Heavy Duty (1991)

Heavy Duty as a character got a lot of flak (no pun intended) from some fans from the 2000s onwards. The absence of Roadblock for the first year of the relaunch and his seeming replacement with a new heavy weapons specialist didn’t seem to sit right with many collectors. It was never much of a big deal to me. If a figure is released with a new name than what you’d prefer, you can always rename it yourself.

Before that time, however, Heavy Duty was just another new GI Joe. The 1991 figure is quite impressive. At first glance, the man’s weapon stands out as his primary claim to fame. He’s probably the most heavily armed single packed figure ever released. These sort of large accessories don’t often live up to their promise in terms of useability. Heavy Duty’s cannons however, work very well. They’re balanced enough that the figure can actually stand up while wearing the large apparatus. The cannons also fire missiles, which is a fun feature and not too intrusive. Most of the 1991 missile launchers were quite well integrated with their figures. Unfortunately this balanced blend of form and function would be gone with most of the later Battle Corps series’ firing weapons.

Heavy Duty may look a little plain, but his figure has its share of detail and unique personal touches. The backwards facing Joe ballcap, ripped shirt, and even the camo pattern on his pants are the kind of additions that give the figure more personality.

I don’t see him as a Roadblock rip-off at this point. In fact, I’m glad to see more diversity brought to the team. Looking at his original weapon, one of the most impressive GI Joe accessories, one wouldn’t easily confuse him with the team’s resident heavy machine gunner and gourmet chef. For the second time in the 90s, there’s a hand painted slogan. This time it’s on the base of the launcher, and it states, “Just try it!” I like that a lot more than something like “The Right of Might.” 


  • I think having this figure growing up is why I didn’t initially dislike Heavy Duty as much as other Joe fans during the New Sculpt era. (To be fair, by the end, there were a lot of unnecessary repaints of Heavy Duty that could have been used for other, more interesting options.) I had the Tiger Force Roadblock (and later the 1993 Roadblock since I thought my brother’s 1992 was so cool and more like the Roadblock I had in my mind–and yes, my brother did have the original spinning gun copter of doom and no neither of us was severely injured by it) and Heavy Duty in my collection and had developed similar yet different roles for the pair. Roadblock manned the machine guns while Heavy Duty often took up a defensive position either with his own impressive gear or manning that huge rocket-launching Gatling gun that was in front of the 90s Joe Headquarters. I always did like his massive weapons system and I’m sure that’s what drew me to him as a kid. It was nicely designed and looked really cool on him and I liked that you didn’t need his figure stand to keep him upright with it on. Plus, he was also designed to be a really buff dude, which helped sell this gear. I always liked that both he and Salvo looked like they could handle their gear and was why I did later replace my old Roadblock with a newer model even though I liked the Tiger Force one I originally had. Heavy Duty is a piece that can really show off how far the Joe line came in terms of sculpting in just nine short years.

    While I was disappointed to see the Hasbro team trying to turn HD in RB, I still kept their differing heavy firepower jobs from my childhood in perspective and didn’t mind it that much. That’s part of the nice thing about the Joe line, if you don’t like how the filecard has them portrayed, you can always find your own way to enjoy figures.

  • This figure, carded and for $3, was the crown jewel of my first major flea market haul last year.

    The reuse history for this mold is semi-interesting. The entire figure got repainted in 1998 for the TRU-exclusive MOBAT tank, while the cannons from his weapon were shared with those of the 1991 Sonic Fighters Apache helicopter. The figure mold, sans the head, was finally used for the 2007 Operation: Flaming MOTH Chuckles.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I’ve never had a problem with Heavy Duty and never realized people think of him as a Roadblock rip-off. I think this is a great looking figure, but I think the accessories are a bit too bulky. I really like this one.

  • I really like the drab colours on this guy. Goes to show even in the neon 90’s we still got figures wearing millitary uniforms for a realistic battlefeild and not a paintball factory.

    I also like the fact that while Heavy Duty, Salvo and Metel head all came with a lot of parts they were available at the same pricepoint as all the others. These days they’d be marketed as Deluxe figures

    If theres any complaint i have about this guy its his backwards cap. Maybe he has to wear it so he can use his sight/rangefinder but it does look like he’s trying to relate to the kids by wearing it that way. Reminds me of the time my Mother had a posh lady from England stay with us for a few days and she tried to talk to me using 90’s street lingo.

  • LOL. He looks like one of those ballpark vendors with the portable freezer or thermal box to keep food warm… only with missiles and gunbarrels. Serving up whoop-ass no doubt.

    Heavy Duty was ok. The figure was a pretty good sculpt, the accessories interesting (including the little red target eyepiece). Roadblock would seem more portable with his big gun and tripod than Heavy Duty and his’ portable’ artillery battery. How the heck is he carrying that load? I guess I can see how he might be seen as an ‘edgier’ Roadblock for the ’90s because that decade was all about being edgy, X-treme, or ‘tude in marketing to the young and hip.

    @ Skymate
    1991 was not a neon year, at least, not in the main line cardbacks.
    1990 & 1991 tend to be widely overlooked years with many quality figures.

  • Heavy Duty is another excellent figure from 1991, the last great year in the line for me.

    Everything from the backwards cap, to the ripped shirt, to his file card (a classical guitarist who is into Bach) speaks volumes about the guy as a brand new character. His missile system with red sight/rangefinder ranks right up there with Red Star’s launcher in terms of greatness and practical use. In addition, I read that while his real name is Lamont Morris, there is also a variant file card where he is called Hershel Dalton, but I have yet to find one.

    I was disappointed to see Roadblock switched with HD due to trademark issues, but it was an understandable move at the time. Since then, Dwayne Johnson has brought back Roadblock to stay up front in Joe lore and all is well. Heavy Duty can focus on doing his own thing again.

    I also liked the angle about both men being cousins since it fits nicely with Roadblock’s image of a wholesome dude who is close to his family.

  • @LittleBoa. i was only thinking about the septic tank. Guess i forgot about everything else. And yeah. My namesake comes from 1991. I completely forgot about him.

  • Overall, my favorite years came out to 1988 with 1991 right behind it for figures.

    As Acer mentioned with the rocket pods being used on the Sonic Apache, I think that is an interesting use (re-use?) of those; I’ve wondered which came first? Consider that the Sonic Apache itself was part of another toy line, if I remember right.

    My first Heavy Duty figure was the one that came with the 2002 Brawler. Loved the Brawler, but I really lost interest in that included figure, much like the Destro that came with that same years Dominator.

    Otherwise, I put 1991 Heavy Duty in my top picks of figures. Nicely detailed mold without getting over-laden with molded-in gear (Compare Heavy Duty to 1987 Fast Draw to see what I mean about molded on gear). The weapons rig is something that I think would come in handy in for a squad of ‘Joes out on foot patrol. While Backblast is working the air defense, Rampart is hitting the shoreline defense, Heavy Duty can take on the defense on land against pesky tanks.

    Stripped of his gear, Heavy Duty fits in vehicles very well. For a fairly muscular guy, he’s not too big, actually a little shorter than some if I remember right off hand. The “MOBAT” version of this mold enables my imagination to put him into many of the very vehicles he excels at destroying from the outside. For me, tank gunner or driver fit for him.

    As a character, I find his placement in Star Brigade Armortech interesting, along side Rock & Roll, another heavy hitting ‘Joe whose 1989 version shows the characters interest in upgrading his weapons systems.

  • Steven B. Williams

    This figure was arguably the best figure in the 1991 line and perhaps the most memorable since the mid-80s. I really liked this figure; it was brimming with personality, the weapon system was cool (the bullet holes were a nice touch; it says he’s willing to get shot at), even his file card was good (clever of Hasbro’s marketing department to have Heavy Duty be a classical guitar player). Great, great figure.

  • Great figure, one of my faves!

  • Personally I just gave him different guns and a back pack and used him as an updated Stalker.

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