Duke (City Strike)
When we first saw the samples of Wave 5 from the Rise of COBRA line, I was fairly unimpressed. Repaint heavy and no real new characters (beyond the Desert-Viper trooper) I really didn't find much to love. Well, interestingly enough, future releases tweaked my interest in current releases, and once I heard some stuff about the Pursuit of COBRA and the various different environmental themes, suddenly I grew at least a bit more interested in the Wave 5 stuff, specifically the City Strike stuff. I've always been interested in urban operations for various reasons, so it would only make sense that I find the same appeal in the Rise of COBRA element in this, but this particular figure didn't really wow me. What really kicked my desire to own this one, though, was the City Strike Scarlett, Beachhead, and Snake Eyes, who all looked insane. I figured if I was going to own all of those great figures, I had to round off the team.
Now that I have this version of Duke, I have to say while there isn't a whole lot of exciting newness here, he's a fairly neat version of the Reactive Armor figure, and he fits in nicely with an urban aesthetic. Obviously the digital camouflage is the most striking component with pretty neat shades of black and grays and a really awesome, intricate pattern of paint apps throughout. The legs are from Paris Pursuit Snake Eyes, and I think they work pretty nicely. At first I didn't think the baggy pants legs were really affective in conjunction with the tighter Reactive Armor torso, but the figure isn't as bad as I feared at first. It's actually a pretty fun one.
Along with the urban camo pants, Hasbro worked in some variants of gray paint with the Reactive Armor, too, which offers a very cool variation on the armored look. Not only does it give him a slightly different look than the standard Reactive Armor, but it's also a bit more urban in nature, and matches the gray/black colors of Snake Eyes and the upcoming Scarlett, which looks pretty awesome as well.
Obviously the head sculpt itself is the same Duke as we've seen on various figures to date, and there aren't actually an new parts in this entire package. But how they bring it together still offers some interesting aspects, and in the end, I'm glad I bought the figure.
Along with the reused tooling for the figure itself, all of the accessories included in City Strike Duke are all reused as well. I know I've seen some questions from fans about the sword, and honestly, I'm not sure what Hasbro was thinking with that...but something that fans might not know is that when Hasbro pulls tooling from a particular factory, it's often easier process-wise, to pull multiple tools from the same source, because they are stored in the same place in the factory. So when Hasbro pulled the Paris Pursuit Snake Eyes legs, it makes sense that they would also pull the weapons allotment at the same time. So, for that reason, we also get Paris Pursuit Snake Eyes' rifle, pistol, knife, sword, and sheath. Of course the suction cup with handlebars is as bizarre as always, and his familiar submachine gun is present, too.
It's not a bad range of weapons, even with the sword and sheath, and I love seeing the G36, no matter how many times we see it.
At first I had zero interest in this figure, but I've kind of warmed up to it, and was sparked to buy it simply by how cool the other City Strike figures looked, and now, in the end, I'm fairly happy with this figure now that I have it in hand. It's far from perfect, and if you have a limited Joe budget, this does not get a full recommendation from me, but there is stuff to like regardless. No new tooling, yet another Duke, and not much excitement in the weapons assortment either, but I like the paint apps, I like the urban operations scheme, and I think he'll fit with the other City Strike figures nicely.
Buy this figure at Big Bad Toy Store!