Dusty (2002)

My interest in toy collecting has something of a historian slant to it. I find the behind the scenes stories of creation, production, and even cancellation to be fascinating. With GI Joe, those stories are being unearthed constantly thanks to the efforts of some seriously dedicated fans and collectors. It seems like every toy line has that mythical final series that never made it into production. It also seems like those unproduced toys are almost always the most interesting. I’m sure that the unattainable mystique fuels some of that thinking.

Lately, I’ve been hooked by 12 inch GI Joe figures, and most specifically, 12 inch figures released in the late 90s through the 2000s. Even though I’m primarily a collector of the small Joes, I find myself drawn into the large scale world more often. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll see them sprinkled throughout the past year of entries.

Dusty comes out of the first year of the relaunch of the small Joe line. Amazingly, Hasbro supported a new concurrent 12 inch line along with the more popular small scale. Some of the designs followed closely to their smaller brethren, but others went off on a different design path. I admit to not having much interest in these larger figures at the time, but as my horizons have broadened, I’ve discovered that some are actually pretty cool toys that deserve a second look.

This Dusty fascinates me mostly because of its origins. Outfitted in a black suit with a helmet and monocular, he doesn’t appear at first to resemble the famous desert trooper. That’s because this figure offers two outfits in one package. You could say that this toy can perform double duty. Hmm, where have I heard that term before?

This figure sports an outfit and accessories that were originally intended to be among the Double Duty line of a previous year. That defunct segment of GI Joe featured outfits that could be reversed, and accessories that could be switched out to create different missions. It was a two-for-one concept that I’m surprised didn’t catch on. Dusty’s black outfit, suited for a night ops mission, complete with night vision helmet, features a reversible that converts to a backpack.The body itself is painted in a desert camo pattern, and once the switch in clothing and accessories is made, the figure looks quite convincingly different from the other. This kind of change wasn’t always so successful in the Double Duty line, but here, Dusty really looks like two different toys for the price of one.

I’ve wondered why, with all the time, money and effort that’s spent developing toys, that the product which “almost” makes it to shelves doesn’t somehow see a release more often. One would think a toy company would want a chance to recoup some of their effort. In this case, as different as the figure looks in relation to the small line, it’s good to see a previously unreleased toy get a second chance.


  • Interesting gimmick here.

  • I have this one and I always wondered why it didn’t resemble the traditional Dusty “look”. Thanks for shedding light on that, it makes so much more sense now. It also give me an appreciation that this figure was saved from the “almost made it” graveyard.

  • All the 12 inch figures need to be awesome again is:

    1. Bring back the Kung Fu Grip. It’s still the best hand mold of all.

    2. Ditto the Ball-jointed neck articulation. Cut necks just don’t, …well, cut it.

    3. Life-like hair and beards. Most RAH-era Joes have facial hair, so it’s a given.

  • He reminds me of that other ’12 Dusty that came with the missile launching bmx.

    On the subject of unreleased toys i think i might have to disagree there. The ill fated DROIDS cartoon had a second series of toys and none of those were released…well except Vlix and as a star wars collector i have to say they were hideous and lame.

    Unreleased Joes held a bit more promise though. Come on, Hasbro release those ninja commando guys

  • Interesting, though I think it’s a little odd that the alternate “gear” has him shirtless. That seems unwise for a desert specialist. For some reason, I also see Dusty just in shorts and think he must be going to the most badass pool party ever…but maybe that’s just the weirdly comedic part of my brain talking. I’m also a little confused by the fighter pilot helmet for the night op gear. I imagine the rebreather is to combat night time sandstorms, but it still looks more like a fighter pilot who ejected from combat than it does a night ops soldier to me.

  • They needed to make double elbow and knee joints standard like every serious 12-inch figure maker did over a decade ago. Even a Formative International defunct Soldiers of the World made that standard in their last releases.

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