Sigma 6 - A Post Summer Convention Report
So August is almost upon us and the main Convention Season has passed us by for another year. JoeCon 2006 and SDCC '06 are both fairly recent memories, and there was, as always, a bunch of new items shown and new info that cropped up. As usual, this new information sometimes opens up more questions than answers, so we're doing what we can to get the answers everyone is looking for.
Thanks to Spirit and Mysterious Stranger, who were two on the spot "reporters" if you will, who asked questions of Hasbro reps, made observations, and sent us their findings. I also made some follow up inquiries to people I know so we can hopefully get as many loose ends tied up as possible.
Assortments: Lots of folks have been kind of curious as to assortment line ups in the coming months, and which figures are part of which assortments. Here's the lowdown as it stands now:
Commando '06 Wave 4:
Soldier '06 Wave 4:
Commando '07 Wave 1:
What about Release Dates for other items? Sigma Strike Duke, Commando '06 Wave 3, and the Dragonhawk should all be hitting stores currently and will hopefully be going up with the new toy aisle resets (which normally happens in early August).
We love the improved articulation on the new Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, but it looks like the "swivel" of the limbs has gone missing. Are we, in fact, losing articulation? From what we hear, we are 99% sure that there will be NO LOSS in articulation with these new joints.
It was rumored that we'd be getting a "break" from Duke next year? Is that true? From all accounts, yes. The Duke that comes with that large reciprocating cannon should be among the last Dukes seen on shelves for a while. In fact, there may only be a couple Dukes throughout all of next year.
What was that Snake Eyes Quad? The Ninja Tracker Quad is a retooled Night Ranger coming with Snake Eyes and appearing in stores in Spring '07. The ATV itself should have some retooling done to differentiate it between the original.
Cloth Goods seem to be getting reduced in some of the future items. What's up with that? It's not a conscious decision, we're just going with whatever works best for that particular character. Soldier figures in particular will not be coming with cloth goods for the most part, however there are some future releases that have quite elaborate cloth items planned, a new Long Range coming in 2007 in particular comes to mind.
Woah? New Long Range? What else might be upcoming? Please be aware that this is all rumor and potential speculation, but if our sources are accurate, 2007 will be bringing us (among other items, of course): A new Long Range (with Ghille Suit), and a Flame-themed Kamakura (in blue, not yellow). Flint is also a likely candidate for a figure, a COBRA Trooper is possible, and other variations of BAT's are something high on the priority list. Those of you who like large weapons will be happy, as the new Long Range comes with what might very well be the largest weapon they've done for the line yet. It's a race between Long Range's and Grand Slam's...
Are the standardized Sigma Suits being phased out in the figures? Yes and no. We imagine the design team would love to have some extra flexibility with their concepts, so they're not so strictly regulated with how the figure looks. As such, expect some variations from the traditional Sigma Suit look. That's not to say the Sigma Suits will never be used, the developers just wanted some more freedom to design how they wanted to.
Is Grand Slam really replacing Heavy Duty? Not as far as we can tell, no. Grand Slam is meant to be a compliment to Heavy Duty. It will provide a method to offer customers more variation for those particular molds. It's highly likely that the Grand Slam figure we get in early '07 will be reproduced exactly (with a new head) as Heavy Duty later on in the line, they just work off of each other. Compare it to the 12" line and their ethnic variations, this is a similar idea. Grand Slam will not be appearing in the story, and will not serve as any kind of replacement in the Sigma 6 continuity.
We've heard the rumors of those packaging changes...was it all about the blinking lights? Yes and no. The lights are an important part of the new marketing scheme for Sigma 6, but also expect the foam inserts to be phased out (so that more weapons can fit in the lockers) and also expect more vibrant, exciting "scenes" on the package inserts instead of the generic Sigma 6 logos.
What can we expect for the 2.5" line in the future? It's possible that 2007 will bring a theme to the 2.5" line and tie most of the toys into that theme. Hasbro will likely continue to balance articulated figures with statue-like motion figures, but designs should be getting more exciting and asthetically pleasing. Just like later Sigma 6 8" figures are worlds better sculpt-wise than the first ones, they will continue to learn from their efforts with the smaller scale and make similar improvements. Already the difference between Waves 1 & 2 demonstrates a high upward trend of quality.
Is the ROCC scaled down? No, it is the exact same 3 3/4" vehicle, and will be provided to retail as a Toys "R" Us Exclusive.
So if we're getting the ROCC, can we expect the RHINO to make an appearence as well? It's currently being worked on, but nothing has been finalized as of yet.
But that's not all! Forum member Spirit and Mysterious Stranger both were in attendance at the San Diego ComicCon and both of them provided some awesome reports of what they saw and heard while there! First, let's hear from Spirit:
You know we're going to ask about it...what about Scarlett and other female figures? As always, the design team is dying to get some female figures out on shelves, but the money has to make sense. Scarlett has a rough paper design with plastic hair and a modular crossbow, but that is a VERY early design sketch and there are no concrete plans beyond that point. Jinx would not be likely, and the Baroness would be tough because they would likely have to make a common mold for the figures to share, and Baroness looks considerably different. They would only want to make her if they can make her as show accurate as possible.
Is there a reason why the Hi-Tech toy looks different than the cartoon? Can we expect him to get a Sigma Suit in the cartoon? *SPOILER ALERT* - Expect Hi-Tech to design and create his own Sigma Suit as a focus of one of the cartoons, when he gets caught by Overkill without any backup. Hi-Tech will end up wearing this Sigma Suit, and will better match his appearence in toy form. Hi-Tech actually took a while to arrive in toy form, because the 12" Hi-Tech (from Valor Vs. Venom) did pretty poorly in sales, so retailers were hesitant to invest in another toy of the same character.
What's that strange weapon that Zartan comes with? Similar to Snake Eyes' whipstar, it's designed so that the "barbs" attach to an enemy, and then the cord is electrified and thus shocks the enemy once they are caught. A flexible sword/whip combination was originally in the books, but they could not quite get the mechanism down.
So why choose Grand Slam as a character? What is the deal with these new guys, will they appear in Season Two of the cartoon? Those characters were chosen as a way to make a departure from Snake Eyes, Duke, ad nauseum, and really the only way to do that is to start integrating new characters. These new characters will not appear in Season Two and may or may not make the cut for a future season. The Sigma 6 theme was originally designed to be just that: a theme, similar to Valor Vs. Venom. It's been so successful thus far that it's likely to continue to thrive and evolve, but half the fun is finding out what is coming down the road.
Wet Suit looks cool! What's his deal? Wet Suit is likely a Sea Ops Duke repaint with new head and gear. He has a taser prod w/ removable bayonet, mask w/ hose, scuba flipper, and an oxygen tank system. Orange pack doubles as a propulsion unit. The COBRA underwater mine is his featured accessory, and it will possibly explode as people come near it or trigger it. Wet Suit may come with some sort of disarming device to prevent it from triggering.
What's up with the Dreadnoks? Some of the Dreadnoks are in the planning stages, and while Hasbro's not certain when and where they might be able to work them in, they hope to have them in the line in some capacity. At the moment they're planning out to late 2007 at the earliest, but lots can change between now and then.
What was up with that Heavy Duty variant with the different cannisters? Heavy Duty was apparently selling very well in urban markets when the line first hit, so certain retailers were asking for increased allotments of Heavy Duty. Hasbro wanted to run more off, but Wal-Mart has a policy that in order for a product number to be different, the item has to be different, so the tank colors were altered slightly. However, these modified Heavy Duty's were only shipped to locations that specifically requested more Heavy Duty figures to be allocated, which is why distribution was so spotty.
Next, Mysterious Stranger was also cool enough to send us reports via a forum post on the boards here.
I cannot thank both of these guys enough for all of the hard work and effort they've put in to get us information straight as it was happening. Stranger gave us some great updates from the floor, and relayed our questions as they came up... Spirit took a ton of great pictures and really bent the Hasbro guy's hears trying to get info as well. It's guys like this that make Sigma 6 Central the best place to find all the latest Sigma 6 information you could need or want! Thanks, guys!!