McFarlane Toys' Halo: Reach GHOST
The Covenant forces get a sweet ride...
McFarlane's Halo: Reach GHOST vehicle is currently in-stock at BigBadToyStore.com priced at $20.99.
For a great selection of other Halo: Reach items, shop BigBadToyStore.com.
Halo fans have been hounding McFarlane Toys to make some scaled vehicles since their action figure series debuted several years ago. Many collectors dreamed big, desiring a UNSC Scorpion tank or Pelican dropship, but let's be realistic here folks: a coffee table-sized vehicle isn't going to fly in today's market. So what about some of the smaller craft more commonly seen (and used) in the game? McFarlane tested the waters in 2009 by releasing the Mongoose, an all-terrain cycle packed with an exclusive figure to ride it. Priced at under $20, the four-wheeler was a hit with fans.
Then came Toy Fair earlier this year with the news that a UNSC Warthog and Covenant Ghost were next. Halo fans went wild. Released this fall in conjunction with a new series of Halo: Reach action figures, the new vehicles showed that McFarlane was dead serious about investing in the toy line. Did that investment pay off? We'll see as we take a closer look at one of those vehicles: the Covenant Ghost.
Seen in every Halo game, the Type-32 Rapid Assault Vehicle, or "Ghost" as it is commonly referred to by UNSC forces, is the Covenant's standard reconnaissance and rapid attack vehicle. A one-man ride, the Ghost propels itself across the battlefield on a cushion of air. Its anti-gravity propulsion system is capable of incredible boosts of speed, ideal for mowing down foot soldiers and evading enemy fire.
That extreme maneuverability combined with two linked forward-firing plasma cannons equals a formidable anti-infantry weapon. If the Ghost had one major weakness, it would be its open cockpit. While the twin stabilizing "wings" and bulbous "hood" act as effective defense shields from frontal attacks, the rear of the vehicle is woefully exposed and susceptible to gunfire, grenades and hijacking attempts.
SCULPT: Sculpt-wise, McFarlane's team has captured the look of the new Halo: Reach Ghost flawlessly. Measuring 10 inches long (from the tip of its cannons) and nearly 9 inches wide from wingtip to wingtip, the Ghost amazes with smooth, curvy alien design. "Smooth" really isn't the right word as the entire ship's surface is actually textured with a subtle honeycomb-like pattern. It's a cool effect, adding a nice layer of realism. McFarlane has made a name for itself as a respected authority in toy sculpting. The Ghost continues that fine tradition.
PAINT: Paint work is exceptional, the Ghost looking quite regal in Covenant shades of purple, blue, grey and black. While the color palette is minimal, the overall effect is far from simple. The smallest of details are painted and parts like the pilot's seat use two tones to add extra depth. Two red Covenant emblems on the wings and sides add some nice visual pop.
Probably my biggest pet peeve is the lack of any kind of weathering. A slight blackwash would have done wonders in bringing out all the fine details, such as the cool honeycomb pattern, and lending the vehicle a used, real-world vibe. McFarlane has announced that a Battle-Damaged Ghost is in the pipeline, so perhaps this will be addressed with that future release. That said, it really is a small complaint. The layered use of colors on this craft is vastly superior to some mass market rides predominately cast in colored plastics.
ACCESSORIES/ FEATURES: No pilot figure is included with the Ghost, no doubt to keep the price down. As a huge Halo figure collector, I can live with that, but I suspect those casually getting into the line will find the omission a big disappointment. Kids love opening the full package, ready for play right out of the box, action figure included.
What is included are a few play features and two control sticks that you have to attach via ball and socket joints. I suspect the latter is to prevent them from snapping in shipping. The two joysticks pop on easy enough and allow for repositioning - something I'll get to in a bit.
The Ghost also stars two wing flaps that can be postioned up or down, swiveling plasma cannons and the pilot's seat can be extended out to accommodate larger figures. This part slides out a good one inch and looks aesthetically pleasing doing so. Unfortunately, getting a figure to properly control the Ghost is an awkward experience.
I experimented with a broad selection of McFarlane Halo figures, including Grunts, Elites and Spartans from their past Halo 3 assortments, to their new, slightly larger Halo: Reach series. Ironically, I had better luck with the smaller Halo 3 figures, even though the Ghost is part of the new Halo: Reach wave.
The Halo 3 Grunts fit in the easiest (pictured above), though they look like midgets behind the wheel. The Halo 3 Elites faired pretty well too, as did the Master Chief. All of these figures fit with the seat in the closed position and for the most part were able to have their feet rest on the pedals and their hands gripping the sticks. However, getting the two to work in tandem can be troublesome, especially if you include having the figure sit flush in the seat. Getting all three to align properly is a nightmare. If you're anything like me, you'll just sit your figure in the chair and pose him with arms outstretched and legs splayed. It does the job for display and saves you a headache.
The bigger Halo: Reach figures didn't fare so well. Many, like the new Elite, simply aren't articulated right to sit down (pictured above). The slide-out cockpit helps with their larger size, but getting that Ghost "trinity" to work - feet on the pedals, hands on the sticks, back in the seat - is frustrating. Some figures, like the Halo: Reach Grunt Ultra, simply didn't work at all due to its massive methane tank.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: Despite my hardships in getting that "perfect piloting position," I was able to get some awesome poses for display. The reality is that the Covenant Ghost is an odd vehicle design that works well in a video game for odd video game designed characters. McFarlane did an amazing job in making this vehicle a collectible reality and making it accommodate most of their action figures. Perhaps a specialy designed pilot figure can be included for future versions, but as it is, the Ghost works well enough with what's out there.
The Ghost is priced at $20.99. It's a good sized vehicle for the money, but it feels like it's lacking in full value without a bonus figure. Still, Halo fans should be very pleased that they are starting to get core Halo vehicles. Support the Ghost and Warthog and who knows? Perhaps fans will get that UNSC Scorpion tank and Pelican dropship after all...
McFarlane's Halo: Reach GHOST vehicle is currently in-stock at BigBadToyStore.com.
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Sample Courtesy of BigBadToyStore.com