At the same time the GI Joe 25th Anniversary Collection was on its way to stores, the Sigma 6 line was wrapping up - which is actually pretty funny, since it was just a few years prior that the 3¾" line was cancelled to make way for Sigma 6 in the first place. But that doesn't mean the line went out with a whimper: Hasbro delivered some really nice figures at the end, like the GI Joe Land, Sea & Air three-pack.
A Toys Я Us exclusive,
the Land, Sea & Air three pack offers you, obviously, one figure specializing in each environment. The set is sold in an angled camouflage box that's divided into three sections to really showcase the individual figures - the tray has separate sections for land, sea and air - and the back has a big shot of the three Joes in action. It's a sharp presentation, even if it doesn't offer much in the way of biographical information.
All three figures in the set are new Sigma 6 versions of previous characters from the small line, and they're all built entirely from re-used pieces that have been mixed and matched.
Our "Land" specialist is Backblast,
who originally debuted in 1989. He was a fairly standard military guy, rather than a ninja or a spaceman or whatever other weirdos Hasbro was giving us that year, and the Sigma 6 version follows suit. He's wearing an olive and tan uniform, which looks only slightly unreal or "futuristic" compared to what soldiers wear today.
Backblast stands 9" tall, which suits a guy who would spend all his time muscling through rough terrain. The body is one that's actually been used quite a bit, starting back in 2005 with the first Sigma 6 version of
Roadblock Heavy Duty. The head is taken from Grand Slam, another figure that mostly used the Heavy Duty body, which means this is pretty much just a straight repaint of that figure. Well, okay, Grand Slam had different legs, so this is his head on Heavy Duty's body, and the whole thing is painted up in new colors.
The head reveals that whatever similarities the Real American Hero and Sigma 6 versions of Backblast
might have, they're not the same person. The 3¾" version had black hair (as evidenced by his visible mustache), while this version is a clean-cut, lantern-jawed blonde. Seriously, this dude looks like Captain America. Nice sculpt on the back of his head, though, with stubble from his "high and tight" haircut and a prominent scar on the back of his head - you can just imagine him being dragged out to a bar by his fellow recruits in boot camp, and getting cracked in the head with a bottle while trying to break up a bar fight
they got into with the townies. While he was drinking milk and listening to old Merle Haggard songs on the jukebox.
Backblast comes with a helmet (taken from Grand Slam), a "Switchfire" pistol and machine gun attachment (from Duke), a canteen and a convertible mortar/rocket launcher (both from Desert Gear Long Range). All the gear has gotten a green makeover to match Backblast's uniform, but is otherwise the same. The machine gun will still accommodate a bayonet - not included - and the launcher still has a flip-out handle and a detachable bipod. Overall, these are good accessories for a wilderness tracker.
From there, we move on into the "Sea" portion of our festivities, with Deep Six. Even casual Joe fans are sure to remember this 1984 intro as the guy from the cartoon who lived his entire life inside a giant diving suit. He was like a patriotic version of the boy in the bubble. The Sigma 6 version has slimmed down considerably, though, reporting for duty in a yellow and black wetsuit.
Deep Six stands 8¼" tall and is fairly thin: a swimmer need to be sleek and agile, so that's a nice choice. The majority of his body comes from Sea Ops Duke, which was also used for fellow Navy SEAL Wet-Suit, so you can assemble quite an impressive underwater infiltration unit if you have all three of them. The head, oddly enough, comes from Long Range.
The head doesn't really blend with the rest of the figure.
Long Range's looks were fairly distinctive, what with the tiny ponytail and the pointy sideburns. Yes, the skintone has been changed, and so has the color of his eyes, but it's still recognizably Long Range. It's doubly a shame, too, since Wet-Suit had a really nice head, with a hood that came up over the top and a few strands of wet hair plastered to his forehead. Repainting that
would have provided a nicely distinctive look for the figure. But you don't like the head? Simple solution: leave his helmet on.
Yes, Deep Six has a plethora of accessories, including a full-head diving mask (re-used from Wet-Suit). A pair of tubes connect the mask to the rebreather backpack (also from Wet-Suit), which can also be used as an underwater sled. Two medium-sized air tanks plug into it, as well. He is armed with a knife (from Long Range) and Sea Ops Duke's Switchfire pistol/harpoon gun. You can even remove his flippers (from Duke again) to reveal his little shower shoes.
And now, all that remains is the "Air" specialist, Barrel Roll. That's pretty cool, isn't it? That a character created after the line's rebirth (in 2003, specifically) was chosen to make the jump to the Sigma 6 line? Good for him! Since Barrel Roll was introduced with a glider, he hasn't been wildly reimagined for this set.
Barrel Roll is a skinny guy, which makes sense: if you're trusting your life to a back-mounted rocket pack, you want to make sure you're way below its maximum carry capacity. The figure is 8¼" tall, and based on the heroic version of Firefly. It may be hard to identify his origin at first, since the gray and black paint scheme is handled much differently than Firefly's original colors, but the pointy shoulders and the slats on his boots give it away. The hands come from Flint.
The head is a repainted Duke: he has the semi-spiky hair, the scar on his right cheek and a painted-on mustache. The 'stache is very... Freddy Mercury kind of look for him. Since we know that the original figure's face (and name) were based on Hasbro designer Dwight Stall, maybe Dwight's grown a mustache since then and this figure is an attempt to match it? Or maybe it's just a random paint app that means nothing.
Barrel Roll's name means nothing without some kind of air transport, and this one delivers.
His only weapon is a machine gun (also from Firefly), but he has the benefit of a repainted version of the jetpack that came with the hard-to-find "Duke with Jet Wings" from early 2006. The jetpack is a metallic gray with red, yellow and black highlights. The detailing on every inch of this thing is impressive, from the small machineguns on the wingtips to the pistons supporting the structure, from the turbines that provide lift to the rollcage that helps keep the passenger safe. The interior looks padded for comfort, and there are three removable bombs on each wing. A lever on the back allows you to position the wings out for flight, or down for storage. The figure also has Duke with Jet Wings's ass-protecting belt and the helmet that came with both DwJW and Paratrooper Duke, so you can hide his face if you don't like it.
The Land, Sea & Air set is a pretty good value: it runs about $30, and three Sigma Six figures would set you back at least that much. Getting the figures out of their plastic trays is a headache and a half (remember, the wings pop off the jetpack - that's the only way to get it out), but the scenic backdrops are cool and the packaging presents the toys nicely. Yes, the set is 100% repaint, but it's been handled so well that you would need to have a nigh-encyclopedic knowledge of Sigma 6 bodies and accessories to recognize where everything came from and be bothered by it. You should still be able to find this set at your local TRU, but numbers are dwindling, so act fast.