1991 Dusty turnaround by Kurt Groen

Dusty was a great character. He gets a two-parter in the animated series nearly to himself, the dramatic “The Traitor,” written by Buzz Dixon. Issue #13 of Special Missions is another great showcase. His action figure is unusual in that the face is obscured by tiger camo, and his costume is partially soft goods — actual cloth. The 1980s were good to Dusty. He even got a new color scheme when his action figure was re-released in green as part of Tiger Force. The ’90s weren’t so good to Dusty. In animation, voice actor Neil Ross was no longer at the mic, lending a thick twang to the character. Now it was Maurice LaMarche, who would go on to be a favorite of mine, but though he attempted a southern accent, the DiC version of the Joe’s desert warrior just didn’t sound adequate.

So by 1991, I lost interest in Dusty. This was especially down to the character’s new duds. Control art by Kurt Groen.

It’s a fine looking design, but I’d always wanted a similar vocabulary to carry over from version to version as Joes got remade. ’85 Dusty had that signature hat and neck guard, and baggy clothes. This new one was in form-fitting pants and showed off a lot of skin with that tank top. He’d never worn a beret, so this felt like Flint or Dial-Tone had fallen into a vat of yellow paint. In terms of fashion, I don’t love V-necks. Plus that V-neck skintone paint looks more like the clothing color. And while I loved the Joe pets, again, Dusty hadn’t shown an inclination to animal companionship, so that coyote “Sandstorm” was arbitrary. (An issue or episode wherein the pair meet for the first time would have gone a long way to alleviate this.) Overall ’91 Dusty is under-decorated and under-detailed compared to his earlier appearance.

Again, it’s a fine looking toy, and a worthy addition to Real American Hero, but I have no emotional attachment to this incarnation.

Here’s a nice pic taken by one Mr. Tim Meece, with permission from YoJoe.com.

How do you relate to ’91 Dusty?


Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

5 responses to “1991 Dusty turnaround by Kurt Groen

  1. Dan Dells

    Totally agree! The “new guy” was fine, but not really Dusty…and a cartoon (or comic) intro would have gone. Long way!

  2. Clutch

    I think this figure might have worked best as a whole new character. Maybe a second desert environment specialist. It’s a neat figure, but to me Dusty will always be the ’85 original. The first Dusty design based on Ron is one for the ages.

  3. A-Man

    I found it funny he was made a red-head. There’s a lot of gingers in GI JOE. And as a desert trooper with exposed skin…he’s gonna sunburn a lot.

  4. Jeff Motley

    What about the blonde to black with heard transformation of *Low Light”? Always kind of reminded me of “Hollywood Hogan” with the greasepaint beard.

  5. Jeff Motley

    What about the blonde to black with beard transformation of “Low Light”? Always kind of reminded me of “Hollywood Hogan” with the greasepaint beard.

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