Thursday, March 3, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra - Jungle Assault Duke

Jungle Assault Duke | Produced by Hasbro | Released July/August 2010

Conrad ''Duke'' Hauser is the GI Joe team commander. He treks into the jungle carrying weapons and gear, including a rapid-fire AMG-2J weapon system, pistol and flashlight. He heads toward suspicious sounds that are alarming nearby wildlife. He knows Cobra forces are the cause - and that it's his job to stop them.

Jungle Assault Duke comes in the standard Pursuit of Cobra packaging - a card-mounted blister-pack with character-specific artwork and a cut and collect character ID card on the rear.

There's nothing wrong at all with the packaging and it does a good job. Just don't expect any surprises.

Jungle Assault Duke
As a bit of an ''everyman'' Duke has something of an identity problem. He's the brave, courageous, field leader but beyond that there's not a great deal really to him. And that's fine, as that's what he is - the archetypal military hero that can be depended upon to keep his cool under fire. Although this could make him a little bland, thankfully the Jungle Assault Duke includes enough equipment to keep him interesting. More on that later, though.

The sculpt is nicely produced. His torso appears to be the same body armour used by Sandstorm in the Ram Cycle with Sandstorm Deluxe Figure set, but without the sleeves. It works nicely as a foundation for the figure, with a soft-plastic, removable webbing/harness piece augmenting the figure's look rather nicely. There are some nice touches here, like the padding around the shoulder straps and the ammo/weapons belt around his waist, with its multiple pouches and (working) knife sheath.

Duke's arms are bare and he's wearing padded combat gloves. They're fairly simple and the muscle-modeling on his arms isn't particularly complex but it looks nice enough.

The pants are standard military camo pants with boots. Again, there's some nice detailing here, with a leg-strapped pouch on the left and a single knee-pad on the same side. I like the asymmetrical look here, as it gives him a more natural, real-world feel.

What's nice is that the figure looks to be toting a lot of equipment without looking weighed-down, as he would look were he in the field and I like that.

Duke's articulation is fine, except his head feels a little stiff and is limited to rotational movement only. There's no sideways tilt and what forward/backward movement there is is quite limited. Although not a joint-related problem, getting him to remain upright with a fully-laden pack is also a little difficult, although it's quite possible with some patience.

Paint is nicely applied to the arms, face and legs, with a great camo effect on his exposed skin and the pants are particularly nice. What's not so great is the torso - the harness is molded in black plastic with a dark blue-grey used for Duke's belt. Unfortunately this blue-grey is very liberally applied around the front of the harness, well beyond the edge of the belt. Similarly there's a canteen and some other pieces hanging from the belt that are poorly painted, with this blue-grey overlapping the green items in many places.

Duke's backpack (see below) is nicely finished, though, with a strong black and green camouflage pattern that works very well.

With his two assault rifles, pistol and machete, Duke's certainly come ready for a fight!

This is about the level of equipment I like to see on a GI Joe - enough to offer display options but not so much that you'll lose it all or have too many pieces hanging from your figure.

Overall it's well thought-out, with the machete fitting nicely into the sheath on his belt and the flashlight having a special slot in the backpack (into which it fits snuggly.) The backpack itself includes an elastic strap, which can either be wrapped over Duke's shoulders or used to hold additional equipment. 

As is often the case with GI Joe toys, though, there's an oversight. In this case, Duke doesn't have a holster for his pistol, meaning you either have to pose him with it or try to use the elastic straps to hold it. Whilst this isn't a problem with the larger assault rifles, it's difficult to get the much smaller pistol to stay put. Still though it's a minor oversight but I wish Hasbro's designers would think more about on-figure storage.

Another minor problem is the ammo clip for his large-calibre rifle, which has a habit of dropping out if you're not careful. You could always dab some glue in there to hold it in place, or just be careful when displaying it. I think though this piece will be lost very quickly if the toy is played with, so either store it somewhere or take extreme care when handling!

Duke also comes with a fold-out colour photo sheet of other GI Joes and his personalised stand.

Final Thoughts
As a kid I had an Action Man (British GI Joe 12'' doll) set called Secret Mission to Dragon Island. Included in that set was a large, solid backpack, in which Action Man could store all his equipment. The Jungle Assault Duke reminds me a lot of that. I know that sounds tenuous but there's more to it than them both simply having backpacks. Here Duke looks as if he's on some secret scouting mission, very similar to the way Dragon Island was pitched. The set also included some non-military equipment and Duke's flashlight makes me think of that.

Of course, chances are it's purely coincidental, but I like it nevertheless.

This figure shouldn't really be very exciting. After all, it's Duke, the dry white toast of the GI Joes. Yet what's here is actually very good. The equipment all works well together, he's not overly-laden with items and the sculpting work is very nice. The paintwork may be a little sloppy in a few places but it doesn't detract too much from the look of the figure, which overall is very good.

As I said, the sense of scouting and infiltration comes across really well and it's a nice way for the designers to give Duke a role  beyond being The Army Man, something they've done a great job of with this figure.

Production QualityB
Final ScoreA-

Image Gallery


  1. Great review. I finally had this figure - the only one I saw on ebay Philippines.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it.

      It's always a fine line (at least for me) Hasbro walks between too much and not enough gear but I thought this figure hit the right balance perfectly, one of the main reasons I really liked it.


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