G.I. JOE: ULTIMATES (SUPER 7)
Though he wouldn’t join the line until 1983 (and even that was just as a mail-in; he wasn’t in the line proper until ’84), Conrad “Duke” Hauser has nevertheless become the face of A Real American Hero (granted, that’s largely because Snake Eyes and Cobra Commander are, you know, faceless and all), and by extension, he’s gotten a lot of focus in the toys. He was also especially prominent in Sunbow’s tie-in cartoon, and since that’s the main basis for Super 7’s new Ultimates line, Duke’s right there in the starting line-up. I’ll be taking a look at him today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Duke is the second figure in the four-figure line-up that makes up Series 1 of G.I. Joe: Ultimates. After Snake Eyes, he’s the second of two Joes included in this assortment. Much like Snake Eyes, Duke is based on his animation model, though Duke only actually had the one main design in the Sunbow era, in contrast to Snake Eyes’ two. The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation. Duke’s articulation is a touch more restricted than what we saw on Snake Eyes. Thankfully, the elbows and knees remain about the same; it’s really just the neck and waist that are reduced. The waist is a design thing, so I get it, but the neck’s just a bit of a bummer. Duke is another all-new sculpt, going straight for that animated look. Duke’s cartoon is particularly sold by his head, and this figure has three of them to work with. There’s a standard neutral expression, a shouting one, and one that’s somewhere between the two, which also features a headset. All three are sporting an impressive likeness of the Sunbow Duke, so you can pretty much instantly tell who he’s supposed to be. The one with the headset is my personal favorite of the three, but they’re all of equal quality. The body sculpt doesn’t *need* to be as strong as the heads, so the fact that it’s not quite isn’t all bad. It’s still pretty good, but the articulation’s a little obvious, especially the ab-crunch, and to my eyes, his feet look far longer than they should. Other than that, it’s a solid sculpt, which matches up decently both with the show and the V1 figure. The color work on Duke is a good match for his cartoon counterpart; the color scheme for Duke was pretty similar to the figure, so it’s pretty compatible. His paint work is all pretty sharp and clean, especially on the faces of the three alternate heads. Duke is packed with the aforementioned 3 heads, as well as four pairs of hands (in fists, trigger-finger grip, loose grip, and a flat/pointer combo), an animation style rifle (shared with Snake Eyes), a walkie talkie (also shared with Snake Eyes), a watch, and a helmet, binoculars, rifle, and back-pack all based directly on his V1 figure’s parts. He doesn’t get any of the more episode-specific parts like Snake Eyes did, but I do feel like the V1-style parts are a decent trade-off. I wish the binoculars were a bit more natural sitting, and he can’t really hold the walkie talkie, but otherwise everything is pretty cool.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’m not, classically, a Duke fan. He falls into that grouping of main characters that I tend to find rather insufferable most of the time. So, why buy the $50 deluxe figure of him? Well, he’s grown on me over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the animated version in particular, and this figure that just honestly looked really, really cool. Is he as good as Snake Eyes? No. But I also didn’t expect him to be. Snake Eyes is Snake Eyes. There are different standards. Duke’s still a really good figure, though, and I’m still quite hype about this line.
Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review. If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.