1998 Heavy Duty

1998 Heavy Duty

The 1998 Joe line was small, but probably the best collection of post-1994 repaints ever made. The decos were elaborate and good looking on every figure released in the year, although that amounted to only a set of 15 figures. Among those was a repaint of the 90‘s Joe staple Heavy Duty, and what also amounts to probably the only decent toy of the character.

I remember at a time, Heavy Duty was a really unpopular character for being seen as a Roadblock replacement. I think Joe collectors that inhabited forums of the early 2000‘s made a big stink of this, but even as a kid who knew none of that, there was this dissuasion towards him for not being Roadblock, that I remember talking with my brother about back then. Over the years Joe would often times revisit similar themes by making characters that often overlapped with one another, like Wet-Suit and Torpedo or Breaker and Dial-Tone. I think Heavy Duty was meant to be that in the same way for Roadblock, it just doesn’t work because Roadblock arguably has the best personality in the franchise, whereas Heavy Duty is some Repeater-tier toss away character.

The sculpt on Heavy Duty screams of 90‘s attitude. He’s got a detailed backwards cap with “JOE” on the back and ripped of sleeves for some extra badness. Other than that, he looks like a normal ARAH sculpt with a few knives and grenades to go around. Nothing looks too crazy, though I think there’s something to be said for the sharpness of the sculpt; his face, muscles and a few other details represent some peak sculpting work.

As for this repaint specifically, he has some very fall-centric colors. They look realistic enough and seem distinct, but he does run into the issue of not really matching up with anything. I can forgive that if it’s a cool bootleg in digital-camo, but for a figure like this I tend to find it more limiting as he looks out of place with so much. The upside of this is that it’s a fantastic looking repaint that highlights this sculpt’s details much better than Heavy Duty V1 or the later Chuckles repaint. His pants even feature a four-color camo pattern, which isn’t as intricate as ‘97 Stalker’s, but it’s still rather detailed.

A real flaw of this figure is his accessories, he doesn’t come with any. Depending upon your feelings of V1 Heavy Duty’s gunner-rig, you might not mind that, but to not include anything is a tad frustrating. It’s even more weird when you consider the fact that he’s packaged with a vehicle, the MOBAT, which supports a crew of 1, and also includes Thunderwing. There’s an ‘86 Hawk backpack and a Big Bear AK-88 tossed in there, with some ambiguity as to who it goes to; I suppose you could say it’s Heavy Duty’s, but arming Joes with Warsaw Pact inspired weapons always seemed to me like the most random and low-effort choices for Joe guns. Weird pattern: They gave Grunt an AK the year prior too, so the Joes seemed to have adopted a number of Russian weapons into their armory.

1998 Heavy Duty is especially common and not all that expensive at around $13. This is probably because the set was rereleased in the ARAHC line with no changes, so Heavy Duty and the MOBAT he came packaged with stayed on store shelves a lot longer than other Joe items did during the same period. Of course, technically the only part he has to lose is a generic figure-stand, so that’s another element that erodes some of his value.

gi joe 15th anniversary Heavy Duty V3 1998 ARAHC

1998 Heavy Duty

Forgotten Figures

Half the Battle

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4 Responses to 1998 Heavy Duty

  1. A-Man says:

    I like mold.
    Could’ve stood to reuse Heavy Duty as the “obligatory black character” in one of those TRU six-packs instead of yet another Roadblock. I’m not complaining about diversity, it’s just when almost every Joe multi pack had Stalker or Roadblock, it got a bit repetitive . I know some molds were likely MIA, like Alpine, Col Courage and Doc (Not that we’d have gotten Doc because a certain someone’s no dead characters rule). But even Stretcher got whitewashed into “Lifeline”…despite Hasbro having the Battle Corps Lifeline mold around (and original in India).

  2. General Liederkranz says:

    I think he makes a good desert version. A LOT of 91-92 figures got repainted into desert paint schemes in the 97-06 period. It makes a nice sub theme.

  3. Mike T. says:

    Heavy Duty was sculpted after a real Hasbro employee. In 2007 or so, he also got his face used for an Endor Rebel Trooper in the Star Wars line. I think he’s the only person to appear in both lines. But, that may be a reason for the detailed face since he was someone the sculptors saw around the office every day.

    The 1998 series really stands out for the quality. All of the figure molds were well chosen and given intricate paint masks that would later become a convention only domain.

  4. R.T.G. says:

    This is one of the few figures left on my want list.

    I really like the Heavy Duty mold, and this version is great, it’s unique without being outlandish and features something seldom seen in G.I. Joe. The v1 Heavy Duty has a moustache, while this version has a full beard!

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