1997 Duke

1997 Duke

I’ve talked once before about 1997 Duke and cited him as one of the worst GI Joes in my collection. Big emphasis on the “my collection” part, but I’d still consider him a figure with significant issues. With that said, elements of the figure are of decent quality, and parts of his design are… interesting enough to be worth talking about.

Me and my brother collected the 1997 GI Joes, and they were the first “new” line of GI Joes I was able to collect as a kid. While they were controversial to collectors for their quality issues, I really have a special fondness for this year, 1998, and 1994 since those were more or less my introduction to the line. Despite this, my bias doesn’t apply to Duke, as somehow I didn’t know of his existence until I was an adult.

Duke’s first obvious problem is his colors. The 97‘s were prone to some experimental color schemes, that in some cases were excellent. In other cases, you had oddities like this figure. Brown hair, lime shirt, red boots? Looking at his colors makes me feel like the hue on my monitor is off, they’re just way too weird and random for a character like Duke.

But the biggest shame? His paint applications are actually pretty sweet. Check out the detail on his breast pocket, or the decoration just above it, multiple colors on the bandolier, camo on the pants, ect. The only thing he’s missing is some paint for the watch, which is oddly left a giant mass of flesh.

This was also the first Duke that was badly hurt by the original’s missing tooling. Duke’s old arms weren’t something that precious (The Hit&Run arms on the Tiger Force and Chinese variants were great), but these replacements were just terrible. As he uses arms from Gung-ho V1, his sleeves are essentially just painted on; the lack of any thickness or detail just looks unnatural. This was the parts combo the kept for all subsequent Dukes too, which really just adds insult to injury.

His parts are pretty decent, but not perfect. He keeps the gun and binoculars from 1984 Duke, while swapping the helmet for a generic one from ‘97 Grunt, as well as the generic black Hawk backpack that practically every figure from that year had. For some reason, they also decided to toss in a 1982 style visor for his helmet too, which is actually pretty cool. All in all, I really just wish he had a better backpack, but it looks like they kinda tried with this one. Kinda.

Sealed or with the Silver Mirage, 1997 Dukes go for around $30 to $40. Meanwhile the figure can go for about $8 loose and on it’s own. 97‘s go for some pretty random prices, but it certainly seems like Duke is on the less interesting end for the most part, with only figures from the Arctic Mission Team really underpricing him.

Note: I thought I had an alternate version of this picture without the filter, but it’s been lost while swapping computers over years. I’d have taken another to show him off better, but I can’t say the figure motivated me enough to do that!

1997 Duke Links:

Yo Joe

Modern Style Custom by Oreobuilder

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2 Responses to 1997 Duke

  1. A-Man says:

    Reminds me of someone saying the 1997 Joes were made out of soap.

    I’ve never owned this Duke. I can only image if the 1997 Joes were on par with vintage ARAH, their prices would be much higher.

  2. R.T.G. says:

    Duke is a strange figure. There’s some really good aspects to him, and some absolutely awful aspects too. The colours aren’t bad, and there’s some really good detailing done, but the red boots are ridiculous, and the arms look horrible, in fact I think they look worse on this version, than any other version of Duke with these arms, partially I blame the unpainted wrist watch.

    I’d say this Duke is definitely in the lower tier of 1997 figures, with only Rock ‘N Roll, Breaker and debatably, Gung-Ho being outright worse figures.

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