The GIJoe Sigma 6 line is a bit surprising. Not just the fact that they're so well-made or so fun, though those did catch people off-guard. No, the real shock is that their go-to guy isn't Snake-Eyes, but Duke. Yes, there are multiple versions of everyone, but plain old boring, vanilla Duke is getting the lion's share of the variants.
Duke is experienced in static-line,
HALO and HAHO jumps, making him the best person for a mission to stop Cobra forces from testing a devastating weapon made from the Power Stone mineral. Duke parachutes onto the roof of the Cobra testing lab, expertly maneuvering through tightly packed high-rise buildings. The guards do not expect anyone to infiltrate by above, so Duke surprises them and quickly overpowers them. He makes his way inside, gets the weapon schematics and destroys the lab and prototype. As Cobra forces open fire, the Sigma 6 team's heavy armor dropship swoops down to extract Duke from the building: mission accomplished!
The great thing about these Duke variants is that they're not just straight repaints - every time, he's in a different uniform.
The body is fairly similar to all the other Sigma 6 figures - the tight bodysuit with a few textured panels - but he looks really nice. The majority of the suit is a midnight blue, with a few lighter metallic highlights. Obviously he's on a stealth jump. He's got a removable helmet that covers his whole head, so if you already have one Duke, you could still put this figure in your collection and call it someone else if you like. He's also wearing reinforced boots, to protect his ankles when he lands. Nice!
Of course, you can't have a paratrooper without a parachute. Duke's canopy is big - about 36" in diameter - and has a bright green Sigma 6 logo in the center. Three strings come down on the sides of the parachute to properly suspend Duke; the plugs slide into the shoulders of his ALICE (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) harness to keep him dangling properly. The big parachute wouldn't mean anything if it didn't work, but no worries there - you will have an absolute blast chucking him off of high stuff and watching him gently drop to earth. Best to do it without all his accessories, at least at first: you don't want to lose a grenade in the grass or anything.
Even without the parachute, he's packing an arsenal. He's got four grenades, a knife, an assault rifle, a pistol, a Switchfire hand gun with machine gun attachment and removable bayonet, and something called a double tomahawk. It looks like a regular hatchet, but splits in half to become two weapons. Though he has two holsters on his belt,
he's the first Duke to come with only one Switchfire pistol - the weapon designed to fit in there. Most of his gear has pegs to connect it to his carrying web, though the knife, tomahawk, machine gun and bayonet do not. The assault rifle has an elastic strap that lets you sling it over his shoulder. By the time everything's in place, he barely looks like he'd be able to walk, let alone parachute with all that, but you can bet real jumpers have to lug even more.
So the bio says Duke is experienced in static-line, HALO and HAHO jumps. What does that mean? Static line jumps are the kind you see in the movies, when the guys jump out the door and some kind of string snaps off behind them.
It's used for extremely low-altitude jumps, where timing is essential. The parachute is deployed by the line, not by the jumper. HALO stands for "high altitude, low open," which is pretty self-explanatory. This offers several distinct advantages: first of all, the planes fly above the range of typical ground-based defenses, keeping them safer; secondly, the jumper has almost zero radar profile, getting them to the ground with minimal disturbance. Finally, HAHO is "high altitude, high open." The jumper deploys his canopy
a few seconds after exiting the plane, then drifts for miles before reaching the landing zone. So static-line, HALO and HAHO: low jumps, high jumps and long jumps.
Paratrooper Duke is a deluxe figure, so he costs about $20 - but the difference is worth it. He comes in a really distinctive package that shows off his action feature by suspending the figure in front of a cloudy sky backdrop. The parachute bulges out of the top of the box, and the whole thing has a unique angle to it. The figure inside is just as good as your average Sigma 6 (though his ankles aren't balljoints, like most are) and he's got cool accessories. The parachute works, and it's absolutely fun. Call for an airdrop of your own today.
Who's cooler, paratroopers or snipers? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.