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Master Chief
Video Game / Halo / Halo 4 / Basic Figures / Series 1
Pkg. Type
Blister Card
Action Figure

Item Values

Packaged Value
$11 - $25
Un-Packaged Value
$16 - $16


Reviews 1

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Jan. 12th, 2013 5:01PM

Halo 4 was one of last year's biggest video game releases, and McFarlane Toys had store shelves lined with Halo 4 merchandise to meet collectors' and gamers' needs. Taking center stage in every aisle and on every peg was the game's iconic protagonist Master Chief, captured in plastic as part of McFarlane Toys' Halo 4 Series 1 lineup.

McFarlane Toys has had the Halo license for a good long while now, and continues to improve the quality and execution of their figures with each new batch. This Halo 4 assortment is the new peak, with high quality figures that look exactly like the characters models from the video game on which they're based. They also have enough accessories and articulation to make them as playable as the game. Master Chief is Halo's long-running protagonist, and despite the various iterations of Master Chief figures throughout the years, is still the most common figure in Halo 4 cases heading to stores. But there's a reason for that, because time and again, Master Chief gets tracked down by die-hard fans. This character is one of gaming's biggest stars, and helps broaden the collector market significantly.

McFarlane Toys has really mastered the art of their digital sculpting process. Master Chief looks like he just walked out of my TV, jumped onto my XBox 360, and made his way onto my desk. The details on this guy are simply perfect. Every single different component of the character's suit is captured in this sculpt, including areas that are typically hidden and untouched, like the spot beneath the torso joint. There are grooves, textures, and subtle touches decorating every square inch of this figure. Even the assault rifle accessory looks crisply sculpted and loaded with details.

And then there's the design, which takes advantage of layered and full sculpting to create a really sharp three-dimensionality to all of the various costume elements. The guards on Chief's biceps, the kneepads, and the backpack all look like separate elements and bring an extra touch of depth and reality to the figure's appearance. There's certainly nothing wrong with Master Chief's "facial expression", and the dual opened hands work well in a line full of extra accessories and bundled weapons.

The only problem with the design here is the same problem that's plagued this line forever: the hips. Something about the way this figure's legs are nestled into the hips just looks "off". They are too far apart at the crotch and give Chief a constant bow-leggedness that's unappealing to the eye. It's really only an issue when the figure stands straight up, as you can often pose around it otherwise. It also seems less pronounced with each iteration, but that might just be explained by my increased tolerance over the years.

Master Chief might not pop from a display thanks to his bright colors or strikingly lifelike face, but that's just not his character, and there are still a lot of things to love about this figure's paint job. First and foremost are the subtle muted colors of the plastic, which give the toy a gritty feel befitting the character's onscreen appearance. The dark green plastic is the perfect shade, and complements the dark gray beneath with just enough contrast to stand out without overpowering the eye.

A majority of the figure's pieces are cast in the dark gray and painted green, but there are some (the toes, kneepads, armpads, etc.) which are cast in green. Despite the different coloring methodologies, everything matches wonderfully well and looks great altogether. There are only a few detail paint applications to note, primarily the gold visor, but also some metallic segments in the costume. These are all tight, clean, and attractive.

Where the figure really stands out is with its wash. There is a stellar silver paint wash applied to most of the figure, and it really makes the sculpt details come to life. It also adds a perfect metallic sheen that catches the light and brings Master Chief one step closer to reality.

For a company that's historically known for its lack of articulation, McFarlane Toys has adapted to the modern articulated era quite effectively with Halo. The packaging boasts "27 moving parts" for Master Chief, and while I don't have time to count them all, I will say there's more than enough. You can see the details of the figure's articulation model above. There is a nice mix of swivel hinges with ball joints, making the figure considerably poseable and a lot of fun for play too. The wrists, toes, and neck are particularly effective joints for achieving a lot of personality and utility.

Not only are there lots of them, the points are also tight and reliable. The grooved hinges in the shoulders, knees, and wrists help when posing Master Chief with larger, heavier accessories, and make sure that he's able to hold poses incredibly well. I found it a little too easy to remove his legs at the hip, and it's actually a pain to reattach them because the hips are wiley double ball joints that tend to wiggle too much. Thankfully that single problem is overcome by otherwise tight joints and an extremely well-hidden set of articulation.

Master Chief is certainly an identifiable character in the modern era of gaming, but there's just not enough in the package for him to be considered a really fun figure. The package includes a single Assault Rifle accessory, which is well made, but pretty tame when it comes to weapons in the Halo universe. There is a cool pin included with the gun, which allows it to be attached to Master Chief's back or hips, adding a few more options for play or posing. That's something, at least.

The solid articulation model and recognizability of the character are really what drive this figure's potential for enjoyment, because otherwise the stale packaging and modest accessories don't get me very excited. It's a figure that will likely be significantly more fun for those who don't already have five Master Chief figures, while remaining nothing more than a slightly updated iconic hero that's kinda fun to pose for others.

There are a few things going against this figure in the value category. First and foremost, it's a little on the small side, making it both less important on a shelf, and impossible to fit with displays of other video gaming figures like those from NECA. An inch limits its appeal to general collectors and makes it feel less substantial in your hands. Adding to that, the figure's standard blister packaging and generic cardback is riddled with text, and nothing particularly attractive or memorable. It did ensure the figure's safe arrival at least.

Where Master Chief gains points in value is from a quality standpoint. It's a very well made figure from a major license that features a ton of unique pieces and poses well. Not to mention it includes an accessory, albeit a small one, and has a detailed and thorough paint job. Although he's not the steal of the century, buyers should feel quite satisfied with their purchase.

In the end, Master Chief is a great figure that shines in the technical categories and merely passes in the qualitative ones. He's well made and well executed, if not the most enjoyable figure on the market. Halo 4 fans should certainly track one down for their shelf, and action figure collectors are sure to find something to like with this figure too.