French test-pilot Gilbert Klopfstien created the first modern HUD and a standardized set of symbols for HUDs so pilots only needed to learn one system. The ’70s brought HUD tech to commercial aviation. In 1988 the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was the first car to have a HUD. (1)

HUD tech for soldiers’ helmets have been around for a few years now. In 2004 at the Soldier Technology (convention) in Belgium, a new system for the time was shown. It was the NA-OR Advanced Integrated Soldier System or AISS. This personal HUD improved situational awareness, target identifcation, bidirectional communication of data and an early “Friend or Foe” tag system. An example of this HUD is shown below on the soldier’s helmet. (2)


Fast forward to 2013 where HUD tech is now not only looking like the HALO HUD on a small screen, but is now incorporated into a full face visor on a helmet that looks VERY much like an early Spartan Helmet.


Just last year, Sept. 2013, this new tech was shown at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting. The helmet not only has enhanced protective measures, but also embedded technology that includes a see-through, heads-up display and communication capabilities.

With 72 percent of all combat injuries impacting the face, the engineers sought to bridge a “technology gap” with a mandible and visor on the helmet.heads-up-helmet_2-620x411

The helmet includes cushioning to meet a 14-feet-per-second impact requirement, which will help reduce cases of traumatic brain injuries that translates to protection for a rifle round threat. (3)

This Halo-like helmet has not yet been adopted into the military yet.

Take a look at these videos by Revision Military, the makers of the above helmet:

With the advent of Google Glass and the developing bionic contact lens, people from all over the globe will be able to have personal heads up display. The new Augmented-reality contact lens is touted to be “human-ready” at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show).


While the HUD of the present as yet can not detect what weapon the soldier is currently holding, can that tech really be far behind? Bio-scan technology is being integrated into current HUDs to alert the soldier as well as their base of the vital signs.


The HUD of Halo isn’t science fiction anymore. While current tech does not yet include all of the aspects of Halo’s HUD, it most certainly is close. It’s very predictable that in the very near future, current technology will have the rest of Halo’s HUD incorporated into single soldier use.

Did you enjoy this article? I’d like to know what you think of it and the tech talked about within. Please hit reply below and share your thoughts.


A pretty cool Halo stop-motion video using Halo Mega Bloks.

As you all likely know, I’m a big fan of Halo Mega Bloks. So when I found out about this video and after having watched it, I contacted the filmmaker to see if they wouldn’t mind me sharing their vid here.

Fo a fan made stop-motion, I think he did rather well. I love seeing stuff like this. Who knows, it could lead that person to become a film maker in Hollywood. It all starts somewhere…

So what do you think of the above vid? Reply below and let me know!


To like or not to like Sarah Palmer, that is the question…

I came upon a thread on Halo Waypoint’s forums that was discussing the merits of Spartan Commander Sarah Palmer as she is being portrayed in the comic book, Halo Escalation.

The discussion goes on for 9 pages, so I’ll save you that. I came in on it when the discussion turned toward her making the decision that would allow for the Human/Elite/Brute delegation to escape, yet having to sacrifice Demarco and other Spartans as a result of that decision. What follows is my reply from that point:

I think it was a waste to kill off DeMarco. However, given that it seems 343 wants Thorne to take over after Chief, it makes sense.

As for Palmer, she’s the Spartan IV’s commander because she is one of the first and has the most experience as a Spartan IV.

Recall the lines she says to the Spartan VIs who had just come onto the Infinity. It seems most of the Spartans on the Infinity are pretty new at being Spartans, with a few other having actual experience.

So in that respect, 343 defaults to Palmer as their leader.

Now, regarding her outbursts, female chauvinism, etc., THIS is why Halsey did NOT want to use adults. They come with “baggage”. Decades of real world experience follows you, no matter what. Taking the Spartan IIs as 6 year old kids, they have had little experience. This allows for them to be “brainwashed” into being the perfect (or as close to it as possible) solider. They follow orders, they work as a team, they do not belittle each other and for the most part keep their emotions in check.

Having adults become Spartan IVs smacks all against what Halsey’s Spartan program was trying to accomplish. Otherwise, Halsey could have just searched for and recruited the best of the UNSC into service as Spartans.

This all said, I do like the direction that Palmer is going in Escalation. I would really like to see her have a proper novel. One that really fleshes out her origin. Initiation tried to do that, but had to hurry through it due to page count of the comic itself.

What I’d like to see written in a novel is how she came to be in the UNSC in the first place, how/why she became an ODST and any specific events that might have made her a hardass. From there, tell the story of Initiation, but much more fleshed out.

Should she become Chief’s new sidekick? No. She’s already a leader of Spartans. If she became Chief’s sidekick, that would be a demotion of sorts. We also have to consider, is Chief ready to have another person in his life, so soon after Cortana’s death? Going by the Halo XBOX One trailer, I’d say no.

/end my reply on Halo Waypoint

So to pose the question again… To like or not to like Sarah Palmer?

At this point, I’m still on the fence, but now leaning much toward liking the character. I’d have preferred her character to have been sorted out through the games, rather than comic books or a novel, but we can’t go back now. So telling her story in a novel would be a decent way to let we Halo fans get to know her better.

If you want to have a read of all the NINE pages (and massive walls of text), feel free to go the the thread on Waypoint HERE.


The Halo Bulletin 4-23-14


As I’ve written before, holidays are pretty fantastic at 343. Sometimes we have unlimited amounts of Lucky Charms, other times we get custom Halo valentines. Most times, there is a lot of delicious homemade food. This past Tuesday was Earth Day, and as you may have guessed, it was a pretty big deal here at 343. Sitting on each desk on Tuesday morning was a little surprise in the form of a custom-made trading card. It is worth noting here that the cards were made from 100% recycled paper.

The franchise team put together a collection of eight trading cards, each featuring a planet from the Halo universe, and gave each employee a random card. This made everyone excited, and also made some people want all of the cards. I may or may not be one of those people. The planet I received was Earth – good place to start, I thought. I quickly looked around at neighboring desks to see which cards my co-workers had received, and immediately stared going through my inventory of Halo figures, dogtags, and other trinkets for items to barter with. Others were a bit more direct, and started negotiating trades on an email chain with the entire studio. This is when I knew things were gonna get serious.


By the end of the day, I had traded a set of Halo 4 Infinity dog tags for Sanghelios (URS IV), and was lucky enough to nab a Te (SVIR V) in exchange for a future favor. I realize this may have been a questionable decision, but I really wanted the card. At the time of this writing, I am still actively searching for the remaining five Earth Day 2014 Halo trading cards. I will find them.

HFFL: Heh, glad to see the collecting bug has bitten Bravo! Now he is one of us! Well, me anyway…

This week, we’ve got a new issue of Halo: Escalation, a (heavy) Halo 4 Matchmaking update, and more. Let’s chat!

Matchmaking Playlist Update


As we mentioned last week, we have some new stuff coming on the Halo 4 playlist front. This weekend will be the last chance to play Ninja Assassins during this rotation, so if you’d like to grab some final screenshots or save the game type off to your hard drive, hop into Matchmaking. We’re glad to see that the playlist was so popular as it became one of Halo 4’s most popular Free-for-All playlists. Moving forward, we’ll look to create additional unique and refined experiences for featured playlists, and there may even be a spot for a Ninja Assassins style gameplay in a permanent Matchmaking playlist. Speaking of bringing back game types, we’re excited that Heavies will be returning to Halo 4 Matchmaking this coming Monday in a pretty big way.



Heavies was one of Halo 4’s most popular featured playlists. There’s something special about Spartans, heavy vehicles, and heavy weapons meeting in the middle of a wide open battlefield, and we’re not surprised that the playlist was so frequented. We’ve been listening to your feedback, and over the past week, we’ve been doing some additional game type testing to prepare the playlist for its own spot in Halo 4 Matchmaking. Additionally, we added Heavies CTF into the game type rotation. As of Monday, Heavies will have a dedicated playlist, and the Ricochet playlist will be removed as we move the Ricochet game type into existing playlists.

HFFL: YES! Heavies to be permanent!!!! Now maybe I can finish those dang Scorpion kills for my commendations! And what is this? Ricochet to be absorbed into another playlist? I love the game type, but agree that it should merge with another. I hope if goes to Grifball. Then maybe call that playlist: BALLS! LOL J/K. (not kidding)

The following game types will be available in the playlist:

  •          Heavies Slayer
  •          Heavies King of the Hill
  •          Heavies Capture the Flag

The above game types will be played on the following maps:

  •          Longbow
  •          Daybreak
  •          Wreckage
  •          Shatter
  •          Harvest
  •          Perdition
  •          Ragnarok
  •          Vortex
  •          Meltdown
  •          Exile

HFFL: Okay, looking at this playlist and knowing that many do not have all of the DLC, I foresee Longbow, Ragnarok, Vortex and Meltdown being played the most. I’m okay with that. I’m just happy to have Heavies back and permanently!!!



Multi-Team is back! The playlist features four teams of three players each, and offers a mix of game types, including Infinity Slayer, Legendary Slayer BR, Oddball, KotH, SWAT, Regicide and Ricochet. The playlist will be available for two weeks, until May 12.

HFFL: YES!!! I LOVE Multi-team. It’s just chaotic fun! Please folks, play this game type!!! I really REALLY want to see it be made permanent again. Just think of the times you’ve had 2 others in your party… You are forced to play in a playlist that will put a random on your team. We need a 3 party game type and Multi-Team is IT!

Community Choice


HFFL: Alright! My pick was the winner!

Last week, we asked which game type you’d like to see in Multi-Team, and Legendary Slayer BR was the winner! The game type will offer an interesting mix of precision weapon based tactical gameplay and absolute chaos, as players from four different teams enter the fray respawn after respawn. As is always the case with Multi-Team, it’s sure to be fast paced and chock-full of multikills. To check out the game type, head into the Multi-Team playlist starting on Monday morning.

HFFL: The next section talks about Halo Escalation #5. AS I’ve already covered that a bit, I’m going to skip that section. It repeats much of what I’ve already said…

Update on Halo: Spartan Assault


Halo: Spartan Assault is now one of the first titles available across multiple Windows devices for the price of a single download, starting with Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. This functionality is currently only available to Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 users, but the single-download functionality will be expanded to Windows 8.0 users in May.

 Screenshot Spotlight: Melee

Last week, we turned the spotlight on Adrift. Take a gander at the following melee screenshots, and maybe even find inspiration to make your own.

Spotlight 4-23-14HFFL: I like “Ninja Assassins 7” by MrMartinit85 as well as “Dropping In” by RECEPTOR 17. Which one or more are your favorites from this week’s spotlight?

For your chance at being in the next spotlight, hop into the Heavies playlist (or grab some friends for a custom game) and take a screenshot featuring a Wraith and then tag it with “Wraith” and “Halo Waypoint,” and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

And with that, this week’s Bulletin comes to a close.
Until next week,

HFFL: I have to admit that this week’s bulletin was pretty good. Now if I can get my hands on a set of those Earth Day trading cards…



Halo Escalation #5 out tomorrow!


For those of you who are collecting the series (as I am), the next issue of Halo Escalation is out tomorrow. You can pick up a copy at your local comic book shops. If they don’t have it in stock, you can buy direct from Darkhorse. As well, you can get the digital copy, HERE.

Here’s the text blurb form Darkhorse about this issue:

Missing for thirty years, a legendary UNSC warship is discovered deep behind enemy lines. As Infinity plans a rescue mission, however, Admiral Hood’s past with the ship’s captain threatens to jeopardize the mission. The investigation into the UNSC saboteur continues as the journalist infiltrates an Elite holy land in search of answers.


Halo Toy Review: Mega Bloks Red UNSC Spade

MB grey logo
Mega Bloks Red UNSC Spade: Set #97158

Technical Specifications:
Build Time: 10 minutes sorting time, 30 minutes build time. You time may be less. Mine includes taking the pictures and setting up the set for action poses at the end.
Set Piece Count: 212
Minifigs: Sand color Spartan Mark V [B], Sand color Spartan ; 2 Jackals; 2 Spec Ops (Black) Grunts (Halo Reach style)
Weapons: Assault Rifle, Grenade Launcher, Pistol, Beam Rifle (Halo Reach style), Plasma Rifle, Needler, Plasma Pistol, 2 sticky grenades (translucent blue)
Accessories: 2 Jackal Shields (translucent blue)
Price: $35 in-store, $32 online plus shipping Wal Mart Exclusive!
Special Features: Wheels roll, allowing vehicle to roll along a surface

And on with the pics! (Click pics to make BIGGER)

MB Red Spade Box
The box as always is neatly designed. The front shows the set in a fantasy view, while it also has a “window” through which to see the mini figures. The back once again shows the sets and figures with some explanations of the spade and figures. MB Red Spade minifig tray
Here’s the front window close up. You can see all of the figs and weapons through the window. The Jackals shields are inside the box, however.MB Red Spade contents
Here is what you get inside of the box.MB Red Spade parts list
I checked my parts inventory list against the parts as I sorted them out. All were present and accounted for. As usual, there were extras that Mega Bloks tend to include.MB Red Spade sorted
Above shows the pieces sorted out. If you have the orange spade, this will be extremely familiar to you as they are the same parts, just in different colors.MB Red Spade chassis-suspension
We begin with the build of the chassis and the “motor”. Not an actual motor, just pieces that fit into place where there would be a motor.MB Red Spade engine-cab
The front fenders and bed of the spade are built up.MB Red Spade wheels
Above we see the spade almost done. I’m showing the wheels specifically in the view to show how they are properly added to the vehicle. If you look on the box, you can see the way the treads go. It’s a minor thing, but I like consistency. At this point the vehicle is done. So don’t forget to remove those powder blue parts underneath, that were used for stability while building the spade.
MB Red Spade ortho
Orthogonal views of the spade.MB Red Spade mirror
Above, I wanted to point out that when not in use, you may want to consider pointing the side view mirrors inward. Those pieces are tiny and might possibly be lost if they snag on something. Pointing them inward makes that less likely.MB Red Spade weapons-accessories
Here we have a nice selection of weapons. The Spartans get an Assault Rifle, Grenade Launcher, a pistol and a frag grenade. The Covenant get a “Reach” styled beam rifle, plasma rifle, needler, plasma pistol and two sticky grenades. I like that those are translucent blue. That means they are armed and ready to blow up something! Also note the two Jackal shields.MB Red Spade ortho minifigs
Be sure and click on the picture above to make a whole lot bigger. You’ll be able to see much more of the detail to these figures. We have had these all available before, however, the Spartans and Grunts have not been available in those colors. MB Red Spade leftovers-mini build
In the pic above you see the pieces left over. As per usual, I try to make something of them. If I can, I try to make as close of a mini model of the set. I think you can see the spade in the mini build. No wheels or roof, but still…LOLMB Red Spade battle
Oh no! The Spartans are ambushed! Will they survive the Covenant Assault???MB Red Spade friendsOh wait, the Covies just needed a ride to Toshi Station to pick up some power converters. Happy Trails!

Summary: This set is a VERY quick build. Having already had the orange spade, there were no surprises for me. Red happens to be my favorite color, so I was happy to see this one made. The inclusion of TWO Jackals is VERY much appreciated as they’ve been rather under-represented in Mega Bloks sets, until recently. I’m always happy to have more grunts and with those being “Spec Ops” black armored grunts, even better! The Spartans have a nice sand color to them. I bet they’ll look great next to all of my other “Desert” troops! This set does not come with stickers. I’m actually okay with that. It looks factory fresh and not field tested like the orange one does.

Overall Rating: I give this set 9.5 out for 10 medals. This is a nice color variant of the spade. While I would have enjoyed a blue version that is game accurate, red is fine by me. No complaints with the set. I might have had the Spartans in a different color and I’d have liked to have had painted weapons. But those are minor. For me, the big draw was the two Jackals.

The price for this set might seem steep. However, if you factor in that it includes SIX mini figures, then the price is much more reasonable. Using the single blind pack figures as a model for price, those being on average $3 each, the figures alone in this set make up $18 of the $35. That means the Spade is $17. Now if you also factor in the typical 10 Cents per piece formula (this is what I always use), and the set having more than 200 pieces, you’re definitely getting your monies worth.

This is a Wal*Mart exclusive. I couldn’t find any local to me and had tried once before to buy it on Wal*Mart’s website. They sent me the wrong set. That discouraged me from ordering online again. ‘Lo and behold though, this weekend being Easter…Yeah I know…I’m a big kid… my wife got this for me at a Wal*Mart that we stopped at over the weekend.

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think of the review. If you have this set yourself, please give me your thoughts on it too!


Happy Friday everyone!

Just wanted you good folks to know that I’ll be taking this weekend off from the blog as it’s Easter weekend. I’ll be focusing spending time with my family. Be sure to keep checking back. Monday is sure to have some Halo news!

Halo Easter Bunny pic by Clairebear68


The Halo Bulletin 4-16-14


This Monday, I came into the office a bit early. It was quiet, with only a dozen or so early birds at their desks working on all sorts of unannounced projects. Needing to catch up on work, I naturally spent the first 20 minutes reorganizing the various amount of Halo figures, plushies, and limited edition trinkets on my desk in to the perfect arrangement. Then I finally headed into the kitchen to get a morning cup of tea. That’s when it happened.

I hear a pretty loud “THUD!” behind me, and turn to a co-worker to find out where the noise came from. Our eyes gravitate toward the refrigerators that house a variety of beverages that keep 343’ers quenched throughout the day. Frozen sodas were splatted across the glass. Initially, this gave me an extreme craving for a Slush Puppie, but I then realized that a soda had violently exploded and that we might have an issue on our hands. I walked over to the refrigerator and saw something I may never forget.

Throughout the entire fridge, several dozen kamikaze sodas had already exploded, leaving tasty, frozen carbonated slush and jagged-edged soda-can-shrapnel all over the place. Seconds later, another exploded and sent the neatly stacked Coke Zeroes into a domino-like tumble. At this point, I realized the studio was in extreme danger, and took the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.

What I’m trying to say is that I made a sign. Two signs, actually.


About a minute or two after making these very serious signs, a team member from the Halo Waypoint web team approached the fridge, and I cautioned them to not open it. Seconds later, another “THUD!” was heard as another self-destructive soda came flying at the glass. We looked at each other for a moment. Did I save his life? Yes. Did I save many lives that morning? Probably. Am I a hero? No. The real hero is the refrigerator maintenance man who bravely, without any tactical gear, let alone facial or cranial protection, exposed himself to extreme danger as he emptied the fridge out one explosive can at a time.

Lesson: If you want colder soda, don’t turn the temperature down. That turns the fridge into a vicious life-threatening machine. Use ice cubes.

This week we’ve got a lighter Bulletin, but a few things to talk about. Let’s get into it.

Matchmaking Playlist Update


This past Monday, Ninja Assassins (sneakily) made its way into Halo 4 Matchmaking, and has consistently been one of the top playlists. We hope you’re enjoying the fast paced, snipe / slice / sneak action, and if you’re unfamiliar with the settings, rules, and steps required to become a level 3 ninja, check out last week’s Bulletin. Additionally, we added Neutral Flag and two community maps, Excavation and Panic Station, to Big Team Battle. Be sure to hop into Matchmaking this week to check it all out.

In the coming weeks, we’ll have some new featured playlists as well as changes to existing playlists. We’ll dive into the details then, but we currently have plans to bring Ricochet into other playlists and remove the Ricochet playlist as a permanent installment. We also have plans to bring Heavies back into Matchmaking in a big way, and we’ll have those details and more next week. Yes, we like massive vehicular combat just as much as you do.


This week, we’re preparing for the Multi-Team playlist, which will return to Matchmaking as our featured playlist from April 28 through May 12. The playlist will include a wide variety of Slayer and objective game types, and we’ve got room for one more. Let us know which you’d like to see in this week’s Community Poll:

Community Choice: Multi-Team

HFFL: Can I say first that I for one am EXCITED that Multi-Team is coming back, even if for only two-weeks. However, I’m going to ask all of you to play the HELL out of that playlist. It really needs to make it’s way back into Matchmaking, permanently! How many times have you gone in with yourself and two friends and had to play team slayer or a bigger team playlist? Multi-team fills that void when it’s just you and two others.


The chaos of Multi-Team brings a new feel to each of the below game types:

Quick Draw

One of Halo 4’s newer game types, Quick Draw equips players with Magnums, Frag Grenades, and a dream.

Legendary Slayer

Multi-Team Legendary Slayer pits players against one another in a precision rifle based experience. Headshots, stolen kills, and this time around, there are three losing teams instead of just one.

Team Swords

Lots of Energy Swords, clashing, and nonstop action.

HFFL: I’m tired of Swords (Clang of the Hill anyone?). Quick draw? Meh, pass. But Legendary Slayer? YES PLEASE! This is the closest to Halo 3 that we’re going to get. I’m ALL for it and would ask you all to vote for that one please, even if you’re not going to play multi-team. The link is in the very next paragraph.

Head here to vote on the Waypoint forums. Voting will be open for approximately four days. Be sure to check back next week, where we’ll announce the winner along with the Matchmaking Update!

Community Meld Comes to Halo: Spartan Assault

As we mentioned last week, Community Meld is now integrated into Halo: Spartan Assault on Xbox One! Be sure to check out the feature as we continue to deliver news and updates via Xbox One. These will include news about Matchmaking updates, future projects, and more.

To open Meld, just press “Y” on the Halo: Spartan Assault main menu:


Knowledge Drop: Community Q&A


Since the last knowledge drop, we’ve received more fiction questions on our official Twitter account, and I took some of them over to our Franchise writers this week to see if I could get some answers out of them. Check out the answers to some of your burning questions below!

Question: Do they still have eye glasses in the 26th Century? Or has near/far sightedness become a thing of the past?

Answer: Medical science has resolved most issues with eyesight, though some people choose to wear glasses for a variety of reasons.

Q: I’ve heard rumors Sangheili speak backwards. Is this true? And what does “wort wort wort” mean?

A: Stsgiloporhtnaonex yb ylevisnetxe deiduts gnieb llits dna xelpmoc ylbidercni si egaugnal iliehgnas. Noitseuq taerg.

HFFL: Translation: Great Question. Sanghelil language is incredibly complex and still being studied extensively by xenoanthropoligists.

Q: Can you elaborate on what the object beneath Sword Base was along with the info it contained?

A: It was a Forerunner ship and its debris field was spread out across Eposz for a hundred millennia. It’s secrets are still under heavy scrutiny.

Q: Where are Covenant ships and armors created post war? And why do the Covenant use green lights?

A: While a handful of their local shipyards still exist, most are inactive, forcing many Sangheili to fight over what remained at the close of the war. Shipboard/hull lighting can vary in color for a number of reasons, including things such as the manufacturer, the era of production, and a commander’s personal preference.

If you’ve got a question you’d like us to answer, be sure to send it over on Twitter or post in this Bulletin’s discussion thread!

Screenshot Spotlight

Last week, we turned the spotlight on the color pink. Take a gander at the following Adrift screenshots, and maybe even find inspiration to make your own.

Spotlight 4-17-14

HFFL: Damn, I forgot to tag mine… I had some good ones to. Of the ones shown, I like Ignition. It’s similar to one of the ones I was going to submit: 


For your chance at being in the next spotlight, take a screenshot featuring a melee and then tag it with “Melee” and “Halo Waypoint,” and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

And with that, this week’s Bulletin comes to a close.
Until next week,

HFFL: Well, off to try and get some good melee shots for me!

Super Massive Custom UNSC Mammoth!

My friend Vince is a Mega Bloks customizer who is very detail oriented and loves things to scale. So he took on the task of making a UNSC Mammoth that was closer in proportion to the in-game model, rather than the stock Mega Bloks model. Below are his results. The text included below is his. My thoughts will be included in BLUE text as normal.

Vince starts off by giving us some tech specs of his model:
4x Mammoth Signature sets + other asst. bloks + 4 months effort = 1 realistic looking REALLY BIG Mammoth.

HFFL: Folks this already is a costly model. Even if Vince got a couple of the Mammoths on sale, I’d venture to guess this cost him around $500 to complete.

This is my first really large blok build. While I admired the MB Forward Unto Dawn set, it just didn’t lend itself to realistic mini-fig play due to the ridiculous discrepancy between it’s external scale size and the mini-fig friendly interior. We bought a F.U.D. on sale but after stripping the exclusive figs out, I eventually sold it on unbuilt. I remember thinking at the time that the Scarab and the Mammoth held the most promise of all the potential candidates for realistic mini-fig scaled Signature builds. So when I heard about the upcoming MB Signature Mammoth I was like, “Yeah!” But then I saw the first publicized pics of the MB Mammoth set and following that, the first user reviews came in… Well I was like, “Bummer!” The model was simply too small to capture the Mammoth’s elephantine grandeur. The MB Mammoth model wasn’t significantly larger than the (absolutely perfect) v1 Elephant model. I was really hoping for something epic (like the prototype MB Scarab Signature set just revealed at the NY Toy Fair)! Well if MB wasn’t gonna step up and deliver an epic sized Mammoth model, then I would take up the challenge.

In game referenceMammoth-Elephant MB comp

Hmmm… Methinks we have a wee bit of a size discrepancy here… 

HFFL: Ya think? LOL

My goals for this build were:

  • Scale up from the stock build until the model had sufficient headroom at front and rear for Warthogs to drive up the loading ramp at one end, through the interior, and down the ramp at the opposite end.
  • Simultaneously accommodate several Warthogs inside.
  • Retain the stock model’s easily removable upper deck sections to permit play access to the vehicle’s interior spaces.
  • Add additional game-accurate interior & exterior walkways, stairs and ramps, doorways between the interior and the exterior, and mechanical details.
  • Source and adapt some much larger balloon tire wheels to scale properly to the vehicle’s much increased size and weight.
  • Really improve the vehicle’s “playability” by creating tons of realistic details for the figures onboard to interact with.

HFFL: Great goals to shoot for! The Mega Bloks build already takes a long time. Vince’s time spent on this blew that time out of the water.

Elephant - Vince MB comp

This one is just for you HFFL!
HFFL: Why thanks Vince!

The build began with two Mammoth sets along with our pre-existing fairly extensive inventory of spare bricks in both desert camo and black colors. I began by loosely following the original design. Once I had the hull tub scaled up to a reasonable size and then got to work on the similarly upscaled superstructure, I began to run low on the large desert camo plates used for decking and both the standard and inverse slopes used pretty much everywhere else. I got pretty creative trying to make do with just the two Mammoth sets and our spares inventory but I wasn’t happy with some of the compromises that this was necessitating. If I had been willing to reduce the model’s size by a few inches in length and a few studs in width and I wasn’t such a detail freak I could have got away with just the two sets. But I’m clearly a bit obsessed when it comes to our blok creations so it was off to Ebay for a 3rd set (at a considerably higher price than what I paid for the first pair at a pre-Xmas TRU sale event). After a couple weeks of re-working different parts of the model I thought I had the Mammoth largely complete. While I had followed the original MB designer’s lead insofar as the clever hinged side cheeks on either side of the cockpit, the modular sectioned build, and easily removable superstructure- there was next-to-nothing left of the original build. Once you had the freedom of a larger more game accurate build, the model really evolved into something cool.

Obtaining, adapting, and mounting the much larger replacement wheels and tires was to be the last thing I dealt with. However I had researched replacement wheel ideas prior to even purchasing our first Mammoth donor sets. I had decided that the balloon tires and matching rims used on 1:10 scale RC Monster trucks were good candidates. I figured a large paddle tire in the 5″ to 5 1/2″ diameter range would provide a perfect substitute and confirmed this with a local RC specialist hobby shop owner before hand.

HFFL: Getting the wheel size right is one thing that stopped me from attempting a project of this scale. (Not to mention, not having the money for it…) Vince found a great work-around.

So even though I didn’t have the wheels on hand during the majority of the build, I knew approximately how large they would be and thus could build to accommodate them. When I finally did acquire a set of suitable wheels and axle stub parts, they proved to be straight forward to adapt to the model. I made use of a bunch of stock old MB 1×2 modified bricks that had larger holes in them than the current standard versions. The RC axle stubs fit snugly through pairs of the 1×2 bricks. I ended up grinding a few millimeters off the bell shaped end of the axle stubs for a better fit and simpler build of the axle supports. I think the big wheels are pretty much perfect.

Of course while waiting on the last pair of tires (the RC Hobby shop only had four on hand initially), I had a lot of time to obsessively compare the model thus far to the in-game render from all angles. Well the result of this was a huge tear-down and rebuild to further widen the exterior and permit the addition of game accurate exterior stairways up front. There was 6-8 hours spent in total just repeatedly reworking the grill and headlamps, another few days in total optimizing the tail end, etc, etc… Long after the final pair of tires arrived I was still futzing about custom fabricating and painting additional parts and going through endless revisions to perfect areas of the build I wasn’t quite satisfied with. I decided to patiently wait to reveal the model until either the revision compulsion petered out or I was truly satisfied with the build. Somewhere in that process I purchased a 4th Mammoth to acquire 75-100 set-specific parts I’d decided the model couldn’t live with out making this project by far the most expensive custom build I’ve tackled.

HFFL: Wow, buying another model just for 75 pieces? Folks, THAT is dedication to your craft!

 Macro Views3-4 front topHFFL: I can already tell this is MASSIVE!3-4 back
HFFL: Just look at all the detail!Interior-roof panels

Exterior Views3-4 front bottomFront hatch

HFFL: Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! A ramp large enough, with height to spare to fit a mini figure sized warthog coming down it!

Top frontDrivers viewport

The red arrow points out the pilothouse “dashboard” and steering wheel through the windscreen.

HFFL: Okay, now THAT is a cool addition that the Mega Bloks model does not have.

Mid top detailMac Cannon top frontRear topMac Cannon perspectiveRear top Mac CannonHFFL: Man, that MAC cannon looks like it’s got some POWER!3-4 front control room3-4 front midSide front detail
HFFL: I’m just loving’ all those “greeblie” all over Vince’s model!mid bottom hatch
HFFL: The side hatch is well done. I’m also happy to see that Vince didn’t miss the additional wheel well angles. That’s something I think Mega could have included.Mid-rear wheelsside rear detail3-4 bottom rearrear worms eyeHFFL: Just look at that rear! LOL

As the pics suggest, our Mammoth possesses that genuine sense of gravitas missing in the stock Mammoth. So yes, it is substantially larger than the stock build- LOL! The finished model used about 5000 bloks. The model weighs about 16 pounds with the Warthog bay empty.

HFFL: 5K worth of bloks! The Mega Model is considerably less, by thousands.

While increasing the size and level of detail over the stock model, I followed MB’s lead where possible and kept the dead air spaces beneath subassembly structures hollow to keep the weight under control. Considering just how much air volume the model encloses and the minimal attachment of nearly the entire superstructure, it is remarkably solid and stable. It was built with 99.8% stock Mega Bloks but eagle-eyed folks will note a few spots where I either custom fabricated and/or custom painted a part or where a specialty block from a competing brand simply worked better than anything from the MB catalog. The vehicle bay comfortably accommodates three H4 Warthogs (one on the overhead hoist in game accurate fashion) and three Mongooses. And that is after I fully detailed the interior of the vehicle bay adding staircases, weapon storage racks, elevated platforms, and workstations for the crew. I actually considered lengthening the model to the 36+ inches required to accommodate four ‘Hogs but the requisite increases in width and height as well would have increased the blok count to a point where it was clear that the pneumatic RC monster truck tires could not have supported it.

Interior Views

The Bridgecontrol room interiorcontrl room interior 2contrl room interior 3sliding doors to control room

The red arrows highlight the sliding doors.

HFFL: Vince’s Mammoth bridge is just so much better detailed. That extra space made by enlarging the model really pays off here! Sliding doors? AWESOME!

The catwalks and vehicle bay.interior ramps topinterior ramps sideHFFL: Now I noticed right away that Vince’s ramps to the catwalks were pointed in the wrong direction. However, he explains that later in the article.interior warthog hookup‘Hog stored suspended above the vehicle bay floor in game-accurate fashion with sufficient headroom for another ‘Hog to pass beneath unimpeded.

interior rear hatch

Covered exterior walkways.side sniper locationside jetpack location

Despite being approximately half the size that a properly HMB mini-fig scaled Mammoth should be, the exterior of my model stands up really nicely to close-up comparisons between in-game renders of the Mammoth.

HFFL: What? It’s only HALF the size it should be? DAY ‘UM!

However the interior was trickier due to the reduced scale. The interior 2nd floor is largely absent, replaced with a split level arrangement of catwalks, ramps and stairs (the latter of which unfortunately had to face in the wrong direction). As a 5′ long model wasn’t in the cards, this will simply have to do- LOL! On the positive side, there is now game-accurate mini-fig scaled access between the interior and external walkways and both the top floor “wheel house” and the main deck command & control center are much better represented than in the stock model. Besides the expense, this was by far the most effort I’ve spent on a blok model. I began the build three and a half months ago and have worked on some part of it pretty much nonstop since.

So I hope you all enjoyed. Normally I invite constructive criticism at this point in my build threads. However with so much of my blood, sweat, and treasure invested in this puppy I might up and hang myself if someone was to find something seriously amiss with this build- LOL! So best to stick to compliments then… As always, I’d love to see others attempt a properly sized Mammoth so clone away.

Happy Trails!
MTB Vince

HFFL: This is just an awesome model. Man, if I had the money, I’d SO make a proper scale one. Given Vince’s specs, that would put it at 64 inches long (5’4″) and 27 inches tall…WOW!

I took it upon myself to create a comparison shot between Vince’s model and the Mega Bloks stock model. I took the side on view pic from and super-imposed it, to scale with Vince’s. It’s partially transparent with a blue outline so you can see it better, but still see where things line up with Vince’s creation.

Mammoth COMP - Vince_HFFL-smVince’s claim of using 4 Mammoths to make his behemoth is quite believable. Let’s not forget that his model is also several inches wider too (not shown).

Just amazing! So what do you folks think about Vince’s model?