Review: G.I. Joe Jungle Strike Duke

By Loran

If there’s one character in G.I. Joe I can’t stand, it’s Duke.

Yeah, I know, he’s the leader. But he isn’t the leader, Hawk is! I’ll never understand why the Sunbow cartoon chose to make him the leader over Hawk, to the point where Flint (who outranks Duke) took orders from him. Maybe it’s because they wanted to sell the new toy, I don’t know. Duke’s gotten countless figures over the years-maybe not as much as Snake-Eyes, but damn he’s coming close. The advent of Rise of Cobra added more to it, but it gave us a glimmer of hope: it was time for some awesome Duke figures.

Enter Jungle Strike Duke. When this figure was first shown at Joecon 2009, he looked a little different-for one, he had a movie-style head. Because so many stores over-ordered Joe figures from the movie, they were left with an enormous glut of product, and as such, Hasbro decided to change their marketing strategy and return to a modernized version of the classic looks-and I think that idea was a total home run.

Jungle Strike Duke is an AWESOME looking figure. The camo pattern on his legs is really nicely done, and Hasbro managed to keep that going by painting some on his bare-skinned arms, avoiding a problem a lot of heavy-camouflaged figures had in the past. They even went as far to add some mud splatter near his and the bottom of his pants-awesome little detail.

Duke’s tooling is not entirely new, as he uses the same torso as his Rise of Cobra counterpart. For what it is, it works, and to be honest, I never had any problems with the Reactive Impact Armor concept. The armor has a VERY nice drybrush effect on it, giving it the image of something very worn. It even extends to the team logo on his chest, making it seem more “authentic”.

The best part of this figure’s sculpt would have to be his head. The original Channing Tatum head looked only okay, and some people compared him to Tunnel Rat. Personally, I didn’t see it, mostly because Tunnel Rat is, well, Asian. This one looks WORLDS better, with a very determined facial expression and an actual MOLDED scar. I would dare say this is probably the best Duke head available on the market right now, beating out even the Resolute Duke. The just-released Desert Battle Duke may just win out, though, only for his lack of a bandana.

But like most of Pursuit of Cobra, where this figure really shines is in the accessory department. His webgear is removable, and comes equipped with a new-sculpt machete. At first glance, it looks like he wouldn’t be able to support a backpack with it on, but trust me, he can. It clips in on the front of the vest, keeping it better secured than most rubber vests. The backpack is huge and bulky, and uses actual elastic straps, which I believe are new to Hasbro figures. It isn’t COMPLETELY effective, being a bit too loose, but it works for what it is. The backpack even has a storage space for his flashlight!

Duke also includes three guns-a pistol and two rifles. I believe they’re all new-sculpts save for the pistol. One of his rifles comes with the always-welcomed removable magazine, however getting Duke to hold the gun with both hands is a bit of a challenge. His larger gun is my favorite, and fits in both hands perfectly. Overall, an excellent array of accessories.

Jungle Strike Duke is an excellent figure. While it’s difficult for any figure of this character to make me dislike him less, great toys are always welcome regardless of who the character is. Really, I’m sure the fans would have less of a problem with Duke if all of his figures were this cool. So what are you waiting for? Come on in and get one for yourself-you won’t regret it.

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