This figure is one of my all time favorites. In Feb. of 1985, I first found the new Joes. They had a Flint, but I passed him up for Footloose and Airtight. I spent the next six months regretting that decision. When I finally got him, Flint became the cornerstone of my play. He was in every mission, often as the leader. Duke was relegated back to the toybox, as my Joes had their new commander. As the year progressed, I used Flint so much that he became worn down. I lost his shotgun. (still one of my favorite accessories.) I ended up with three Flints in two years. After Flint disappeared from American shelves, I tried in vain to contact British collectors since Flint was still available over there. Action Force used to run a trading service every issue, but I could never get them to publish my list. I would have gladly traded new Joes only available in America for a new Flint since I had, once again, lost his gun. Since the mold was so good, though, I took all my old ones and turned them into many of my favorite custom figures. I still have my original 4 customs that were made out of Flint, Snake Eyes, Barbeque, and Footloose.
This figure is just awesome. The cammo pants, black shirt, gloves, and really cool shotgun shells just make this guy awesome. He just looks like the type of guy the Joes would respect. His shotgun was the most original accessory to come with the Joes in a long time. It was this gun, that made the figure all the more desirable. Of course, I managed to lose his shotgun about a dozen times. As such, my Flints had many other weapons, my favorites being the Snow Serpent's AK-47 and the gun that came with the Cobra Night Landing. In fact, I still use the Cobra Night Landing gun as Flint's exclusive weapon to this day.
Flint's character was one of his most appealing traits. He was the cocky rich kid you wanted to hate, but couldn't. He had that damned grin, but always got results. Reading his filecard, you could see that his background was very interesting. (Some aspects make you wonder if he might have been loosely based on Kris Kristofferson.) He was a pilot, and looked darned good in the Dragonfly, a Rhodes scholar, and a case of whup arse waiting to happen. While he was far more prominent in the Cartoon, Flint's appearances in the comic were memorable. (Who can forget his solo attack on a company of Eels in G.I. Joe #54?) He was always part of big missions, and was not just a carbon leader. I think the reason I never liked Duke was because he had a great introduction, and then just petered out. Flint was tough from the get go and never looked back.
Flint had at least 4 versions of him released, and you can see his planned 5th version here. This version, though, was far and away the best. The 1988 Tiger Force repaint was also pretty good. The darker version of his shotgun was a welcome addition to the accessory realm. The other incarnations didn't fare so well. We all know about the Eco Warriors fiasco, though Flint's figure has some cool uses if you apply your imagination. The 1994 version was pretty cool, but it couldn't live up the shotgun toting original.
Flint was popular the world over. Aside from the American release, Flint was also released in Europe (where he was a major player in the Action Force comic) and Brazil. Flint was also scheduled for release in Argentina and appears on later cardbacks there. However, the Joe line in Argentina was cancelled prior his release and he was not produced. In the mid '90's. Flint was released in China. While this figure used the original card art from this V1 figure, the exclusive figure used parts from the 1991 Dusty and 1987 Falcon. Finally, this V1 mold appeared again in India in the '90's and remained there until Hasbro recalled it in early 2003. Now, the mold is back in Hasbro's hands and will probably be utilized several more times before the line's ultimate end.
Flint was the second most popular figure in 1985 and is very, very common. (I personally have about 8 or him.) He is nearly impossible, though, to find without at least some paint wear along the edge of his beret. Most Flint's took quite a beating from their owners. He is almost always found in any lot that includes '85's or '86's. He can almost always be found with his pack, but the gun can be a little tougher. Loose, complete Flint's aren't too expensive, considering his popularity. Some unscrupulous dealers, though, will try to tell you otherwise. This figure was the second most sought after figure for two years, during G.I. Joe's peak production runs. I would venture to guess that the number of Flints out there numbers in the millions. When you think of it that way, how could this figure be any type of rare. Still, since many collectors are nostalgic about him, Flint can cost more than others in his year. However, since most of the collector activity on the '85 line centers on Snake Eyes, Lady Jaye, Eels, and the Crimson Guard, Flint has not yet reached the unaffordable price range.