1992 Duke

1992 Duke

I have no shortage of Duke figures, so when it comes to Duke, I can be picky. A lot of Duke figures are pretty good, but because I have so many others, their flaws render them less useful in my collection. A good example of a figure I never use, is 1992 Duke.

In my collection, this figure is mostly invalidated by both 1994 Duke, and Desert Patrol Stalker who uses the same sculpt in similar colors. That’s not really a knock against this figure, because this toy is good in it’s own right. However, I slightly prefer the sculpt and design of ‘94 Duke, and likewise, Stalker is a slightly more interesting use of the sculpt. With that, this becomes another Duke among many who doesn’t have much to do in my collection.

This figure is fairly memorable though, as the go-to design for a 90‘s Duke. You saw it pop up with some regularity in the contemporary media, which is more than I can say for Tiger Force Duke. I always associate this Duke mostly with the DIC cartoon, which for the most part, should be a bad thing, but it’s something at the very least.

The details of the sculpt are nice, and I like the design overall. However, the biggest issue is that the chest is overly buff. This is irritating, because the arms can’t even sit flush with the waist. Usually 90‘s buff sculpts aren’t so much of a problem, but he has a thick chest paired with thick arms, which unfortunately makes the figure look silly more often than not. Other than that, it’s a nice looking design. The vest has a nicely futuristic look to me, which I think matches nicely with the aesthetics we saw in the past from several figures. A lot of fans are also quick to make fun of V1 Duke’s smug, grinning expression, which is in contrast to the more stern, serious sculpt we see here.

The colors are perfect on this figure, at least to my sense of aesthetics. The beige and tans are a great tone, and the contrast of the red camouflage livens the figure up just enough, without being obnoxious. The gold paint on his grenade and a few other details also contrasts nicely without standing out too much. It was nice to see a figure with this much balance in it’s colors at this point in the line.

His parts aren’t my favorites, but they’re nice enough. Included is a brown rifle and knife, a helmet, and a missile-launcher, with missiles, seat and a tripod. The brown plastic on the rifle and knife strike me as being a little more delicate than typical, but other than that, the sculpts look well enough. The missile launcher is a mildly interesting contraption, as it can be both carried as a backpack, and sat on while in use. I think it looks silly, but it was neat that they were still trying new things. The missile launchers were much more phoned-in on figures from ’93 and ’94.

This mold and parts from it got more use than they probably should have. A fairly nice woodland-camo version came out in the 2001 ARAHC line, and it popped up again as the excellent, aforementioned Desert Patrol Stalker figure in ‘04. The arms and chest were used for ’01 Leatherneck, and the head and biceps were also used to make Agent Faces in ‘03, and later the biceps for all of the releases of the 2000‘s Crimson Guard and the Shadow Guard. The arms are easily the worst part of this toy, so it’s a shame they used them on the Crimson Guards from that era.

It’s easy to find this Duke in good shape, and mostly complete examples fetch around $15. With that said, he’s usually missing at least the knife, and it’s pretty common to find his gun broken too. Most of his parts besides his helmet really aren’t all that necessary though, and he looks pretty good in a 90‘s display without any of his parts. He’s not a must have figure, but he’s one that’s good enough to have, especially if you like 90‘s Joes.

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1992 Duke Links:

Forgotten Figures

Half the Battle

Joe A Day

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5 Responses to 1992 Duke

  1. Kevin J. Guhl says:

    While I prefer Battle Corps Duke, this one has the bonus of a removable helmet. I wonder if the heads can be switched between those two figures?

  2. Mike T. says:

    The fact that we didn’t get this mold in 1984 colors is one of those great missed opportunities of the 2000’s. I always think about a 6 pack with 1992: Duke, Wild Bill, Gung Ho, Wet Suit, Ace and Mutt all in their original color schemes. They had the molds. Just not the will.

    As I had the 1993 Duke first, I still see that figure as the desert themed Duke figure. And, as such, I found the 2000 repaint to be my preferred look for this mold. The brown plastic on the gear is just terrible and it’s only a matter of time until they all crumble to dust. And, this figure discolors terribly, too.

    But, it’s a solid overal design and one of the stronger sculpts of even 1992, a good year in general.

    • Jester says:

      “I always think about a 6 pack with 1992: Duke, Wild Bill, Gung Ho, Wet Suit, Ace and Mutt all in their original color schemes.”

      A cool idea, but I think Ace going from green/red/black (or blue/white/teal) to off-white/grey/red would be a bit of a downgrade.

  3. General Liederkranz says:

    Great review of a figure I don’t think about much, but you’re right, it’s a strong sculpt. I have never been very enthusiastic about him, back to when he came out. I just think the camo is ugly, and there were other figures that year I wanted more. But as you say, the sculpt is pretty good, and the camo actually fits really well with Spearhead (This isn’t my idea–I don’t remember who, but I saw someone on Instagram doing that a few months ago and it grabbed me.)

    Your comment about him in media makes me think about how the character of Duke never really resonated with me. That’s probably because I got into Joes in the one moment Duke wasn’t prominent–I started ’89 and in both the comics and DIC, Hawk took the leading role more than Duke. There was no Duke in stores (maybe TF Duke was lingering in some places but I never saw him). And yet, Duke did show up in the commercials, and they even made role-play battle gear for him in 1991, with no figure on the market! I guess they did have the 12″ figure–maybe it was a deliberate decision to keep the face of the line available only in the larger scale, to draw kids into Hall of Fame collecting?

    I wish that instead of this guy, they’d made the prototype who was in those 1991 commercials, with Recoil’s chest, the original head, and chocoloate-chip camo. The chest on this one is an excellent new version that keeps the feel of Recoil’s, and the head is good, though it’s always looked like Doonesbury to me. But the camo…it’s odd that this desert Duke was an obvious attempt to capitalize on the post-Desert Storm mania for desert war toys, so why not go with more realistic camo? And then, once this version gave us a desert Duke, I regretted that Hasbro didn’t make the 93 Duke in woodland colors. Instead we got two desert Dukes in quick succession.

  4. R.T.G. says:

    It’s an unpopular opinion, but this is probably my favourite Duke figure, after the 1984 version. I don’t know why I like him so much, but I do.

    The sculpt is really good, even though the torso and arms aren’t a great fit. I like the torso, because it’s a good combo of realism, while still looking like a Joe figure. This was the era where Hasbro started getting a little cutesy with some of the detailing, so it was nice to see them keep things a little grounded.

    I’m glad you also like the red camo. It’s strange, but something that just works well for the figure itself. Though I wouldn’t have minded this figure getting brown highlights that match his gear.

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