Duke started off on the wrong foot with me upon his introduction in GI Joe: A Real American Hero. This flashy blonde came in crashing Hawk’s rightful spot and then started making moves on Snake Eyes woman in the first five minutes. It wasn’t until his “official” introduction in the comic books that I grew to like Duke.
Shooting down a Rattler with Roadblock will do that for most Joes. It came as no surprise then that Duke got the call to be in the first wave of Hasbro’s GI Joe Classified Series. Hopefully an even cooler Gen. Hawk figure is in the works though… Let’s see how this man of action turned out.
Packaging: Of the various package art, Duke is probably my least favorite as it’s the most comic book art of the batch. While the others have had more of a pieces of art this could easily have been clipped from a comic. In keeping with everything else, the packaging is very clean with a neatly arranged setup of Duke and his accessories.
In my code guessing for his card, it looks like Duke is a commander, infantry soldier, parachutist and strategist. I do really like the individuals nature of this part of the packaging, which is becoming one of the cooler parts of the line. The back is the same as everything else and I still really wish there were bio cards for this line.
Now that Hasbro updated the website, which includes a bio (!) and the file card system, Duke’s skill sets are leader, light weapons, skydiving and tactics. He gets the highest marks on leader and tactics.
Likeness: Besides a few extra design elements, Duke is probably the closest to his 3 3/4 version. The green of his undershirt has now just stretched out to the top of his shirt, but it’s still got the top button unbuttoned with short sleeves, the loaded down strap across the chest, a green belt, a holster on the right leg and brown boots. And I can’t forget about his pin on the right breast.
I really like the head sculpt. It captures that look of authority and a soldier who’s perfectly willing to lead the charge instead of staying in the background. Hasbro sculptors did an exceptional job on the hair and I love the forehead scar as a throwback to the original 12″ line.
The shirt flows well with just the right amount of folds and creases. Consistent with the other figures, Duke’s pants feature some nice texturing. The strap and belt are a bit more involved than the original Duke, but fit with this updated take.
The biggest controversy with Duke is the kneepads and shinguards. Adding a little battle damage — bullet holes — was a nice touch. I don’t mind them, but I can see why people balk at these since they’re the main departure from Duke’s classic look.
Paint: If there’s one consistent aspect with the first three figures it’s that they all have one too many colors. For Duke, it’s probably the green on the shirt as it’s not the best pattern.
Runner-up would be the red on the shoulders, watch and gloves. Again, these aren’t major problems for me, but just serves to make the figures look busier than “necessary.”
As a reminder, Duke wore those horrendously gaudy Tiger Force colors so it’s not like he’s a stranger to an obnoxious color scheme.
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Scale: Duke fits in just right with Roadblock and Scarlett. I plan on partnering Duke and Roadblock on a lot of missions so it was key for me to have Duke looking up at Roadblock. Now to find some Rattlers…
Articulation: I wasn’t expecting the Classified Series to be a gamechanger in terms of articulation in this scale, but that’s really been the case especially at this price point. Duke moves exactly like I’d want a standard infantry troop to be able to pose.
He can actually hold his rifle in a realistic manner and thanks to the butterfly shoulders has a wider range to achieve some better gun aiming poses.
- shoulders (butterfly)
- elbow (double-jointed)
- wrist hinge
- hips (ball-jointed)
- drop down hips
- knees (double-jointed)
Accessories: Duke has a lot of callbacks to his original figure. First up is the big green backpack complete with shovel.
He also has his binoculars. There’s no strap this time but they plug into the belt with no problem.
His pistol also seems more grounded in modern weaponry as opposed to a futuristic take.
That’s not the case with Duke’s blaster, which has an energy portal. I like the stock, which aids in the two-handed grip and I do like the two-tone with the metallic points.
Worth It? Taking into account all of the original parts of the line and heavily detailed sculpts the $20 price point is fair.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Hasbro nailed this one too. If this is the quality of very figure in this line it’s going to overtake Marvel Legends by this time next year (if not sooner) as my favorite line to collect.