McFarlane Toys has long held the license to the Halo universe, releasing dozens of figures modeled after the characters from the hit Xbox franchise. Though they’ve been pumping out wave after wave of Spartans every year since 2008, McFarlane is hoping 2012’s Halo 4 line-up will keep you coming back for more with new toys, including blind box figures, and miniatures.
Above: It's like your Avatar, except physical and on fire
If there’s one thing you can count on at Toy Fair, it’s McFarlane Toys having a boatload of Halo figures pouring out of their booth. This year was no exception, with a handful of new products based on the highly-popular shooter franchise due to arrive throughout the year. The most notable addition to this year’s stable wasn’t Halo 4 (don’t worry, we’ll get to that in a minute), but rather McFarlane’s entry into blind box collectibles. If you don't know what blind box collectibles are, they're the packages that don't tell you which figure you're getting, randomizing the act of buying figures.
Set to start shipping later this summer, this new series features Xbox Live Avatars wearing the exact Halo gear you can purchase on the XBL Marketplace. Each figure is roughly three inches tall, and come packed in a miniature canister randomly filled with one head, one torso, and one set of legs.
There will be a set of gold Mjolnir armor to hunt down, but McFarlane wouldn’t comment on the rarity of those pieces just yet (we're guessing extremely rare). It’s indeed odd to see that each individual Avatar won’t be completely assembled as shown on the show floor inside the canister, but McFarlane is clearly hoping the customizability and collectability will keep driving you to purchase more and more of the $3 figures blindly.
Above: Master Chief looks ready to melee grunts to death
Halo 4 may be one most anticipated video games of the year, but the toy line is just as eagerly awaited. McFarlane didn’t have much to show in the way of Halo 4, but what they did have was fairly interesting. The only action figure representative of the game was the Frozen Master Chief and Cryotube deluxe box set (retailing for approximately $20-25). Chief’s armor does look slightly different, but you can tell from the larger Master Chief figure standing next to him that the armor set isn’t that far removed from the Halo 3 armor.
The packaging for the new line was the most prominently displayed item at the booth, and while it normally wouldn’t have been that interesting to see just what kind of plastic Master Chief and Cortana would be bundled in, the company did reveal concept art for one of the new aliens in the game, the Hunter. The Hunter will be a deluxe figure (read: more expensive), and come in at around nine inches in size to keep him in scale with the six-inch Chief.
Every other Halo 4 case was a generic silhouette, but that makes sense considering 343 Industries hasn’t even shown more than Master Chief or Cortana as appearing in the game to this point.
Above: We didn't get a picture of the tea-bagging Spartan
While the Avatar figures and Halo 4 line were expected, nobody saw the MicroOps line coming. A 1/100 scale line of figures and vehicles, the MicroOps toys will be popping up at retail later this summer. Available as packs with one vehicle and a few figures, a piece of architecture and a few figures, or a larger weapon and a few figures, MicroOps will give Halo junkies a chance to recreate some of their favorite maps, locales, and action sequences in diorama form. The figures are just a bit smaller than most tabletop RPG miniatures, but they’re all fully painted and posed with great accuracy.
It will definitely take a devoted fan to put in the time effort and money (not to mention space) to make a diorama as impressive as the one on display at McFarlane’s booth, but given the rabid nature of the Halo crowd, don’t be surprised when pictures of vast diorama’s start popping up online. The smaller sets of figures have yet to be officially priced, but should come in around $12-15, while the bigger pieces will max out anywhere from $20-25 depending on where you buy them.
In addition to all the Halo 4 pieces on display, the McFarlane Toys booth boasted a large collection of already announced figures, though we did also get our first look at the upcoming ODST figure in drop pod deluxe figure. McFarlane hasn’t changed the game their formula very much over the past few years, but perhaps all these new offerings were just what they needed to reinvigorate the line.