Series: Two (1983)
Duke was first available as a mail-in exclusive in the second series (1983).
In 1984, Duke was available carded as part of the third series. He was also sold in 1985, and was discontinued in 1986. At some point afterwords, Duke was also available mail-order through Hasbro Direct.
Duke came with a light green helmet (with or without holes - see Variations below), a light green M-32 submachine gun, black binoculars, and a tan assault pack.
The early mail-in version of Duke included a tiny decal of an American flag. However, few collectors consider these decals accessories and most collectors will consider Duke complete even if the decal is missing.
Grade: E-8 (Master Sergeant)
Birthplace: St. Louis, MO
Primary Specialty: Airborne Infantryman
Secondary Specialty: Artillery, Small-arms armorer
Duke was fluent in French, German, and English when he enlisted in 1967. Graduated top of his class at airborne school, Fort Benning. Opted for U.S. Army Special Language School. Specialized in Han Chinese and South East Asian dialects. Went Special Forces in 1969. Worked with tribesman in the boonies of South Vietnam. Ran four different Special Forces schools. Turned down a commission in 1971. Commands by winning respect. Current assignment: Acting First Sergeant, G.I. Joe team.
Statement after declining commission: "They tell me that an officer's job is to impel others to take the risks--so that the officer survives to take the blame in the event of total catastrophe. With all due respect, sir...if that's what an officer does, I don't want any part of it."
Duke came with two different kinds of helmet. The earliest mail-in versions of Duke came with a helmet without holes in it. The carded release of Duke and later mail-in versions of Duke came with a helmet with holes.
The original mail-in version of the filecard has a close-up of Duke's face, while the carded filecard has medium shot from his waist up.
The earliest version of the mail-in filecard was on thick cardboard stock, with a dull brown backing. The later mail-in versions came on thin, glossy stock with red backing.
Earlier Dukes featured a head sculpt with smoother, less detailed hair. Neither head is more difficult to find.
At some point, Hasbro lost the mold for Duke's arms. The majority of the Duke figures sold in the United States had a rolled sleeve. However, at some point, the arms were replaced with the cuffed sleeve of 1983's Grunt (v1.5), Hawk (v1.5), Short-fuze (v1.5), Snake Eyes (v1.5), Stalker (v1.5), and Zap (v1.5) and the waist of 1983's Cobra (v1.5) and Cobra Officer (v1.5) . These cuffed sleeve Duke variants were also found carded in Japan. However, some of these variants were also released in limited quantities in 1985 in the U.S.
If you find a Duke with arms that include elastic sleeves, you have an Chinese variant of Duke. [SEE INTERNATIONAL VERSIONS BELOW]
Duke was exclusive to Sears and/or JC Penney's in 1984/1985. The figure's packaging bubble is sealed to a glossy-red mail-order style file card.
Duke shares the same waist, arms and back as Doc. Duke shares the same lower legs (boots) as Gung-Ho, while he shares the same upper legs (thighs) as Major Bludd. Duke's legs were also used to create Tollbooth. The only original parts used to create Duke were his head and chest.
The variant of Duke with the cuffed sleeves used the same arm mold as several 1982 figures, including Stalker and Grunt.
Duke's chest was recolored and used with versions of Steel Brigade and Starduster.
Duke's head, torso, and legs were recolored and used to make Tiger Force Duke (v2). Duke's legs were later recolored and used to create Alley Viper (v4) (1997), Alley Viper (v5) (2002), Alley Viper (v6) (2002), Alley Viper (v7) (2003), and Alley Viper (v9) (2004).
Note that the figure's head only turns left and right - it does not allow the head to look up and down. The heads only turned left and right until the the swivel ball head that was introduced in 1985 (Series Four).
In Europe and the United Kindgom, Duke was sold on Action Force cards. Duke was also available bagged in the Action Pack.
In Japan, most of the Dukes released there are identical to the domestic releases. However, some Japanese Dukes use the cuffed sleeve variation. While the image of the Japanese Duke in our archives features the Doc waist instead of the Cobra Officer waist, we cannot confirm this as a legitimate variant at this time.
In China, a Chinese Duke was released with a different waist and arms. If Duke has Cobra Officer's waist and Hit & Run's elastic sleeves, check if the date stamp reads "1988". If this is the case, this is the Chinese Duke. Additionally, the green of the pants is a slightly brighter hue.
Reference InformationThe below information contains information about references to various collector's guides, Hasbro references, original retail prices, and other reference material related to Duke (v1).
Original Retail: $1.00 and 7 Flag Points (mail-in), $2.25 (carded)
Hasbro Product: 6422
RAHC/Rank & File: n/a
Lee's Guide: GIJ-84003
Desimone Guide: #25
Tomart's Guide: #GI5141 (mail-in), #GI5271 (carded)
The Ultimate Guide: Pg. 22, 36 (1st Ed.), Pg. 33, 54 (2nd Ed.)
Action Figure Archive Guide: n/a