When the Halo Mega Bloks Snowbound UNSC Rockethog was announced, I was one of the few people I saw who was vocally excited about it. For whatever reason I never picked up the Halo Mega Bloks Arctic Warthog set, so I was pretty happy to get another shot at it without having to pay secondary market prices. But then something apparently went wrong, because I watched for the set on store shelves every week for six months, and it never showed up. I was starting to give up home on owning my own Snowbound Rockethog when BA Toys came to the rescue and got some in for online collectors. While there isn’t technically anything new in Halo Mega Bloks 97003, if you’ve missed earlier sets, there may be something new to you…
The Mega Bloks Halo Arctic Warthog was previously released a few years ago as the Halo Mega Bloks UNSC Rockethog 96805. The set included the very same UNSC Arctic Rockethog, the same Covenant Ghost, a blue Elite Combat figure, and two arctic white Spartans figures. For whatever reason, I didn’t buy that set. It’s available on the secondary market now, but I don’t particularly care to pay aftermarket prices. So was I up for a reissue of the Mega Bloks Arctic Rockethog? Yes I was.
I don’t like to toss around the word “beautiful” when discussing a combat jeep made of bricks, but that’s what the Snowbound Rockethog is: beautiful. I love the white-and-grey hued blocks that make up the Arctic Rockethog Mega Bloks vehicle, and I find the color scheme to be far more visually pleasing than that of the standard green Warthogs. The elaborate sticker sheet adds a ton of stickers to the vehicle, which provide a great contrast to the overall whiteness of the Warthog. From a color-only standpoint, this is easily one of my favorite Halo Mega Bloks sets.
I’m also pleased that this set included a reissue of the Covenant Ghost. Considering it’s the Covenant vehicle that you tend to encounter the most in the Halo video games, you would think it’d have more of a presence in Halo Mega Bloks, but it’s not included in sets very often. That’s not to say that I think this is a good Halo Mega Bloks Covenant Ghost (more on that shortly), but I am glad to get a Ghost at all as part of this set.
The big problem with this set is that it feels old–because it is. MEGA Brands has greatly raised the bar on their Halo Mega Bloks sets in the last few years, and a reissue of a Halo Mega Bloks 2010 set feels ridiculously outdated next to the gorgeous Halo Mega Bloks 2013 sets.
The Snowbound Rockethog is as pretty as ever with the snow camouflage-decorated bricks that comprise it, but the Warthog itself is nowhere near as elaborate or functional as the Halo 4 Mega Bloks Warthog Resistance set’s was. All of the great upgrades from the 2012 Halo Mega Bloks UNSC Warthog are (obviously) just not here: the scale isn’t an accurate, the footsteps aren’t present, and the turret is far less maneuverable and fun to play with.
I wouldn’t expect any of those upgrades in a straight reissue, but it still felt odd building a set that felt so obsolete. I really hope that this Halo Mega Bloks Snowbound UNSC Rockethog 97003 release doesn’t hurt the chances of seeing a new, upgraded Arctic Warthog release in the near-future.
Even more so than the Snowbound Warthog, the Halo Mega Bloks Covenant Ghost desperately needs an upgrade. I would love to see the shiny maroon plastic used for the next Covenant Ghost, but even more than that, I would love a fresh build of the Halo Mega Bloks Ghost. This version of the Ghost has zero–zero–moving parts on it. You can’t position the plasma cannons, you can’t angle its wings–nothing. I like that the Covenant Ghost Mega Bloks vehicle was included here, but I hate that it feels so archaic. A new version in the next couple waves of Halo Mega Bloks, please, MEGA Brands?
I also think it’s pretty weak that not only do we get three repack figures from the Snowbound Combat Unit, but two of the figures are exactly the same blue Spartan figure with snowy boots! There are so many different red and blue armor permutations that haven’t been given the Snowbound treatment that I just don’t understand why MEGA Brands gave us the same old blue Spartan Mark VI figures and red Elite Combat that are already packed into another Snowbound set. I know we got red and blue figures because this set is part of the “Versus” theme, but I honestly would have preferred the white Spartan figures the Arctic Rockethog originally came with–at least those are a lot harder to come by now.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
BA Toys has a small quantity of the Halo Mega Bloks Snowbound UNSC Rockethog 97003 in stock right now. I’m not even sure if this set was released in America period, so I was glad to order it online.
Overall: This is a tough set to get excited about, as it’s overall pretty bland. I appreciate that MEGA Brands is giving us another opportunity to get the Arctic Warthog years after the first one sold out, but it really does seem lazy that they just repackaged the old set instead of giving us the Halo 4 Warthog from the Warthog Resistance set with white and grey blocks. It’s also a disappointment to get three of the figures from the Snowbound Combat Unit here (including two of the same one!) instead of any other figures given Snowbound paint deco. I guess what it comes down to for me is: I didn’t have the Halo Mega Bloks Arctic Rockethog before. I’m glad to have it now. But I wish this set was more of an upgrade to MEGA Brands’ current level, rather than just a straight re-release of their earlier (re: not as good) work.