And now for something completely different…
Halo Odd Pods
4 Inch Scale
By: McFarlane Toys
The last vestiges of McFarlane’s actual toy department exists now soley through the Halo figures. From what I can tell the Halo figures are relatively successful, which led to McFarlane branching out and trying to steal some of the spotlight of Hasbro’s Mighty Muggs. I’d rag on McFarlane for that, but the reality is EVERYONE is copying Hasbro’s Muggs, so it’s not really a unique situation. Of course hardcore vinyl collectors will tell you that Hasbro was just copying a format laid down by the likes of Kidrobot, but that’s hardly relevant to today’s review. Instead we have to look at what McFarlane’s ripoff is and if it’s any good.
The Odd Pods (even the name is a ripoff of Mighty Muggs) come in fairly small window box packaging. There’s nothing overly special about the packages, but chances are if you’ve been to TRU they’ve caught your eye. So I guess it does do that much.
I assume they’re trying to focus on collectors, but the package has lots of graphics and wording on it that makes it seem more like it’s aimed at kids. Judging by the YouTube reviews of these things, maybe that is the target audience. I’ve never once played Halo, so I have no idea if it has a big youth following or not, but I assume so.
This guy is from Series 2, so it only shows the Series 2 figures on the back. Considering there are only 8 figures total, they might as well have shown everyone. Master Chief manages to be shown on the back as well, because of the figure demo. Master Chief is one of the dumbest names I’ve ever heard, for the record. Even hardcore Halo fans can agree with me on that right? I mean the guy is basically named Captain Boss.
Mighty Muggs are generally soft plastic versions of designer vinyl. The Odd Pods are hard plastic. In fact the Odd Pods are less like Mighty Muggs and more like Mighty Beanz with arms and legs.
It’s also tiny in comparison to the aforementioned Muggs. This figure is only 4 inches in height and maybe an inch and a half wide. The small size actually works because it’s bigger than some of the small toys out there, but it’s not as massive as Mugg. You could easily put this on your desk at work and not feel like you’re running out of space.
The gimmick with these guys is that you can swap their parts. The head, torso and arms all snap off and you can swap them with other Odd Pod figures. This is certainly a great idea in theory, but the “endless possibilities” sort of feels limited when you realize there are only 10 figures in the whole line and two of those are extremely rare variants that can cost up to $100 or more. So basically you have 8 bodies to work with.
I don’t even recommend taking the arms off as they’re a bit of a chore to get back on. They’re not impossible or anything, but it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth. The head and torso sections pop off really easily though and it almost feels like there is a magnet in them because of how well they snap together and apart. There isn’t a magnet though, it’s just good engineering.
Most of the figures have no unique sculpting and feature only paint details on this “pill” shape body, but the blue Spartan does have a unique sculpted headpiece. Overall the toys feel kinda cheap and unlike the Muggs which are virtually indestructible, you could break this. A good hard throw on the floor and this thing would probably be beyond repair.
Remember when I said McFarlane was once the leader in this field? Well even though he’s spent the better part of the last decade making figures that move less than your grandmother, this little guy actually has as far as I can tell, the MOST articulation of any of these Mugg-lite toys. McFarlane’s back baby!
This guy has a swivel neck, swivel waist, swivel arms and swivel legs. For the genre that makes this figure practically super articulated. Sadly what this guy really needed was swivel wrists. That would have been some genuine innovation.
Still it’s hard to knock these guys on the articulation front. It’s all basic cuts, but it’s more than most toys of this type give us. You can definitely have a smidge of fun posing the little buggers.
Most Odd Pods come with a single weapon, but the Spartan has two guns. That’s definitely a nice feature and I think all figures of this sort should come with a couple of accessories. What this guy really needs is like a rocket pack or something, but I guess they don’t have those in Halo.
The guns are actually hollow, which is sort of weird. They feel sturdy enough but I’m surprised they weren’t cast as solid rubber pieces. The detail on them is pretty minimum, but again that’s more or less par for the course with this genre.
Expect to pay $10.99 for these at Toys R Us and around $8 elsewhere. If you shop around you can find them for even cheaper though. They definitely aren’t worth $11, but if you could find them for under $7 they aren’t a terrible value.
Packaging – 6
Sculpting – 6
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Two Guns
Value – 6
Overall – 6 out of 10
Despite the low score I don’t hate these guys. If I’d paid $11 I might have a different opinion, but as is I don’t feel bad paying a couple bucks for one of these toys. Most of the Halo designs don’t allow for the “cute” element that all the other Mugg-lite figures have and I think that hurts these guys overall. Still I’d actually like to see McFarlane do more of these figures from other franchises than Halo.
Spawn Odd Pods would be cool and since there is almost no sculpting required it seems like a no brainer. However the bottom may have more or less dropped out of this market so the Odd Pods may be too little too late. If Mighty Beanz showed us anything, it’s that a lot could be done with this sort of design but I don’t know if McFarlane Toys is in a state to do these at the capacity they would need to be in order for success.