August 5, 2011 | By More

I don’t buy toys from McFarlane all that often, because for a time they focused more on producing statuettes rather than action figures, and the quality of their materials was rather poor, despite sporting stellar sculpting and great paintjobs.

That has been changing ever since they got the Halo license, which has gone on up to Series 7 and 8 which, as some collectors claim, are possibly their best series prior to the launch of the new Halo: Reach line.

Tartarus comes from the Halo 2 videogame, and the action figure was released as part of Series 7 of the Halo 2 sub-line.

Tartarus is a rather villanous alien chieftain that leads the Brute contingent of the Covenant army. I you can’t make sense of the previous sentence, it doesn’t really matter because enjoying this figure doesn’t require more than what’s enclosed in the package.

The character designs for Tartarus is noticeably low-tech when compared to some of the troops under his command, and he wouldn’t really look too out of place in a fantasy/pulp setting.

The sculpture is excellent, although not terribly complex from a technical point of view. There are some armored details, mostly in the form of metal bands on his arms, feet and neck, but most of the figure is covered either in  fur or a thick skin texture, with only a metallic bandolier and a spiked brass shoulderpad for garments.

Tartarus is huge and the body proportions are perfect in their portrayal of a heavy–set alien species. The face looks brutal but at the same time manages to convey some sense of malice behind the yellow deep-set eyes.

Articulation was one of the key elements that really set the Halo line apart from previous McFarlane lines, and Tartarus got quite a lot of useful joints:

Barbell mounted neck.

Hinged jaw.

Pegged hinge shoulders.

Lower biceps swivel cut.

Pegged hinge elbows.

Pegged hinge wrists.

Floating torso.

Ball jointed hips.

Pegged hinge knees.

Ball jointed ankles.

This is quite an impressive number of joints for a single figure, even if some of them are redundant in combination with adjoining joints. The only joints that have a rather limited range are the hips, due to the way the fur is sculpted, but then again, Tartarus is not a character that would really need to sit down.

All of the articulation disks seem to have grooves molded onto them to serve as stops for the joints, so they can hold their pose despite the bulk and weight of each piece. Each of these joints also seems to be made from a fairly dense, resilient material, which gives an improved durability to the figure.

The paint on Tartarus is also very nicely accomplished. The wrinkled skin areas were given a dark paint wash to bring out the texture, and a reddish hue was selected to shade the furry sections of the torso.

The hair on head and forearms was picked out in a very light gray color and also given a shading wash. The face has the more complex paint operations, sporting a three-color application for the eyes, and the interior of the mouth painted in a purplish pink color. Even the teeth seem to have some sort of shading applied to them.

The only accessory Tartarus comes with is his Gravity Hammer. The thing is positively huge and also quite heavy.

The shaft is very ornate and looks rather archaic in contrast to the hammerhead, which looks more technologically advanced.

At first I was worried about getting the figure to hold his weapon but, as it turns out, the hammerhead is removable, so the handle can slide in and out of the hands with no problem.

Tartarus is a really outstanding figure from a manufacturer I had lost faith with, but if the other Halo figures maintain this level of quality, I may light up a candle or two at the McFarlane shrine once again.

Errex Score: 99/100






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Category: Featured, HALO, Toy Reviews, Video Games

About the Author ()

I've been collecting action figures since the original Kenner Star Wars days. Nowadays, I still collect pretty much anything that catches my eye.

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