Spirit Iron-Knife (2005 Sigma 6)
I’ve said this before, but I think it bears repeating as many times as possible: the Sigma 6 years of GI Joe get undeserved short shrift. The common excuse for entertainments that fail often revolve around either the public at large not “getting it” or the product being ahead of its time. I think the latter applies in this case. I don’t know if the toys would be a hit with kids nowadays, but I’ve seen modern “art” toys aimed at adult collectors hit similar notes with stylized designs and mixed media elements of plastic and cloth. I’m not saying Sigma is art, but it is most certainly unique for its time.
Design-wise, the figure follows the style of most of the early Sigma 6 offerings, with a generic sculpted Sigma suit augmented with character specific elements and flourishes. Spirit’s look makes him stand out among his teammates, much as his 1983 predecessor did. He’s even kept his animal partner, Freedom. He’s adorned with bare tatooed arms, a headband and (though you can’t see them under the pants) unique boots.
The build of the figure and its accessories, as well as the fit and finish, are of a consistent high quality. Accessories fitband stay in the hand, and each is very detailed in sculpt and paint apps.
Most of the fun of an action figure line, from a kid standpoint, comes from how well it plays. The 8 inch format allows its action feature-laden weapons to incoporate unique features that aren’t possible at a smaller scale. I should clarify by saying that the action features at this scale actually work. Spirit’s bow and arrow can be fired effectively, in the manner of a real bow. The figure can also be posed in a convincing draw pose.
Spirit Iron-Knife seems to skew much younger than any previous versions of the character. In fact, if you find yourself hung up on how different the Sigma 6 world is of the well remembered Real American Hero mythos, I find that it helps to realize that the series was never meant as a storyline successor to what came before. Granted, the line was infused with numerous Duke, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow variants, but name recognition was the norm for modern toy lines. The advantage I found in the Sigma series were the unique accessories among the myriad variants of the main guys.