When it rains, it pours...we went from a number of months during the summer where new Sigma 6 product was few and far between...and here we are, now in the thick of a new release schedule. We got the excellent Commando Wave 3 '06 last month, and we've got what looks to be an absolutely stellar follow up Commando wave in October. Sandwiched in between these two fantastic assortments is a small three-figure soldier series that is largely unremarkable, but still has some neat elements to it.

I've already covered Kamakura Airglide Ninja, and I've decided to hold off on Tunnel Rat until I can find him at brick and mortar retail, but here's a review for Tomb Tracker Spirit, a figure which has gotten some mixed reactions from fans online.

It's interesting to mention that the original Spirit figure was really what sold me on the Sigma 6 line at the start. Storm Shadow didn't impress me a whole lot from early pictures, Snake Eyes looked kinda "buggy"...I was never a Duke fan. But Spirit, when I first saw him, I knew that Hasbro had a potential hit on their hands. His animated style was captured pretty much perfectly, then you had his cloth headband and very cool, intricate tattoo artwork on his arms immediately made the character very cool. The real cloth pants helped as well.

Up until this wave, Spirit remained the only one of the original five figures not to get some sort of updated treatment, so he was due for a new figure, and while this figure is definitely geared more towards the "adventure" end of the spectrum (and not so much military) I think it's still a pretty neat one. He's got the same familiar animated facial sculpt and cloth headband that immediately made an impact with me on the first version. One thing lacking from this version seems to be the main thing people are complaining about, which are the arm tattoos. This version has long sleeves, which actually works, I think, and is an obvious attempt to reduce paint apps and save some cash on production. This almost looks like a covert ops version of Spirit, which is cool enough to me, though I do miss the tattoos some. They did add a great flair to the character.

The headsculpt is as nice as the original, I like the long sleeves personally, and overall, the figure itself isn't too bad, for a Soldier class update.

But what new elements does this figure add to the Spirit character in general? Frankly, not a whole lot. That's not to say there's nothing redeeming about this figure, not at all. But it doesn't do a whole ton that the original doesn't.

The paint applications are pretty much the same as the original, only with long black sleeves instead of the no-sleeve tatooed look, and as I've said, that looks pretty neat, I think. His primary weapon here is an oversized spring-loaded crossbow that shoots "javelins". It's a pretty wacky, oversized weapon, but could add some fun value for kids. Personally, I don't find very much useful in this contraption. However, it's something we've gotta get used to, because as we've seen, spring-loaded weapons are going to be an ongoing theme with this toyline. Personally, I'll take a nicely sculpted machine gun over an oversized clunky old crossbow any day of the week, but that's not what these toys are about.

Thankfully, Spirit does come with some cool gear beyond that crossbow. First and foremost he has a very cool rubber vest that fits well and looks pretty cool overall. Tan in color and with a western theme, it looks as if it could provide him some good protection and adds a nice different design, too. Regardless of whether or not you like the figure, the vest adds some value to the purchase, I think. It also has two built-in sheaths on the vest, which house two fantastically sculpted knives. Two different knife sculpts, they both look very, very cool and pretty deadly to boot.

Spirit also comes with a pretty strange "snaring device" which looks to be used to capture a snake...it's slightly more useful than I originally thought it might be, as the lasso portion of the snare is fully adjustible, and the string extends to a pretty long limit. You can even use the snare to snap up full sized COBRA's as well as the slithery, scaly kind. You can hit the Tech Specs page to see what Spirit's file card says and get an idea what the snare is for and why he needs to capture this Snake. The snake itself is kind of a tack on accessory. I was hoping maybe it was a "bendy" toy, but it's just a hard rubber snake that is not at all flexible and just sits there in one position, unmoving. From all appearences, Hasbro looks like they're going to start putting a focus on animals with their figures. Snake Eyes has Timber, the original Spirit has Billy, and this one comes with a snake...not to mention Shipwreck coming with his monkey as well. From the looks of Timber, all animals won't be simple afterthoughts like this snake is, which is a good thing.

Even if the figure isn't appealing to everyone, take his vest and his knives, and you've got some great little trimming for your first version of Spirit. Myself, I really love how this version of the figure looks even without the arm tatoos. Now, Spirit is far from perfect...I'm not crazy about most of his accessories, but the base figure itself is cool enough. Kamakura takes the cake for this wave, but Spirit isn't too far behind. Depending on how badly you want a vest and cool twin knives w/ sheaths, I'm not sure I can heartily recommend a purchase to everyone. I don't regret dropping the cash on this figure at all, and I think anyone can find decent stuff about him as well.














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