One of the things I look forward come summer, are the Summer Sales from various vendors in Mexico City. One such retailer is Blockbuster, which I thought was a rather unusual place to find toys, until a few weeks ago.
My latest find there was this set from McFarlane Toys, the Mongoose vehicle that comes with an ODST Rookie figure, painted in what they call “VISR Mode”. This VISR mode is an in-game visualization tool that allows the ODST players to identify friends or foes in their helmets HUD, at the cost of niceties like bright colors, thus both the vehicle and the rider are painted in fairly dark color schemes.
The Mongoose vehicle is basically a 4-wheeled ATV. I wish I knew more about recreational vehicles to offer more insight than that, but the toy looks nice and the style reminds me of the way the other human vehicles look in the videogames. It is basically a poorly armored, unarmed rig whose survival in a battlefield rests entirely on speed an maneuverability, according to the in-universe assessment of it’s capabilities.
The vehicle ships mostly assembled, with just the smoky windshield to be snapped in place. There are a few features listed on the box, one of which is the four free-rolling, solid rubber wheels, each nicely treaded and adding some much needed weight to the toy.
The handle bar swivels but it does really nothing to steer the Mongoose. It makes it easier to pose the driver, but I don’t think it’s something that should be displayed prominently on the box.
Another feature of the vehicle is a collapsible rear seat. This makes it possible to have a second figure riding along, firing a weapon or shouting his head off to “Watch out for those rocks…!”
The vehicle is painted in dark olive green, with a few patches of dark tan to simulate dust from the roads on the hull and the tires. There are thin bright green lines applied to simulate the VISR effect running over the edge plating and wheel hubs.
The Rookie figure included is a repaint of the individual Rookie figure released in Series 6, only this time he’s painted in much darker hues than those of the regular ODST uniform. And for those of you who are wondering, ODST stands for “Orbital Drop Shock Troopers”, the Halo Universe equivalent of those guys that jump out of perfectly good planes (or space ships, as the case may be) to kick some butt on the surface of any planet.
After exposing the set to fluorescent light while taking pictures of it, I noticed that the bright green lines glow in the dark on both the vehicle and the figure. My camera is not sensitive enough to pick up the glow, but it is fairly bright and steady.
The Rookie’s uniform is very detailed and has a fairly authentic layered feel to it. Most of the armor seems to be comprised of separate rubber pieces glued onto a basic bodysuit. Each piece of gear has very crisp details and has a nice matte finish, except for the visor on the helmet, which has a glossy coat.
Articulation for the Rookie is extensive, as the figure is touted to have over 26 moving parts. For all intents and purposes, the articulation count goes like this:
• Pegged hinge shoulders.
• Upper biceps swivel.
• Lower biceps swivel.
• Hinged elbows.
• Pegged hinge wrists.
• Floating torso.
• Swivel hips.
• Upper thigh swivel.
• Hinged knees.
• Upper calf swivel.
• Pegged hinge ankles.
Which, indeed, is a fairly impressive number of joints, even if some a rather redundant, like those on the upper arms. However, due to the character design, there are some rather heavy limitations, particularly on torso and lower legs.
This doesn’t mean that the Rookie can’t interact with the Mongoose, because he does fit in rather well, with a little bit of fidgeting; and he looks good riding the vehicle too, but this brings me to another point I want to share.
It is rather evident that the Mongoose vehicle was designed with the Spartan figures in mind because at best, the Rookie can grab the handlebars and rest his butt on the seat reasonably well, but there is no way for him to reach the footrests unless he was 1/2-inch taller, which coincidentally is the height difference between him and the average Spartan figure.
Overall, this is a fairly good set to have. The vehicle construction is rather simple, but the detailing is nice, and the included Rookie figure is a welcome variant. I only wish the set had also included some weaponry, either vehicle-mounted or as a sidearm for the driver, but the glow-in-the-dark gimmick is cool enough for me to justify the purchase.