Hi-Tech has his origins in the newsculpt 3-3/4" line. He came along fairly early on, and was more or less a more up to date replacement for Mainframe, the G.I. Joe team's computer expert, who was introduced in 1986. Hi-Tech, basically, was younger, more in keeping with the trendier image of a computer geek, and was more technologically savvy. He didn't just work on computers. Give him almost any piece of technology and he could, given enough time and parts, make it stand up and dance. Hand him a toaster, give him a week, and he'd give you a machine that would toast bread, cook bacon, scramble eggs, and serve it all to you on a plate. Give him another week and it'd squeeze fresh orange juice for you.
The original Hi-Tech was packaged -- not too surprisingly -- with Dr. Mindbender, and in the "Valor vs. Venom" DVD movie, the two had something of a personal rivalry that went a bit deeper than the standard Joe vs. Cobra conflict. Hi-Tech pretty much considered Mindbender an old lunatic of a mad scientist just a few steps removed from Dr. Frankenstein, whereas Mindbender pretty much considered Hi-Tech a cocky, arrogant young hotshot who was too smart for his own good.
Basically, they were both right.
Although Dr. Mindbender hasn't made the jump over to the Sigma Six concept, Hi-Tech did right from the start, even though he only recently received a figure. Hi-Tech, as I said, was the developer of the Sigma Suit, and subsequently spent most of his time in the Joe Team's Command Center, monitoring the missions and trying to keep everybody in line technologically -- no easy feat when you're dealing with a team as individualistic as the Joes, and especially when you've got the occasional nutjob like Tunnel Rat to deal with -- never mind having Cobra shooting at everybody in the process.
Hi-Tech wasn't really a battlefield soldier. He was behind the scenes, generally irritating everyone with his colossal ego and his hundredth-of-a-second calculations as to how the missions were supposed to proceed.
Given that the new Hi-Tech figure doesn't look all that much like his animated counterpart, but is fully decked out in a proper Sigma Suit, which, notably, the character did receive in the fourth episode of the second season.
As for Hi-Tech: He's an excellent figure. While there are those (and I was one of them) that dislike Sigma Six on principle, given that it has supplanted the 3-3/4" G.I. Joe line, I really have come to believe that any comparison between the two really isn't all that fair. They may use the same character names, but they're two very different toy lines.
Hi-Tech is wearing a standard Sigma Suit, whose "trim color" is a fairly bright green. This actually works very well for Hi-Tech, given that the rather -- high-tech package design for Sigma Six uses a green-and-black combination. Although Hi-Tech's green isn't that bright a green, there's something about using this color on his Sigma Suit that seems to connect him that much more closely to the technological side of Sigma Six.
I have only a few small gripes with the figure -- First off, he's wearing these knee-length fabric trousers that frankly look silly as heck. They're well-made, don't get me wrong, and they have some fairly detailed stitching in them that seems mostly decorative. It's excellent attention to detail. But they still look silly. Now, Heavy Duty and Spirit may have been able to get away with wearing full-length fabric pants over their Sigma Suits, but Hi-Tech is pushing it with these things. Secondly, the areas of the Sigma Suit underneath the trousers that one might have expected would be painted green -- are unpainted. Guess we know where they saved the money to insert the LED on this one. Hi-Tech has a very slight molding issue -- there's a crease on his forehead. This is a problem that needs to be dealt with across the board with Hasbro, but at least this one is fairly minimal. Oddly, I've seen several other Hi-Techs, and this molding crease is in ALMOST the same place. Must be the way the plastic is shoved into the mold. If they'd liquefy it just a little more, this wouldn't happen.
Finally, Hi-Tech has this anorexic waist that's almost painful to look at. His animated counterpart isn't anywhere near this badly off, so I really don't know what's up with this. Okay, I don't expect Hi-Tech to be a powerhouse like Heavy Duty, or even as muscular as Duke. I'm also aware that there's a more stylized aspect to the character/figure design for these individuals. But Hi-Tech's lower legs have more meat on them than his waist! It's just a bit creepy. Even the illustrated drawing of Hi-Tech on the front of the package doesn't render him that skinny!
I will say this -- except for the missing paint on the upper legs, Hi-Tech is very neatly painted. I see no evidence whatsoever of hand- painting on this figure, and I hope that's a trend. There's some really excellent detailing on this figure, especially around the boots, that has been superbly done. Nice work, Hasbro!
Let's consider the accessories. Although I am not an accessories nut, they're such a major part of the Sigma Six figures, that they do deserve commentary. Hi-Tech is wearing a pair of goggles with transparent green lenses. Although these goggles are removable, and his eyes are fully painted underneath them (and the eyes on these figures are some of the most extensive paintwork), he honestly looks a little better with them on for some reason.
As one might expect, Hi-Tech's weaponry is pretty sophisticated. It's also rather large, to the point where Hi-Tech is the first Sigma Six figure in his price range to not have his weaponry packed in the dark grey foam rubber container off to one side that most of the figures have used. Hi-Tech comes with a huge blaster rifle that can be broken down into several component sections -- which apparently can maintain their useability in those sections. There's quite a few moving and removable parts here. The rifle can fire these transparent green missiles, as well, with a built-in spring-loaded system.
Hi-Tech's other main accessory is a four-legged robotic device called the H.O.U.N.D. No relation whatsoever to that robotic dog that was in the first season of Sigma Six. In fact, it doesn't even look as dog-like as some of the robot pets that you can buy one aisle over from the action figures. However, it's not intended as a pet. It's described as a "sentry", and has four legs with little wheels (molded and non-rolling), and a head with a camera on it, that has a fair range of motion. The device can also be worn as a backpack by Hi-Tech. H.O.U.N.D., by the way, stands for "Hybrid Operations and Utility Networking Device" -- wonder how long it took them to work that out -- and is described as a "robotic drone with multiple functions for communications, defensive operations, and infiltration of electronic systems." Sounds like a canine-looking version of R2-D2. Wonder if it can project a holographic image of Scarlett...
Hi-Tech's file card -- other than the H.O.U.N.D. description I just provided, reads as follows:
SIGMA 6 TECHNOLOGY SPECIALIST
Code Name: HI-TECH
Hi-Tech proved his technological genius as the communications expert on numerous covert ops missions. He uses his expertise with all electronic devices and his superior mechanical creativity to design innovative technology from existing hardware. He has built machines to control or disable the formidable Cobra B.A.T. troops, such as a device for taking control of the robots. He has created the H.O.U.N.D. Sentry, a remote multi-function unit equipped with full communications, defense and equipment systems. On one mission, Hi-Tech used the H.O.U.N.D. Sentry to provide the team with continuous data on Cobra movements, a power source for the team's weapons, and equipment to reprogram a Cobra B.A.T. trooper for use as a visual/audio "spy" in the Cobra organization.
So, do I recommend this figure? Absolutely. Especially since he's a new character in the line -- a line that's still turning out too many versions of Duke and Snake-Eyes -- but is also an established character in the concept, thanks to the first season of the animated series.
Besides, I like the uniform colors. Anyway, HI-TECH definitely gets my recommendation as a welcome new addition to Sigma Six!