Since I was a kid, I've always liked characters who are leaders, are straight-laced, and have a good sense of justice and honour. Superman from the DC Universe, Optimus Prime for Transformers, and for GI Joe it's no different--it's Duke!
So after the Rise of the Cobra, I felt kinda cheated because movie Duke was easily the weakest character in the silver screen rendition. Why? Cuz he doesn't really look like the blond haired, chisel-faced Duke of the cartoons and comics. And also because his character was very blah.
Enter Desert Ambush Duke, whom I really didn't want to get, but ended up with anyway.
You see, I wanted to buy Reactive Impact Armour Duke instead cos I'd thought a bunch of Joes in the R.I.A would look cool together on the shelf and be distinct from the more colourful Marvel Universe figures. But I really couldn't stand how thin R.I.A Duke's face and biceps were. And they re-used the body for Ripcord as well.
So I figured, what the hey, I'd just get this guy cos he had the better looking head and a Marine uniform, which could later be used for generic soldiers once I take off his head for greener pastures. Heh.
Now I really love these new Joe figures, especially the articulation and accessories. Desert Ambush Duke is no different. But he does suffer from a couple of problems in each area.
Firstly for his articulation, both guns fit in both hands nicely but his right hand is angled in the socket such that it will hold his M16 Assault rifle, and only the M16, at the proper angle.
This means he can't wield his handgun properly in his right:
Yeah, he's either shootin' too high or shootin's someone in the crotch. And we know that's below ANY version of Duke, whether or not he's been in movies that feature street dance offs.
Oh, swiveling his wrist a quarter turn tremendously improves on his right hand grip--if you want him to be a perfect bank robber.
He'll only holdS his handgun nicely in his left:
As far as the rest of his Accessories go, he comes with the BFG (blah), helmet and night-vision goggles, backpack, and a nanomite warhead.
There's also this nifty metallic dog tag stand.
The sad thing is, though the helmet and goggles are way cool--the goggs even flip up--you can't see Dukes eyes from the front when they are.
Aesthetics: 9/10 - Nice Marine Corps camo uniform--he looks every part the Desert Storm soldier. His face sculpt is accurate, making him look like Channing Tatum with the classic Duke frown.
The bad? He looks like Channing Tatum with the classic Duke frown. But for a 3.75" figure, the detail is pretty darn good, from his buzz cut to the scar on his right cheekbone.
Poseability: 9/10 -Your standard modern Joe--He has a ball-jointed head and chest, pin-swivel shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists. legs are ball-jointed, with double-joint knees and swivel and ratchet ankles.
The only problem here is only of course his angled hand for accomodate his assault rile. Even then he can't really hold the rifle right up againt his cheekbone nice and tight.
Fun: 8.5 - Well, he may have accessories, but one of them's the needless BFG, and another's a malfunctioning hat. It bugs me that he can't hold a handgun right in his right hand and vice versa for the M16 in his left. It limits his variation and affects the fun factor.
Value: 8.5 - Throw out the BFG and nanomite warhead, ignore this figure's particular "handedness" and flip goggles problem, and we have only his rifle, handgun and dog tag stand left. Or do we? Well, his vest is actually removeable, so that's a plus! Or is it? They actually went to the trouble to sculpt his uniform underneath, but didn't bother to paint it. His body underneath, though, looks like he's been starved for months. So no real joy in this mini-discovery, really. Maybe if Hasbro had painted the fig underneath he'd actually not look like he's wearing a corset. Oh, well. The jacket/vest goes back on.
Overall: 8.75 - Get him only if you're a fan of Movie Duke, or if you really liked Step Up 1 & 2. Or if you really like the Marine Corps outfit. Otherwise, I'd get the Reactive Impact Armour version (as warped as it is), or better yet, wait for the Delta 6 Accelerator suit version that should be out soon. No BFG there for sure. ;)