Duke (Accelerator Suit)

Yeah, yeah, I know... Accelerator Suits = teh suck! Deth of teh line!! Revolt!!

Actually, they make pretty freaking awesome toys.

Look...since day one, G.I. Joe has never pretended to be a hyper-realistic military tale told from the bush in current equipment and under common circumstances. By issue #3 of the Marvel series, Joes had already used jetpacks, battled the Russians over fear-inducing mind control, and driven a two-story robot from their top secret underground headquarters. Does that seem like a "day in the life" for a normal military Special Missions force? You ask me, this stuff is par for the course. Hell, the Joes were using the Mega Marine suits over fifteen years ago, not to even mention Armor Tech. I see no leap of logic whatsoever in the use of Accelerator Suits, and if the way they look on screen inspires a few kids to buy the toys, or drives more audience members to come see it, then all the better.

But this is a toy review, and in these pages, the Accelerator Suit is only as good as the plastic it's sculpted in...well, in this case, it's pretty damn good. I've got both Ripcord and Duke in their respective suits now, and they're both very nice figures. Very nice. These are toys, after all, that's what they're meant to be, and I can see kids' imaginations running wild with these bad boys. Mine is, and I'm thirty-five!

The first thing that grabs me is the sculpting...every raised panel, every grid line, every nut, bolt, and screw are all faithfully reproduced in 3 3/4" scale plastic form. Yet even with all of this elaborate detail, the figure still maintains full range of motion in every joint that matters, and that's the kicker in these things, in my book.

Of course, the Duke figure and the Ripcord figure are much the same, but where Ripcord is patterned in various shades of gray and silver, Duke ends up with a much darker black wash of color, really separating the two characters and figures nicely. In fact, I much prefer Duke's color pallet to Ripcord's, and I'm really glad to see a somewhat darker shade. Because of the tooling similarities, the two figures can still be posed well together, but are still instantly identifiable and distinguishable.

As far as the gear goes, Duke does seem to come with a bit more than Ripcord, which is good. They both, of course, have the familiar helmets that we've seen in countless trailers and tv spots, and the helmets work very nicely. I really love the way the visor lifts up and the helmet separates to reveal the face underneath. They also have the same machine gun, and both have a spring-loaded contraption (Duke's is a grappling hook, though...what is Hasbro's fascination with grappling hooks with this line so far??) But where Duke shines and Ripcord doesn't is that he's also got those really cool wrist-mounted cannons/rocket launchers. This is something featured pretty heavily in the trailers and such, so it's good to see it included here. The smaller one on the left wrist slides off and on rather easily, but the one on the right arm cannot come off until you remove his right hand. It's a very easy "pop", so no big deal, but something worth mentioning. Both gauntlets are VERY cool, and don't really appear to get in the way at all.

I know, nearly every Joe fan I've seen talk about it has complained endlessly about the Accelerator Suits. They're unrealstic, they negate the highly trained aspect of the Joe soldiers, yada yada... I agree with that to a certain extent, but the kid in me still loves the concept of cybernetics enhancing the ability of the common man, which is what these do. I LOVED the Mega Marines as a kid...absolutely loved 'em. And I love these for the same reason. For whatever reason, the idea of a single soldier wading into hell strapped to body armor that makes him more powerful than normal is just an appealing thought to me. I don't know why, but it is. For that reason, the armor does not bug me nearly as much as it does most everyone else.

So for that reason I also absolutely love the toy versions. They look fairly movie accurate, they have great articulation, and a whole ton of play value. Can't get much better.

Buy this figure at Big Bad Toy Store!