Duke (1993)

So here’s yet another version of the Joe team’s top sergeant. Duke garners mixed feelings amongst collectors, whether they consider themselves fans of the comic, the cartoon or even just the figures. Some can’t stand him and consider him a usurper of Hawk in the comics. I’ve never really had a big problem with Duke, and I don’t necessarily see his presence as diminishing Hawk in the comic. He didn’t seem like the cartoon version’s de facto leader in Larry Hama’s comic scripts, as Hawk was still a commanding presence. I also thought that Duke’s initial reaction after the SAW-Viper killed of his teammates was quite well done, and showed more depth to the character than the cartoon could manage.

As the 90’s continued, Duke was refreshed in several assortments and sub-groups. His 1991 figure established a kind of desert look that had a big presence in the Joe media and advertising of the time. This 1993 version, part of the Battle Corps series, is a return to a more straightforward military look, with simple BDUs and a modern helmet. Like other figures from the line’s final two years, the paint apps are a bit sparse, with only two base colors and a lone silver grenade. Had this figure been done up in ’82 green, I think some folks would have gone bonkers for it. As he stands, this Duke is a bit forgotten for me, especially amongst the many colorful and fanciful figures released alongside him. He is however a solid, simple figure. A refreshing contrast for the time.

I’ve always found his lack of a removable helmet to be a letdown, but one that’s easily remedied with a head swap. And hey, at least he’s lost the goofy grin.

9 comments

  • I actually plan on using the torso from an extra one to make a ARAH-style version of Rise of Cobra’s Sgt. Stone. To the best of my knowledge, the mold for this figure was only reused three times. The first was when the arms were used for the Comic Pack Clutch figure from 2004. The entire body, sans the head, was used for the 2010 Vacation in the Shadows Flint, both for the boxed figure and the para-drop version. That’s it. His accessories are black versions of the 1991 Grunt’s gun, 1988 Muskrat’s shotgun and machete, and 1991 Tracker’s MP5.

  • When I got this guy back in ’95, he was one of the best figures that was available at retail. Even today, he’s a pretty strong desert figure and definitely worth owning. It’s possible that this mold, repainted in green, was scheduled for release in ’95 before the line was cancelled. That would have been a great figure.

    When Hasbro first got into the repaint business in 2000, they started strong with revisiting 90’s molds. But, that quickly petered out into repaint after repaint of Mirage and Big Ben. That’s too bad because this Duke mold could have been used much more effectively than the MC Flint figures. I would still love to see ’94 Stalker, ’93 Duke, ’93 Leatherneck, ’93 Beachhead and 94 Flint repainted with quality accessories and convention level paint jobs. All could be amazing figures with just a little creativity. But, I think that boat has sailed.

  • This is a solid figure alright. Like the guys said, much of the stuff released during the Battle Corps era merits reuse. This version of Duke is very reminiscent of his 12” Hall of Fame counterpart. The lack of a removable helmet also allows him to pass for most of the original thirteen members such as Hawk or Grunt if done in green or olive drab. Easily one of the best vintage Dukes out there.

  • I used him as Grunt in 1993. This figure worked as Robert Graves in a way the 1991 figure did not.

  • I do not like this figure as Duke…

    • Maybe they should’ve slapped the 1991 Dusty’s head (with brown hair instead of red) on this mold and made him Battle Corps Dusty instead.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    In my opinion, this is the best version of Duke after the original and Tiger Force versions. Easily the best Duke of the ’90s.

  • This is my Battlefield Duke. His face resembles the 1983 figure so well that each could easily be said to represent the same person. This is a great figure.

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