Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Flint - Where in the World

G.I. Joe figures were released all over the world.  Some foreign releases were just Hasbro produced figures in international packaging.  Others, though, were made by different companies for the markets which they served.  As such, many figures saw different releases around the world, often with minor to major differences from the American figure.

Hasbro made the first Flint figure in 1985.  He was released through 1986 with no figure modifications.  What is notable is that the figure features a 1985 date stamp on the mold.

1985 Flint, 2002 Alley Viper

In 1988, Hasbro repainted Flint in Tiger Force colors and released him for that one year.  This figure included an updated 1988 date stamp on the figure's legs.

1988 Tiger Force Flint, Frostbite, 2004 Cobra Trooper, TRU Exclusive

Subsequent to this, Hasbro also produced Flint figures for release in Europe under the Action Force line and in Japan.

Takara carded Japanese Flint, MOC
Takara (Japanese) Flint Release
After Hasbro was done with the figure, the mold began it's movement around the world.

Flint's first appearance was in Brazil.  Here, the figure was released as Muralha.  He was colored very similarly to the American version.  Overall, he has a darker green hue and his accessories are in the Brazilian Green color that is common to Estrela figures.  This figure also features a prominent 1988 date stamp.

Muralha, Brazil, Estrela, Flint, Risco, Plastirama, Argentina, Alpine, Footloose, Coyote

After the Brazilian release, Flint started to appear on the final cardbacks for Plastirama figures in Argentina.  However, Flint was not actually released there.  The line was either cancelled or Plastirama never actually got the Flint mold.  But, his appearance is an interesting turn in what was planned.

Around 1993 or 1994, Hasbro planned to release Flint in China.  The packaging was prepared with the original Flint artwork (in Tiger Force colors as the original had been painted over).  However, since the mold was gone, they could not use it.  Instead, they created an exclusive figure from existing molds and released it in China in colors nearly identical to the Tiger Force Flint.  The Chinese Flint (AKA Tiger Force Falcon) is a great way to get the Flint artwork with a high quality figure.  Plus, they tend to be really cheap.

Chinese Exclusive Tiger Force Flint, Falcon, 1990 Bullhorn

Finally, the mold was sent to India.  Here, Funskool started producing Flint figures in the 1990's.  The mold they used was the 1988 date stamped version.  Though, Funskool made an attempt to blot it out.  During these initial runs, Flint had several variants on his am construction.  He used arms from both the 1992 Roadblock mold as well as the 1986 Zandar mold.  At some point in the late 1990's, Funskool stopped producing Flint figures.

In 2002, though, Funskool resurrected the Flint mold.  He was released as both a carded figure and as a bagged vehicle driver pack in figure.  Funskool ran several different runs of Flint figures.  Often changing out parts and modifying the colors during 2002 - 2004.  Flint was released with upper arms from Blocker, Blaster and Roadblock.  You can see some major color differences in the various variants in the photos below.  In April of 2003, Hasbro re-acquired 18 molds from Funskool.  Flint was among them.  (The Blocker arm variant was the final production run in 2003 and was only available bagged.)  Once Hasbro had the mold back, the began to use it again.

Funksool Flint, MOC, India

Funksool Flint, Variants, India
Funskool (India) Flint Variants
At the time that Funskool ceased production of Flint, there were three major Flint variants in the world: Hasbro, Estrela and Funskool.  Below you can see a comparison of all three:

1985 Flint, Muralha, Brazil, Estrela, Funskool, India
Hasbro (US) Flint, Muralha (Brazilian), Funskool (India) Flint
Once the mold was back in Hasbro's control, they quickly put it into production.  The first use was in the high quality 2004 Night Force set.  The figure was given new arms this time around and is also noteworthy for the return of the 1988 date stamp.  The reason this is interesting is that it appears Hasbro had control of another set of Flint legs rather than the ones returned from Funskool.  The Night Force set also included Beach Head: who was also late of Funskool.  When Hasbro updated the date stamp on Beach Head, they made it a 2003 date.  So, why was Beach Head updated and Flint not?  Maybe it was easier to fix the 1988 on Flint's mold.  Or, there might have been two sets of molds.  It is known that many figures from 1985 and earlier had two molds.  But, there was just one set of instructions to put them together.  So, it's possible that Hasbro had access to Flint all along, but not the means to put the mold into production.  Once they got the details back from Funskool, they used their mold.  This might also explain why Flint's accessories, that were included with the Funskool figure, never appeared in the U.S. again.

2004 Night Force Flint, TRU Exclusive

Large quantities of "unproduced" Night Force samples were sold to American collectors in the mid-2000's.  The major difference is that the figures feature all white pants.

Hasbro used the mold again in 2005.  This time, the figure was given a new head in a Comic Pack.  The rest of the body was the standard Flint, but the colors were similar to the original version.  The Comic Pack was widely clearanced and is generally unpopular with collectors.

2005 Comic Pack Flint, Night Watch Cobra Officer, 1997 STalker

The final appearance of Flint was when Master Collector used his head for two convention figures in 2010.  These heads were put on 1993 Duke bodies.  They are solid figures, but would have likely been better received were they full V1 Flint repaints.

In all, there are a lot of Flint figures for a collector to track down.  There are not any "out there" repaints that are often associated with foreign Joe releases.  But, the differences are great and plentiful enough that fans of the mold and character can spend a lot of time searching for.

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