Pursuit of Cobra Dusty
Pursuit of Cobra Dusty was a figure that really surprised me. For whatever reason, in my area of Kansas, he never caught on like I thought he would. Though he wasn’t as epic of a pegwarmer as Arctic Threat Destro, he was still pretty likely to be on the pegs right beside him for a while. I thought this figure was great, and if it weren’t for the dirty wash/desert tan on his skin, I was planning on picking him up to make my own Sandstorm from the Pursuit of Zartan parts. I’ve never been that attached to Dusty, but this version has a lot of character and really makes a far deeper impression on me than his previous figures ever did.
Like most early wave Pursuit of Cobra figures, Dusty has an entirely new sculpt. The upper body is relatively generic. He’s wearing a standard shirt with some additional armor plates over his shoulders and on his chest. Over that, he’s also wearing a poncho/cape combination. While I didn’t really like the cape with the Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper, I really like Dusty’s cape for a few reasons. First of all, it helps obscure the parts. Until I looked it up on YoJoe, I didn’t realize the Renegades Cobra Trooper reused so many of Dusty’s parts. Your eyes are drawn to the unique cape and it adds an additional dimension to the parts that other uses don’t have. Considering how nicely generic Dusty’s parts are, it’s nice to have something to make him pop and stand out from the other users of the same parts. Secondly, the soft goods cape is a nice throwback to the original Dusty’s soft goods neckcovering but at the same time, it’s something different enough that it doesn’t feel like more of the same with Dusty. The 25th Anniversary Dusty gave us a great update to his original helmet. I don’t need to see it on every subsequent Dusty to keep the idea going. Finally, it spices up the figure a bit. Having looked at Dusty without the cape, he really is a pretty bland figure. Without the cape, I could completely understand how people could pass on him. He’s not the most interesting figure when you’re just looking at the base figure. However, clever additions like the cape and his larger add on belt really make him much more interesting. His belt is an add-on piece as well and it’s got all sorts of pouches and things like that. It’s a bit bulky, but we’re not talking Rob Liefeld syndrome with his pouchy belt either. The placement of the various pouches makes sense and I also like the two armored pieces coming down and covering the sides of his thighs. While I’d imagine it’d be a bit heavy to run around the battlefield with an armored belt, I can also see a lot of circumstances where Dusty would be glad to have the additional protection. Dusty’s legs are pretty basic, but they also look decidedly military, so it works. The kneepads are actually removable pieces. I’m still not sure what I think of figures with removable kneepads. Dusty’s kneepads aren’t as chunky as some of them, but they’re also not quite as streamlined as I would like. By the time Hasbro got to the second version of the Desert Battle Snake Eyes, they got the removable kneepad thing down well, but on Dusty, it’s clear that they were still working out a few kinks. Above the neck, you have two different options for Dusty’s head. In the package, he came with your basic head with a helmet and goggles on top. The sculpt is excellent, but he is a bit generic. I know the 25th Anniversary Dusty was also a pretty generic looking figure, but I’d really like to see Dusty have a little more character in his face than this one has. However, if you’re like me and didn’t like the head he’s got straight out of the box, you’ve got another option. This head is designed like the head gear he’s wearing in the card art, and I think it’s great. Sometimes, you don’t have the option of riding out a sandstorm inside. When that happens, you need some extra protection to keep fighting. Dusty keeps his goggles from his helmet to protect his eyes from the grit, but switches out the helmet for a baseball cap and head wrap and also puts on a respirator so he can keep breathing in even the ugliest of desert conditions. Hasbro used swappable heads a few times before Dusty, but I think they really stepped up their game on that feature when you look at how good both he and Pursuit of Cobra Zartan look with this feature. I felt Hasbro missed the mark just a little with Rise of Cobra Zartan’s swappable heads, but both of Dusty’s heads look great and the fit on the neck is solid, but not too tight.
Dusty’s paintjob, while somewhat bland as is befitting of a desert figure, still looks sharp and Hasbro did decide to experiment a little with one aspect of his paintjob—his skin. Dusty’s skin color is molded as a fleshtone, however, to make him look more like a real desert operative, they did a nice spray of tan to give him kind of a dingy—or dare I say, dusty—look. I’ve known a few people over the years that have served combat duty in the desert and they say that the worst part isn’t the heat, but the fact that dust and sand get everywhere. I kind of like seeing that Dusty’s skin has got a fine coating of grime from his time out there. Hasbro definitely adopted a less is more approach with the spray, and it came out looking nicely. It’s quite subtle and I really hadn’t noticed it was there until I experimented with my first Dusty as a possible body for Sandstorm before picking up a second one. When I popped the Sandstorm head from Zartan onto this body, it was clear the skin tones didn’t match, but upon closer examination, there was also a fine spray on the body that didn’t match either. While I appreciate the attention to detail, I do kind of wish Dusty’s skin didn’t have that dingy wash on it just because it does really limit his versatility. I would have loved to have put Zartan’s Sandstorm disguise on another Dusty body and make a fast and dirty Sandstorm figure—especially since he didn’t get a terribly wide release in that phantom wave of Rise of Cobra mini-vehicles. I thought Hasbro had come up with a neat way to help me build a desert squad (and sell another Dusty figure) by making him look pretty nondescript. Just strip off the cape and you have a figure that looks totally different. That would have been a great base for a Sandstorm, but it would require some additional modifications to the figure. As a desert figure, Dusty’s colors are pretty basic. His shirt is tan with some darker tan for the armor on his chest and a grayish brown for his armor plates and gloves. The darker tan color is used for the pouches on his belt and for his pants, while the grayish tan is used on the belt itself, its armored plates and Dusty’s kneepads and boots. The tan is used for Dusty’s helmet and headwrap and the grayish tan color is used for his goggles, cap and respirator. For an additional splash of color, the poncho the cape is attached to is black. It really stands out against the rest of the figure and helps break up what could be a rather bland color scheme.
While Dusty doesn’t have the size of kit that Pursuit of Cobra became rather famous for, his accessories are all new and work very well for the figure. I’ll admit, I was rather confused by the Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper’s cape. However, Dusty’s works better for me since he’s a devoted desert trooper. In this situation, it can double as a wrap either to ward off the cold desert nights or to keep the sand out. I think Dusty’s cape is also better because it’s a soft goods piece. The G.I. Joe Trooper’s cape limited the poses you could put the figure’s arms in. However, Dusty’s cloth cape drapes nicely down his back when in a natural position so it really stays out of the way but looks good at the same time. Dusty’s helmet and goggles combination also looks quite nice, though I think it feels just a little oversized. I understand the design limitation. The goggles have to be so big so you can have them sitting on top of the helmet or down over his face but they look just a little out of scale. The detailing is great, but I wish they could have made it just a little more in scale with the rest of the figure. For weapons, Dusty is packing a pair of submachine guns. The one I have in Dusty’s left hand looks like a stripped down version of the M-16 while the one in his right looks more like a properly scaled version of the gun that 25th Anniversary Wraith came with based on the RCP90 design. Both of these molds are great but the RCP90 feels just a little small. I tried to get Dusty into a two-handed firing position with it when I first got him, since it has the foregrip, but it was pretty awkward. Plus the actual back grip for the RCP90 isn’t the greatest. It doesn’t look that natural in his hands, and I think that’s a shame. However, both weapons are still great and I’m kind of surprised Hasbro hasn’t trotted out the stripped down M-16 more frequently. Dusty’s final accessory is a head scratcher…just like any other time I’ve mentioned it showing up. I don’t quite understand why they felt the need to include a coil of razorwire with this figure. Don’t get me wrong, it looks very nice, but I still don’t quite understand why Dusty needed it. I would rather have seen the tooling dollars for that go into another new rifle, maybe something like his FAMAS rifle with a bipod like he had back in the day. Dusty’s weapons are good, but he doesn’t really have a weapon that looks that imposing. I like to see my Joes with not only realistic weapons, but also ones that look like they can pack a punch and Dusty is kind of lacking in the punch-packing department in my opinion.
Dusty is a figure that I really enjoyed. Though I’m not generally a big fan of environmentally-specific figures, Dusty managed to look great in spite of his limited color scheme. I’ve always found standard military green fatigues look good in any situation, but more desert-based looks don’t always do so. However, Dusty comes together so well as a figure, I don’t see the desert uniform as a drawback. I appreciate Dusty having alternate heads. I’d rather see a complicated design look like his wrapped desert headdress and respirator to be its own sculpt rather than try and do it as a removable accessory. Sculpted as its own single piece, it looks quite sharp. I think had all those pieces needed to be add-ons to the head, it wouldn’t have looked as compact. Conversely, though, I’m also glad they didn’t make his card-art accurate, wrapped head the only head sculpt. Doing two heads for Dusty gives him some nice versatility and while I prefer the wrapped head over the head and helmet combo, I’m still glad that when I get bored with the look, I can swap on the regular head and make him look a little more like a soldier on base duty rather than deep in the field. His accessories are solid pieces and look relatively good in his hands. Overall this is a great figure, and to be honest, I’m still not sure why he didn’t move as well as most of the other Pursuit of Cobra figures in my area. I hope people picked him up on spec when stores started discounting them a little. He’s a really good figure that deserves to be in people’s collections.