Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halo 3: Interchangeable Armor Pack - Hayabusa, Rogue, Scout & CQB

Presenting Halo 3's Interchangeable Armor Pack which allows you to customize your Spartan with Rogue, Scout, CQB (Close Quarters Battle), and the infamous Hayabusa Spartan variant armor. I chose to write about the Mjolnir Mark VI Power Armor today, November 4 - which is my birthday by the way - because today is the official anniversary of the Dark Lord Dungeon.

One year ago today ( I started writing this on November 4), I made a commitment to sharing with the world my collection, my toys and my experiences with the rest of the world. A year ago I opened with the G.I. Joe Rolling Operations Command Center (ROCC)  and moved on to talk about the, then, spanking new HALO Warthog and the HALO UNSC Special Warfare Command Group Three. Believe it or not, but the highest viewed item on this blog over the past year is Halo's Noble Team so it was only fitting that I start a new year with Halo.

It was my wife who prodded me to start writing about my toys and In the process of this blog I've had my first exhibit, and met some incredible people whom I can call friends both on-line and in real life AND started two other blogs: Denis del Callar: Fan Art (NSFW) and Fairladytower (Which I really should update). What used to be a very selfish hobby has become a crusade to share with the rest of the world  just how much joy toy collecting can be. It's also given me back the opportunity to go back and practice what I used to do so easily and so well when I was younger - write.

And for that I thank her.

The Halo 3: Interchangeable Armor Pack's blister pack doesn't say much other than the fact that it was made by McFarlane and that whoever made this packaging can speak French and Spanish.

The rest is pretty self explanatory: The pack comes with, as mentioned, a basic Mjolnir Mark VI Spartan who'se default armor accouterments is the Rogue armor. The pack shows what is pretty obvious from the front: that you can remove the Rogue accouterments and replace them with those of a Spartan Scout, CQBattler or give him the mythical Hayabusa armor.

What's to like about the Halo 3: Interchangeable Armor Pack?

It's interchangeable armor on a standard Mjolnir Mark VI Spartan armor! What's not to like? Think of the benefits of having customizable armor lying around for other Halo 3 Spartans that you might have lying around. But let's start by talking about each armor individually:

Rogue Armor:

The Halo 3: Interchangeable Armor Pack comes with a Spartan warrior designated to be a Rogue Variant. The truth of the matter is, the "Rogue Armor"is nothing more than a standard Mjolnir Mark VI with a different helmet.

Please do take the time to note the weathering (Scrached) detailing that McFarlane threw into this figure.

Players of Halo 3 commonly call the Rogue Helmet, a "Dog Helmet" because of what appears to look like the jowls of a bloodhound hanging from the cheek areas of the helmet. It's also called the "Rogue Helmet" because it was manufactured by the Eridanus Rebels under the leadership of Governor Jacob Jiles (Read Halo: The Fall of Reach). Although Governor Jiles never had any Spartans so this variant was being used by his infantry.

Players of the game Halo 3 unlock  the Rogue Armor Helmet automatically upon reaching the rank of Spartan Officer.

CQB - Close Quarters Battle Armor

This is not exactly my favorite armor set of the Halo 3: Interchangeable Armor Pack because that helmet is freaking HUGE! It's like running around with a fish-bowl on! However surprise, surprise, the Halo CQB chest armor is actually the most popular choice by players according to Halo creators Bungie.

The helmet is probably only popular to those who like Samus from the Metroid Prime video game. The CQB Spartan Armor consists of... well... more armor, particularly on his chest plate which has plates that appear to be added on top of the existing Mjolnir Mark VI armor. This particular armor also throws in a small reverse mounted knife on the chest plate for easy draw and stab action.

The CQB armor also includes re-designed shoulder pauldrons that give the bearer of the armor maximum shoulder maneuverability allowing the user the flexibility for CQB. However it also leaves his shoulders open and free for attack.

Scout Armor

Next up is the Halo 3: Interchangeable Armor Pack's Scout Armor variant. This armor was developed by the Office of Naval Intelligence that replaced most of the standard armor with lighter, quieter stealthier material without sacrificing any of the armor's standard endurance - which probably explains the extra padding on the chest area.

In the Halo 3 video game, the sharp helmet of the Scout armor is unlocked by attaining the "Used Car Salesman" Achievement (Destroying a vehicle with three or more people in it); the Pauldrons are unlocked by attaining the "Mongoose Down" Achievement (Kill an enemy by running him over with a Mongoose in a ranked free-for-all) and the Chest armor is unlocked by attaining the "Too close to the sun" Achievement (Destroying a Banshee with a Spartan Laser or Missile Pod. All three are easier said than done. 

But I've done all three.

The Halo Hayabusa Armor

Last up is the much sought after Halo 3: Interchangeable Armor Pack's Hayabusa armor.

The Halo Hayabusa armor was actually developed in competition with the Mjolnir armor by a think-tank called RKD. Both projects developed contained power armors, but the Hayabusa focused on power and intimidation versus the Mjolnir's speed and dexterity - which is slightly ironic since the Hayabusa is also one-third lighter than the Mjolnir and is based upon the armor of Ryu Hayabusa from the video-game Ninja Gaiden (It's further ironic that players call the Hayabusa "Ninja Armor" as the design is more Samurai than ninja).

Although the two armors eventually became interchangeable, it is unclear whether or not this should be considered a Mjolnir Mark VI variant or just a distinct Hayabusa Armor set.

The biggest "wow" factor of the Hayabusa is that it was designed to intimidate the enemy which explains the samurai looks. The slit visor also reduces the possibility of enemies exploiting the most vulnerable part of the armor. This is unlocked in the Halo 3 game by obtaining ALL 13 skulls in the game.

The Hayabusa's shoulder pauldrons or Sod'e provide the bearer with additional protection and can also be used as a ramming implement. This is unlocked in the Halo 3 game by obtaining 9 skulls in the game.

The chest armor is quite thick and is the only variant to include a neck ring to protect the bearer's neck. When RKD built this armor, they really, really thought of characters playing with swords. This is unlocked in the Halo 3 game by obtaining five skulls in the game.

The Katana of the Hayabusa armor - which sadly cannot be used in the game and actually looks quite awkward as it sticks out of cockpits when you're piloting a Hornet or a Banshee - is unlocked only when you hit 49 out of 79 achievements in the game.

Note that the Katana is meant to be attached on his back, but one of the grenade holes on his belt is actually wide enough to accept the Katana peg.

But the nicest part about the Halo 3: Interchangeable armor is that you are not limited to maintaining particular armor sets. If Halo: Reach has thought as anything, it is that Spartans like to mix-and-match and even personalize their armor sets as can be seen with this feature of Noble Team and particularly this fearture on the Spartan Carter. Which can lead to something like this with a Rogue helmet and right pauldron; CQB chest plate; Scout left pauldron and the Katana sword of the Hayabusa. 

You can even give the armor plates to the quite... Sparatan... Spartan Noble 6.
Unfortunately there is a size difference between the smaller Halo 3 armors and the larger Halo Reach figures.

What's not to like about the Halo 3: Interchangeable Armor Pack?

Well it would have been nice if there were maybe... I dunno... more color? I have a preference for Blue. This bone white armor just screams "Shoot me!" unless you're on an ice planet. Even then it really lacks characters and those red-plates will stand out.

But the worst thing about it is the production value of the Halo 3: Interchangeable armor Pack. Pulling out the head to replace the head honestly feels like you're ripping the toy apart. My Spartan's left arm decided to pop out on it's own and still does whenever it feels like it.

The same goes for the shoulder plates. They keep popping off when you try to pose them - particularly when you move his arms up and down or try to re-position his combat rifle. I was tempted to glue them in place.

He also has difficulty wielding two weapons at one time. I had to practically crush the second magnum into his left arm and another set of hands would have been nice because, well if he's not using his Combat Rifle, his trigger finger just stands out. 

Still, it's a fine piece that's worth customizing that would create a very nice conversation piece. I purchased the Halo 3: Interchangeable Armor Pack is available on Amazon for US 64.99 (Around PhP 2,794.00 plus shipping) So it's much cheaper in Toys R'Us here in the Philippines where I bought it for.... would you believe I forgot? I can't remember if it was PhP 1,499 or PhP 1,399. Around that number or roughly  US$ 34. Half the Amazon price.

1 comment:

  1. Hey im planning to get one but what malls can i get this?


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