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GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

Better keep this guy well clear of the Steel Brigade, or we're going to need to call Barbecue.

Flint is a mission specialist and leader for GI Joe, providing tactical information and training to the team to make sure they're ready for whatever Cobra throws at them. He's a living database of scenarios and tactics, and always has his team prepared when he leads them into the field.

That really makes Flint sound pretty awesome, doesn't it? So then why are his stats 3s across the board? Like, okay, having his Gear be "Light Weapons" and his Skill be "Rotary Wing Pilot" make enough sense (remember, that just refers to vertical-lift aircraft, not specifically helicopters, so they're probably thinking of all the times he's been shown flying a Skyhawk), but after the way the bio talked him up, it certainly seems like his Role (Leader) and Mastery (Tactics) should both be 4s. Who's better at either than he is? [According to the stats, Duke. But he's only got a 2 in Light Weapons, so Flint is better in a fight? --ed.]

On the cartoon, Flint had a big, square jaw and a cleft chin, inspired by the card art from the 1985 toy. This version, on the other hand, has a very narrow, pointed face with thin cheeks. Has Flint been ill? Does GI Joe not provide adequate health care to its forces? He needs to look more like Jon Bernthal (without the flattened nose). The little scar over his left eye is a new feature, but the way they've painted the sides of his head to look like a close shave makes his ears seem huge.

Flint has a mostly reused sculpt, which is hardly surprising: like Duke, he's wearing a short-sleeved shirt, gloves, and cargo pants, so why not use that same sculpt? If it was good enough for Generation 3, it's good enough for Classified. The paint goes a long way to concealing the re-use, too: his shirt is fully black, rather than tan and green, his gloves don't have red accents on them, and his pants are camo, rather than plain. They've even toned down the "future-y" kneepads, making them just black instead of metallic with a blue glow. The two toys definitely don't look the same as each other.

Also helping with the change? A few new molds. The easiest to notice is the big tactical vest he's wearing, because it covers everything except the shirt collar, and provides Flint's familiar green suspenders. The vest and its pouches are green, while the armored plates are black, and there are shotgun shells sculpted on the suspenders, as well as the communicator/transponder thing all the Joes have worn so far. His double-belt is a warm brown, different from the shade of his boots and gloves, and the armor on his shins is a new style, shorter and simpler than Duke's.

Flint stands 6⅜" tall, which is a little above his stated 6'2", but he is wearing thick-soled boots and a removable beret, so it's understandable. Even as we grow accustomed to this line's articulation, it still remains good fun: a balljointead head, hinged and balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders on pectoral hinges, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, balljointed waist, hips that are a balljoint mounted on a hinge, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge ankles. Reusing the Duke torso means he also has a hinged chest, but that won't be moving under the bulletproof vest (and the vest isn't removable unless you pull the arms out of the body).

The acessories feel light. Flint has his hat, as we mentioned, then the same pistol as duke and a new shotgun. The vest covers up his backpack hole, so it makes a sort of sense that he doesn't include one, but they could certainly have adjusted that if they really wanted to. The shotgun holsters in the small of his back, but shouldn't the wide end of the holster point up? It feels like the gun would slide out this way. The pump doesn't slide, sadly, but there is a hinge in the middle so you can pretend to load it.

Other than the face, Flint is a fine toy. The figure itself is good, though all the new costume parts meant the actual accessories are lacking. But he doesn't need to be loaded down like Snake-Eyes: he's a guy ready to use his fists when the need arises. Really, the only flaw with Flint is that Hasbro can't get these into stores in any kind of numbers.

-- 05/28/21

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