Our man Flint, might be the best G.I. Joe in terms of character, design, importance, and popularity. While guys like Duke and Snake Eyes have a fair number of detractors, Flint escapes that relatively unscathed. It’s seldom anyone has anything negative to say about Flint. It’s understandable, since he was important in both the comic book and cartoon, without having any of the baggage of being the “star”.
As a figure, Flint is probably the one that manages to perfectly mesh the military realism aspect of G.I. Joe, with the individuality aspect that made so many of these figures and characters so memorable and enduring. Flint’s wearing fatigues, but his design allows him to stand out, the black upper body is interesting, because very few Joes wear black shirts, there’d been a couple Joes wearing black pants, but the black shirt seemed to be a thing avoided, probably to ensure Snake Eyes stayed unique, but that also allows Flint to stand out a lot, as well. Flint’s lower body is well done too, his camo pants are well done, but don’t entirely confine him to jungle or forest operations. He also has one of the best sculpted pairs of combat boots on in the entire Joe line.
The rolled up sleeves, and work gloves give Flint a little more of a rough and tumble appearance than a lot of other Joes. The comic book cover where Flint is seen jumping AT a gun wielding Crimson Twin, gives Flint the ass kicker persona, but his figure allows it to exist, because the figure looks like it could get into a fist fight, in a way that few other Joes tended to have (Most come off as plain Jane infantry).
Another major area where the Flint design succeeds is how versatile it is, when it comes to matching up with other eras of G.I. Joe. He’s done well enough he can stand with figures from the first 7 or 8 years of the line and not look out of place, which is a fairly amazing thing, when you take into account the amount of sculpting and colour palette changes that the line wound up going through.
Flint’s accessories aren’t as dynamic as most of the other figures from 1985, since he only has a shotgun and a backpack. It’s a pretty basic kit for his release year, and even for 1984 as well. It’s an oddity, but his shotgun is one of the finest guns in the entire line (And sadly never got more use), his backpack might be the easiest thing to criticize the figure for. It’s a well detailed backpack, but it’s fairly oversized, which started to be a thing that happened in 1985, the backpacks began to extend pretty far out, depth wise at this point,. I have found that the RLA Airborne backpack in black works well with this version of Flint.
Flint to me, has always been somewhat personified by the line in his filecard about personally leading rescue missions in hostile territory, that weren’t even admitted to, by the Government. This gives Flint some gravitas as a character tasked with doing real dangerous stuff. However the filecard also mentions the figure’s lopsided grin, which to me also helps Flint, as a character, since it gives him a bit of a Devil may care attitude.
The Flint figure, being as unique as it is, lends itself to this style of role, as well. Maybe there’s something about figures wearing berets that lend them to leadership positions, because Flint, much like Falcon and Stalker come off as leader figures, in a way figures like Duke tend not to.
The Flint mold is as much of a classic as his character. The uses of this mold by Hasbro, after they regained it in the 2000s were too few, and sadly not very good. The Night Force figure is interesting, but at the same time, overly busy. It’d be viewed higher by me, if it wasn’t one of two repaints. The other was a fairly basic Comic pack version with a new head sculpt, which isn’t much different from this 1985 version, other than being inferior in every way.
Vintage repaints could’ve gone a lot farther in the modern era, if Hasbro had done better ones. Factory customs have shown collectors are willing to take numerous versions of the same mold, if there’s a merit to them. The 1985 Flint mold could’ve been done up in the Sunbow greens, a desert theatre version, and there’s still room for a few of Hasbro’s goofier ideas. One of the reasons people cried foul over the number of Firefly repaints, is the vast majority of them weren’t all that good, and covered the same ground.