Thursday, June 4, 2020

Rarities - Duke Crimson Guard Disguise Prototype

See A-Man's comments below:

This is the Duke from the Crimson Infiltrate set.  My image from 2005 was named Agent Faces.  But, it is the Duke as noted by the arms.

The Agent Faces mail away figure was a bone that Hasbro threw to collectors to get them some cheap army builders without having to resort to retail stores and the potential scalping that could ensue. And, it worked.  While some collectors were content with one figure since it was a character, those who were army builder inclined could buy this figure to their heart's content.  But, once it became known that Hasbro was going to use the mold more in 2004 and 2005, collectors backed off on Faces and saved their money for the later uses of the mold that were legit army builders.

Below you can see an unpainted prototype/test shot of the Faces figure.  The big thing about this Agent Faces figure is that you can really see the Duke head that was used to make the Faces head.  The good thing about Faces was that Hasbro painted facial hair on him that helped to distinguish him from a standard Duke release.  But, sans paint, the Duke head is plain as day.

Oddly, I like the helmet on this piece.  The actual helmet featured several different paint applications of black and silver.  In some ways, it's too busy.  The cleaner look of the unpainted helmet almost works better for me.  Though, I'd have liked the eyes painted.

Unpainted prototypes/test shots of 2000's era figures were a dime a dozen for several years.  You could buy lots of them by the dozens from Asian Joe sellers for a buck or two each.  Collectors tired of them to the point that they were completely undesirable.  Now, some of those once common figures have become more desirable...especially if they have their full array of gear, too.  It's weird to see things that the collecting community grew to hate now become valuable and hard to find.  But, that's the evolution of the collector base.

2003 Agent Faces, Crimson Guard, Spy Troops, Mail Away, Prototype


  1. Is it Faces or the cancelled Cobra Island infiltration 3 pack DUKE? I ask because the upper arms are SAW-Viper's and Duke V3 upper arms.

    1. You are correct. Thanks! I've updated to reflect the correct info. And, left the strikethrough as shame....

    2. Now I feel bad. You bloggers take the time to make posts and I only correct to prevent the accidental spread of disinformantion. Not that I'm an expert. Probably most of what I know about the infiltration set was from fans like you, Mike.

    3. Don't sweat it. I'm glad for the community to point out mistakes. One of the reasons I have the strikethroughs is to show that I make them all the time. There's enough guys in the community who believe they are infallible. I don't want to be another.

      One of the great losses of the past few years is that there is no communal archive anymore. All of the knowledge of the last decade is lost is watermarked photos buried in private facebook groups. The community working together is better and that was the spirit in which much of the Joe online world was founded. But, that camaraderie has been lost and the "baddest men of g.i. joe" have won.

  2. That is not an Agent Faces test shot. It is from the Infiltrate Cobra Island unreleased set as noted by A-Man.