This past summer, I had some conversations with Mike T. and in the midst of them, I figured I’d get him to review a famous figure that he hasn’t always been the kindest to. However, in turn, I was supposed to review a neon figure. So I figured I’d go with the Eco Warriors Commander, Flint.
The Eco Warriors aren’t entirely hated anymore, like they were for a good chunk of the 2000s, and 2010s. It’s also a thing where people really have come around on both the quality of the sculpting, but there’s also been a much larger acceptance of bright colours. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a societal shift, or perhaps people had finally had enough of the incredibly bland “GRITTY MILITARY REALISM” mindset that has been amongst G.I. Joe forever.
Flint was an interesting choice to lead the Eco Warriors, as he’s the only existing character on the Joe side, in the first series. It’s understandable as he’s a popular character, who’d been shown to be in a leadership position on the Joe team, but the fact he was thrown into the Eco Warriors is interesting, as prior to them, sub teams were either strictly new characters or strictly existing ones.
As a figure, Flint is pretty cool, the design is very nice, with enough detailing to show he’s in a protective suit, but not overly busy like some figures had really become. The thing I really appreciate about this figure is how symmetrical the design is. Oftentimes G.I. Joe figures would wind up being too lopsided or have one design element that was incredibly out of whack with the rest of the figure. The colours on this are LOUD. However, neon green and yellow are a colour scheme that work together. One of the biggest issues with the neon years in G.I. Joe, is the number of figures with bright highlights that do clash with the figure’s base colouring. The Eco Warriors Outback or the 93 Mutt are both examples of clashing colours, that result in fairly awful figures.
Eco Warriors have one thing, I feel is a legitimate gripe. The goofy colour change “Battle Damage” is one of those things that often doesn’t age well, I’d forgotten all about it’s existence when I originally got the figure, and spent a some time trying to clean the weird muck off, didn’t really work. Luckily my Flint doesn’t have a lot of it, poor Ozone looks like he was sick down his shirt after an evening of Shirley Temples.
The new versions of existing characters in the 90s was often done with a lot of care, and most times the figures had heads that really worked as updates of previous versions of the character. Sure, this Flint might have a stronger jaw, and no longer has the cocky grin, you look at him side-by-side with the 85 figure, and you can obviously tell they’re supposed to be the same character. It’s one of those internal continuity aspects, Hasbro doesn’t get enough credit for.
1991 is a year where figures really bulked up. Flint’s got a fairly bulky torso, and his upper arms are really large. On a figure like this, where he’s supposed to be in a chemical warfare suit, I can understand it. There’s also an interesting change in dynamics between 80s figures and 90s figures. If you have a figure from the 80s that had a removable helmet, and you don’t have the helmet, they often times look fine. Doc, Duke, Roadblock, Hawk v2, Mutt, amongst others, are strong looking figures, and so long as they have the gun designed for the figure, they have the overall appearance down. Whereas in the 1990s, a figure like Eco Warriors Flint, who has a tremendous headsculpt, looks “off” without the goofy yellow helmet. However if he doesn’t have the awful gun he was released with, it doesn’t matter at all.
Eco Warriors are actually very solid figures, and unlike Ninja Force or some of the other subsets, it’s a contained enough line with no real duds. Arguably, the worst figure in it is the Toxo-Zombie, and that’s more just on the lack of use, rather than figure quality. Flint is perhaps my favourite of them all, and despite the neon green, is a figure that can fit in well, amongst non-Eco Warriors. Hasbro’s repaints of the 90s figures, during the repaint era, were often poorly done, and the 2001 repaint of this Flint is a good example of this. This is one of the molds that could have benefitted from being one of those bland Olive drab figures, as being the singular desert offering in the pale year of 2001 did this nice mold absolutely no favours.