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?