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.


  • I was looking forward to seeing some DIC [get your minds out of the gutter]

    I never actually saw any of the sigma 6 stuff down here. The local toy store i used to visit [before it closed down] got in some of the mission scales stuff but i never saw any of the larger figures. A pity

  • Wow! Now that you’ve explained it, I’m so impressed with the line!

  • I’m looking forward to you delving more into Sigma Six (though I will miss seeing cartoon clips on the weekend). I wanted to get involved in that line, but when they came out, I was in college and kind of cash and space strapped so getting into a six-inch figure line was a bit out of the cards. I figured if I got one, I’d want more and that would just be dangerous for my wallet and my roommate. I’m sure you’ll do a great job shedding the spotlight on a relatively unloved part of Joe history and will hopefully make some of the haters rethink their instant rejection of the line on the basis of “It’s not my Joe!”

  • I was around for the 80’s and the closest analogue I can find to this line is Tonka’s cult series, Spiral Zone.

  • @Clutch

    Are Sprial zone and Captain power the same thing?
    Its one of the few things from the 80’s i’m not too familiar with

  • @Skymate:

    Spiral Zone and Captain Power are two different lines which were around at the same time.

    Spiral Zone figures were similar in size to Sigma Six. They were produced by Tonka and featured a combination of soft goods uniforms with plastic armor, boots, helmets, and weapons. They had a cartoon and comic from DC to help support the line.

    Here’s a great site for them:

    Captain Power was a live-action TV show which lasted for one season. J. Michael Straczynski of Babylon 5 fame worked on it. The figures were RAH Joe sized at 3 3/4 inches without swivel arms joints and lacked o-rings as well. Most characters sported chrome painted armors. The weapons suffer from the same brittleness as later Joes and Transformers molded in gold and such. Sometimes, they break apart within sealed bubbles. Mattel did the action figure line and Continuity Comics put out an aborted two-issue miniseries drawn by Neal Adams which lacks a concluding chapter. The vehicles and accessories interacted with your TV through an action feature not unlike the one used for Lazer Tag which is still around today.

    Here’s a cool site for Captain Power:

    Of the two, Spiral Zone is the hardest line to collect. Stuff is scarce and pricey. By contrast, I have all the Captain Power action figures except the two unproduced ones. The vehicles are awesome and not difficult to find at decent prices.

  • @Clutch
    Thanks for the intel, i was getting captain power, commander courage [spiral zone] and Commander courage [Mark Hammil] mixed up.

  • I loved Sigma Six when it was on the shelves, but I didn’t have any disposable income at the time. (Well, little that I would spend on action figures.) There are a few I regret not picking up when I saw them week after week strolling through the toy aisle. The few I did get, I really liked, though there also seemed to be a lot of repetition in the characters available. It’s nothing compared to the character repetition of today, though…
    You can really see how it was a fresh take on the Joes…a lot of the same characters from the 3 3/4″ years, yes, but new scale, new look and modern styling, still focusing on weapons and gear, mixing plastic and cloth goods, and some cool gimmicks, it really was a strong toy line that should have done better at retail. It was a strong contender for continuing the GI Joe legacy, much like the Kreons seem to be doing today.

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