Back when I profiled the Chinese Major Bludd, I recounted the tale of my first encounter with this figure. Now, years later, I've finally taken the time to add this guy to my collection. Like the Bludd figure, the Chinese exclusive Tiger Force Flint brings a new dimension to an predominantly American Joe collection.
You will notice that I've subtitled this figure Tiger Force Falcon. The reason is simple. Many collectors use this figure as Falcon since the head is just a repaint of the original's. The arms are from Flint but the rest of the body is from Dusty. The cool shotgun that is included with him is from the Headhunter figure while the pack is a uniquely colored version of the pack that comes with most figures that have been released since 1998, most notably with the Cobra Trooper. Basically, though, this guy looks like Falcon and fits well into the Tiger Force concept. He lacks the yellow paint that really made many of the American and Brazilian Tiger Force figures unusable and has subtle, muted color tones that really allow him to blend into a typical forest environment. Frankly, anyone who didn't know any better would easily mistake this figure for a typical American release.
I think that's why I like this figure so much. He is different from the American Tiger Force figures but has a functionality to him that outshines his European exclusive brethren. I see this guy as a quintessential combat figure. He will work well with tanks, jeeps, helicopters, or infantry. He has the versatility that I find to be of utmost importance to the figures I tend to use most. As such, I think this guy will become another new character in my Joe world. I foresee him taking the role that Falcon used to occupy. Of course, though, he may also see some use as a newly promoted Captain Falcon should I ever decide to undertake a dio-story. Either way, I know that I'll get more than my money's worth out of this guy.
Other than that, there's really not much too this figure. Frankly, had this guy been released in the U.S., I don't think I would have ever profiled him. He would be a common stock soldier like many of the figures from the mid-'80's tend to be. I think everyone would have him and he would be like Outback or Tunnel Rat: people would really like him, but not go out of their way to promote him. I think this is where some foreign figures can really help. Some people would never have this figure because they only collect the American Joes. In fact, for the first several years that I was actively building my after market collection, I was one of them. Now, I realize what I missed out on. Figures like this guy and the Major Bludd are really required components of any full collection. (Though the Bludd is now less so after the '01 release finally gave us an updated version in his traditional colors.) They are great figures on equal footing in terms of quality, accessories, construction, and aesthetics as all of their American counterparts.
The Chinese Flint isn't too hard to find. Usually, you can easily find one in only a couple of days. There are a number of online Joe dealers who keep this figure in stock. The really nice thing is that he isn't expensive. Like the Bludd figure, a carded version of this guy will usually go for less than $20. With that in mind, it's easy to buy one and open it up. That's how I got both my Bludd and this Flint. It's just too much hassle to acquire them any other way. Of course, though, you might want to act now. Recently, this figure has gone up in price. He was purchasable for under $15 only a year ago. With the interest in foreign issued Joes increasing, and a diminishing supply of these figures on the second hand market, it is foreseeable that this guy could one day be rather expensive. Personally, I wish I hadn't waited for so long to pick him up. He's a great figure that works well in any collection. I'm really looking forward to using mine.
With the acquisition of this guy, I've got all the Chinese figures I'm after. However, I'm still after a bunch of Brazilian and Argentinian exclusive figures. If you have some of those that you wish to part with, email me.