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By Thomas Wheeler

As I've indicated before, I haven't been especially impressed with either the new-style 3-3/4" G.I.Joe figures, nor most of their 12" counterparts. My primary gripe with the 12" figures is that for the most part, they're either generally very bland or not very distinctive in their appearance, or they look too much like their new-style 3-3/4" counterparts, which don't always bear much of a resemblance to their traditional-style predecessors.

There are exceptions in the 12" line, however. I recently gave the 12" TUNNEL RAT a positive review. He looked like Tunnel Rat. Moreover, he was decently close to the original Tunnel Rat. Now, we have another such entry in the 12" line, and he's based on an even better-known character in the G.I.Joe universe.

That figure, that character, is FLINT. First introduced in 1985, in the fourth year of the 3-3/4" line, Flint tended to be portrayed as a tough-guy soldier and a bit of a charmer. Even the original Flint figure had a rather cocky grin on his face. He definitely had an attraction towards Lady Jaye, and a fair bit of ego and bravado, but neither of these kept him from getting the job done when it came down to a firefight against Cobra.

This new 12" FLINT is not the first 12" version of this character ever produced. There was a Flint in the Hall of Fame line in the early 90's. That version had a very distinctive face, and flocked hair. But the pale-grey camouflage uniform, however cool it may have been in and of itself, bore little resemblance to any previous version of Flint ever established.

So now we come to the 2003 Flint, 12" size. Overall, this figure looks a whole lot like his original 1985 3-3/4" counterpart. This Flint has a black shirt (molded plastic), green camouflage pants, and a brown harness-and-belt apparatus. The face, although not quite as distinctive as the Hall of Fame version, nonetheless looks like Flint, and fits in well with the somewhat blander face sculpts of the current 12" line, without looking totally generic or anonymous. He also has a beret and boots, of course.

Weapons include a pistol that fits into a holster, a knife that's already placed in the shoulder harness, and a large bazooka that includes a missile. The bazooka is spring-loaded and can actually fire the missile.

Flint's file card reads as follows:

FLINT: Warrant Officer File Name: Faireborne, Dashiell R. Primary Military Specialty: Infantry Secondary Military Specialty: Rotary Wing Aircraft Pilot Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas Grade: WO-2

A classical scholar, as well as a graduate of the Special Forces School and Flight Warrant Officers School, FLINT brings a broad intellectual background as well as finely-honed technical skills and tactical knowledge to the G.I.JOE Team. He is proficient with all NATO small arms, explosive devices, and rated to fly all current U.S. military helicopters as well as rotary wing aircraft in the services of most western and former Soviet Bloc powers.

FLINT is believed to have participated in or led numerous covert hostage recue missions in hostile territories and in domestic COBRA strongholds. The exact nature and details of these missions are highly classified and unlikely to be made public or even acknowledged. It doesn't bother FLINT in the least that he will never receive credit for these missions, nor be awarded decorations or citations. "I didn't do it to get promoted," he said. "I did it to bring those Americans home."

"We're not heroes, we're just doing our job."

If Larry Hama didn't write this file card, and I suspect he did, then it's someone doing a heck of an impression. This is exactly how Larry would put together a file card about one of the more basic-military characters on the team, and not too many people would have the guts to mention the "Soviet bloc" these days, either.

You know, the one thing that's never been explained is where the name "Flint" came from. On the other hand, if my real name was "Dashiell R. Faireborne", I'd probably consider just about anything to be an improvement...

The figure itself is excellent overall. Well-articulated, using the "Classic Collection" molds with the alteration of the "molded short" torso and upper arms. The green-and-black camouflage trousers have the "G.I.Joe" logo imprinted on them, also in black. The belt-and-harness look a little large, but not implausibly so. Everything overall comes together to produce an excellent 12" FLINT figure. And he's one that can be nicely displayed alongside Tunnel Rat.

And the figure is very reasonably priced -- about ten dollars at most retailers. FLINT is easily worth that. There are not a lot of 12" G.I.Joes that I can present recommend that are based on the 3-3/4" characters, but FLINT is definitely one of them! YO JOE!