Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Halo 3: Series 1 - 3 (McFarlane Toys)



Halo
McFarlane Toys
2007 - 2008

McFarlane Toys, a subsidiary of Todd McFarlane Productions, Inc., is a company started by Todd McFarlane that makes highly detailed models of characters from movies, comics, musicians, video games, and sport figures. Founded in 1994, the company was originally dubbed "Todd Toys," but the name was changed in 1995 following pressure from Mattel (who feared the new company's name would be confused with that of Barbie's younger brother).

Exquisite attention to detail is the most defining feature in a McFarlane Toy. However, it is almost always at the expense of articulation, making them more akin to semi-poseable statues than action figures. Still, the line proves popular especially among young adults, and is arguably the most commercially successful toy line at the moment. It has also influenced many other toy lines to try and imitate McFarlane Toys' style.

As production begins on the upcoming series five and six toys, I thought we'd take a look at the first three series which burst on the scene in 2008.

Each set is broken up into two categories. The first being "Campaign", which focuses on characters that the player of the game used in the campaign version, and "Multiplayer", which as I'm sure you can guess at this point is based on characters one can use in multiplayer mode. Because the multiplayer characters vary in color and design, this left McFarlane toys quite a bit of artistic freedom to make a wide variety of characters.

The first series comprised of five campaign figures (six if you include the variant Grunt figure), and six multiplayer figures, three of which were exclusive to specific vendors (two at Walmart, one at GameStop). The silver Gamestop Spartan is by far the hardest to come by from series 1.

There were also three variants produced for the series. These figures were not a part of the Capaign or Multiplayer line, but rather stand alone figures. Each one was available via a different store or means. Most notable is the "Spawn Faced" Spartan which was limited to only 3000 pieces.


By series two, Halo 3 mania had caught on big time. Not only was it the top selling game at most retail outlets, but fans couldn't get enough of the toys that McFarlane Toys were busy pumping out in mass quantity.

Series two featured five figures from the campaign line, and ten for the multiplayer line. However, by this time in the series, the majority of the multiplayer figures were made to be exclusives for various retail and online stores. Places like Transworld (online store only), Toys R' Us, Walmart, D&R Line-Ups (online store only) and GameStop all had an exclusive figure (with the exception of Walmart, which had two) to keep fans running around from store to store to track them down.

An additional figure was also produced as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive for the year.




With each series came more figures, and more exclusives, and series three was far from exempt, being the largest series to date.

A total of six campaign figures and eighteen multiplayer figures were produced. This of course meant even more exclusive figures to chase down.

At this point in the toy line, I can personally attest to it getting out of control. People I know who are die hard fans of the series began to take a step back and frown at all the various exclusive figures. This in turn caused them to take a little more cautioned approach to collecting the toy line, and even abandon it completely.



But, despite the very few people I know who were no longer contributing their twelve to twenty bucks per figure, the series plowed through the market, selling out in most retail and exclusive online chains. With series four already out on store shelves, and selling like hotcakes, and series five and six gearing up for release, it's a safe bet to make that McFarlane's Halo 3 toys are going to be around for a while.

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