So as I was preparing to write up this review, I decided to sit back and see just what I'd bought over the past few months (since the last Commando wave). It certainly felt like Duke's were running strong throughout the assortments, but I wanted to get a final breakdown, so I thought for a few minutes. Here are the results:

- Duke Jet Wing
- Duke (Circuit Breaker, 2.5")
- Duke (Sea Ops, Ocean Attack, 2.5")
- Duke (Silent Entry, 2.5")
- Duke (Desert Blast, 2.5")
- Duke (Night Ranger Quad)
- Duke (Paratrooper)
- Duke (Arctic, Commando Wave 4)

Ummm... holy crap. And that doesn't even take Sigma Strike Duke w/ Power Armor into account. That's eight different Duke figures in the past 3-4 months! I know the whole "Core Character" philosophy, and I know why Hasbro has to do it, but that's pretty crazy.

BUT... do not think for a second that Hasbro doesn't realize this. The Hasbro folks were quite vocal during the Convention and during SDCC that they are aware that Duke market saturation is getting crazy, and they have promised a rest from an abundance of Dukes starting pretty much right away. We do still have this Duke on the horizon, but besides that version (which actually looks pretty darn cool, even for another Duke) we will be getting a Duke vacation for the next several months! Now that Sigma 6 has really cemented itself as a viable brand and a sales success, the design team should be able to branch out some and go in some new directions. Expect more new characters, and more risks taken, and I think the payoffs will be very worth the wait.

Now that that's all out of the way, what about this particular version of Duke? It's an arctic version (obviously) and while I'm not wild about environment specific figures, a version like this DOES make sense, and even if I'm not wild about the concept, I think the execution here is simply brilliant. Even though I may not like figures that I can only use in the snow realistically, I cannot argue that Hasbro still did a fabulous job producing this particular figure.

First of all, the body mold itself is straight up Duke re-use, but colored in such stark white and black trim that it really doesn't matter if it is the same mold. It looks so nicely different, bright, and vibrant, that it really gives the figure some new life.

You can't argue that an arctic specialist isn't necessary...and yeah, I know a lot of people would have clamored for a Snow Job or Frostbite, but as excited as I am about the idea of branching out into new characters, you have to admit that Sigma 6 has been about a core group of characters, and having a team leader in arctic gear makes a lot of sense. And really, I hate to say it, but when Hasbro makes a figure this terrific, regardless of what character it is, you just have to give Hasbro credit where it's due. Duke is terrific.

However, a figure such as this is only as incredible as his accessories. A mere white coat of paint does not immediately make an arctic figure, you need more gear, more pads, etc..., and Hasbro comes through in SPADES. Absolute spades. Of course, more detail will be given in the tech specs, but read on here as well.

The first thing you'll notice is the padded parka, which is designed to pure perfection. He's got a multi-layered velcro connecting jacket with sewn in shoulder-pads really brings back a feel of the first version of Duke, but immediately gives you a feeling of warmth in the arctic sub-zero temperatures, and this makes a lot of sense. The jacket is just made beautifully.

Beyond the jacket, Duke has a great facemask/goggles combination that is actually somewhat reminiscent of Snake Eyes 3 3/4" '91 look, and I love it. It makes a lot of sense. He's got his trusty twin Switchfires, a couple of really neat rubberized arm-covers that end up looking a lot like thick winter gloves. A pair of binoculars, a pick axe, and a very neat pair of "jet thruster skis" round off the winter-specific equipment rollout, and they're all very well done and make a whole lot of sense for him. The pick axe even has a neat little carabeener attachment for storage, and a cool handle-built knife blade for self-defense. Topping everything off is the ubiquitous spring-loaded rocket launcher. I am a little tired of everyone and their brother coming with one of these, but the design is cool, I like how it interacts with his pistols, and really, it looks neat, regardless of it's uses. I do still wish he had a more basic machine gun, but you cannot argue with this weapons and accessory compliment at all.

I'd love to diss on this figure...I'm normally not wild about winter ops figures, or any figures specifically designed for limited purposes...but wow. Hasbro really pulled out all the stops here and gave us a fantastic figure. Yes, it's Duke. Yes, it's a winter-themed figure. Yes, the figure itself is just flat out cool, and no matter what qualms you have about environment or character, you will find more than a few things to love about this figure. Highly recommended.














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