This is yet another figure that doesn’t actually belong to me – the same pal who lent me his Figma Black Gold Saw for a photoshoot and review back in the day also recently dug this one up and let me have at it. I should say now that I actually know next to nothing about Halo, and this is actually my first experience with a Play Arts figure as well.
So this is apparently a figure form representation of a Spartan Warrior from Halo 4. What that means, I haven’t a clue, so please forgive my ignorance. I’ve been a Nintendo fanboy for far too long to betray my origins now.
The figure itself is actually very sturdy; it weighs in quite heavily for some reason. I’d say it’s a head short from being as tall as a 1/6 figure, though I don’t know if the Play Arts actually conform to any sort of scale.
I gotta say though – despite knowing next to nothing about what this thing actually is, it sure as hell looks damn good.
I’m most impressed with the texture of the armor – what looks to be separate sections of Kevlar mesh and actual weathered metal armor are all sculpted and molded on there. The metallic blue and silver is done beautifully, accented by some deliberate silver scratches to show that the armor is a bit worn down.
The jointed areas, however, aren’t as smooth as I’d like them to be.
While I can’t deny that this figure sports absolutely amazing articulation (more on that later) it looks like some styling and smoothness was sacrificed to accomplish that. Of course, after experiencing so many collectibles and various figure types, the struggle between accuracy and articulation is always a profound one. This figure seems to be a fair mix of the two – for the most part it does look seamless in integrating the joints as part of the Spartan’s body, but areas like the shoulders make it feel and look more like a toy than an armored suit with a man inside.
Parts that are nigh-seamless are the torso/waist area and the neck/head.
I think the arms are the biggest turn-off for me; they look too segmented, from the shoulders to the elbows to the wrists. Of course, it would probably be hard to achieve as much articulation as it has now if the joints didn’t work the way they do.
The articulation now, is pretty damn amazing. For an armored figure, I’m most impressed with what it can do.
Aside from feeling entirely sturdy (standing and holding its balance is absolutely no problem despite the proportionally small feet), the range of the limbs is pretty insane.
It can like, pull off a roundhouse kick with ease. Whatever these Play Arts are doing to achieve their leg/hip articulation, Hot Toys needs to take notes.
It can do a freaking three-point landing! This has got to be the only figure thus far that I’ve ever encountered that could actually, legitimately, pull it off and make it look presentable. Of course, while not perfect, it’s more than enough to get the job done. The only real flaw here is that the figure doesn’t come with closed fists to complete the effect (more on that later).
*ahem* or something like that.
I did mention above that this is a very hefty and sturdy figure, which it is. I’m thoroughly impressed with the tightness and reliability of the joints.
Speaking of joints, it seems that the Play Arts use Revoltech-styled joints to get their job done. While not as seamless as some other joint types, they do allow for a spectacular free and sturdy range of movement.
A look at another one of the more prominent joints – the shoulder. That metallic blue ball actually goes all the way into that black cavity that it’s popping out of right now. It’s capable of swinging out and forwards to bring the arms towards the front of the body more. Not gonna lie, it’s an addition I’m very glad that was included, as it helps greatly with holding some of the weapons two-handed.
Before I move on to this thing’s weapons and accessories, here’s a quick look at the action base included.
A very simple set, consisting of a hexagonal base, two arms that can attach to each other, and two claws to latch onto the actual figure.
The two pole arms are adjustable, in that the lower one can rotate on the base and the upper one is actually variable in its attachment to the lower one. It has a bunch of hexagonal holes in it that can tab into the one hexagonal peg on the lower pole to make a whole bunch of different configurations.
It’s quite debatable on whether or not the thing actually succeeds at its designated role though. Quite unfortunately, the metal hexagonal screws in the claw joints seem to be very loose, thereby making it difficult to have it support the weight of the Spartan in the air. They’re not your average everyday positive or negative screw heads either; you need a wrench or a clamp to tighten those, and even then it won’t stay tight for long.
The Spartan Warrior’s accessory layout. Rather bare, no?
While I do like figures with a smaller accessory set, (less optional parts, less feeling of waste when you don’t display said optional parts…yeah I’m looking at you Scarlet Rain) this figure seems to miss a few of the basics.
For one, the hands are a bit ridiculous. They’re all dedicated to the weapons, with two trigger hands and two meant for bracing the gun or holding accessories from other figures. As my comrade explained it to me, the Play Arts Halo figures have you going for the Collect ‘Em All mentality, meaning if you buy one figure, there’s a part of it that would complete it in another figure’s set. Apparently the random peg hole in one of the open bracing hands is for a grenade included with another Play Arts Spartan.
They also don’t include closed fists or at-rest hands for some reason. So the default hands in the packaging are the gun-bracing hands. Seems like a pretty big basic figure rule that they missed.
A better look at the guns, which I also do have slight grievances about. Despite being molded and painted beautifully, the giant pegs that stick out their sides are an absolute eyesore. Now, I don’t claim to know what these look like in-game, but something tells me those aren’t secondary handles for stable wielding.
Their primary purpose seemed to be for attaching them to the back and thigh of the Spartan. There are holes meant just for that, though this really makes me wonder – they couldn’t have made the pegs on the guns foldable? Like have them on a hinge so they can fold back into the gun to make it smooth and seamless? Or at least made them removable, or maybe put the peg on the armor and the holes on the guns? It seems to be pretty primitive technological figure know-how to me, if only because I’ve experienced countless models and collectibles that could do just that.
As I mentioned though, the guns themselves are pretty secks when they don’t have giant black pegs sticking out the sides.
The Assault Rifle (I’m just going to call it that; I extend my condolences to any diehard Halo fans I may offend if that’s the incorrect term for the weapon) is pretty badass. The mold and details are excellent, with a clean and very awesome looking paint job. The Spartan Warrior wields it effortlessly.
And of course the only other weapon of choice, a small pistol-like weapon. Nothing fancy, though I suppose it looks pretty cool stored at the side when the rifle is being wielded.
Putting the best of both worlds together for some double-wielding action.
I have to admit I love how this figure poses and the way the light shines off the metallic blue armor never gets old.
I’m not very experienced with how Spartans actually wield their firearms, so please forgive me if the above poses are entirely implausible and totally impractical with respect to the actual Halo multiverse.
So final thoughts on my first experience with Play Arts? I have to say, if this is the quality standard for these figures, they’re pretty high up there in the collectables market. I’m genuinely surprised and pleased with the heft, sturdiness, and articulation of this figure. One of the few that look damn good for what they are and still sport extensive play value. Unfortunately a few of the basic bits of the figure formula were missed by this one as I outlined above, but they’re small gripes overall.
All in all, I know next to nothing about Halo, but the Play Arts Kai Spartan Warrior is still a badass and worthwhile standalone collectable.