Straight from the classified data files of ONI Section III…<Incoming Transmission>
Preface: The UNSC recon drone aka “Wombat” is the unmanned most notably found in HALO 3: ODST and is seen in cutscenes flying over New Mombasa. In this particular set by MEGA BLOKS, we get a set containing 89 pieces which constructs the F-99 unmanned aerial surveillance craft, the playable character “Rookie”, an M7S silenced SMG – the notorious weapon of choice for ODSTs, and a micro-screen display. The following intel report was filed on behalf of BAToynews courtesy of MEGA BLOKS…
Into the fray…
[NOTE: Human head and other bits used in this review are only storyline purposes only and are NOT included in the set]
OBJECTIVE: SEARCH AND RESCUE
While on assignment to recover a UNSC high-ranking officer from insurrectionists, ODST Sarah Palmer failed to report in after landing on the unidentified planet via SEOIV. Fearing that the self-proclaimed “UNSC’s finest asset” had been compromised by hostiles, TACCOM decides to send an F-99 recon drone to survey the area and determine Palmer’s status:
As the “Wombat” descended upon Palmer’s LZ, infrared tracking confirmed a Jiralhanae hunting party also embarking on Palmer’s position.
Now with confirmation of hostiles in the area, TACCOM moves quickly to get a recovery team on the scene. In a stroke of luck, it just happens that another ODST fireteam is within two-klicks and with sufficient armor…
…Lt. Six and his ODSTs are on assignment to maintain a communications hard-link between Palmer and TACCOM when the video feed went dark.
Just as the last words fluttered from Carlson’s commlink, an incoming message from TACCOM intruded upon the ODSTs exchange
— <<HIGHEST PRIORITY: LEVEL RED– >>//ODST fireteam COBALT//rendezvous on ODST Palmer’s coordinates with urgency. REPEAT: New directive to report to Palmer LZ on the double! <</END TRANSMISSION>>
Fireteam COBALT embarked on Palmer’s LZ like a blur of green lightning, slowing like a cruiser dropping from slipspace as Lt. Six slammed the brakes; bringing the Warthog to a halt. There…just off in the distance laid a shattered pod, and a mere 100 meters further, a flickering shimmer of silver, like a coin buried in the sands of time, lay frozen upon the jungle floor. As Petty Officer Carlson began to broadcast their findings; a ripple of light passed through some ferns. Before anyone could react, a brute shot had pummeled grenades around COBALT’s warthog; detonating in unison like a musical quartet thunderclaps….
…to be continued….
So as you can see, this set lends itself to all kinds of customization and fun. So on with the details…
Packaging: MEGA BLOKS continued to go with the white-style header for the Fall 2014 main wave with a graphical insert of the newly articulated figures. For this particular set, a motif was chosen of the wombat descending from the skies while an ODST is firing at something off-camera while holding the video-feed. Perhaps THAT holds the key to whatever “Rookie” is firing at
The backside panel shows the wombat again, this time in isometric angle which gives a nice view of the underbelly containing the optics, alongside “Rookie” checking his screen. In addition, there’s another graphic depicting the new armor configurations. One thing I found interesting in the graphics this time around was the lack of a bio under the “Rookie” character, where we would normally see more information about the figure from previous designs. Not bad, mind you..just caught my attention. Overall I really enjoy the white and blue scheme of this year’s wave as I think the medium-bright blues really help to set the figures AND sets apart which typically have a darker, more militaristic set of tones to them.
Contents: Upon cracking open the glued box, of course the first thing I did is locate the figure, because after all…EVERYBODY loves ODSTs, right? OK…so maybe you’re not as big a fan of the helljumpers as you are of Spartans, but trust me…there’s plenty to love of these little “BA”s too. So inside the box contains 4 poly bags, each containing numbers 1-4 on them…I suspect one of MEGA’s countermeasures to missing piece bags, and/or theft. I for one welcome any attempt to improve the QC issues as it’s those faults that have held MEGA back in years past…and what’s good for the customer is good for business. Good work team!
Vehicle: So normally I would review the figures and weapons before the build…but nope, not gonna do it this time because so much emphasis is likely to be put on the figures in these lower sets, that readers could easily miss out on an excellent representation the wombat.
The unmanned F-99 Wombat is a great build and looks awesome once constructed. It is highlighted by the use of multiple slanted plates, a silver-steel printed graphic on the nose that stretches most of the length of the vehicle, 1×2 textured translucent tiles for engines, and is topped off by coming with clear “temporary” pieces that are later used to build a stand for the vehicle. Although I really enjoy the swoosh-factor of this drone, I must admit that it “feels” better as some sort of concept vehicle than as the F-99. I suspect this is probably because of MEGA’s decision to create actual bloks for the jet intakes opposed to a specialized molded piece – which I personally applaud that decision.
Granted, the overall build looks a little jagged compared to the smooth detailing you’d see from a molded piece — but I think making that portion of the set buildable is MEGA learning to move away from their special-mold-happy-past. As a result, we [the fans] are left with a set that’s much more collectible for multiples.
And now…the moment you’ve been waiting for…Figure: OK, so I went ahead and got multiples already, but can you blame me? These new style figures are INCREDIBLE! In 2009 my mind was blown when I found my first HALO set…and I can honestly say that when I dug out the figure from this set and got him out of the poly bag, my jaw literally hit the ground. Just check out all these details:
That’s right, 16 points of articulation on a 2.0625″ figure! That breaks down to an articulation point every .1″ !!! One cool feature I’m glad to see integrated into the new HALO figures is a lock-in system for the waist with the hips. Perhaps in 2009 we had to deal with spinny-hips, but 2014…well in 2014 there’s fixes for those sorts of things – just check the pic In addition, where past figures were all single-molds joined together, our 2014 ODSTs come with removable thigh guards, belts, chestplates, and shoulder pauldrons..which adds up to an incredible 20 piece figure!
Another cool aspect of the new figures is the notch-and pin systems they’ve engineered into the shoulders and thighs. When examining closely, you can see that MEGA actually put in small cutouts into the bottom of the thigh armor that is perfectly fit for a small peg that’s molded into the thigh (by the kneecap). Rounding out the changes in design besides the obvious capacity to two-hand a rifle with ease now, MEGA changed up the hand style slightly so that hands can now be interchanged from left-to-right…a welcome convenience for those of us that have had figures lose their thumbs in battle before — now we can just go ahead and pop a new one on! SCORE!!!
…and, unlike past experiences with ODSTs, this time Mega comes out of the gate running with a figure that has sculpts that actually match the game material – i.e. the helmet and shoulder pauldrons. It always bugged me in the past how different and un-ODST the helmet and shoulders were on the standard ODST; so much so that I was reluctant to even consider them as such.Now though?
Well, you decide:
Again, not only looks more game-accurate, but features a color scheme that’s no longer garish like the first wave of ODSTs. Instead, our figure de force comes stock-and-ready in a nice muted green tone [Falcon green] with black under-armor, and a khaki-gray colored lighter armor. Granted, I would’ve liked something a little darker, but for visual aesthetics I understand the color choice and am OK with it. It is certainly better than bright silver with red accents….and actually closely resembles the ODST provided in the previous troop packs.
OK, so great, awesome ODST, cool wombat, you’re sold right? Well, hold on, cuz there’s more to these ODSTs than meets the eye. For example, that under armor…looks pretty standard right? WRONG! Check out this pic comparing the new ODST under armor to that of the SPARTAN IIIs and IVs:
Right now you may be saying “alright, Sabre — so they’ve got cool under armor that varies by figure faction/class…but what else should I know about the new designs?”
To that I would give this laundry list:
- Non-SPARTAN figures feature vests that are very similar to CoD marines, whereas Spartans have a two-piece chest system that attaches with little pegs into the “ribs” in the under-armor.
***NOTE: Be weary of this when taking your MJOLNIR armor off of a figure as repeated pulling could lead to breaking!!
- The new style figures DO in fact stand slightly taller, which is negligible when the figures are unarmored. However, due to the added bulk of the attachment pieces, MEGA will surely need to consider appeasing the fanbase in the future with a rollout of the armor-clip-on system for our antagonist brethren [covies]. I’ve taken this side-by-side to show off the comparable height next to original HALO figures, CoD figures, and also included various color scales to help describe the “khaki” color:
- MOST older helmets are compatible with the newer style figures (as seen in the GIF above), but some will be restrictive due to the bulk of the MJOLNIR armor. This should have less of an impact for ODSTs or police figures, but for example – one helmet design that will need remade is CQB.
So now for the breakdown:
- Clutch: 5/5 No issues. Considering the increased quality of MEGA BLOKS piece molds, this category is antiquated and is being reported to HIGHCOM for decomissioning.
- Stability: 5/5 Another factor that is making its way to the decomissioning group as HALO sets are starting to take on some of the similar characteristics of the fantastic CoD designs.
- Build: 5/5 processing time is only about 10 minutes as 98% of the pieces provided all go toward the actual build. Even better, this set is chalk-filled with great customizing bits like 30-degree 1×2 plates, inversion tiles, and specialty pieces like the jet intakes.
- Innovation: 4.6/5 Considering this set is my first review of the new figure articulation/design, I must give this particular build high marks on account of the figures themselves, first and foremost. Supplemental to that, the design is about as close as I think one could get to the source design without a bunch of custom one-shot-pony type of pieces — which I can gladly say there is very few of those.
Factor in that the designers considered their subject and provided a proper weapon, and even tossed in a little data feed screen with printed graphics (a nice homage to the game despite it’s two-piece piececount)…the only thing that could’ve given this set a perfect score would be the inclusion of a secondary weapon (M6S)
Overall: 4.999999/5 Excellent game-accurate build of a vehicle taken from one of my favorite HALO games, coupled with an ODST sculpt that improves tenfold above the original sculpt and could only be improved upon in very minor ways – this set is a MUST BUY for any ODST fan; and a “gotta have at least one” for collectors. I can easily see hobbyists scooping up many of these for those great customization pieces.
Let’s hope the future will include the rest of the Halo 3: ODST fireteam (and hopefully a stealth-ODST with recon and standard helmets)
Thanks for reading!
Buy the Halo Mega Bloks Wombat at BA Toys!