When it rains, it pours, and so far in 2007, Sigma 6 has been pouring. The results have been a tad bit mixed, mostly as a result of this new "Tactical Ops" theme that has become quite prevalant among the new releases, and I have to say the mixed results continue right on through this second series of figures (which is barely a second series, mostly an addition of two figures to the first series).

However, Hasbro looks to be trying to take a step in the right direction as they give us an update of a very popular character in Long Range, and try to correct some color miscues that folks have been accusing them of with Kamakura. These Tactical Ops weapons leave me a bit cold as they did with series 1, but the figures themselves have some fairly redeeming qualities, especially Long Range.

As has become obvious over the past few months, Hasbro seems to be slightly shifting away from cloth pants and working more towards a sculpted plastic pants look. At first I was steadfast against this, as I really liked the look those cloth pants gave some of the figures. Whether it's due to price, to market research, or what have you, Hasbro seems to have almost totally moved away from cloth pants and is now taking a more direct approach, making the pants part of the figure. Upon first glance, this really rubbed me the wrong way. However, Grand Slam made me rethink my opinion on that slightly, and Long Range as almost converted me completely. These guys both have fully sculpted plastic pants, and they both end up looking really, really good.

Long Range has been one of my favorite characters in Sigma 6 land, thus far. When he was first seen with his trenchcoat, oversized sniper rifle and knife, he was immediately a fan favorite. Even though he took his name from the 3 3/4" realm, he was still a totally new character and really seemed to fit the "bad ass" role appropriately (when Snake Eyes is too busy training teenage apprentices, anyway). The eye-scar, the cold, determined look...Long Range is pretty darn cool, I must say. He and Stone are pretty closely tied for resident badmen, as far as I'm concerned. But I loved Long Range as he was. Even in just the scrawny Sigma Suit with the trenchcoat on top, Long Range had a great look to him. The Desert Long Range's head sculpt (the same one used on this figure) made the character even better, and once I swapped that head onto the standard Long Range body, I was happy. I didn't know what I was missing until I got this figure in hand.

While regular Long Range had the nice subdued colors, the great accessory compliment and a nice, nasty look to him, I never realized just how thin he looked. His coat added some bulk, but he still seemed a bit scrawny...but not any more. The addition of these newly sculpted pant-legs gives Long Range a whole new, "thicker" appearence, and I find myself really, really loving it.

From waist to head, Long Range is pretty much your run of the mill Sigma 6 figure, wearing the traditional Sigma Suit (though there is no colored trim at his ribs, or on his shoulder pads, and he has green gloves). From the waist down, though, he has been sculpted with a nicely detailed pair of army pants that have a slightly angular look to them, which give them this animated style, yet still manage to look somewhat realistic. Those strange seams on the thigh that Grand Slam had appear on these pants, too, and they're adorned with huge pockets and nice, wrinkled "fabric". Lined knee pads hide his joints somewhat, and the thick, somewhat oversized boots round off the look nicely. You end up with a figure that still looks nice and animated in style, yet now has some bulk. He looks like a very nice, new counterpart to your familiar Long Range character, and I gotta admit I love the chance. I am toying with the idea of buying another Long Range, though, and dying his legs black, just to see how he looks maintaining his black and gray color scheme.

Speaking of color scheme, even with the green pants, Long Range manages to look as "covert ops" as he did before, with an all black torso, black kneepads, and black boots. The green is dark and subdued and works perfectly for wilderness battle, or any other type of nighttime warfare. Great choices, all around.

Of course you can't talk about a "Tactical Ops" brand figure without making mention of the accessories, though perhaps things are better left unsaid. When I first saw his large, clunky sniper rifle/missile launcher I almost laughed out loud. For whatever reason, Sigma 6 has been able to walk that line between rediculously oversized, spring-loaded weapons while still making them look very cool and very fun. Well, with this series, I think they've completely crossed that line. There is nothing really cool looking about Long Range's main offensive weapon. It mostly looks way-oversized, way too cartoony, and way too unrealistic. I see what they were going for, with a rocket launcher that resembles his sniper rifle, and from a functionality standpoint it works pretty well. I do like how the missiles are loaded in the chamber and fire through the barrel, and the pulling scope to fire the rocket works very well. At it's core, the weapon is nicely conceived and has a great premise. Unfortunatly, the plastic shell they built around that core ends up looking a bit rediculous.

The complimentary weapons aren't too bad, however, which is good. He comes with Arctic Duke's binoculars colored in gray and black, his standard revolver that the Desert Long Range came with, a pretty cool looking scoped pistol, and of course, his ghille suit (that works far better than I feared it might). These accessories are all fairly nice and do help offset the weirdness of his main weapon somewhat, though they are not perfect. Binoculars are always good for a sniper and the mold of these is pretty much perfect. His revolver is a bit dated, of course, but still looks pretty neat. I do find myself really liking his other pistol as well, even if it does look somewhat like a paintball gun. I must say, though, I'm somewhat disappointed at how interactive or modular these weapons are. A trademark of Sigma 6 accessories has been the interesting ways they interchange with each other, and all this scoped pistol does is stick on the side of the large launcher. Heck, the launcher itself doesn't even have any parts or pieces that can come off to modify it at all. Somewhat disappointing, all told. His ghille suit is interesting, and it actually ends up being more of a shirt than a suit, per se. There's a head hole and two sewn arm holes and it slides over the figure pretty easily. While a lot of suits are full-body ones, this one just acts as a jacket, and really it works very well in that regard. It drapes over his shoulders nicely, allows for full range of movement, and is a pretty neat little added accessory for a woodland sniper. Not too bad.

All in all, so far I haven't been all that impressed with the Tactical Ops experiment. We've gotten larger, more cumbersome play feature-filled weapons that seem to be getting less cool looking as they get more "feature-fied". Future releases continue to look mixed as well, with a cool looking chariot for COBRA Commander, but a pretty strange looking sparring dummy for Snake Eyes.

Thankfully in this case, the new Long Range figure makes up for the shaky accessory compliment. I find myself liking the sculpted pants a whole lot more than I thought I would and overall, this makes for a pretty nice update for the character. I have a hard time really putting a full recommendation behind it, simply because of some of the gear he comes with, but if it comes right down to it, I think it's worth a purchase, if only to add a little bit of bulk to the Sigma 6 weapons specialist.














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