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Snake-Eyes

GI Joe Sigma 6
by Monkey Boy

When Hasbro recently announced its timeless 3¾" GI Joe action figure line would be put on hiatus while they focused on the more kid-friendly, anime-inspired "Sigma 6" franchise, Joe fans went ballistic. And I'll be the first to admit, I was right there with them.

Snake-Eyes spent his youth studying with masters of over thirty martial arts forms. He began his covert ops work in a mainstream intelligence division and was quickly spotted because of his mastery of ninja disciplines and his uncanny ability to move undetected. He was the most sought after operative for missions that required someone who could infiltrate secured areas that no one else had ever been able to access. During one mission, he used this specific knowledge to join a powerful ninja security force and get inside the compound of a deadly gang. He was chosen for the Sigma 6 team for his superior martial arts skills and knowledge of ninja organizations.

The first photos we saw of the Sigma 6 line were less than impressive, and I was sad to see the 3¾" line disappear. However, Hasbro has made a huge turnaround and surprised fans by keeping the classic scale going on their website through a "Direct to Consumer" program. Then came the next surprise: Sigma 6 doesn't suck! In fact, if Snake-Eyes is any indicator, it's the exact opposite of suck.

Everybody's favorite silent commando/ninja good-guy-who-looks-like-a-bad-guy is fittingly in the first series of Sigma 6, and he's not looking half bad. I'm fairly certain this is the first Snake-Eyes figure to show any skin; his visor(s) are removable and his barenaked eyes (as well as the skin around them) is visible beneath. While we don't see much, we can tell he's rockin' some heavy scars.

His proportions are exaggerated and angular, I suppose what some would call "anime-styled" but it fits SE pretty well. Part of his outfit consists of some soft elastic straps that wrap around his torso and shoulders, and they're kept on with remarkably tiny functional clips. Scattered across his body are small holes where various accessories can clip onto his person. You'll find four on his back, one on his chest, two on each forearm and one on each bicep, one on each thigh and two on each calf. There's also an insanely cool little flip-up communicator on his wrist.

The paint is simple but effective. He's mostly dull gray with dull green accents, with some flashy neon green on his chest logo as well as some of the accessories. Much better than, say, the 1991 Snake-Eyes with his pink weapons. His eyes are gray and painted rather nicely, and there's no bleed or smudging anywhere. There's not a lot to say, but that's not really a bad thing.

Articulation is wonderful and as far as I can tell, it's all balljoints except for the waist. Or, at least, peg and hinge combo joints, which act basically the same. The neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, hips, knees, and ankles all have the balljoints, while the waist is a standard peg joint. The range of motion is superior, but the joints are very tight. However, they don't seem likely to break; in fact the tightness of the joints feels like a testament to the figure's durability. I imagine I'll be thankful for this in the future when half of my Marvel Legends are nothing more than ragdolls.

The real draw for this guy, though, is accessories. It's been said that, like Jazwares' Mortal Kombat line, these will be offered in two formats: "deluxe" and "standard" versions. The standard (Soldier) versions should cost less, but so far only the deluxes (Commando) have been spotted, and let me just say they are worth every penny.

Snake-Eyes comes with two swords that can combine to form a double-bladed staff and also have hinged handles that allow the swords to be used as tonfa-style bladed weapons. These fit into two sheaths with pegs that allow them to fit into the holes on SE's body. SE also has his trusty Uzi. It not only has a removable ammo clip, but a peg just like the sheaths. He's also got a dagger with a sheath that features the same elastic-strap-and-clip combo that SE features on his upper body. The dagger sheath wraps fairly easily around either of SE's thighs. He also has two suction cups with handles that allow him to stick to walls, as well as a "whip star". It's a plastic circle with retractable blades that features a very powerful magnet that allows it to stick to walls. There's a coil of string wrapped around one of its ends, and you can wrap that string around the included "zipline bar" and SE can hang from damn near anything, as long as it's metal.

Last, but certainly not least, SE comes with three removable visors: his classic medieval look, some night-vision goggles, and a gas mask. The latter two have clear green lenses that allow SE's eyes to show through.

The "Commando" figures come in some nifty packaging that has angular plastic caps on the top and bottom. Pop them off and fit them together and you have a footlocker to store all of SE's goodies when you're not using them. Oh, and he's also got a real metal dog tag with the Sigma 6 logo on one side.

Whew! Got all that? I can honestly say that this guy is without a doubt one of the most, if not the most, versatile action figure I have ever owned. If you can get past the cartoony styling, and get over the fact that these are not the GI Joes you grew up with, you'll realize that this is a damn fine figure that has had a hell of a lot of work put into it. It's durable, looks cool, and is a heck of a lot of fun to play with.

-- 10/21/05


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