Some figures wind up being the definite look for the character, the 1985 Dusty is one example of this. His 1991 Figure, and it’s various repaints are all decent figures, but they don’t feel like Dusty. The 1985 mold is just about perfect in every way for a desert soldier, so it’s not all that surprising that other versions don’t quite match up with the high expectations.
Dusty’s a very solid military mold, he’s got camouflage fatigues on, and isn’t burdened down with a ton of strapped on equipment, which I feel works for the figure. While sometimes the more straightforward Military based figures, tend to become lifeless and bland. Dusty, doesn’t really fall into that trap, as he’s got one unique feature that helps set him apart from just being another guy in camo. Dusty has a cloth that’s affixed to the back of his head, providing him with cover from the sun, but also giving the figure itself a unique look and an overall defining characteristic. It wasn’t seen often in G.I. Joe, and unlike Rip Cord’s parachute, it wasn’t something that was situationally specific.
Dusty has some pretty interesting paint apps, while the base figure is one colour, there’s a real heavy camouflage pattern, that even extends over the elbow joints of the figure, which is not all that common, there’s also facepaint that I’ve seen a few variants on, some are quite heavy, others not so much. Mine has fairly heavy paint apps, and I’m glad to see that, because the Dusty face sculpt is one of the ugliest in G.I. Joe.
Dusty’s torso is also fairly neat, because it’s received some different style paint apps, than what had been seen prior. While a lot of figures had received shoulder patches on their arms (Which Dusty also received), on Dusty’s chest there’s an American Flag, Jump wings, and two identification patches which in all the media appearances would have the figure’s last name “Tadur” (Mirrored version of “Rudat”) and “G.I. Joe” on them. These details are neat, not only because they’re unusual in comparison to most G.I. Joes having sculpted detailing, and they also break up what’s a rather muted figure, but without doing anything that has a negative impact on the figure’s realism. Of course, this being the first major attempt at that kind of thing, and it being 1985, the colouring on these does leave a bit to be desired, since the American Flag is only white and red, but the attempt is strong enough that it gets a pass.
Dusty comes with a sick FAMAS submachine gun, and one of those dastardly easy to lose bipods. Much like 1982 Rock ‘N Roll, Dusty’s gun requires the bipod for it to look right, it’s not like Big Ben’s machine gun or whatnot. In recent times, someone has made up a fairly close, but not quite perfect version of the 85 Dusty bipod. I have no problem that it’s got slight differences, and it works well enough for me. As surprising as this may sound G.I. Joe really isn’t something I actually care about enough to go and spend 25 dollars on a small piece of plastic so that I can say my Dusty is 100% complete. I’m fine with the replacement, and the people that get really hard-up on original accessories, or 100% completeness tend to be the people that make G.I. Joe collecting, less fun than it should be, especially considering that G.I. Joe isn’t something with any legitimate pop culture standing, so the legitimacy of a bipod or microphone isn’t going to impress anybody except other people who are into G.I. Joe.
Dusty also comes with a fairly large backpack, that shows he’s a desert specialist based on the very large canteens attached to it. 1985 was the year of bulky backpacks. A lot of them had a lot of depth to them, that extended them out from the back of the figure much more, than say the Airborne or Gung Ho backpacks, which were at the time the largest available in the line. I honestly prefer the less protruding backpacks that were common earlier in the line, because even though they have less “oomph” to them, they didn’t act like a counterbalance to the figures.
Dusty is one of the best examples of a secondary G.I. Joe character. He’s got an environmentally specific specialty, which allows him to be just a secondary character. Not every mission is taking place in the desert, so Dusty’s not one that’s going to be on most missions, but when he’s called upon, you’ve got a strong figure and character for all the fun in the sun. That was one of the cool things about G.I. Joe, you could have your favourite characters, but there was always enough figures that were useful when needed, but could also be a guy that’s killed in action, when you need a body.