One of the most striking aspects of McFarlane’s Halo: Reach line (apart from the scale change, that is) is the inclusion of female Spartan’s to the UNSC ranks. Of course, in the novels published it had been assumed that both male and female Spartans used the same armor, thus making them virtually undistinguishable from one another on the battlefield, but for the Halo: Reach game Bungie decided to design a female specific version of the Mjölnir armor.
The basic female Mjölnir armor is noticeably smaller and slenderer than the male set, but it still retains all the design elements that identify the wearer as a Spartan-II soldier. About the only thing that emphasizes this is a female is that the waist tapers slightly towards the ribcage, and the bosom looks slightly larger, comparatively, although the total mass is lower than that of male Spartans.
The Air Assault armor is a lighter variant designed for use by fighter pilots, and as such it lacks the bulky shoulder plates found on the more combat-intensive sets, and as a result the overall look is rather simple, even thought he sculpted detail is as sharp as ever and the figure construction is solid.
One of the advantages of this leaner design is that articulation has a much better range, and this female Spartan has a lot of joints, starting with:
• Pegged hinge shoulders.
• Hinged elbows with swivels above and below the joint.
• Hinged wrists with swivels above and below the joint.
• Barbell mounted torso.
• Swivel hips.
• Barbell mounted upper thighs.
• Pegged hinge knees.
• Hinged ankles with swivels above and below the joint.
This is almost the exact same articulation spread found on the male Spartan figures, although this figure lacks the mid-foot articulation oe joint. Despite this, the Air Assault Spartan the balance is noticeably better as her center of gravity is lower, making for an easier time posing her in various stances.
Now, this Air Assault Spartan comes painted in pink, or “rose”, as they call it on the McFarlane website. Leaving aside the reasons why real-life armies don’t use that color for their gear and uniforms, the paintjob on this figure is a prime example of why was it so hard for me to buy into the line at first.
You’ll see the overall paint application is average at best. There is some slop and stray paint marks, mainly where the black under suit and the armor plates meet, although its not too different from what we saw in the Halo 3 figures.
However, the Spartans in Halo: Reach are meant to show a lot more wear and tear, and this is where things start to go downhill, because the weathering techniques used in this figure don’t work all that well when you up the scale of your figures, or apply them over such a light base color as “rose”.
The overall look of these pink Spartans is fairly sloppy due to the lack of shading and the rather heavy dry brushing applied with a dark gunmetal color to simulate scratches on the outer armor plates. In the end it took a 30% Off discount to get me to buy one of these, otherwise I’d still be looking for a paintjob that I could tolerate.
As for accessories, this female Spartan comes armed with a standard UNSC assault rifle and a fragmentation grenade. The grenade can be attached to any of the pair of pegs sculpted at the back of her belt piece and the assault rifle comes with a detachable round pivot that fits a peg hole at her back.
In the end, this is a very well designed figure paired with a rather disappointing paint job, but I still like the variety it adds to my Halo: Reach collection.