Sprukits Level 2 Master Chief
Review by Rob
Many years ago, Bandai tried bringing their sensational Gunpla to American toy stores when Cartoon Network began showing “Mobile Report Gundam W” but they gave up due to the diminishing sales because customers discovered that they weren’t buying a completed toy but a model kit.
Flash forward to 2014, Bandai’s newest attempt to make model building in America relevant once again is with a universal brand of snap-together action figure model kits called “Sprukits.”
The line is made of a Three Tier skill level based on part count and sizes and labeling them as ‘poseable figural model kits’ rather than using the misleading “action figure” phrase. What’s nice is they are relatively inexpensive and priced according to their size.
Personally I find some added comfort with Bandai writing “Designed in Japan” into the Sprukits banner using the same font as they use for “GUNPLA” and this standard for quality isn’t just for show!
It is clear that Bandai is targeting all audience levels with the Sprukits model line as a whole.
By not requiring tools, paint or glue, the Sprukits’ ease of assembly is one if the line’s selling gimmicks in order not to alienate new builders but there is still room for creativity on an advanced level.
The runners are molded using thick sprues that connect almost perfectly flush to the injected model part to create an easily fractured fault line, allowing builders to complete a kit at a ‘snap’ of the wrist.
While this is fine for a novice builder to pick up and enjoy, I did notice that this injection process can lead to parts shearing off and gouging if snapped off in the wrong direction.
Although Bandai wants to make model building easy without tools, I still felt more comfortable working on this model the old fashioned way with a pair of fine tipped cutters and an x-acto knife to cut away the remaining nub marks.
In some areas, the parts were easily severed from their sprues with just a clean swipe of the blade.
While the brand name makes it easier for Bandai to distribute their “LBX” series and “Poke’Mon” plastic models, Sprukits also introduce models based on popular franchises from the United States such as DC Comics and the “Halo” video game starting with Master Chief John-117 in his MJOLNIR powered armor.
Bandai’s Sprukits Level 2 Master Chief John-117 model kit is based on the character’s model from the X-box 360 game “Halo 4,” the underestimated smash hit return to the franchise in the “Forerunner Saga” continuing on the X-Box One, developed by Microsoft Game Studios’ 343 Industries (the rebranded name taken by former Bungie staff members who developed the ‘Halo’ series).
“If we can just get back to Earth, and find Halsey. She can fix this…”
Halo 4 picks up after the third game’s shocking ‘Legendary’ ending.
With the end of the Covenant-Human War and destruction of the source of the Halo array; the “Ark,” the Master Chief and his A.I. counterpart Cortana are lost in space aboard the damaged ship ’Forward Unto Dawn.’ Drifting at the edge of the galaxy for nearly four years, the ship is drawn towards a mysterious, shielded planet called “Requiem” once belonging to the mysterious alien race known as the “Forerunners.”
Surrounded by a fleet of the religious fanatics of the now broken Covenant, the planet itself contains the threat of the ancient Forerunner army known as the Prometheans commanded by the Didact, a Forerunner guardian with a hatred for Humanity who has been locked away at the planet’s core for millennia.
The Chief’s greatest struggle however is Cortana who begins experiencing the phases of Rampancy; signifying the end of her ‘natural’ life cycle and further motivating the Chief to escape from Requiem and return to Earth before the Didact.
“How do I say Halo Plastic Models? … Halopla!”
The Sprukits Level 2 model kit has its part count listed right on the box with 109 injection molded parts on three runners and one polycap set.
The model is molded in the Chief’s two primary colors, drab green and dull gray.
As proof that Bandai isn’t taking the decal-shortcut with this model, the helmet visor is molded in a metallic injection orange plastic.
Rather than a traditional booklet construction manual, the Sprukits Master Chief uses a fold out poster the size of a world map with the assembly guide on the back like some of Bandai’s earlier models used to have. Even though the parts are mostly self-explanatory and numerically labeled in regular model kit fashion, each section of the model’s runners are labeled according to what part of the body they relate to.
One thing that bothered me was the choice to limit its injection colors to the bare minimum, which turned this from a quick ‘weekend project’ into another ‘couple of weeks’ build.
… This isn’t the first time I’ve had this happen.
According to the Chief’s digital model, the MJOLNIR armor alone has two shades of green to it.
For this, I made a mixture of Testors Model Master Acryl paints: Flat Black, Gloss Green, and Dark Green.
The skin layer of the armor is also different from the injection color, and so I painted it entirely with a mix of flat black and gunmetal paint, and made touch ups with Engine Gray.
The amount of surface detailing on the Master Chief model is worth the time to paint and panel line with Gundammarkers.
Building mine, I alternated between GM02 (Gray) and GM03 (Brown) Gundammarkers to give the armor a more worn look than typical black ink.
One of the defining details of the model is the scar across the Chief’s chest plate.
While it first appeared in Halo 3, the origin of the scar has never been properly explained although it is implied to be battle damage. To me, I’ve always thought of it as the result of pressing a weapon stock into his chest for the long time period.
I painted it with silver acrylic and used black, brown, and gray Gundammarkers that I washed into the rippled metal of the armor.
Once completed, the overall height of the model is 5 inches tall.
Comparable to a 1:144 scale model from that ‘other’ line of plastic model kits Bandai produces.
With its design origins in Japan, the model shares much in common with Gunpla.
The model’s points of articulation are mostly ball and socket joint connections to give the Chief a more natural level of movement from his head to his boots.
The shoulder uses a clavicle-hinge polycap joint to bring the arms across the chest to better handling and aiming the weapons.
The legs have an excellent range of movement with a double jointed knee and ankle, and the model has a swiveling hip assembly that gives the legs more clearance around the waist.
“She said that to me once, about being a machine.”
Although the model looks great, the one thing I didn’t like is how some of its joints look too robotic.
This is mostly influenced by the design of the elbow joint and the way the shoulder joint looks from different angles.
“Yes sir. I need a weapon…”
The Master Chief comes with the game’s default weapon pair: the MA5D Assault Rifle and M6H Magnum. Or as I like to call it, the only weapons I’ll ever need besides the Sniper Rifle and a Warthog.
The weapons are detailed nicely but the barrel of the assault rifle is just a capped flat end.
To make it look more authentic, I tapped the barrel with my pin vice.
It was a little risky, but I think my effort really makes a difference.
Both weapons are molded in the body’s gray plastic, but their accurate colors are much more detailed.
Rather than using enamels, I used acrylic metallic colors mixed with gray paints.
The body of the Assault Rifle is a mixture of aluminum and gunship gray, while the top portion is a three way mixture of silver, gunship gray, and light gray.
I used this color mixture again for the pistol, with a little black paint for the weapon’s grip.
The model comes with parts that connect the weapons to the Master Chief’s body; a clip for the pistol to mount onto the hip and a post to sling the Assault Rifle onto his back.
The model has two paired sets of hands and one open left palm designed for cradling either of the weapons.
Even though “Dual Wielding” wasn’t a gamplay feature in Halo 4, the Master Chief comes with a left hand molded to grip the weapons!
“Do not underestimate them, most of all, do not underestimate Him.”
If not for the idea of the Sprukits collection, I had been excited to see Halo expand as model kits.
Call it my preferential attitude of anything in plastic, but after years of bad action figures from the series I was more than happy to see how well Bandai is making models.
Even with its need for paint, the ease of assembly makes Bandai’s Sprukits Master Chief a great model kit to introduce fans of the game to model building.
The Level 2 model for me was only a primer for the next level to come…
..and now for something everyone has wondered about... What does Master Chief look like without his helmet!
|Posted 30 July, 2015 - 23:19 by Rob|