Sigma Saturday: Storm Shadow (2005)
I’m giving the Joe Moment of Zen a bit of a hiatus for a while, in favor of focusing once a week on an area of GI Joe that I really enjoy and that hasn’t gotten enough coverage from me: Sigma 6. One of the points of starting this blog was to reconnect with my collection. As an avid toy and GI Joe collector since 1992, I’ve picked up most all new releases as they’ve appeared. This had led to some figures being bought, opened and put away. Generally, if I find something really interesting, I’ll leave it out on display, but some items go into bins. This happened with some Sigma 6 figures mainly due to space limitations. Then, when I moved five years ago, the entire collection went into storage mode. Well, it’s time for me to start giving the Sigma guys their due. They’re part of a segment of GI Joe that really got me excited during its run. Each week, for a while at least, I’ll be covering something from the line. Welcome to the first Sigma Saturday.
In 2005, I dipped my toe into the initial assortment of Sigma 6, picking up Snake Eyes first. Soon after, I was hooked, and began to buy others. I fell head over heels for the larger format, the fresh style and immense playability. The first Storm Shadow became an early favorite for all those reasons. While many great figures were to come later, the first year had its share of standouts, and the famous Cobra ninja was among them.
Accessories are an integral part of what makes Sigma 6 so appealing to me. The scale lent itself so well to wonderfully designed weapons and equipment. The small GI Joe scale was no slouch in terms of detailed and fun accessories, but the designers here were able to introduce more features like modular weapons, removable clips, and even functioning elements such as folding stocks and slides. The missile firing gimmick (gasp) also returned, utilized in several interesting ways throughout the line. Mixing media, with cloth pants or coats in addition to the usual sculpted uniforms, was another interesting wrinkle introduced into the brand. It makes sense, as Joe started out as a fully clothed action figure. Some of the Sigma characters fared better than others with their choice of clothing, but Storm Shadow looks pretty good with white cloth pants and sash.
Storm Shadow’s accessories are impressive and indicative of the Sigma 6 aesthetic of bigger, bolder figures and gear. Stormy gets a veritable arsenal with swords, sai, nunchaku and staff. He’s also equipped with climbing gear in a grappling hook and hand and foot knife attachments. Presentation and storage of gear was also well integrated into the line, as most of the more expensive commando series figures included a storage case. The downside to some figures was the simple fact that there were so many guns, swords and other pieces that they often couldn’t all be stored in the case. This isn’t a huge problem, but it can be an issue for sorting all the bits out if you’re not careful to bag or otherwise organize your figures.
Stylized is the most apt term I can think of in reference to the Sigma 6 look. Some have dubbed it anime, but I think it’s more of a unique style unto its own. There’s definitely a hard-edged, geometric look that brings to mind cel animation, but again I don’t see these figures as solely based on an animated concept. The style isn’t to everyone’s tastes, but if you’re not solely into realism, and like a healthy dose of style in your action figures, the Sigma series can be a lot of fun to collect.