Most of the characters in the GIJoe: Sigma 6 line were updates of the old Real American Hero figures. Even the ones that got a weird redesign, like the BAT robots, had a pretty obvious inspiration. There's one guy, however, who's a bit harder to pin down.
Long Range acquired his marksmanship skills through intense training with top covert marksmen, years of practice and in-field experience. He proved his expertise during a series of critical operations to recapture weapons installations that had been taken over by Cobra. Despite darkness, extreme distance and difficult terrain, he eliminated all the perimeter checkpoints, clearing the way for attack. He has developed custom-designed weapons modifications to increase sight and distance, and created camouflaged hideouts that cannot be spotted by even the most observant enemy. He is extremely patient and can maintain his position for days, weeks if necessary, to acquire his target. His transportation expertise also makes him the team's mobility leader on Sigma 6 missions.
Long Range is an oddity in the Sigma 6 line. There have actually been two characters called "Long Range" in the 3¾" line, and neither of them were snipers - in fact, both of them were vehicle drivers, something this version's bio paragraph hints at. The original Long Range, released in 1989, had a bit of marksmanship listed on his file card, but since he also had a shock of bright red hair and a full beard, I don't think this is him; if anything, it's going to be the 2005 version, Alejandro Garcia.
The early Sigma 6 figures mostly looked the same, since they were all wearing the same basic bodysuits. Long Range stands out, though, because he's covered his with an olive drab trenchcoat. The coat has working clasps on each wrist, and two at the waist. Open the coat, and you'll find two functioning pockets big enough to hold some of his gear. His Sigma Suit is dark grey, nearly black, with some pale gray panels for contrast. It really is a nice look, especially with the coat completing the ensemble.
To complement the
"I was really cool in 1994" message a trenchcoat sends, Long Range has a little ponytail and neatly trimmed sideburns. He's just one soulpatch and some stubble shy of being late for his date with with Kelly to meet Brandon and Dylan at the Peach Pit. There's a slight scar over his left eye - nothing major, just the sort of thing that makes him look dangerous and attractive to the ladies. Long Range stands 8¼" tall and has all the standard Sigma 6 articulation: that means everything but his torso and waist are balljoints.
Long Range is identified as a "target acquisition expert" rather than a "sniper," which is accurate: despite what popular usage would lead you to believe, there's more to being a sniper than just shooting targets at a long distance. It's not just aiming for high-value targets, or firing from an elevated position - someone who can hit a target from far away is just a marksman, while being a sniper involves patience and the ability to remain hidden. In fact, a sniper's primary function doesn't even involve shooting: they're reconnaissance agents, observing the enemy from heavy concealment. Yes, they'll take out targets if that's what the mission requires, but it's not all they do.
Long Range may be a sniper,
but since he isn't trying very hard to blend in with the environment, it's hard to be sure - he may just be on a mission that doesn't require a ghillie suit for concealment. His main weapon is a monstrous rifle with a pull-back slide and "recoil action," but it isn't that much more of a weapon than any other Sigma 6 figure might come with. What sets it apart are the add-ons.
There's an ammo clip, an underslung missile launcher, a scope with flip-up lens cap, a bipod and your choice of two gun barrels: a standard longe-range barrel and a flash/noise suppressor. The launcher is kind of stupid, but without it, this is an impressive sniper rifle.
If that wasn't enough, he also includes a big knife and a handheld shotgun. The shotgun folds open, and also provides a variant for the figure: there's a strange little keychain hanging from the butt of the gun; early releases had a small silver skull hanging with the inexplicable key, while later releases removed it. Why?
Don't know. Maybe they didn't want a vague reminder of death distracting from all those guns.
You have to love the precision and long-distance striking capability of snipers. The current record for a confirmed kill belongs to Cpl. Rob Furlong, who was in Afghanistan in 2002 when he hit his target from a distance of 2,657 yards - that's more than 1½ miles away. Think about where you live, and then find a landmark that's one and a half miles from your house: imagine someone shooting from there, and hitting you with just their third shot. That's what snipers do, and that's why they're badasses. Long Range may or may not be an actual sniper (he's definitely a marksman), but this figure is one worth getting - skull keychain or no.