I’m a total sucker for blind bags and an even bigger sucker for Halo-branded merch, so it’s a no-brainer that these Halo Mega Bloks blind-bagged figures would be right up my alley. The Halo Mega Bloks Hero Packs are mystery bags that contain either a common, rare, or ultra rare figure. The ultra rares are self-explanatory–figures that are packed at only one per case and immensely difficult to obtain buying blindly. Even so, the Ultra Rare figures have always been clear Active Camo variants that I just didn’t care enough to hunt for. With the brand-new 2012 Series 4, Mega Bloks finally got it right and gave us an Ultra Rare blind bag that’s really worth the hard work of scouring for: the Master Chief’s A.I., Cortana.
FINALLY!!! A UNIQUE CHARACTER!!! Cortana is the very first unique character to be released in the Halo Mega Bloks blind bags, as up until now every single figure was a generic army-builder. In fact, I believe she’s only the second official unique character to be released in the entire line, the other being the Arbiter. I was prepared for a real struggle to find Cortana, but it turns out I got her in only my sixth blind bag pull from Series 4. Even so, I had to hit up Target every day for two weeks to get those six bags across multiple trips, as the series has been very popular and hard to come by in my area.
Being an immaterial A.I., I don’t think it will surprise anyone that Cortana’s mold is accurately cast in translucent plastic. However, unlike past clear Mega Bloks, Cortana has extra blue highlights and details painted into her sculpt, as well as a much darker hair color to remain authentic to the character. This extra detailing is what makes Cortana really pop and stand out as a distinctive character on the Mega Bloks shelf.
Considering that the McFarlane Toys 5″ scale Cortana has a whopping zero points of articulation and is just a big PVC, I’m pretty thrilled that Mega Brands took the high road and gave Cortana a decent amount of articulation. Cortana has 7 points of articulation: ball-jointed head, swivel arms, ball-jointed hips, and hinge knees. For a 2″ tall action figure, that is fairly respectable. Cortana can’t hold many poses, but at least she finally has the ability to move around at least a little bit. Until the Minimates Cortana is released later this winter, this Cortana has the most articulation (by far) of any Cortana figure ever released.
While all of the other Hero Packs contain a figure with a generic one-brick base, Cortana has a much more intricate base by far. Cortana’s base is meant to portray a holographic projector that allows her to take on a visual form, and as such it’s comprised of over a dozen pieces that need to be assembled. The whole build took me less than two minutes, but it added an extra spark of joy beyond what I get from just popping the other mystery figures out of the bags and having them assembled in five seconds. As Cortana requires much more assembly than any other Hero Pack so far, she’s the first one to come with a full-sized sheet of her own instructions.
I have two things to nitpick about this figure. First, I hate that Mega Brands chose to put Cortana into the stereotypical feminine hand-on hip pose. I didn’t like it when McFarlane did it and I don’t like it here. With the lack of elbow articulation, Cortana is stuck forever with her hand on her hip or her bent arm up like she’s going to karate chop an Elite. If it was a choice between knee and elbow articulation, I would have much preferred the elbow articulation so that Cortana could at least have the option of standing neutrally.
The other thing that bugs me is that as cool as the base for this figure is, Cortana can’t stand on it very well at all. It’s awkward trying to get Cortana to stand on the blue projector disc in the middle of the base, but her legs aren’t long enough for her to stand naturally with one leg on the disc and another on the side of it. As a result, Cortana either has to stand in an uncomfortable position and have both feet pegged into the base, or else stand with one foot on the projector disc and another floating over the ground.
Halo Hero Pack Series 4 blind bags are just starting to hit retail. They hit Meijers right around Christmas, and started showing up in Target stores in late January. I assume they’ll hit Wal-Mart and Toys R Us eventually as well, but I haven’t heard any reports of them being sighted there yet.
The best source to outright buy Cortana is and will most likely remain ebay. Check out the current ebay listings for the Halo Mega Bloks Cortana by clicking here! She’s been turning up on ebay pretty frequently lately, so keep checking back and you should be able to snag one!
Overall: As much of a pain in the ass as it was to acquire Cortana, I’m so very glad that I was able to find her so quickly and without getting a ton of duplicate army-builders. I’m excited that Mega Bloks included another unique character in the line finally, and doubly excited that it’s a decently-articulated Cortana. The elaborate holographic projector base is really a treat and Mega Brands went above and beyond the call of duty including it instead of the typical generic black brick base.