1988 Tiger Force Duke


The Tiger Force sub team was Hasbro’s first foray into mass retail repaints. Prior to that it’d either been vehicle drivers or Mission To Brazil. Looking at Tiger Force’s character selection, the figures who happened to be major players in the cartoon, which was on in reruns, tended to get the least garish color schemes. Not only was it a cheap and easy way to re-use molds, it also helped provide classic characters who hadn’t been available in years, yet were still major in the Joe media.

Duke is one of those figures, he’s also the only Tiger Force figure that had changes to his construction, as he is now outfitted with the 82 COBRA waist, and Hit and Run’s arms. Duke had originally been quite the Frankenstein, so the fact some of his parts were missing isn’t all that surprising. Hasbro however went quite far to ensure the pieces used were a close facsimile of the original figure.

I’ve always liked Duke. His figure was strong, and that cocky smile gave him an air of confidence, not every figure had. This and his “Man Of Action” portrayal, always gave him some form of recklessness, to me. He’s confident enough to make a low percentage play, but good enough at his job that he usually gets results. However when he fails, it’s usually in a spectacular fashion. I guess I always looked at him as sorta being like Captain Kirk.


The Tiger Force figure is decently coloured, yet different enough from the original to be a different look for our favourite man of action. The pants are quite a strange shade of peach, but combined with the green shirt, they actually work pretty well. It also beats the hell out of bright yellow highlights! Duke however suffers from one fatal flaw, and that is the fact he was painted up with brown hair. Most of the Tiger Force hair colouring changes were iffy to begin with, but Duke has the worst change of all. What actually kills the figure, and I hadn’t noticed this until I’d had a conversation with my favourite G.I. Joe Photographer; Plastic Battles was that Duke’s teeth aren’t painted. That’s what makes his face seem so off to me.

If you’ve got a spare Tiger Force Duke, one thing you should try to do is place a version 1 head on the body. It’s an easy fix, and it goes a LONG way in improving the overall look of the figure. Sometimes you don’t realize how much certain looks are integral to the character. DukeTigerForce




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6 Responses to 1988 Tiger Force Duke

  1. Xander Martin says:

    I only recall seeing him once as a kid, and the brown hair made it a “no” for me. Nowadays I don’t really think of the figure as having brown hair simply because I’m so used to guys swapping it out for the blond version.
    In either case it was a fun sub group that doesn’t deserve all the negativity it seems to get.

  2. A-Man says:

    Duke awoke from his coma, dyed his hair and started repainting Joe and Cobra vehicles.

    The hair doesn’t bother me that much. The sweater/t-shirt style shirt cuffs don’t really match his dress shirt. The Chinese Duke used the same sleeves but the original colors.

  3. I actually like the look of this figure, and I do think it’s cool that Hasbro made heavy hitters like Flint, Duke, and Roadblock available to kids in the late 80s who couldn’t have possibly grabbed them in 83-85. And I never noticed his teeth weren’t painted!

    I actually don’t mind Duke with brown hair. The 00 ARAHC repaint of the 92 Duke has been my default version of the character for 18 years now, and that one has brown hair. So when I see Duke in action figure form now, I see brown hair. I did recently swap his head with the 92 Duke for a more “accurate” look, but I keep his helmet on because seeing him as a blonde is still jarring to me. Which is very weird, I know. But it’s also the truth. It’s also the reason why I want a 97 Duke.

  4. I don’t mind his colors. They are muted enough to actually work, unlike many of the others. I was never a big Duke fan. Now, I want to like the figure. But, I find it difficult to work him into shots.

    Tiger Force Roadblock was the last figure I bought at retail in 1988: just because my original Roadblock was kind of beat up and all his gear was broken or lost. Duke fared better, though, so I didn’t really need an upgrade. I’d have bought Flint for the shotgun. But, didn’t find him early in the year and quit the line shortly after that.

  5. Matt says:

    This was my Duke in the late ’80s. I wasn’t happy with the hair as a kid but it was nice to get my favorite Joe mint on card with all his accessories rather than second-hand and incomplete.

  6. Pingback: Super Sonic Fighters Lt. Falcon | Attica Gazette

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