Certainly Flint is a name well-established within the G.I. Joe universe. Flint made his first appearance in 1984, in the "Revenge of Cobra" animated mini-series. Flint was presented as the second-in-command of the Joe Team, immediately after Duke. Flint was shown as being just about as effective a leader as Duke, nearly as serious, maybe a little more gung-ho (and I don't mean the Marine), but also a little more cocky and brash.
Flint's first animated appearance was soon followed by a figure in 1985. Flint was given an impressive background, and soon turned up in the comic book as well. He clearly knew Duke from their "pre-Joe-Team" days. Flint's personality in the comic book was similar to his personality in the comic book, but certain attributes were given more intensity. He was certainly more macho, more gung-ho, and certainly more cocky. He'd run headlong into a battlefield not only to do his duty, but to impress anybody watching. He considered himself a tough guy, and wanted to make sure everyone else considered him one, as well. Fortunately for his own hide, he had the skill to get away with it most of the time.
Introduced in the same year, one of the people he was trying to impress was Lady Jaye. This was carried over into the animated series as well. Frankly, Flint probably fared better in the cartoon than he did in the comics for a while, which is no great surprise since he was somewhat less abrasive in the cartoon. But ultimately, even in the comic book, Flint and Lady Jaye finally became an "item".
About the only things that were never entirely explained about Flint were his code-name and his designated specialty. "Flint" didn't seem to indicate all that much, unlike some names such as "Bazooka", "Alpine", or "Mainframe". Granted, given that his real name was "Dashiell R. Fairborne", it would seem almost anything would be an improvement. However, he did have a unique specialty as a Warrant Officer.
Flint turned up in Tiger Force, led the Eco-Warriors (arguably not his most shining moment), returned with a specialty that made some sense -- Desert Paratrooper -- in 1994, and has continued to be a mainstay of the G.I. Joe Team ever since.
So his appearance in the 8" G.I. Joe line is no great surprise. If anything, it's a bit of a surprise that it took this long. Unfortunately, it took long enough so that Flint missed the Sigma Six boat. That particular concept, which kicked off the 8" G.I. Joe line, has been largely wrapped up, and now what we have is an 8" line of nicely-designed, admittedly rather stylized, but still impressive in their own right G.I. Joe figures that are based on the characters and concepts established by the 3-3/4" Real American Hero. And certainly, Flint deserves to be a part of that.
Flint is part of the "Commando" assortment of figures. These are the boxed figures -- look for the fancy red plastic top and bottom to the box that still turnes into a storage locker once you've dismantled the packaging.
Flint is listed as a Stealth Commander, and right off the bat I want to say something about unpackaging him. Among his accessories, he comes with climbing gear that includes a length of black rope. This, in the package, is stretched out over Flint, be careful and do NOT cut the rope!
Although Flint is not outfitted with a Sigma Suit, that doesn't mnean he isn't well-equipped. Flint is wearing a silver-grey shirt that honestly looks like body armor, with a metallic blue turtleneck and shoulders. He has very dark grey trousers, tough-looking brown boots, and he's wearing a harness around his waist for mountain climbing. It's worth mentioning that Flint is actually packaged sideways in his package, and the illustrated backdrop behind him is a cliff face.
Flint is also wearing a nicely made cloth vest, sealed with Velcro in the front and has elastic sides. Four plastic equipment pouches are attached to the vest.
Flint is also part of the new generation of 8" G.I. Joe figures that features the new take on "Kung-Fu Grip", the legendary attribute of G.I. Joe figures first introduced in the original 12" Adventure Team. Unlike the original, however, which used a flexible plastic to produce a hand capable of grasping small objects, the new Kung-Fu grip involves a spring in the hand that lets the fingers close quite tightly over a small object. Only the right hand has this attribute, but it's still cool.
Now I have to comment on Flint's headsculpt. It's a little -- odd. For starters, it's comparatively small compared to some of the other G.I. Joes in this size range. Not excessively so, but noticeably so. Now, on the plus side, the face itself looks very much like I would expect Flint to look like in the stylized design of the 8" figures. It looks like Flint in his gung-ho tough guy mode, and it's not hard to see characteristics of the original Flint in the appearance of the 8" Flint, although somewhere slong the way he picked up a nasty scar down the left side of his face.
Flint is clearly a newly-made figure in the series. He has a 2007 copyright date on the back of his leg, which is interesting since lately I've had a heck of a time even finding copyright dates on some of these figures. Flint's overall build is "average". That's not a put-down. He's a good 8" in height, with a decent build, not too stocky, not too skinny. The head seems a little small, but on the whole, this is a good- looking figure that fits very well into the 8" G.I. Joe line, as one would expect Flint to.
Flint comes with a nice array of accessories. They are centered around a rifle, which has a number of different removable and attachable parts, including its stock, an ammo clip, and several different barrels for various effects. One of these, not really explained anywhere in the instructions except to call it a "projectile", is a suction cup dart, and a surprisingly effective one.
Flint also comes with a winch and grappling device that attach to the rope, as well as a large and nasty-looking sword that seems a little incongruous with Flint, until you realize that he's supposed to be a Stealth Commander. A sword is likely a very silent way to take care of an opponent at close range.
Although I am not an accessory-hound by any means, I have always been impressed by the quality of accessories that have come with the 8"/Sigma G.I. Joes, and certainly the ones that come with Flint are no exception.
The back of the package does include a file card for Flint. It reads
G.I. JOE STEALTH COMMANDER
Code Name: FLINT
Personal History: Flint worked with many stealth forces before joining the G.I. Joe Team. He leads espionage operations, while Duke commands tactical missions. Like a cat hunting in the night, he is silent and unseen, until he attacks with the full force of his impressive combat skills. He and Snake-Eyes make a perfect team: the knife that cuts the night, and the arrow that pierces the dark. His multi-weapon system can be configured in different ways, and the custom-made sword is this stealthy hunter's formidable "claw".
The file card also includes an "Equipment Portfolio", which lists the following:
* MAC-8 weapon system: Attach parts multiple ways to create different weapons.
* S-6 climbing gear: Fast, silent rappel gear to scale vertical obstacles.
* Kung-Fu Grip: Super-gripping hand to hold weapons and gear and to grab Cobra enemies.
Anyway, it really is good to see Flint finally join the ranks of the 8" G.I. Joes. I won't lie, that hair is a little hard to get around, especially for longtime collectors that remember what Flint looks like in his 3-3/4" size. But, honestly, it's worth it to see Flint come on board this aspect of the world of G.I. Joe. He may not have a Sigma Suit, but he's still a very cool figure, with plenty of accessories, and as such, the new 8" FLINT definitely has my enthusiastic recommendation!