It’s been over a month since the last new Halo Mega Bloks came out for me to review (the Elite Ultra Drop Pod and Flood Pod), but finally more new Mega Bloks have appeared: the Spring 2012 Armory Packs! I’m a big fan of these sub-$9.99 Mega Bloks value sets, as they enable fans to army-build Spartans and/or Elites without the pressure of trying to pull blind-bags. Plus, unlike the blind-bagged Hero Packs, these sets include weapons with paint applications (I know that sounds silly, but it’s a big deal for Halo Mega Bloks). Tonight I’ll be covering the UNSC Armory Pack #96951. There’s a lot that I love about these value sets in general, but unfortunately, this UNSC Armory Pack falls a little bit short of really managing to impress me…
First and foremost, I want to note that I love that the 2012 “Customize!” theme has even carried over to these small, value-priced Armory sets. Just in case you’re sick of Mark IV Spartans (and I have to admit, even I’m starting to be), this set includes the upper torso, helmet, and arms to transform your figure into an EOD Spartan. This is a real lifesaver for this set, as we already received this exact-colored Spartan in another set last year (more on that later).
The Spartan (in either armor permutation) has the same excellent articulation we’ve come to expect from the Halo Mega Bloks Spartans, including 12 points: a ball-jointed head, ball-jointed shoulders, hinge elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, ball-jointed hips, and hinge knees. For a figure that’s only 2 inches all, all that flexibility is as impressive as always. As with all Spartans, his wrists have the perfect grip to tightly grasp all of the Halo Mega Bloks weapons.
One of the big draws of these small figure packs is that the weapons receive paint deco, whereas the weapons released in the traditional vehicle sets are totally unpainted. The UNSC Armory Pack gives us three painted weapons: a Magnum, SMG (Sub-Machine Gun), and Silenced SMG. These aren’t the most exciting-looking weapons in the world, as they’re all just silver and black, but even one added paint color makes a huge different in making the weapons appear more detailed and interesting in your Halo display. In some ways, the painted weapons are a bigger deal than the Spartan figures themselves, as there are loads of ways to purchase Spartans, but only a limited number of sets that feature the painted weapons. These look great and I’m very glad to have them to equip some of my UNSC forces with.
I also appreciate that even though this set essentially just a figure and some weapons and armor, there’s still a minor building aspect to the set, as you have to build the armory itself. This is not a complicated build, or even a beginner one–it’ll literally take even the most novice Mega Bloks builder less than two minutes to build the set. Even so, it’s a nice gesture that there’s at least something to assemble here, and I enjoyed the quick and easy build. The armory itself is plain-looking, but I think the colors selected for it look authentic to what you’d expect them to be, and the armory tightly and effectively holds all the Spartans pieces as intended (even if MEGA Brand’s intention isn’t exactly what I want–more on that momentarily).
I really liked the color of this Spartan when we saw the official photos released for this set. I wasn’t a fan of the flesh-colored UNSC forces we got last year in the Mega Bloks Covenant Strike #96916, but this Spartan looked a lot more desert-colored and a stronger tan in the photos than those did. I should have known better, because this Spartan is pretty much the same icky light flesh color from the Covenant Strike set. I think this is probably the single-ugliest paint scheme of any Spartans released by MEGA Brands, and I’m disappointed to see it show up here again.
Also, I wish there were more grasping hooks included in the set to plug into the armory. As it is, this armory can only hold a whopping one weapon. The idea of hanging half a Spartan in the armory doesn’t really appeal to me, but I’d love to be able to hang up more weapons from other sets in the armory. I’m sure I can scavenge some of those pieces from other sets, but I wish a few of those little pieces had just been included here.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
The UNSC Armory Pack 96951 is part of the Spring 2012 assortment of Halo Mega Bloks. The set is now starting to show up at retail stores like K-Mart, Target, and Wal-Mart.
As far as online options go:
Amazon has the UNSC Armory Pack in-stock from a variety of sellers at right around retail price (and some even below retail price!), and many of the sellers are offering free shipping.
And if you want to try your luck, there’s always ebay, where you very likely can get a good deal on this set or buy individual pieces from it. You can check out the current listings for the Halo Mega Bloks UNSC Armory on ebay by clicking here!
Overall: The UNSC Armory Pack isn’t really a bad Mega Bloks set, but it is a little underwhelming next to some of the really spectacular offerings MEGA Brands has put out in the last year. The Spartan Mark IV is a figure we’ve already seen released in this color in a set last year, but the “tan” EOD is a new release. Unfortunately, the fleshy “tan” color is still perhaps my least-favorite armor color ever released by Mega Bloks. I like the idea of the armory for weapons storage a lot, but I’m underwhelmed that it only comes with one grasping piece, thus limiting it to holding one weapon and some Spartan armor parts. I like the painted weapons that the set comes with as well as the value price of just $5.99 on this set, but the 96951 UNSC Armory is just not a very exciting entry into the Halo Mega Bloks line.