Duke (2004)

How dedicated am I to showcasing figures from all corners of the GI Joe world? How about Action Attack Duke. Sure, I could have passed him up, but I think looking at a loathed toy can provide a little perspective. For those who don’t care to feast their eyes upon him, turn back now and wait for tomorrow’s entry. But remember, I can’t cover the greats every day, otherwise I’ll run out of fantastic figures to cover. Then you’ll be stuck with only guys like Action Attack Duke. See? I have your best interests in mind.

Action Attack Duke was released in the Valor vs Venom series, and he wasn’t the only figure of the time to get the action feature treatment. He was, however the face of the maligned movement to many fans. Some even went so far in their nerd rage to give him a colorful nickname: Butt Plug Duke. Now, that moniker, while humorous in its own sophomoric way, isn’t entirely accurate. Duke’s…um…shaft isn’t quite in that particular location, it’s really closer to his waist. Anyway, when you push the button, the figure twists at the waist. Nothing too exciting, and not really all that fitting for Duke, especially since he’s depicted on the packaging brandishing (and was also equipped with) a pair of nunchuks. Poor Duke. Sheesh, when it rains, it pours.

Of course, this little feature changes his articulation, and he’s a t-crotch figure. Other than that change, I think the look of the figure is pretty decent for the time. I’m not a hater of action features. In fact, I really enjoy them if they can be integrated into the figures without being obtrusive. I understand why Duke was given an action feature, since he’s one of the posterboys of the brand, but the end result of toy and feature just didn’t mesh. However, the figure certainly fares better in terms of proportion than others of the same series. Limb length seems much more natural than most in the 2000s. Speaking of which, this uniform design was refitted in o-ring style just a bit later in the series. Unfortunately, it was stuck with an inflated looking torso, tiny waist and thunder thighs. Par for the course.


  • I realize everyone focuses on the spinal tap there (seriously, Spinal Tap Duke, his suckiness goes all the way up to eleven…let’s see if we can make that a thing) but you’ve still missed his worst feature…the waxy skintone that made him look more like a manequin than an actual man.

    Yeah, this Duke kind of fails on just about every level. Don’t get me wrong, this figure probably deserves all the hate it gets, but it’s still interesting to take a fresh look at one of the worst figures around.

  • Ugh! I had forgotten all about these guys. The mid-2000s weren’t the best of times for longtime Hasbro devotees. GI Joe had gone back to the action feature well which had first been tapped during the vintage line’s tail end years, with Ninja Force and Street Fighter serving as prime examples. Didn’t translate into higher profits in the early 90’s much as it didn’t help much during the new sculpt era.

    Star Wars fans were equally miffed since figures from that time were pre-posed in order to give them some sort of similar action feature as the Joes had, or simply so Hasbro could skimp on the articulation. It was truly the Dark Ages for a while going, but both lines outlived the fad and went back to doing what they do best: Offer the best articulation on 3 3/4 inch stuff out there.

    That is, at least, until a couple of years back when the long-discarded 5 point of articulation model was embraced once more in an effort to cut costs, as both lines began to lag once more at retail. The lesson? Toy production, and action figures in particular is a very cyclical business.

  • The only thing that could be salvaged from this figure are the accessories. Give the guns to a couple of troops, use the wrist-comm for custom purposes, and give the nunchucks to a ninja figure. Personally, when I found accessories like the ‘chucks and wrist-comm, I gave them to my single pack Kamakura so he’d match his two-pack counterpart (the one that came with Storm Shadow). It actually looks neat when you have each end of the nunchucks plugged into the clips on the wrist-comm.

  • I’m just back from Sydney [at the time of writting this i’ve been home ten minutes]. I found a huge tub of of Spytroops era stuff. I now have every version of Spytroops Duke and TWO of this one. Why was he repainted so many times?
    Anyone else notice that he looks like he’s staring?

  • I don’t think I’ll ever buy a “new sculpt era” figure. The wax skin tone (as KB mentioned) and the giant shoulders just kill it for me.

    Note: I said “I don’t think I’ll ever…” not “I will never”…. you never know when you’ll cross the line into collecting something you didn’t think you ever would.

  • He’s not great, but I wish that well-sculpted Retaliation Swamp Viper had as many POA as this waxy piece of Joe. So it could be…worse?

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