By: McFarlane Toys
In my younger and more vulnerable years, I was a hardcore Japanophile when it came to gaming. My video game experiences came mostly from fighting games like Street Fighter and the vastly underrated Guilty Gear and the occasional terribly bad experience of trying to figure out JRPGs. Add to that the occasional adventure game or weird Japanese game (I’m seriously not the only person who owned Incredible Crisis, right?) and you get my collective gaming experience through high school.
Then the XBOX came out. And I hated it. After all, Sega Dreamcast and the Shenmue series were going to last forever, right?
Eventually, two of my favorite DC games, the aforementioned Shenmue and a truly unique cel-shaded game called Jet Grind Radio, ended up with sequels on the devil-spawned XBOX. Having just started working my first good-paying job and completing my first First-Person Shooter (Soldier of Fortune), I decided to blow my whole first check on a brand-new XBOX. I bought Jet Grind Radio Future and, because I’d heard good things, Halo: Combat Evolved as a throwaway multiplayer game for me and my buddies.
I never opened Jet Grind Radio Future. And every single one of my buddies bought an XBOX. Funny ol’ world, ain’t it?
McFarlane started making Halo toys back around ’07 or ’08 after JoyRide Studios lost the rights to the brand. Since then, McFarlane has made a slew of figures ranging as far back as Halo 2 all the way to the current Halo: Reach. Kat is one of the main protagonists in Reach and a very important character in the overall story. So did McFarlane give her her due?
While the Halo 3 line began with clamshells, within a few waves they switched over to the standard card and blister system that most US action figures use.
Her pose on card is sort of silly and generic, which unfortunately speaks for the entire box. I usually don’t give a hoot about packaging, and it may just be my inner geek coming out, but I think the characters in Halo are strong enough to warrant a simple bio or at the very least a stat or something.
You get some good shots of the other figures in the wave, but overall the package is just okay.
“I know we’re losing. I want to know if we’ve lost.” – Kat, Halo: Reach
Kat is the very first female Spartan we’ve ever seen in a game, and the in-game models are subtly but necessarily different.
I my opinion, I think they nailed the look and feel of the female Spartans. Kat has smaller armor than the male counterparts, and sports a smaller and more feminine frame. I believe I’ve read in the past that McFarlane uses the model scans to produce their Spartans, as opposed to raw sculpting.
You can see the detail work on her cybernetic arm and her back, very well-executed for this scale. Not so faint that it’s lost under the paint, and not so deep that it looks overly-detailed.
Kat’s weapon is the magnum. She also comes with a grenade and a peg to store the magnum on her hip or other weapons on her back.
Basically the weapon/peg system works like this:
The peg is small, but can be stored in her leg or on her back. Almost all the McFarlane Halo toys have this and I’ve never lost one, but if you’re so nervous about it, maybe you should put down the toy and relax a little, Nervous Nelly.
The grenade works in reverse, as there’s a hole in the ‘nade and the pegs are above her badonkadonk.
Her hands are sculpted to hold the weapons fairly well, although they lack a trigger finger, which just friggin irks me on military figures. But, McFarlane’s not really one to listen and respond to fans, so my best guess is you’ll just have to deal. Luckily, they are sculpted similarly to the male figures, so she can easily wield the weapons of other characters like so:
There’s two major parts I’m going to knock points for, the first being the lack of a removable helmet. Granted, they’re hard at this scale, but the Buck figure was able to pull it off beautifully in the unfinished ODST line and I’m not cutting McFarlane any slack when the character spends half her cutscenes with her helmet off.
The other one applies to the line as a whole and that’s scale. The Halo figures are supposed to be roughly 5”-ish scale, which doesn’t put them in scale with many other lines these days, but they can at least be in scale to each other. Or can they? If you’ve been collecting Halo figures for a while, you’ll notice that there’s a huge difference in scale between the lines.
I am very much not a scale hog. I could give a crap whether my Bane is 7” or 8” tall as long as he looks bigger than the other DCUC characters. However, when the smallest member of Noble Team is noticeably taller than the already 7-foot tall protagonist from 4 out of the 5 previous games, there’s a problem. I should, at the very least, be able to display Master Chief amidst Noble Team and have a relatively similarly-sized figure, but in this respect all of the new Spartans suffer terribly.
That being said, I actually really do enjoy Kat’s overall sculpt. Her articulation doesn’t hinder the sculpt at all and remains well-hidden. While my gripe about her helmeted head can be overlooked as McFarlane is likely going to try and stretch the mold by offering helmetless versions in the future, the scale issue from Halo 3 to Halo Reach is silly and unforgivable. All it takes is one person out of the MANY who have to work together on a toyline to say, “Hey, MC looks kinda small now,” and the entire issue could have been avoided. So it’s either crap quality control before the molds, or crap decision making at some other point. Either way, without a bigger Master Chief, the whole line suffers.
I’ll try to be brief with the paint.
Most of the paint is okay to the naked eye, with lots of great weathering, gradient effects, and tiny tampographs. In fact, if you look very closely at the image of her face, you can see the letters “UNSC” on the side of her helmet. At 5” tall, that’s pretty impressive.
When you start examining it up-close, it’s less impressive with plenty of bleed between colors. For the most part it’s not a big deal, but I’d definitely pick through the pegs. Unfortunately for me there was only one to pick and it had missing paint on the one place you don’t want, which is her visor. Meh, overall pretty decent, considering that almost everything on the figure is painted. Bright blues, little hints of silver weathering, and teeny-tiny tampos really look great as a whole.
“And boom goes the dynamite.” – Cleveland, The Family Guy
The joints are all there, in all the places you want them. The only problem is the range of the joints.
Now don’t get me wrong, she’s got amazing motion in her neck and crazy good motion in her midsection, both sporting double ball-joints for maximum tilt and rotation. She’s also got the same kickass hips the males do, with swivels connecting to the crotch and double ball joints coming out of the hip pieces down into the legs. This allows great leg spread without compromising sculpt, very well done.
You can also see she has joints in her elbow, wrist, and ankle that are similar to revoltech joints, in that there is one main pivot, and the pieces can rotate on either side of the pivot. Great for weapon handling, not so great for standing. As you can see, the ankle joint is heavily restricted by the sculpt, and being a click-joint you really have to work at it to get it just right, no half-assing it and hoping she’ll stand.
Her knees and elbows are also restricted (above photo), which sadly inhibits a lot of posing options. Some dremel or x-acto work will really open up her flexibility. But don’t worry if you’re not handy with a blade, she can still shake her moneymaker:
Despite her few hindered joints, she does balance well and has wonderfully well-designed joints. She can still get into all kinds of really cool poses. Pic dump!
I picked up Kat at my local Target for 10.99 and I gotta say, she’s totally worth it. She’s got two weapons (though small), great articulation, and as far as I can tell is a brand-new sculpt head to toe. Plus, just like the Halo 3 series, her chest and shoulder armor are removable to mix and match when other female Spartans come out to create your own custom Spartan or re-create your custom Noble 6 from the game! Spiffy!
Heads are also swappable if you want a different noggin on your Spartan. Don’t call her a Spartess, she’ll shove an umbrella up your ass and open it. Make no mistake, Kat and all the members of Noble Team are truly one-hundred percent badass. Now all we need is a Jun and the parts to make MY Noble 6 and we’re good to go.
Overall: 7.8 / 9
If the name of the game for ODST was desolation, then for Reach it was hope and desperation, especially in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. If you know the mythos, you know going into the game how it’s going to end. It’s getting there and seeing the sacrifices people make to save the world that really makes the game beautiful. I know it sounds like I spent the whole review trashing her, but Kat really is a great toy and any gripes I have are just because I love the series and characters so much.
If you like the game, you’re probably going to pick it up anyway, but if you’re on the fence I’d say pick up Carter from this wave first, and if you like the articulation, then you’ll know what to expect from Kat.
Thanks for reading and as always, it’s just a toy. Open the darned thing.