So begins the life of "Tactical Ops". What looks to be a running theme throughout the first part of 2007, Sigma 6 Commando figures will, for the most part, be labelled under the "Tactical Ops" banner and will be focused on large, feature-heavy weaponry. This will no doubt cause some mixed reactions from fans, as many of us prefer the smaller, more realistic, military-spec weapons, but there's no doubt that the kids are usually into guns that can "do stuff", which seems to be the main focus of attention here. Honestly, when it comes right down to it, the figure is the most important aspect of these toys, so I can usually get past oversized, combersome accessories, even when they're so prominantly featured in the package.

What's this, you say? A Sigma 6 Duke figure?!? Never seen one of those before!

In all seriousness, yes, of course I'm aware at just how heavily Duke has been featured in the Sigma 6 line...he gets a LOT of attention, as he should, for being a pretty central character to the G.I. Joe mythos. Still, there is such a thing as overkill, and for Duke it was getting dangerously close to over-saturation, so I'm happy to say that Duke is getting a well-deserved vacation throughout 2007. If he is going out, though, he should be going out with a bang...and nothing says "bang" more than a huge, double-barreled pulsating power cannon of death.

Massive cannon aside, though, how is this version of Duke purely from a "toy" standpoint? Actually, surprisingly enough, he's pretty darn great.

This version of Duke (Frontal Assault he's called, apparently) uses a combination of the familiar Duke parts with Firefly's lower body, which is cool with me, as it adds some neat wrinkles to your typical Sigma Suited character. He looks to be made from totally reused parts (other than the head), but they are mixed up a bit, which is neat. The Duke head sculpt is new, which is actually a nice change. This version of Duke looks a bit angrier and more focused...he also has some scruff which is practically sculpted into the face. So, even though this is yet another Duke, the different head sculpt at least leaves a little bit of potential customization, not to mention it really gives him some additional character. It's a great new sculpt with a lot more detail than the last one.

Hasbro is obviously going a somewhat different direction in the color department as well with this figure, as he comes in very subdued non "Sigma Suit" colors. His shirt is long-sleeved and all black, giving him a nice "dark ops" look. His pants are the combination of brown/tan and black, keeping the darker paint schemes. He lacks any of the trademark Sigma paint touches under his arms, on his legs, or at his ribs, and instead comes off like an almost undercover Night Operations specialist. I don't mind the colors, even though they're all pretty static, there isn't a lot of variation to his paint scheme. Still, it works fairly well, I suppose.

But obviously the focal point of this figure is his massive "pulse blaster" that he comes with, a weapon nearly as big as the figure itself. I'm pretty flexible when it comes to the larger, over-elaborate weapon systems...if they're cool, I'm cool with them. Oversized weapons don't disappoint me on their own, as long as there is some redeeming interest to the weapon. Here, it's a tough call. The gun design itself is very blocky and clunky, though I do love the double-barreled appearence. It has a wind up feature that makes the barrels rock as if they're firing high-powered explosive rounds, and it's a neat enough feature, though it doesn't make or break the weapon. I kind of like his slick looking backpack, too, and the way it looks strapped to the figure and with the weapon strapped to it. It looks perfect for a bullet hose container and fits the Sigma 6 universe nicely.

But it's not the overly large primary weapons that capture my attention with this figure. I find myself really loving the secondary gear a whole lot more. Sometimes it's the small stuff that really makes me happy with these figures, and this is no exception. I find myself really loving this highly detailed pistol that he comes with, and the way it fits in the pouched holster that slides over his thigh. It's a terrific holster, a fantastic pistol, and it's these small touches that really makes me love what this figure can be. He also comes with a repainted mask that Arctic Duke came with, which helps some, because he can be easily disguised as another character.

At the end of the day, the figure is actually pretty doesn't "wow" me, but I do like it quite a bit more than I thought I might originally. His main "Tac Ops" weapon is pretty over-the-top, yet works in an over-the-top kind of way. I can almost see this guy in a Sigma 6 cartoon totally annihilating a whole squad of B.A.T.s with this crazy gun. But it's the smaller pistol, holster, and facemask that really make this figure cool to me. Cool enough to be worth $15.00 for a Commando assortment figure? That's a tough call. Ultimately, I'd say this figure probably might not be worth a purchase for most of the discriminating Sigma 6 collectors. However, for those folks like me who "gotta catch 'em all", there are enough redeeming points to this figure that don't make it a regrettible purchase. Even if you don't "gotta get 'em all" there are some great redeeming qualities of the figure, and he is worth a second look, even for just another Duke figure.














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