GI JOE SIgma 6: Tunnel Rat by Hasbro

I’m pressing on with this whole GI JOE thing on Fridays this Summer as I work my way through a box of Sigma 6 figures sprinkled with some 25th and 50th Anniversary stuff I never got around to looking at. I had so much fun playing with Snake Eyes last Friday that I decided to knock out another S6 figure and today it’s Tunnel Rat. There’s no packaged shot, so let’s get right to the figure…


And here he is! Tunnel Rat is certainly no newcomer to the JOE team, but this S6 version of the character is a pretty big departure to what I’m used to. And that’s OK, because this line is all about new directions. Can I tell you right now how freaking terrified I am at the very concept of Tunnel Rat’s job. I’m not talking so much about the explosive ordinance disposal, although that’s pretty scary on its own. No, I mean the going through enemy tunnels shit. If you want some great nightmare fuel get yourself a copy of The Tunnels of Cu Chi. Holy shit! What? Oh yeah, back to the figure.


TR features the standard buck that this line uses for the slighter built characters. It’s the same we saw for Snake Eyes only with orange highlights and a new pair of sculpted boots. The lean body works well as he has has to snake his way through some tight spots. He also has an equipment harness, which is a combination of elastic and plastic and buckles around his chest and waist. There are peg holes galore on both the body and the harness so you can stick accessories all over him.



Since it’s the same body as Snake Eyes you also get the cool flip up arm computer. I love this thing!



I like the head sculpt a lot. The features are particularly well defined, especially the nose and mouth and ears. The paint for the eyes and eyebrows is super crisp. He has a skull cap and a pair of goggles with an elastic strap, which can be worn up on his forehead, down around his neck, or over his eyes. Naturally, you also get the standard issue metal dog tag on chain for around his neck.


Tunnel Rat features the same articulation as Snake Eyes, which means a ton of rotating hinges. You get them in his shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. He can swivel at the waist and you get ball joints in the torso and neck. As usual, the joints are strong and satisfying and the figure is wonderfully durable.



GEAR!!! I love gear and weapons and accessories! Sigma 6 is a line that delivers and Tunnel Rat is no exception. The biggest showpiece in his collection is his sled-backpack. This thing clips onto his harness and while it’s fairly large and bulky it isn’t unreasonable as a backpack. I dig how the two snake lights angle up on his shoulders making them useful in both modes.


When you take it off of him and extend out the lower wheels it becomes a sled similar to the creepers that mechanics use. He can use this to inch his way through tunnels or perhaps under explosive devices. Pretty neat.



Next up, he has this totally bitchin butterfly knife that really works. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these included with an action figure before. It’s such a cool piece and I could imagine him using it to pry plates off of bomb casings, cut wires, or just fight with when he runs out of ammo.



Grenades! Tunnel Rat comes with two grenades with pegs that allow them to be held on various parts of his body. These include some neon green paint that highlights most of his gear.



And then we get to his guns. For starters, he has an automatic weapon with a peg so he can wear it on his hip or on his back. The tiny magazine is even removable. The gun works really well with the figure’s articulation. You can get all sorts of great poses out of him with it.




And lastly, there’s his assault rifle. Again, some of the detail on this piece is picked out with neon green paint, which I think looks rather cool. Maybe it’s designed so he can find it in the dark. It includes a strap so you can sling it on his shoulder or across his back. Surpringly, the magazine does not come out. Weird that they would make that a feature on the tiny gun and not the larger weapon.



So yeah… Tunnel Rat is all sorts of awesome. The sheer playability of his articulation combined with all that neat gear make him so much fun to pick up and so hard to put down. Even for a figure that shares almost an entire buck, he feels so unique and he’s loaded with personality. After a couple years of not having him, it’s damn good to welcome him back to the collection.

GI JOE SIgma 6: Snake Eyes by Hasbro

I realize that I’m at odds with a lot of JOE fans when I say that my love of Snake Eyes diminished the more the franchise went on. By the time I set toys aside for a while in the 90’s I had a bad case of Snake Eyes fatigue. The simple Commando that I knew and loved turned into some kind of uber-ninja. I won’t hold that against him as I check out the Sigma 6 version of the character, because I absolutely love this figure, which is probably evidenced by how long today’s entry wound up running and the fact that I couldn’t stop taking pictures.


I’ve got no packaged shot, but now is as good a time as any to point out that the early figures in this series used plastic tops and bottoms for the blister cards and you could assemble these into a cool foot locker to keep the accessories. They had foam inserts to keep everything neat, but with a lot of the figures you had to gut out the foam inserts if you wanted to get all the accessories in there. It was always an impossible decision for me. As my collection grew, these began to take up a lot of room, but they also worked well as risers for displaying rows of figures behind others. This one is missing one of the locks and the foam is gone, but at least I can get all of Snake Eyes’ shit in there.



And here he is… Snake Eyes is perfectly suited to a line like Sigma 6, which focuses on accessories and the creative ways in which they can interact with the figure. Taken on his own, Snake Eyes is about as simple a figure as you can get. He sports the angular and highly stylized aesthetic of the line with what looks like a hi-tech armored Ninja suit. His outfit is black with olive green accents. There’s some really nice texturing on some areas of the suit and he is covered with ports to peg in accessories. It’s taken right out of the old Centurions action figure line and I love it! Snake Eyes also sports a really cool set of soft goods web gear with shoulder pads and working buckles and the usual metal dog tag.



One of my favorite little touches on this figure is the pop up computer on his left arm. I forgot all about this feature until it happened to pop open while I was playing with him. So damn cool!





The portrait shows only a pair of rather large anime-style eyes with what looks like a hint of some creepy scarring. Frankly, I find unmasked Snake Eyes rather unsettling, but thankfully we can remedy that. You have three display options with Snake Eyes’ mask to cover up those creepy peepers. You get his traditional segmented visor, in this case painted silver. He also comes with a set of night vision goggles and a gas mask with a complete face shield. OK, the gas mask actually magnifies his scary eyes, so… nope. All three pieces fit the figure’s head quite well and will usually remain in place while I play around with him. s6eyes14



Articulation consists of the usual medley of rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. You get a swivel at the waist and ball joints in the torso and neck. The joints all feel so wonderfully chunky and strong and he just invites you to play around with him and see what he can do. This must have been a great line for kids because the figures are very nearly indestructible.





Let’s talk gear! For starters, Snake Eyes comes with no less than three blades: One short and two longer swords, all three of which come in plastic scabbards. The shorter weapon’s scabbard has an elastic strap to go around the figure’s leg, while the other two have pegs so you can put them on his hips or on his back. The pommels of the swords are also socket-ed so you can join either two swords together or the sword and the dagger to make a bitchin’ double bladed pole arm. Sweet!



Snake Eyes also comes with his trademark Uzi. It’s gray and black and sports some really nice sculpted detail. There’s a peg to attach it to the figure and the magazine is removable with a tiny painted bullet at the top.




You also get a plethora of other weird gear. There’s a set of grip bars for a zip-line and two giant suction cups for him to climb walls with.
And then there’s this crazy-ass thing. It’s like a giant yo-yo of death. It has retractable blades, but it’s so damn big, it isn’t of much use to me. There aren’t many accessories in this line that I have no use for, but Snake Eye’s yo-yo is one of them and it’s going into the dreaded Tote of Forgotten Accessories.



Snake Eyes was one of those figures that I lost in the closet flood several years back. In fact, I believe he may have been the first figure I picked up in this line. While there are plenty of figures in S6 that have more interesting designs and more complex weapons, I’d dare say that if you were only going to get one figure to see what this line is all about that one should probably be Snake Eyes. He tells you all there is to know about the spirit of Sigma 6 and he is an absolute blast to play with. Naturally, I’m very happy to have him back in my collection. He’s a super fun figure that’t truly hard to put down. Now all I need to do is replace my Storm Shadow so I have someone for him to fight again… And maybe that Ninja Cycle… And a few of the other Sigma 6 versions of Snake Eyes…

GI JOE Sigma 6: Lockdown by Hasbro

It was about five years ago that I lost three banker boxes of toys to a minor flood in one of my closets. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had noticed earlier, but by the time I did the boxes and contents had mold damage and everything had to go. Among these boxes were the two that housed my entire collection of Sigma 6 figures. It was a sad day. I’ve finally begun not only replacing the ones I’ve lost, but picking up some that I never had that brings me to this week’s GI JOE content. Let’s check out Lockdown…



I’ve got no packaged shot, so let’s get right to the figure, because this guy is one of my absolute favorites, and I’m going to try really hard to not say that in every S6 Feature that I do. While many of the JOES of S6 were re-imagined versions of what we all knew and loved, I believe SWAT officer Lockdown was a brand new character. I don’t recall him ever appearing in the cartoon and he was a rather late release in the line. It was a time when Hasbro was really exploring some great possibilities with this scale and format, but they also unfortunately discontinued the cool foot locker aspect of the packaging. Ah well, those things took up a lot of space anyway. Also, the Centurians-style peg system that let you attach stuff all over the figure seemed to take a backseat to the sculpts.


The angular style and chunky proportions of these figures always reminded me a bit of Kenner’s Small Soldiers figures. It takes some getting used to and in truth it wasn’t until I had one of these figures in hand to play with that they really won me over. But despite the super stylized design, the sculpt on this guy is wonderfully detailed. The uniform includes folds, buttons, pouches, and belts. The blue and black color scheme is simple, but effective. And as with all of these guys, Lockdown features a metal dog tag on a chain around his neck.


The head sculpt is loaded with personality and features a pair of permanent sculpted sunglasses. This guy looks like one tough customer. As much as I dig it, I will probably never display this figure without his kick ass helmet. It fits over the head beautifully and looks so great on him. OK, maybe I’ll display him holding the helmet in the crook of his elbow because that looks pretty great too.



A huge part of Sigma 6’s appeal is the articulation and Lockdown doesn’t disappoint. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and knees. There are swivels at the tops of the boots and hinges in the ankles. Lockdown can swivel at the waist and he has ball joints in the torso and neck. What’s even better is that every one of these joints is tight and effective making this figure crazy fun to play with. Also, the chunky boats and great balance makes Lockdown really good at holding poses.




Of course, the main attraction of S6 is the gear. In true spirit of the original 70’s JOEs, these guys come with all sorts of neat equipment and weapons. Lockdown’s gear is great, but it tends to lack the customization that some of the earlier figures’ accessories had. Also, there’s not as much interactivity with the figure in terms of being able to attach it to his body, so we’ll have to look for that stuff in a future review. That having been said, there’s some neat stuff here. For starters, Lockdown features a chunky sub machine gun, which he can hold in either or both hands. This thing is wonderfully ridiculous and includes a silver and black deco with some blue and green accents.


He also comes with a riot shield, which is designed to be held or stand up on its own as a barrier. It’s cast from a slab of blue plastic and has SWAT printed across the front.


You also get a pair of handcuffs that work surprisingly well on the figures.




And lastly, he features a huge spring-loaded battering ram for busting down doors. Knock-Knock, Cobra!



It’s so hard for me to play with a figure like this and reconcile the hatred that so many fans have for this line. I like to think it goes back to a time when 3 3/4″ JOE was almost soley available through that Direct-To-Consumer line and longtime JOE fans saw these as weird and unworthy replacements. I can dig that. But as a fan who’s love for JOE predates the Real American Hero revival of the 80’s, I have nothing but love for these guys. Hasbro tried something incredibly original here and as far as I’m concerned it paid off big time. Give me a fun, poseable figure like this, a great assortment of gear, and I’m good to go for hours.

GI Joe Sigma 6: Cobra HISS Tank by Hasbro

Many collectors would argue that Hasbro’s Sigma 6 figures are the red-headed stepchild of the GI Joe franchise. If that’s the case than the Sigma 6 2 ½” scale sub-line of vehicles and figures would be that red-headed stepchild’s red-headed stepchild. These things clogged the pegs and shelves of my local Target and Walmart, perplexing kids and collectors alike. What was the point? What was Hasbro going for here? If they wanted to do Sigma 6 with vehicles, why didn’t they just keep the line 3 ¾-scale? Was this Hasbro trying to have its cake and eat it too? Why am I asking so many questions? It’s because this line confounds and confuses me. It created some really cool vehicles (not to mention one truly amazing toy, the Dragonhawk, which I promise to feature someday), but its mix of cool vehicles and shitty little figures made it a difficult concept to get behind. Let’s get an idea of what this line was all about by looking at its treatment of one of GI Joe’s truly iconic vehicles: The Cobra HISS

I’ve got to say, I dig this packaging. It’s a mostly closed box with two windows on the front to show off the figures. This was a bold move, Hasbro, since the figures are easily the weakest part of these sets and you probably shouldn’t be displaying them with pride. On the other hand, at least the windows let potential buyers know what they were getting. I totally dig the illustrated metal frame deco that surrounds the box and the artwork on the front is excellent. This presentation is damned exciting! I remember when I first saw it on the shelf it made me want to buy the toy even though something inside my head was telling me to drop it and back away. The back panel has a great photo, showing you everything you get inside. Once again, Hasbro was really good about letting you know what you were getting yourself into.

That’s what I like to see! Bags of parts and a sticker sheet! Stuff to put together! I miss the days of having to assemble and sticker toys. It really added to the anticipation. Actually, the stickers here are a bit disappointing. Many of them have white outlines, which don’t look good on the toy so I left them off. At least the instrumentation and the hazards stripes look ok. But before we put together the HISS, let’s look at those figures.

Ok, you get Cobra Commander and a Cobra Trooper. Cobra Commander is a decent enough design and sculpt, but he represents a lot of what was wrong with these figures. Specifically, he’s perpetually standing there pointing and holding his bendy, warped scepter. He does have four points of articulation, which consist of swivels in his shoulders, his neck and his waist, but it’s all mostly useless. The Cobra Trooper fares a little better with the basic five points: Shoulders, hips and neck, but man his design and coloring is shit. Even with two Cobra emblems, he doesn’t look like a Cobra Trooper to me. Nope, he reminds me of some knock-off Hoth Trooper. Keep in mind, these are amongst the best figures this line had to offer, as many of them were even more pre-posed and static. I’m not going to blame the small scale. It was clearly a deliberate style choice on Hasbro’s part, because we’ve seen figures in this scale executed a lot better. Now where was that? Well, I’m sure it’ll come to me before the end.

Once assembled, this HISS should look familiar to most Joe collectors. It’s the same design as the one used for the Direct-To-Consumer HISS and that is not at all a bad thing because I really dig this design and all the features it has to offer. The overall configuration is the same as the original vintage HISS, but this model comes loaded for bear with dual missile launchers on either side of the cockpit and four missile launchers mounted up on the turret. Joes seeing this thing barreling toward them would surely have shit their pants. There are also two smaller swivel guns, one of which can be swapped out for a Cobra flag. The cockpit is designed to lower closer to the ground for easy boarding. The hull features some minimal panel lining and Cobra emblems, and the canopy has a cool painted frame, which is something I always thought the original HISS should have had. There’s no two ways about it, the profile for this vehicle is one hundred percent bad ass.

Just like the DTC HISS, the back compartment opens up on either side and there’s a hatch that drops down out of the back to unload troops. In fairness, with the turret in place there isn’t a lot of room back there for personnel. You can take the turret out to make room and that leaves a port for them to emerge and take pot shots at the Joes. This feature was one of my favorite things about the DTC HISS as it converts the fast attack tank into a vehicle that can charge across enemy lines, deliver the shock and awe of a missile barrage, safely insert a squad of Cobra Troops into a critical position, and all without sacrificing any of its original design. And honestly, if I were on Cobra’s payroll with Joes shooting at me, I’d much rather ride inside the thing then hang off the back.

The conversion gimmick involves taking off the top of the back compartment and unfolding it to turn it into an armed bunker. It’s not the most innovative gimmick around, but it does give you some play and display options. You can position the “bunker” into a straight wall fortification (my favorite) or you could angle it. The bunker can arm itself with two of the missile launchers as well as the smaller guns. The main turret of the HISS has fold down stabilizers to turn it into a missle battery emplacement. As much as it may seem like a tacked on extra, this bonus bunker mode actually makes sense to me. I can imagine HISS Tanks could be used to gain ground and then set up these fortifications to hold it while the remaining part of the HISS goes back to get outfitted again for another charge. All in all, it’s a pretty cool idea.

And yeah, about that other line of 2 ½” figures… Like all the vehicles in this line, the HISS’ scale meshes almost perfectly with Kenner’s old MASK line. This HISS blends especially well because of its converting ability. I really dig this cross-compatibility of these vehicles and it’s probably the core reason as to why I’m ultimately a fan of the line. Unfortunately, I can’t help but think of how much cooler it would have been to have had the Sigma 6 figures been in the same style as the MASK figures.

And that’s the Sigma 6 HISS. If you can accept the figures for being what they are, I call them lost opportunities, the vehicle itself is pretty damn cool. The design looks great and it’s a nice quality construction that can get banged around pretty good. If you give this thing a chance it’s definitely a well-designed toy, but then most of the other little Sigma 6 vehicles were too. I’ll eventually get around to looking at the rest of the line, but tomorrow we continue Toy Closet Finds week with another treasure from the abyss.