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Hasbro: G.I. Joe Classified Retro Duke

It took me a minute to get on board with the style of the wave one figures of G.I. Joe Classified, but Duke ended up being one of my favorite figures in the line, he was just so playable and had such a great portrait. So while I’m always up for more classic interpretations, I wasn’t as desperate for this re-do as some of my fellow collectors. That said, I’m glad they did it, because this figure rules.

The card is interesting because the art is similar to the original look but they’ve made the holster more like this figure and added in knee pads that resemble the knee articulation joint. The card is a much nicer card stock and the bubble is sandwiched between two layers like the Legends retro cards and held up pretty well in transit. He comes with a bunch of stuff and that bubble is huge!

Duke comes with two fists, pistol, knife, stand, binoculars, two rifles, helmet, and backpack. The theme here is retro and nothing is more retro for me than that helmet with hinged frosted visor. The shape of it looks perfectly vintage from the front, but from the side it seems slightly off as the back curves in toward the head a bit more than those old helmets. I kind of wanted to pull off the visor to see how it looked without it, but I felt like I was damaging the thing as I did that, so I stopped.

The helmet can fit on the original Classified Duke and I think the Grunt helmet looks pretty decent on Duke if you are into a more modern military feel, though it fits a little loose.

The binoculars are one piece of plastic including the strap and are cast in a pretty soft plastic so you can get them to rest on the chest pretty close to naturally. They fit in the hand pretty well and the double elbows allow you to pose them held up to his eyes.

The pistol and knife have a holster and a sheathe that hold the smaller weapons securely. The knife is pretty rubbery and a lot smaller than the other weapons, so it can fall out of his hand if you don’t squash the grip hand together before putting it in there. I do like the three colors and it looks pretty snazzy in the boot sheathe.

The pack fits really securely on the back and holds the bandolier in place well. It seems like this is the best pack attachment I’ve got from this line yet! It looks like the same pack as the first figure, but it just looks so much cooler in tan.

The rifles are a little softer plastic than I’d like, but seem to hold the shape well. Not as bad as recent bendy weapons, but not quite as good as some of the stuff from earlier waves. The look of the two is pretty perfect with sharp details and they fit well in his hands. I do miss storage options for the extra weapon, but on the other hand, I like the packs a bit more without the pegs sticking out.

Finally, my favorite accessory is the fists. Perhaps it’s the Sunbow influence where they want to de-emphasize shooting people, but my impression of Duke is that he was a real two-fisted hero. Adding fists has been one of the improvements I’ve been wanting to see for a while, so it’s really nice to see.

The sculpting on this guy is top notch. The portrait is reminiscent of the great original Classified portrait, but feels a little broader and influenced by the card art or the cartoon. The hair is also a little less high and tight.

The body is a bit broader with more muscular arms and the detail is sharp on all the clothing folds and textures.

The articulation is pretty solid, but probably the one place where I don’t really see this figure as an improvement. The mid-torso joint was switched from a hinge to a ball and socket, so he gets less range of motion there. The top of the neck also has a ball and socket joint rather than the hinge of the first Classified figure, so he doesn’t look up and down as well as that figure. I also noticed that the detents on the double knees and elbows are SUPER tight. Like you might break something tight. One improvement in articulation is there is a lot more clearance at the front of ankle hinge so it’s easier to get him into crouching poses. Another thing I like are the slightly more effective pectoral hinges that help get him into a two-handed pistol pose pretty well.

Paint is solid, but I think the main benefit here is just the classic color scheme coming through more clearly. It might be dull for some, but it hits the spot for me. Speaking of dull, one minor gripe I had is the plastic they used for his tan shirt is a little shiny in spots, especially the torso.

Overall, this guy turned out fantastic and any gripes I have pale in comparison to the amount of fun I had with the figure. As much as a loved the original Classified Duke this one feels more quintessentially Duke and fits the image I hold of the character in my mind much more closely. He’s also got a great presence on the shelf with the other figures.