G.I. Joe: ARAHC - Duke

I have to say, when I first saw the pics of the new Joes to come, this one was the one that really caught my eye! Despite a lot of Joe fans opinions, this Duke is and will always be my favorite version of this character. When this mold originally came out in 1992, it was by far my favorite version. And now that it is out, in more miltary colors, well, the choice is clear. THIS is Duke to me, plain and simple! An absolutely fantastic mold, the colors are nicely applied and detailed, and everything about him is pretty near to the perfect "Top Kick" of the G.I. Joe team.

But let me go over specifics here, so I can justify my decision to all the folks who might disagree. First, the color: Green on green with black highlights. Just screams military and jungle warfare. Perfect for a man who has a history of it. No, it appears to me that this particular Duke that I found is NOT paint wiped. There are swirls of darker paint on his pants, but they almost look like color in the plastic itself and not applied afterwards. An odd little addition, but it really works as a cool, different type of camouflage. Now the mold detailing is fantastic as well, proving that even in the 90's, Hasbro was capable of doing great things with their figures. The weapon assortment on his chest and the different shades of green and black work together beautifully. His helmet fits fine, and I LOVE the tattoo!!

Now, to address some problem issues. First, the hair color. Lots of complaints from Joe fans about going from blonde to brown. Me, no big deal. People dye their hair, so what? It makes sense to me, to maintain the darker camouflage to dye your hair. That's the reason I see for Low Light doing it back in '91, and it still fits for me. After all, look at Hawk! As his hair EVER been the same color from figure to figure?? But, there is a very serious problem with this Duke figure, that is really starting to annoy me a little bit. Where are his flippin' WEAPONS??!? He's a soldier for crying out loud! If Hasbro is going to include a ton of weapons/ accessories in a package, they really need to identify what goes with who. After all, all of the accessories in the Duke/Sidetrack package belonged to Ambush originally, the older version of Sidetrack. So it would make sense for all the new weapons to go to Sidetrack, which leaves nothing for Duke. Once again, this is not a HUGE deal for me, since I have tons of extra weapons to pick from, but for other people and especially parents, this could be a problem. Although, actually, now that I think about it, parents' would probably LOVE that he doesn't come with a weapon...but the kids are probably ticked off.

So that's basically why Duke languishes here in third place even though he had such potential to be the runaway hit of the new line. No weapons. Still, the figure itself just plain rocks and once you find a decent extra weapon to stick in his hands, he's the Top Shirt he was always meant to be! Expect to see a lot of this figure later on in my Dio-Story!