Sigma 6 Long Range
Commando and Soldier

J. Himbaugh is back with another Sigma 6 review - take it away, J!

J. Himebaugh, here for another review of some great figures. I was pretty wary of the Sigma 6 line at first, but then I took a chance on a couple of choice figures. I feel in love with them as soon as I got them out of the package. Tonight I’ll review two versions of the Sigma’s sniper, Long Range. The first version is the “Commando” version, which I’ll refer to as the “Sniper” version. The second is the “Soldier” version whose package boasts Desert Ops Gear, so I’ll refer to him as the “Desert Ops” version.
Now onto the review.

Packaging - Sniper ****; Desert Ops *** ½
Anyone familiar with the Sigma 6 line is familiar with their unique packaging. Being a “Commando” figure means the Sniper’s packaging turns into a nifty storage case for his accessories (most of them anyway, more on that topic later.)
Being a “Soldier” figure means our friend Desert Ops losses out on the nifty carrying case, but still has decent sturdy packaging. With my Sigmas I tear into them as soon as I can anyway. I’m not a real big fan of the color scheme used on the soldier figures, but it is eye catching.
Though the color scheme on the front is not to my liking, the back of both figures has a great, fairly detailed File card on the back, giving you some idea of who the character is. Having never heard of the character before this gives you great insight to where they fit in on your Sigma team. In case the codename “Long Range” didn’t give it away, the File Card reveals that our friend Long Range is the team Marksman. It’s the little extras like this that make these figures, and even their packaging so great.

Sculpting - ***1/2
If you’ll notice, there’s only one score for both figures. That’s because they feature identical body sculpts. The Sigma’s all sport the same general body type, and you can even see some that have the same parts. But, it’s the balance between uniform and personalization that holds so much of the charm in these figures. The old 3 ¾” figures, although I had many of them, never felt like a cohesive team. It never made sense to see a guy in all-out cold weather arctic gear, right along side a teammate in full jungle camo, and another in a Space Suit. The Sigma’s still have a bit of this problem, but the basic design elements feel much more like a specialized, Covert-Ops TEAM!
Now, I mentioned the sported identical body sculpts, but they each sport a unique head sculpt. While close, there are noticeable differences in the two head sculpts. The Desert Ops version has different expression than the Sniper, though both have a hint of a confident cockeyed smile, indicative of a predator that’s cornered his prey and is waiting for the perfect moment to strike. The perfect sniper confidence.

Paint - ***
While these figures feature identical sculpts, it’s their paint ops that set these two apart. The Sniper features a simple black and gray color-scheme, similar to most of the other Sigmas. With the same black, and gray base, the Desert Ops versions also sports some nice tan highlights, which suggest the light colored Desert Campaign Fatigues worn by the modern military.

Both figures have high quality mass market paint applications. A little of that familiar slop between colors, but, overall pretty good. The faces are the worst for slop and color bleeding, so keep a close eye on those faces.

Articulation - ****
If your familiar with the Sigma 6 series, you know how well these two figures are articulated. Sigma 6 is an articulation junkies dream. Not only are these figures highly poseable; with nice, tight joints; the articulation and sculpt work incredibly well with one another.

Long Range does have some trouble with some of those more exacting sniper poses, but as you can tell from the photos, you can get some really great approximations.

It's worth noting that while the articulation is great, the wrists are pin joints, and the one pose you really need; the hand gun broken-wrist; you can’t get.

Accessories - Sniper ****; Desert Ops *** ½
The Sniper version is considered the “Commando” figure, and comes with a PLETHORA of goodies. (Plethora means a whole fricken lot of cool accessories.)
Sniper Long Range, in addition to his carrying case includes a sniper rifle, ammunition clip, range finder, grenade launcher (that attaches to the sniper rifle), two interchangeable barrels for the rifle, a bipod for the rifle, and a soft-goods overcoat.

The Desert Ops version is considered a “Soldier” figure, so he comes with “less” accessories. His big draw is his mortar launcher, which has two modes; over the shoulder, and standing mode. He also comes with a campaign soft cover, a canteen, a soft-goods tan kerchief (which I suppose is removable by taking it off over his head, though I wouldn’t try it.) a gun belt, and a pearl handled revolver.
A note about the revolver; according to the back of his packaging the revolver is a family heirloom. This makes sense, because especially in military families, soldiers are known for carrying such items and trinkets as good luck charms. Though they don’t usually modify them.

The reason I say this is because the last accessory the Sniper comes with appears to be a double barreled modification of the revolver, which according to the packaging dates back to 1875. The revolver is nicely sculpted, and highly accurate, though this is where the wrist articulation hurts, since he cannot really aim or shoot it accurately without breaking his wrist. (By breaking his wrist I’m referring to the anatomical term for wrist movement, not physically breaking it. Don’t break your toys.)

The scale on the guns is fairly accurate, though a little oversized. If it where in scale, the sniper rifle is over six feet long, though real high-powered long range sniper rifles can be over seven feet long. Though slightly oversized, these weapons aren’t nearly as bad as those that came with the old 3 ¾” RAH Joes, whose weapons were much more in scale with the 5” and 6” figures of the day.

One complaint on the Sniper and his accessories. His card back claims he is a master of concealment, and that even the most carefully trained eye cannot spot him. In real life, snipers look like walking bushes, and the rifle is usually wrapped in layers of burlap, and weeds. Not that his uniform is bad, but it is a little obvious.
Lastly, both versions come with the Sigma Standard dog tags. I love this little accessory. It’s a nice little extra, (lagniappe, as you would say in Creole) that they didn’t have to include, but is an excellent throw back to the old 1/12th scale Joes.

Action Feature - ****
I don’t like action features, but if you’re going to have them this is the way to do it. First off, the action features have nothing to do with the figure itself.
The grenade launcher attaches to the Sniper's riffle, and features a "missile launching action".

As I said earlier, the mortar launcher has two modes (and instructions on how to change between them. Not necessary but a nice touch.) the launching mechanism is the same for both modes, and these actually pack quite a punch. I was looking over the toy, accidentally found the launching mechanism, and was surprised to see the missile fly half-way across the room; at an upward angle no less.

The sniper rifle has one more action feature. If you pull the bolt back on the rifle, it "cocks" the "firing" mechanism. There is a slider switch on the back, that depending whether you slide it forwards or backwards triggers "full-automatic" or "single-shot" mode. I should point out this a sound only feature, nothing is actually fired.

Fun Factor - ****
I've had these guys for about two to three weeks now, and can't stop playing with them. I'm also a little OCD when it comes to toys and outside. I like my toys to stay in good condition. I still have Tonka trucks from when I was 5 years old that look immaculate. The fact that I have been crawling through the bushes hunting imaginary foes, at my age, is incredible. As soon as I bought and opened my first Sigma I was hooked.
Any kid would love these guys. And they're ten thousand times more durable then the RAH my youth.

Value - Desert Ops *** 1/2, Sniper ***
This is one category in which the Desert Ops version outshines his Sniper counterpart. For the Desert Ops "Soldier" version you'll wind up paying around $10. The Sniper "Commando" version will cost you about $15. Both come with awesome accessories, and for large well made, well painted, well sculpted figure in today’s toy market is something. That your getting mass-market toys at prices comparable and cheaper then specialty market figures with less quality is something. It's been said that the "Commando" figures would be more reasonably priced at around $12 or $13, and I'm inclined to agree.

Things to Watch Out For – 
The biggest issue I noticed with these figures, is problems with their paint apps, especially around the facial areas. Fortunately, the packaging shows off the figure very nicely, and these should be easy to spot any major flaws on.
Another problem that I've encountered with all of my Sigmas is joint issues. Most have really tight joints, and some are excessively tight, given that if to much pressure is applied they might break. A few have started to weaken just a little bit, and over time with excessive play, could conceivably become loose. Though I would much rather have excessively tight joints, than excessively loose ones.

Overall - ****
I'm feeling generous right now so I'm going to go ahead and give both these figures the perfect four stars. These figures are such a stand out from most of what's out there in the mass market field, that they deserve special recognition. While no where near the quality of a Sideshow or Takara figure, they're a small fraction of the price. To compare them would be like comparing a AA team to the Yankees. Of course by comparison the Yankees will look far better, (Though I myself am a Cubs Fan.) but these fish swim in different ponds.

Both these figures are excellent and would love to hang out with your other Sigmas. (Which I know you have.)

I've gone back and forth a dozen times over which version to recommend. Both figures are excellent, and have both their good and bad points. After careful consideration, I would recommend the Desert Ops version over the Sniper version for the no main other reason than the $5 savings. Really though it's you're choice in the end to which version you prefer. And, as you can tell I couldn't decide and had to get both.

As I previously stated, I feel in love with this line after my first figure, Which, yes , was in fact Firefly. These are the GI Joes I wish I'd had in my youth. Though you know the price point is going to be a factor for or younger collectors, especially troop building figures, like the Cobra B.A.T. that I've yet to see anywhere. Back in the RAH days, at $3 a pop, it was easy to get a so-so character, but now that they're at least 3 times as much (Though a million times better in quality) people will be more selective about which Joes they acquire.

That’s about enough rambling from me. So to sum it all up, Sigma 6 is poised to be the next Marvel Legends. If you didn't get it already, buy these figures. (Or at least one of them.) 

Packaging- Sniper ****; Desert Ops *** ½
Sculpting- *** ½
Paint- ***
Articulation- ****
Accessories- Sniper ****; Desert Ops *** ½
Action Feature- ****
Fun Factor- ****
Value- Desert Ops *** 1/2, Sniper ***
Overall- ****

Where to Buy:
I got mine at Wal-Mart, and I’ve seen them at other Brick and Mortars including Target, and of course they’re over priced at K-Mart. They also seem to be pretty common on-line. The Sniper version is older and getting harder to find, though there is an abundance of the Desert Ops figures on the shelf. Though, they are moving so don’t wait too long. These are not figures destined for the Clearance Aisle.

Figure from the collection of J. Himbaugh.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour