Duke (Dollar General)
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny Duke has a recognizable name as far as GI Joe is concerned. Which is probably why this figure bears his name. However, my guess is he will find his way into most people’s displays as nameless green shirt.
If I had seen this figure without a name on it, I would have guessed it was Short Fuze. He has the original 9 look down with the funky straps and little arm pouches. The blond hair with no mustache would tell me this was Short Fuze and not Zap.
Honestly, they may be what I love most about this figure. Short Fuze was my first GI Joe way back in the day, and this figure truly reminds me of him. Well, except my Short Fuze has no thumbs.
This general body was used for updates of both Zap and Short Fuze in 2009, so it’s cool to see it reused here. I just can’t bring myself to call him Duke, though.
The head is generic enough to be anybody, including Duke. Maybe this prequel Duke, before he earned his stripes.
The chest straps I’ve never really understood, even on the vintage figure. I assume it is some sort of special harness for heavy gear, but it always kind of looks silly if the figure doesn’t have a pack on. This version has all the detail you’d expect from the modern line with buckles and rivets. The one small issue is that it does a pretty good job of covering the backpack hole if you want to use it.
The belt is another separate piece with a splash of black paint for the buckle. Attached on the left side is a holster. Why is this on the left side? It’s also facing back like he would draw it left handed.
The back of the belt has an canteen attached. It reminds of the canteens I’ve seen in Army/Navy stores since I was a kid. I was going to call them out on that, but after some research I decided not to. It looks like not much has changed with military canteens except going from metal to plastic bottles.
The boots of this figure are a definite throw back to the vintage line. They aren’t the lace up boots we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. These have that mysterious fifteen minutes into the future tech the vintage Joes had.
The right boot has a pretty good size holster attached to it. Seems like an odd place to carry a large gun, but okay.
It wouldn’t be GI Joe without accessories and Duke come with a few. He comes with a generic stand for starters. I do like these plain stands, even though I don’t generally use them.
Like any good soldier, he has a helmet. Here the figure breaks from the vintage tradition. He comes with a more modern cloth covered affair, rather than one of the smooth vintage style one. I really like the realism on this helmet.
Next up is a pistol. For those doing the math at home, that is one pistol for two holsters. I have extra pistols, so it’s not an issue. However, I’d have been just as happy if they had left off the leg one. That being said, this pistol doesn’t fit real well in either holster. It will fall out. Those of you with dark carpet have been warned.
Duke is also armed with a a rifle. In this case, it’s an M16. I know this is classic GI Joe weapon. I get it. I just wish they would up date to one of the more modern versions. The strap hooks on this one intrigue me though. I had one for my 12″ Joes when I was a wee lad and remember tying string through little loops like that.
Honestly, I’d be tempted to lightly army build this guy if he was more readily available. At the $6 price point, I would imagine he would fly off Dollar General pegs if there were more of them out there. Shoot, I bet if it was just a case of him they would sell through them.
The only thing I really miss here is the backpack. I’d have gladly traded that stand for an update of Grunt’s pack. The other small issue I had was the way the pistols fit in the holster.
To be honest, I’ll probably order some Marauder pistols for him. If they had a mortar available, I would consider this my replacement Short Fuze.
Engineernerd Score: 93/100