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.