After finding my first few Halo Reach Series 5 action figures at Toys R Us), it was an excruciating wait for my case of this series to arrive from Big Bad Toy Store. After much impatience and anxiety, they finally arrived this week, and I now have a good dozen more Halo figures to review–and a Weapons Pack! The amazing Elite Ranger and Skirmisher Murmillo figures I reviewed previously are tough act to follow, but rather than saving the best for last, I’ve decided to plow straight in with their competition for not only the best figure in this series, but perhaps the best Halo figure ever: the Brute Chieftain!
I usually don’t like Brutes all that much. While powerful and imposing in the Halo video games, the Brutes are “scary” but not “cool” like the Elites are. I’m just not into the gorilla-mixed-with-Klingon-ideals mentality of the Brutes. So it’s not a big surprise that the Brute Minor from Halo Reach Series 4 is one of the only action figures I’m missing from the line. I never saw him at retail, and I never cared enough to put in any effort hunting for him. But that was just a plain, bare-bones Brute. The Series 5 Brute Chieftain is a highly-decorated, supreme monster of a Brute action figure and another story altogether!
The Halo Reach Brute Chieftain is a mammoth, hulking beast of an action figure. I’m pretty sure if you bashed someone in the head with the Brute Chieftain figure, you’d kill them. It is hands-down the largest Halo figure released by McFarlane Toys other than the boxed Hunters from the Halo 3 line. It absolutely towers over every other figure, and makes the Halo 3 Brute Chieftain look small and pathetic. To put it simply, if you were a Spartan walking along and saw this monster coming, you had best turn your ass around and run the hell away. If McFarlane Toys set out to make the most terror-inducing Covenant warrior figure ever, they have thoroughly succeeded here.
Just as intimidating as the Brute Chieftain himself is his weapon: the fearsome Gravity Hammer. It’s larger and heavier than its counterpart in the Halo 3 toyline, and has more detailing and better paint apps as well. It has a removable peg to hang from Spartans’ backs, although the Brute Chieftain doesn’t have a hole on his back since the Brutes don’t ever put away their Gravity Hammers. In addition, the Brute Chieftain has one of the ubiquitous plasma grenades, which McFarlane Toys is packing in with virtually every single Covenant figure. The Brute can’t hold or store it, but it’s tough to complain about an extra freebie.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “The Brute Chieftain’s a giant McFarlane Toys monster figure, so he’s like a non-articulated statue, right?” Wrong. The Brute Chieftain has a record-breaking 29 points of articulation, making him the single most-articulated action figure in the whole Halo Reach line! His first 28 points of articulation are all in pretty much the same standard places as the 28-POA Spartan Soldiers. And the 29th and final joint is in his jaw, which can open and close partially and fully! I desperately wanted this joint for the Skirmishers, so I’m thrilled to get it here. Not only does the Brute Chieftain look like he could rip your Spartans’ heads off and eat them, this extra joint lets him almost actually do it!
Quality-wise, the Brute Chieftain figure is perfection. Tons of paint apps have bee expertly applied, resulting in the Brute Chieftain’s armor being the most detailed of any figure in the Reach line. He’s extremely heavy and sturdy with tight joints, and knocking him off my shelf several times did zero damage to him. He can be top-heavy, but if you pose his feet and legs properly, he can hold most any pose that you want to put him into–including raising his Gravity Hammer over his head to strike down on a helpless Warthog!
While the Brute Chieftain is perfect, I have a gripe or two outside of the figure itself. The Gravity Hammer’s shaft is too narrow, and as a result it flops around a little too easily in the Brute Chieftain’s hands, even when he has a two-handed grip on it. This can be remedied simply and easily with some putty, but it irritates me that the accessory brings down and otherwise perfect figure.
Secondly, the case ratios for this figure are an annoyance. The Brute Chieftain is only one-per-case, but has been switched out of the early cases going to Toys R Us for their exclusive, and most likely the Target cases for theirs. It makes no sense to me that McFarlane Toys chose to heavy-pack a figure that no one wants (Unhelmeted Carter) at 2-per-case and then ship this fantastic figure at less than 1-per-case. Every Halo collector should have one (or a couple) of this Brute Chieftain in their collection, but I fear this is going to be a real pain for collectors to find at retail.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
Halo Reach Series 5 is starting to trickle into Toys R Us and online stores right now, and should follow at Target and Wal-Mart within a few weeks. However, be aware that this figure is not shipping in the cases Toys R Us and Target are receiving, as their exclusives have the Brute Chieftain’s spot in the case.
BigBadToyStore has the Brute Chieftain in-stock for order at $11.99 and ready to ship out. That’s the regular retail price, so that’s what you’d pay at Target or Wal-Mart. They also have a variety of other Halo Reach Series 5 items available at the best prices of any online store.
CMDStore have the Brute Chieftain in-stock right now and available for $12.95. They also have the whole Series 5 set of 6 for $71.95, which is a respectable $11.99 per figure.
Overall: Just after I got done gushing about how the Elite Ranger was the best Halo action figure ever released by McFarlane Toys, the Brute Chieftain had to come the next week and make things complicated. This is the best Brute action figure ever released, period. Packed with the most articulation of any Halo Reach figure, some of the best paints and sculpting, a rare Gravity Hammer (the first in the Reach line!), and an awesome opening jaw, this Brute is pretty much perfect. This figure is a fantastic deal at $11.99, and I even wouldn’t begrudge Toys R Us’ $15.99 pricetag for him (though they’re not receiving this figure anyway). This Brute Chieftain is a complete triumph and gets my highest recommendation for any fan of Halo or big, hulking monster figures in general.