Yup, that's how I'll start out with this review of Dutch. I mean Duke.
To be frank, I didn't think I could be surprised with what the Pursuit of Cobra follow-up line to Rise of Cobra could offer. I was bored with ROC after pilfering from what it has to offer. That's why I'm pleasantly surprised that POC has come up with some brand-spankin' new ways to wow me. It's such a refreshing feeling.
And Jungle Assault Dutch here takes the cake.
He hasn't hit the retail stores here yet, but the Pursuit of Cobra Joes have started to arrive at the specialty shops. Now these guys usually charge a slightly higher than retail price but that's not an issue is it's a matter of a dollar or so. Besides, getting it early is always a plus, so I can take my time to play with it before giving the review a go.
There was no way I wasn't getting this guy when I saw him--I'd seen pics of the prototypes or Ebay auctions of loose Dukes from China and Hong Kong and wasn't impressed initially. But once I saw him in package with his butt-load of gear...Goes to show how packaging really helps sell a toy. Heh.
Now, then the question is: Was Dutc...Duke as awesome as his packaging promised? Find out after the jump!
Like: We've been spoiled by the new generation of Joes, especially since the movie. So now we don't just expect weapons from Joes--we expect arsenals. And with this figure, we get it. Yes!
But when they have somewhere to store said equipment, ah, now there's a clincher. There's just something satisfying in knowing that you don't have to carry a figure's stuff around for him and that he can do it himself, and look friggin' cool doing it too.
Like: That he's got a backpack that can store his handgun, with a slot for his torchlight. The pack even has an elastic band that let's you strap on either of his machine guns across the back of it. And that's really cool beans and all and and a genius way of storing a bulky gun or two. The downside is that the elastic band will one day lose is elasticity but until then, it's all good in the 'hood. And it looks like you'd be able to easily replace it when it happens anyway.
Like: That he has a sheathe for his long knife in his belt. It's nice a tight, with the sheathe being able to bend to allow Duke's leg maximum flexibility. However, it's not that soft that it'll tear or never return to its original position after being bent about during posing.
Like: The whole determined looking face and the head sculpt. Check out that scar! Check out those cheekbones! Check out that perfectly tanned skin tone! And check out the look on his face and those piercing blue eyes! Hasbro have captured the intensity of the character really well. It has gotta be the best Duke head out there and definitely my new favorite Duke-face!
Like: The retro-look Headband! This is the first Duke I recall seeing that has some sort of sculpted-on headgear. I have to admit, though, that I didn't like the idea of a headband on Duke initially. But now I'm sold, simply because it adds to the intensity of his eyes and really suits the jungle theme that they were gunning for.
Dislike: That he has a bum right hip joint. I've had Marvel Universe figures joints loosen on me, but those are plastic posts and balls. I've never had the metal Joe posts fail on me like this. What it means now is that he's got a swinging leg kick action feature. It also means he can't really lean on his right leg for some poses because the leg will just twist around and he'll collapse. lol.
Like: The superb amount of tooling they put into his skeleton battle order harness. It's got ammo cartridges here and there, pouches everywhere, and a place to store his knife. There's so much detail in his harness that at the first attempt, I failed to find the peg and slot to un-peg it. It's actually tucked between a couple of pouches, connects snugly, and is really well hidden.
Like: The overall paint. Duke's the right color of blond, he's got nicely painted-on camo on his arms, his eyes are awesome, but the part that's the best is the Reactive Impact vest he's got on.
And not just because it's well dry brushed, but also because it also speaks volumes of the jungle theme of adaptability. It's as if Duke realized he needed maximum protection with minimum hindrance, so he chucked the rest of the Reactive Impact Armor and kept the vest. Then he camoed up his exposed skin and matched it with the right color of slacks. Then comes the boots and the bandana, just like a Batman "suit up" sequence.
Aesthetics: 9/10 - He's got what I like to call the "classic" Duke look. He's not just any blond guy with a scar. He's a blond guy with an intense look and a buzz cut who'll kick you ass if you fall out of line. Kinda like that guy from that movie with that alien. Ya know.Yeah, that one. ;)
Well, all right. So Duke here looks completely nothing like Arnold Schwarzenegger's character from Predator. But he does look a whole lot like Dutch. And with RecondoBlain (Jesse Ventura) and Spirit Iron Knife like Billy (Sonny Landham), Duke would be perfect to lead a special "anti-alien invasion" tactical team. ;)
A small aside about these guys: what do the three of them have in common?
Answer: They all are, have been, or are would be governors in the US! We all know about Ahnuld and Jesse's careers, but check this out! He knows how to stretch a dollar, but not how to survive a Predator!
Poseability: 7.5/10 - Loses big points for the super loose hip. He's still very poseable in wide/combat stances. It's when you want him to stand straight that he becomes unstable. I definitely think this is just inherent in my figure, so this rating should be better by a point or so if it didn't have the problem.
Fun: 8/10: - The jungle theme is something I'd never though I'd get into--until I saw Duke here. I really can't stop thinking "Predator" when I see him. What would really be cool (and what I'm planning to do) is assemble Duke, Spirit Iron Knife, and Recondo and build a display with lots of JungleVipers...until some company decides to make a 3.75" Predator. Then the Vipers would join Duke and the Joes, and the real fun would begin...
Overall: 8.2/10 - This is still a great figure and one I'd recommend if you're missing that ultimate Duke or like me, want to assemble a squad of Joes akin to the original "Arnie" group of commandos that got their butts handed to them by the Predator. (I can't wait to get my Spirit Iron Knife [Billy!] and Recondo (Blain!) Then it'll just be Mack (Bill Duke) and Dillon played by Carl "Apollo Creed" Weathers to round off the team. (I'll probably use Roadblock/Heavy Duty if they ever come in jungle attire or just pop off those heads and put 'em on some jungle duds. Heheh.)
Damn it, now I need some spiffy Predators in 3.75" scale stat, because as a wise man once said: