Paratrooper Duke surprised all of us a few months ago when the test shot showed up on eBay before anyone knew it even existed. Thankfully, one of the Sigma 6 Central stalwarts, Mysterious Stranger, scored the eBay test shot and did a great review for us here. Now that we've got the production model in hand I figured we should check it out and see just how both of these figures matched up, and also do a review of the production model as well.

First of all, Paratrooper Duke manages to take all of the different aspects of the different standard Dukes and fit them all together, and those different aspects just happen to be things that I really love about those other Duke figures. The long sleeves of the Sea Ops version (not to mention the face camouflage)...the great boots from the Jet Wing, and even the terrific helmet from that same version. Pretty much all of the great things about previous Duke figures is available on this single figure, which is quite cool.

The overall design of the figure is very commando-esque, with the skin tight Sigma Suit and modified harness, equipped to hold pretty much every weapon that this Duke comes with. Even though the figure uses all re-hashed parts, they work remarkably well, I think, and the Sigma Suit design lends itself almost flawlessly to this commando paratrooper.

Of course, the different colors are important to an exciting new figure as well, and I think Hasbro delivers on this promise as well. Paratrooper Duke uses a funky deep almost aqua blue base with a lighter silvery trim, and both colors are really pretty awesome. They are very nice, vibrant colors, yet muted enough to not look to bright for night operations. The two colors compliment each other beautifully and really help this figure look more exciting. Very nicely done.

Quite possibly one of the most important aspects of this figure, though, has got to be the presentation. Even with all of the accessories, even with the cooler colors, if a toy doesn't yell "buy me" on the shelves, it may get passed on by. However, one of the absolute bright spots of this figure is how it's packaged and presented, in mid-leap, as if parachuting right down into the box. It's a brilliant design, and a fantastic way to showcase this unique figure.

Now, without a doubt, even with the different colors, the main draw for this figure has got to be the accessories. As usual, I'll really cover the accessories in detail in the Tech Specs section, but I've gotta touch on it here as well.

First of all, Duke comes with an absolute TON of weapons and gear impressive number, in fact. Two machine guns, two pistols, two knives, four grenades, an axe, an awesome modified harness/holster combination, a helmet, and of course, the parachute itself. All of this gear makes this figure look like a fully equipped paratrooper/infiltrator, which is exactly what he should look like.

Tunnel Rat's MP5 is a fantastic choice, and is colored in a dark metallic blue, as is the Switchfire machine gun w/ bayonet. Both of these machine guns are terrific, and I'm glad to have them both included here. He's also got Spirit's knife and tomahawk (which splits into two separate hatchets as Spirit's does), and four of Tunnel Rat's grenades, plus his awesome pistol, too. Hasbro really seemed to go out of their way to find all of the most desirable weapons out there and include them all in one single package.

Duke's got the Jet Wing helmet, and a Tunnel Rat harness modified to work with Duke's thigh holsters. I am really amazed that they're able to take all of these recycled parts and really manage to do something new with them, making this a very cool, fun figure.

The new accessory he comes with is obviously the parachute itself. This 'chute is HUGE, and connects to two sliding hooks, which clip and hold very securely to twin slots on the shoulders of the harness. Through the dozen or so test flights, I had no problems with these hooks at all, and the parachute function itself is remarkably successful. I'd love to launch it from a higher altitude, but my ground-level tosses all worked great.

But the major bone of contention when it comes to Paratrooper Duke so far has been value. As of this point, Paratrooper Duke is a Toys "R" Us exclusive, most likely through the rest of 2006. In spring of '07, I believe he will start appearing in other retailers, but for now, he is solely available in brick and mortar at Toys "R" Us. I'm not sure if TRU is using that as a method to charge a little extra for this figure or not, but the fact remains that while this figure had a $19.99 suggested price at the Convention, he is now appearing on store shelves priced at $29.99. This is something that is really driving some folks away, I think, especially when you look right there on the shelf next to him and you can get a brand new Night Ranger Quad with a figure (and new gear no less) for $10.00 cheaper.

Unfortunately, Hasbro has no control over what prices the retailers dictate...they can only give them the suggested price. Normally competition might bring prices down, but where this is currently a TRU exclusive, their price seems to be running high. I would imagine that when this figure does hit other retailers, pricing might be more reasonable, but at least for the next few months, expect a $30.00 price tag if you want this figure.

The real question is, is it worth the current price? That's a very tough call.

I love pretty much everything about this figure. The mold choice, the colors, the paint apps, the vast array of different excellent accessories. It all adds up to a terrifically conceived and executed figure (even if it is another Duke). From head to toe, this is a worthy investment, and would be exceptionally easy to customize into another character. The $30.00 price tag is a deterrant, though, especially with the Quad and Sigma Strike Duke sharing shelf space at ten dollars cheaper. I'm torn. Personally, I don't regret spending the money on it at all, if only for the large number of great weapons you get, but I can see how the price tag would give people pause. Ultimately it's up to the buyer. I think folks who do drop the money will be happy with what they get, but there are cheaper Sigma 6 figures on shelves that have lots of merit themselves.














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