Duke (1994 China)

GI Joe: The International Heros. Heros? Were they Greek all of a sudden? Typos aside, it’s a nice figure from the ranks of legends like Chinese Major Bludd and Tiger Force Flint/Falcon. While he doesn’t differ greatly from the regular release, there are a few unique details to this Duke, as well as some funky card art, to provide some interest.

The Chinese figures I have were acquired as part of a weird find at the Half Price Store back in the 90s. As a fledgling adult toy collector, I was picking up any carded figure that struck me as being unique and possibly worth putting away for the future. Yeah, that generally didn’t pan out. Anybody need a couple of MOC Ray Fillets or Capture Swamp Things for their collections? Didn’t think so. I am glad I picked this figure up, along with the others I saw, as my desire for GI Joe figures has not waned in the intervening years.

Duke looks at first glance to be the same as his domestic US release, but a close look reveals s few differences. This Duke has different sleeves and a different waist. Both are the same as mold changes that came with Tiger Force Duke. Tiger Force raises its head yet again with a Chinese figure. First, there was the confusion of Flint/Falcon, and then the Tiger Force Duke mold done up in his original colors. Even the card art gets in on the tiger action, presenting the same card art as the 1988 figure (well, with the addition of a cool airbrushed background explosion).

Other figures are pictured on the back of the card, but the only others I picked up and/or remember seeing were Cobra Commander, Major Blood, Flint/Falcon, and Storm Shadow. There’s also a small colored box on the back that pictures Duke, Flint, Roadblock, Dial-Tone and Lifeline. I wonder if this is a call-out for a Tiger Force sub-set. Makes me wonder if their was intended as a TF version, but ended up normal like Duke did.

7 comments

  • I find it odd that while in the card art, Duke is pictured with the Snow Job rifle, yet for his original and TF versions, he came with Stalker’s gun. I wonder why that is…(that, and how Hasbro could be dumb enough to lose the Hit N’ Run and Cobra Trooper molds that would’ve made future Duke rereleases a lot more tolerable….)

  • I’m used to “International heroes” as thats what most of the A.R.A.H stuff was packaged as back in the day. The last time i was organising my display when my Mother was over, she pointed to them and said “International heroes” to which i replied “You mean American heroes”

    Oh and does anyone know who that guy on the left of Tripwire is on the back of the card? Is it Undertow, Astroviper or someone else?

  • @Skymate
    It’s Undertow.

  • Color change Ray Fillet went for some serious moolah in his day. The two final Swamp Thing figures, not so much, but I really dug the colors used on both of ’em.

    I was glad to get this Duke at a time when I was lacking a regular version in my collection. Even happier to get Cobra Commander (who is always pricey) along with Lifeline, Dial-Tone, and the Chinese exclusive version of Major Bludd which came out looking awesome. I got them all through a dealer advertising in Toy Shop, the late, lamented ad tabloid mag.

    I miss those days when mail order catalogs and SASE’s were our only direct means towards completing our vintage collections.

  • –>> This is the most amazing JOE card in the world.

    ( I need a Chinese Ray Fillet ) ..

    ;p

    ~ t

  • Interestingly all the figures on the yellow call out are on the main portion of the card!

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