G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary Flint
For some helpful hints concerning the 25th Anniversary figures, click here
Who would have thought that a universally liked character like Flint could end up causing such a big rift in the G.I. Joe community a few months before the figure was even released? Who would have thought that the simple removal of a pair of gloves would send the fandom into a wild frenzy the likes of which hadn't been seen since the "T-Crotch" and "Action Attack"? Honestly, it comes down to the character. Flint is an icon in the G.I. Joe world. He is at or near the top of most everyone's favorites list, and in a lot of folks' minds, he deserves his own figure, and his own unique identity. I can see that point of view...really, I do understand. But to me, when the fact of the matter is that new tooling would only result in a slightly different look for essentially the same uniform, I'd rather invest that money in making significantly different tooling that can work for other different characters rather than dump that cash into making Flint unique "just because". I know a lot of folks will disagree with me on this, and that's fine, but that's my stance, and I'm sticking with it. ;)
So even though Flint is essentially a repaint of Duke (though I use that term very loosely), how does the figure work?
First of all, his head sculpt is pretty darn nice on it's own. Obviously a character's identity is truly defined by their facial features and head sculpt, and I really think Hasbro did a fantastic job here. He has an intelligent look about him, yet still retains a quiet cockiness, with just a hint of a smirk on his face. Regardless of how many figures share his shirt and pants, Flint's head sculpt immediately gives him his own distinct personality. The emblem on the beret is nicely presented, and even using Duke's parts does work better than one might think.
The torso and arms (and legs for that matter) are all Duke's and while initially apparently Hasbro was planning on working some gloves in there, they didn't make the final tooling budget cuts and were dropped. This is a shame, and yes, I do think the figure would look better with his gloves, but I don't think it's a "make or break" deal. The biggest purpose the gloves would have served would have been to get rid of that swivel joint in the middle of the forearm which is sort of an aesthetic eyesore. Ultimately though, G.I. Joe has always been more about movement than aesthetics, so really I can't complain too much, as I'd rather at least have that articulation than lose it altogether.
The detailing on the shirt is very crisp and clean, with neatly sculpted cloth, well applied colors throughout. Of course Flint wouldn't be Flint without those trademark shotgun straps and I'm happy to report those straps look absolutely amazing. They really make a world of difference, and the clasps hold on VERY tight, so no fear of the straps coming off. The way they integrated the belts and straps and shells all together was a great idea, and it really helps separate this figure from the Duke origins. While a new set of tooling would have been nice, it is definitely not necessary in my book, and I'd love to see that money re-allocated to getting us figures that are distinct and different.
As I mentioned, the legs are also Duke's but are painted with a great array of camouflage paint that is nicely reminiscent of the vintage style of camouflage, and gives us some nice variety in colors. Original promotional pictures made the camo look a bit flat and faded, but here the colors are distinct and different, and give us a very nice pattern. I love the offset colors on the boots as well, that's also a great tribute to Flint in his original incarnation.
From an articulation point of view, I am in love with the double knee joints and what they give these figures for poseability. These joints are so much stronger than the Super Hero Showdown joints we have been saddled with, and they allow for some terrific range of motion. Unfortunately, Flint does suffer from some minor limitations in his hip joints (as Duke did), but it's not nearly as bad as the females of the line. While I will still likely do a bit of Dremel work on Flint, not nearly as much will be required, and I think a small change will help the figure's movement immensely.
So far, the figure repaints in the single packs have come with the same weapons as their originals...thankfully with Flint that's not the case.
Besides the trusty display stand, Flint comes with the tactical shotgun first seen in the Spy Troops line, and also comes with a pistol that fits ver y snugly into his holster. Functional holsters are something that Hasbro has sort of struggled with in the past, and I'm happy to say so far they are doing it quite well with the Anniversary figures. He also comes with his trusty webgear/shotgun shells which, as I've said, work exceptionally well and are easily removed and replaced. Not a wide variety of weapons, but enough to give Flint some punch, and a nice reference to the green shotgun he came with back in 1985.
Yes, there are some minor things I might change about Flint if we were in a perfect world. Swivel joint gloves and a slight articulation improvement at the hips would make this figure fantastic, but as it is, this is definitely a worthy homage to the original version of this character. Over the years poor Flint has been saddled with defending the ecology, being a desert paratrooper, wearing immense moonboots, and having BTR pegs plastered all over him, so I find it ironic that finally a version that really captures his characteristics so well is getting so much harsh press. It just shows how popular the character is and how strong his following is, which is good to hear, since over the past two years or so, Flint has gotten a somewhat bad rep in the comic and has had little to love in the action figure world.
Well, in my opinion, Flint is firmly back in his deserved spot among the G.I. Joe brass, and while there is always room for improvement, I think this version of the character is pretty darn good and he'll work just fine in my Joe display (especially once Lady Jaye gets released).