Flint is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of my all time favorite G.I. Joe characters. He’s another one of those guys who first came to life via Larry Hama’s file cards, even before I saw one second of him in a G,.I. Joe cartoon or on the pages of a Marvel comic book. Coming to the rescue with that lopsided grin– his Rhodes Scholar background– it just exemplified the character of Flint in my eyes.
I was a bit worried about “going back in time” to review some of these earlier figures, wondering if perhaps the shine had come off. I’m happy to say, in Flint’s case, it really hasn’t, at least not purely from an action figure perspective.
Ever since the 25th Anniversary line back in 2007 (holy crap was that really 15 years ago?!?) Flint has sort of existed as an extension of Duke, at least from an action figure perspective. Selfishly, I’ve always loved Flint as a character more than Duke, so I’m not a huge fan of his base figure being a Duke clone all the time, but it’s tough to argue with the results, especially once you layer on the updated tactical vest, different leg armor and a new head sculpt.
For as much hate as the initial waves of G.I. Joe: Classified get, they still remain, in my mind, a great collection of figures which weren’t afraid to add some unique modern elements to the timeless designs we were all accustomed to. Flint is a perfect example of this.
The sculpted textures in his uniform’s break up what could have a somewhat bland sculpt and even though most of the figure is essentially a repainted Duke it doesn’t feel that way. Hasbro obviously took inspiration from the vintage figure here, but really modernized the tactical vest and added darker toned shin armor to tie in some of the more video game/future tech inspirations they were going for. The result is excellent in my mind though I acknowledge I’m in the minority on that.
One thing that I find that I really enjoy about the six inch scale is how the different layers balance off each other with texture, color, etc. Flint’s pants with the pseudo airbrush camouflage beneath the more static color of the holster and straps really draw the eye and make each material feel different and apart. Obviously that’s a credit not just to the scale but to the design choices as well.
Then you have the updated head sculpt (which really feels like Flint) complete with removable beret, and his awesome updated vest. Rather than just the same old twin straps with shotgun shells we get a more armored, pouch laden “Resolute” style update which always gets bonus points in my book.
The base figure for Flint retains the same high level of articulation we’re all accustomed to throughout the entirety of the Classified line. Double joint elbows and knees, drop down hips, the nicely poseable ankles and neck all combine to give us a G.I. Joe figure with all the range of motion we expect as long time fans of the brand.
The only minor downside where Flint is concerned is due to his armored vest, which does end up restricting torso movement somewhat, but that’s a given. You can’t layer on an armored vest across an entire torso and expect the figure to move the same without carving some serious eyesore cuts into the armor. I think for what they tried to do, Hasbro found a great balance.
But, of course, not everything is rosy when it comes to Flint. This figure was released during that window of time where Hasbro seemed unwilling to give their figures even somewhat realistic looking weapons. I think for what they had to work with, they did an okay job with Flint’s shotgun, managing to make it look somewhat future tech, but also with some hints of realistic undertones. Many folks have pointed out the inconsistencies with the pump-action and the break apart mechanism of the weapon, to which I say– this is G.I. Joe, not Call of Duty– a world where Trubble Bubbles, Air Chariots and clones of history’s greatest leaders exist. I’m sure why we can’t suspend our disbelief enough to not nitpick over a shotgun.
Where my complaints really come is with the number of accessories (or lack thereof) especially when compared to some of the newer releases. A single shotgun, pistol and removable beret feels like the bare minimum and while some might argue that Flint doesn’t really NEED more accessories, it does still feel a bit glaring.
For a repaint of Duke with a few added design elements, Flint does exactly what Flint’s meant to do. The new head sculpt, vest, weapons and lower leg armor go a long way toward separating this figure from Duke and make it stand on its own two feet.
While some might argue the futuristic elements were a draw back, I’d almost prefer to see a figure that looked like this rather than a bite-by-bite recreation of something initially released in 1985. From my POV, Flint is a pretty great balance between a throw back and a look forward.
G.I. Joe Classified Flint
Coming out relatively early in the Classified run, Flint still holds his own among more modern releases. Yes, he’s a repaint of Duke, but with the right mix of new parts to make him stand out from the crowd.