Duke (Arctic Threat) - Pursuit of Cobra Pre-Production

NOTE - This review is of a pre-production version of a figure that may or may not ever see release in this particular form. Some items seen in these images may or may not be released at retail.

So not only is this another Duke figure, but it's an arctic Duke figure? Yeah, pass. Right?

Err... right?

No. This is a definite "no". For whatever reason, like Sigma 6 did in 2005, the Pursuit of Cobra has just got this vibe to me. A vibe that lets me appreciate a great toy as a great toy regardless of what character is wearing the parka. Back in the Sigma 6 days we were inundated with Duke figures, and amazingly, I loved most of them...and as a comic fan, I was never that fond of Duke to begin with. At a certain point, at least to me, it just comes down to is it a cool toy? Sure, this figure would probably fit in a collection better as Blizzard, Frostbite, or even Sub Zero, but regardless of who's head is on the body, and who the character is, is this a good figure?

The answer is an unequivocable "yes".

But while I've seen many images online at various sites of this figure without his jacket, I thought doing a review like that would be somewhat of a disservice, even though from what we've heard, there are no plans for Arctic Threat Duke to hit retail. If I was going to review the figure, I wanted to do it as right as possible. So, thanks to a friend of the site, notpicard, I can showcase Arctic Threat Duke has he was meant to be.

Does the jacket make a huge difference? Yes and no. Obviously the regular reactive armor look is somewhat silly with his overly bulky sleeves and legs, but I've found that putting on a Pit Commando flak vest overshadows that lankiness somewhat. However, it's immediately obvious that with his jacket on, Arctic Threat Duke is an incredible looking figure, regardless of how over-emphasized the character is.

From soup to nuts Duke is crammed full of new tooling, which leads me to believe we will see this figure in some shape or form down the line. His large sleeves, his thick, padded legs, very cool overlapping boot cuffs, and the great additions to his thighs (not to mention the very cool elbow pads and kneepads) all give you a very large, imposing, and realistic looking arctic trooper.

Hasbro has really come a long way with their sculpting and design work, and they've made huge steps in just recent years. Back in the day a large figure was just some added arm muscles, some slight tweaks to the physique, and maybe a bit taller than your standard figure. But starting with the 25th Anniversary line, and really coming into play with figures like the Ice-Viper from the Rise of Cobra, Hasbro has done fantastic work "beefing up" the tooling to give figures the sense of some added bulk and padding for arctic-equipped figures as well as just larger overall characters. The flared shirt cuffs on Duke are terrific, and even though he lacks the double jointed knees, the way they worked the knee joints into the pads was exceptionally well done. His ankles still move freely, yet are locked into place easily in spite of the larger boot cuffs, too.

Overall, from a tooling perspective, whether or not you like Duke, or whether or not you like arctic figures, it's tough to deny that the pure design work here is impressive.

The paint applications, too, are very nice. Sure, he's built mostly from white, black, and brown, but the lighter dry-brushing on some of the black gives the illusion of show residue or frost, which is a very cool touch. The light splotches of tan camouflage scattered throughout the uniform adds some nice color interruption as well. All in all, even with a limited pallet, he's a good looking figure.

What seems to be the new norm with the G.I. Joe figures is the accessory compliment that they are coming with. No longer content to toss some generic weapons in there, we're getting some heavily customized, heavily specialized, and really nice looking weapons lots somehow crammed into the small little packaging, and this is no exception. Another huge selling point of the Sigma 6 line were the weapons and gear, and like his eight inch counterpart, this version of Duke is rocking a nice snowboard (with flip-out blades!) and a rocket launcher. Sure, you probably don't see your typical special ops arctic soldier hauling ass down the cliff face on a snowboard, but I love little additions like that, and the sculpting and detail on it is pretty nice.

The newly tooled gun is another very cool aspect, with the fabric wrapping around the familiar submachine gun from the Rise of Cobra line, but nothing else really jumps out at me...well, except for the coat. Large, bulky, with a nicely detailed fur collar, wash-painted grenades, and pouches everywhere, this coat is amazing, and it really sells the figure. Too bad it's so tough to find, because it takes what is already a pretty neat figure and puts it right over the edge.

None of Duke's other gear is really that remarkable, however.

I don't really like arctic figures. I don't especially like Duke. But for some reason I cannot quite grasp, I really love this Arctic Duke. The bulky tooling, the incredible amounts of detail, and the very cool accessories all come together in one very nice package that drives the detail, yet still retains a decent amount of the base articulation. Two things that I'm not a big fan of manage to make a nice little package.

Time will tell if this will be released in some way, shape or form...I certainly hope it does, every Joe fan deserves to get their hands on a figure this nice.