ODST Soldier Buck

August 12, 2011 | By More


One thing you’ll notice from the early series of the Halo figures made by McFarlane Toys, is that the bulk of them is comprised of Spartan variants, mixed in with a few of the more representative Covenant warriors. That is fine, really, but I always felt it needed some base-line human characters to serve as a reference point for the actual size of both the Spartan supersoldiers and the invading aliens.


Eventually, they made action figures of Sgt. Avery Johnson and a generic UNSC marine, but the floodgates really opened with the release of the Halo 3: ODST game, where the hero is a newly minted Orbital Drop Shock Trooper known simply as “The Rookie”.


In the early missions of the game, the player has to find the scattered members of his squad, one of which is ODST Soldier Buck. His full name and rank is actually Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck, and he got released as an action figure in Series 8 from the Halo 3: ODST collection.


Not having really played the game, I am not entirely familiar with his relevance to the Halo mythos, but a quick Wikipedia look tells me that actor Nathan Fillion (from Firefly and Castle fame) provided the voice for the game, as well as a loose likeness for the digital character model.


Buck seems to share the basic ODST body as the Rookie, although some of the extra gear and armor pieces are slightly different. The level of detail is high and has that futuristic, but not entirely implausible aesthetic I like.


The head sculpt is good, although the likeness is a bit too plump for Nathan Fillion. The really impressive thing about the face is the paintjob though. There is some subtle color variation for the lips and cheeks, complemented by a very well painted five o’clock stubble.


The rest of the uniform is painted in gray and black with a few urban camouflage patterns applied on some of the plates and other pieces of gear, and it looks quite striking.


Articulation is also the same as the Rookie, consisting in:


Barbell mounted neck.

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.


Of course, the range limitations in the lower limbs are also the same, but it’s still enough to squeeze a fairly good number of poses out of Buck, even though the joints feel a little bit looser.


Buck comes armed with an assault rifle and a removable helmet, which is a first for human characters in this line although several of the alien figures had had them before. There is one catch though.


The first time you put the helmet on Buck, you’ll notice it fits very snugly. So much in fact, that when you try to remove it, the head will come off inside of the helmet. Every time.


This happens because the neck is mounted on a barbell, with one ball joint fitting inside the base of the neck with the other end going into the base of the skull. Problem is, the assembly sequence at the factory goes probably like this:


Step 1. – Insert lower ball onto neck base.

Step 2. – Insert upper ball into the head.


Which in paper looks simple enough but the thing is, when Step 2 comes around, the whole barbell gets pushed further into the torso, leaving not enough room for the upper ball to go entirely into the head, thus failing to provide enough friction to mantaint the head connected when you pull off the helmet.


The fix is really simple though. All you have to do is dip the figure, neck first, into a cup of hot water, let it rest for a few seconds and then remove the barbell using pliers or something similar. Then you fit the barbell first into the head and then back into the torso. Voila! Buck is headless no more, and the helmet can be removed normally without ever worrying about the Decapitating Helmet Syndrome.


Even if the fix is almost trivial in it’s simplicity, most people will have flashbacks of the time when McFarlane figures used to break as they were pulled out of the package, if they are old enough, or will be undeservedly frustrated. Regardless, Buck is a pretty solid figure and certainly deserves a chance to be part of your collection.

Errex Score: 85/100

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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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