G.I. JOE: SIGMA 6
GI Joe as a franchise has always been subject to change. Despite being the creators of the action figure market, Hasbro has spent the better part of their 50+ years with the franchise playing catch-up to the rest of the industry. In the early 00s, anime was hitting pretty big with the hip kids in the US, and Hasbro tried to cash in on that fad via Sigma 6, an anime-styled retooling of the Real American Hero incarnation of the line. Though the line initially started out rather focused on a small selection of characters, towards its end, many of the old mainstays from the ‘80s line were added to expand the line-up a bit. One such character was Grand Slam, one of the earliest Joes in the ‘80s line.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Grand Slam was released in the first 2007 Commando wave of GI Joe: Sigma 6. Though the figures up to this point had been based on the corresponding Sigma 6 cartoon, Grand Slam was a design totally original to the toy line (it’s possible he was set to appear later in the cartoon, prior to its cancellation). The figure is about 8 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation. Grand Slam was deliberately introduced into the line with the intent of re-using the already existing Heavy Duty molds, so the fact that he uses a lot of HD’s parts isn’t a huge surprise. He uses the torso, arms, hands, and boots from HD. Those parts were cool the first time around, and they were still cool here, if rather on the stylized side. The flip-up comm link still remains one of my favorite features from this line. Grand Slam also gets his own head and leg sculpts. The head is, obviously, there to make it clear he’s a new character (though that would become less and less common on new characters as the line continued). It’s somewhat generic, but works reasonably well for Grad Slam, and it’s well-fitted to the body. The legs are the result of a change in style as the line progressed. Initially figures made use of cloth parts for things like coats, vests, and even pants. By the time Grand Slam came along, Hasbro had started aiming for more conventional action figure sculpts, so Grand Slam’s pants are sculpted rather than tailored. This does the figure a lot of favors, in my opinion. Not only does it differentiate him a bit more from HD, but it also allows his look to be a bit more consistent, stylistically. Plus, they’ve got a lot of really great detail worked into them, which adds a bit more character to what could be an otherwise rather generic figure. The paintwork on this guy is fairly decent, if not anything particularly outstanding. By this point, the line had mostly given up on the wacky bright colors, so Grand Slam sticks to mostly drab greens and browns. It’s not thrilling, but it’s still rather appealing. As a Commando figure, Grand Slam originally included a whole bunch of extras, the only of which I actually have is his set of metal dog tags.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I was initially very excited by the change to Sigma 6, but fairly quickly lost interest because of how difficult it was to find many of the figures. Grand Slam was released a good ways after I’d stopped collecting the line, so I didn’t get him at retail. I actually found him just a couple of months ago at the 2nd Avenue near where I live. He was only a few bucks and was just laying there sans accessories, so I figured why not? He’s a pretty cool figure, actually, and I’m glad I picked him up. He actually did a bit to reinvigorate my interest in my Sigma 6 figures. Which may not be the best thing…