G.I. Joe: Renegades Amazon Exclusive 4-Pack - Duke

When Hasbro made the decision to go more realistic with the Renegades toys, I was disappointed for sure, and I was absolutely certain that a figure like...say... Duke, just wouldn't work in that style. Duke looked so animated with his large, featureless flak vest that trying to emulate that in a realistic style would be tricky at best.

But then Hasbro did it and surprised the heck out of me when it actually worked...mostly. There were things about the original Renegades Duke that didn't work, of course, most notable being the large bulbous wrists. But besides that, the head sculpt was magnificent, the flak vest managed to look like the Renegades version and still work in a realistic sense, and the figure just clicked. It was a surprise hit from that second wave.

Well, what this version manages to do is to take that already surprisingly excellent first version and improve it in almost every way. The upper part of the figure is now Renegades Law instead of the original Renegades Duke, which makes for a much smoother, more realistic looking torso and arms. If they had only made this change, the figure would be just about perfect. However, along with that, they gave him the Cobra Trooper legs, which I would have actually really loved, if he didn't require the huge oversized kneepads to go along with it. I don't mind the kneepads necessarily, but I would have preferred ones of a more reasonable size. Because of the size of the legs, though, these are really the only kneepads that work with those legs.

Still, the use of the larger legs give the pants a broader, flatter appearance, which is more in line with the animated model.

As far as paint apps, they are pretty much the same as the previous version, but the flak vest is a much plainer, more "animated" color scheme. No detail washing, no variations of colors, and the end result is a pretty nice one.

This version of Duke comes absolutely loaded. He sports six separate Renegades themed guns, with two rifles, two of the Duke pistols, and two of the Scarlett pistols, giving these Renegades a veritable arsenal if weaponry to use. Nothing new, but I love the show-accurate weaponry, and it's cool to see it here.

Ultimately, there's nothing drastically new and amazing here. No animated tooling (unlike the ninjas), just some different assembling of previously released parts, and the end result is still very impressive. I still love this head sculpt, I love the flak jacket... heck, I pretty much love everything about this figure, with the exception of the oversized kneepads, and that's a very minor complaint. Considering how much I like this Duke, and how he's the low point of the entire set, I think it's fair to say this entire 4 pack is a serious winner.

The best thing about all of this, in my opinion? The fact that the G.I. Joe: Renegades set has sold out twice at Amazon already proves, to a point at least, that there is a market for characters from this universe. I hope Hasbro is paying attention to this, and I hope it resonates with them and at least plays a part in their decision about whatever future animated series they decide to go with.

This entire four pack was a real surprise, and such a pleasant surprise to boot. Kudos to whoever was responsible for pulling this together, it's an awesome set and I hope it proves that there is some value to continuing the Renegades theme throughout other offerings.