Duke (2004 Toys R Us Exclusive)
Some Joe fans have a love-hate relationship with the team’s First Sergeant. In the cartoon, he was the de-facto leader until Hawk came around in the second season. In the comic, Hawk was the Joe honcho from the beginning, and Duke was a Johnny Come Lately second in command two years into the series run. Since his first figure appearance in 1983, he’s been Hasbro’s Joe co-posterboy along with Snake Eyes. If there’s a Joe line on the shelves, you can count on seeing a Duke in most every assortment.
In the new sculpt series of the 2000’s, Duke had his fair share of figures. He was in the initial ill conceived assortment of figures without O-rings, and while that first edition was never retro fitted as other figures were, Duke’s next version more than made up for the first’s lack of articulation. Swivel wrists and ankle joints were added, and it really makes a difference in poseability. Finally, a Joe could convincingly hold a weapon with two hands!
This more articulated mold was used for this exclusive release that was only available in packages of the 12 inch Voice FX talking Duke sold at Toys R Us stores. Its paint scheme is based closely on that 12 inch figure, and is quite a bit different from the regular releases of the mold.
Around the time of this figure’s release, protoypes molded in arctic colors with this camo pattern started to pop up on EBay. I thought that was a striking look, and I regret not picking one up at the time. A nice mold with great articulation and a unique color scheme make for my favorite Duke of the new sculpt era.