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Sigma Strike Duke

GI Joe Sigma 6
by yo go re

He'll fight for freedom, wherever there's copyright infringement - GI Joe is there!

When several members of his team were held captive in a Cobra fortress, Duke armed himself in a special suit that turns the wearer into a one-person fighting system. Duke ripped a hole in the stronghold with a "pulse" blaster then used a "laser" cannon and flame blaster to send Cobra forces running. After taking out the remaining troopers in fierce hand-to-hand combat, Duke used the suit's power saw to cut open the cell holding his team. Before the Cobra forces could re-group, Duke and his team escaped from the stronghold and were on their way back to the Sigma 6 base.

Well, that certainly tells you everything you need to know about this figure, doesn't it? Well, everything excpet what "P.O.W.E.R." Armor stands for, which means we get to make something up. Clearly P.O.W.E.R. Armor stands for "Psilomelane Ottrelite Wolframite Enargite Rhomboclase," the five minerals from which it is built. Clearly.

In addition to being the direct inspiration for those silly suits in the first GI Joe movie, Sigma Strike Duke is best known to fans as "Halo Duke," because he looks like frigging Master Chief. Angular green armor with a yellow faceplate? Innovative and original! Of course, Master Chief can't raise his faceplate and Duke can, so that's one in his favor. The mask tends to fall off pretty easily, because the pegs that hold it to the helmet are small and rounded, and the holes they fit into aren't very deep.

Despite the fact that they all looked pretty much identical, most of the Sigma 6 figures had unique bodies, and this Duke is no exception. His armor is angular, rather than just being thick, and it manages to look like something that was specifically tailored for him, rather than being some generic item that any Joe could step into. If you look closely at the neck, sleeves and gloves, you can see areas that look like padding under the armor, keeping Duke from being injured by his own suit. The legs are fully encased, and he has big boots that look like they'd provide extra support for all that added weight. He has his dog tag around his neck, and a holster on his right leg, though it doesn't attach with the usual ports. There's a flip-up targeting computer on his left glove. The shoulder pads are separate pieces; in addition to plugging into the holes on his shoulders, they also have elastic straps that run under his armpits to make sure they stay on.

The Spartan armor isn't the only thing Sigma Strike Duke has going for him - there's also his huge assortment of accessories. And not just the Switchfire pistol that fits in his holster! We start with a big backpack that contains all the electronics to make everything else work. It has three buttons, each of which makes a different sound: the green one in the center makes weapon noises, while the red and blues ones on the ends create different jet exhaust sounds, while the angled vents on the backpack light up red; Duke probably can't fly, but those probably allow him to jump really high. A big thick tube connects the backpack to half a weapon.

For the other half of that weapon, you've got four choices: the Flame Blaster, which has a vented barrel and two fuel tanks mounted underneath and on the side; a "Laser" Cannon (yes, they really put quotes around it) that has a folding barrel and, for some reason, an ammo clip sticking out the bottom; a Power Cutter Saw with a blade you can actually spin; and a Power Pulse Blaster that actually looks like the other half of the gun they all attach to. The two blasters can both fire projectiles: a fireball for the flamethrower, and two stubby bombs for the pulse blaster. There's a green light in the base half, and it shines through the fronts to various degrees. Plus, in addition to the "latching/unlatching" sounds made when you switch the pieces out, each of the weapon types has its own sound effect - burning, blasting, buzzing, and bombing, respectively. Those are triggered by the big green switch on the gun, which also launches the projectiles.

Sigma Strike Duke in his P.O.W.E.R. (Performance Optimized With Electronic Research) Armor was a deluxe figure, so it cost $20 - a not insignificant amount more than the standard figures. But the interchangeable weapon system is really neat, and the only real downside to this figure is that it's Duke rather than somebody interesting. But like we say, once you own a toy, it can be whatever you want. Call him Sci-Fi, or an update of Battle Force 2000's Blaster. Hasbro may have put the name "Duke" on the packaging, but this guy is too cool to ignore.

-- 02/12/16

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