I’ve always considered myself a fan of Flint. Whether it was his portrayal as a cocky swaggering ladies man in the Marvel Comics or his turn as a decisive field leader in the Sunbow animated series, Dashiell R. Fairborne was a character seemed essential to any incarnation of G.I. Joe. I was happy to see him included in G.I. Joe: Resolute albeit in a diminished role and I kept looking for him to show up in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. So, when the sequel was announced, I was happy to see Flint’s name on the list of included characters. The character is making his movie action figure debut in Retaliation wave 2 and, like Duke before him, seems to be fairly off-model from what was glimpsed in the film’s trailers. Does this difference hinder his appear as an action figure? Read on and find out one Joe fan’s opinion.
Hasbro has proven time and time again that a simple repaint can breathe new life into a previously-used mold. In this case, the prior use was just one wave earlier. From the neck down, Flint is 100% the same body as was used for the Retaliation wave 1 Duke action figure. As such, my comments about that body still apply—it’s a good generic “flight suit” body. This time around the body is rendered in a dark mint green with a slightly lighter camouflage pattern painted over it. To further help it stand apart from Duke, a white paint application has been used on the bottom of the figure’s sleeves. However, the knee pads, shoulder pads and chest armor do not have any sort of paint to help these details stand out. It is only the absence of the camo pattern that calls any attention to these details. The sculpted straps on the legs and chest are once again rendered in black. To round out the uniform, Hasbro has included a dark-mint version of the web gear that initially came with the 30th anniversary Jungle Strike Duke. (A ka “Predator Duke…) It works to further differentiate this figure from its body predecessor.
In the film, Flint is portrayed by actor D. J. Cotrona. I’m going to admit this now—I’ve not seen a single film in his body of work. As such, I’m going to judge the head sculpt entirely from a few head shots and screen caps I’ve seen on the web. In comparison to those images, the team at Hasbro has done a pretty solid job of making this figure “actor accurate”. In most images, Cotrona’s hair is tousled whereas the figure’s hair seems pretty well kept but the likeness holds up to scrutiny. It could just be the D.J. Cotrona has “one of those faces” that’s easy to capture whereas other actors like Channing Tatum have proven more difficult. I do find it interesting that Flint’s head sculpt is molded in flesh tone colored plastic with painted hair whereas figures like Duke and Lady Jaye have painted flesh tones and painted hair.
Like many of the figures in the Retaliation line, Flint comes with the requisite “action feature” gear. In this case, it’s in the form of a skyhook and zip line that seems to be part of a covert attempt to turn G.I. Joe into Sky Commanders. It’s also the kind of action gimmick that I loved as a kid and that doesn’t interfere with the playability of the action figure itself. (This is the same accessory that was included with the Wave 1 Storm Shadow figure!) Aside from that, Flint comes packaged with a nice variety of weapons – a modern assault rifle, the same compact submachine gun as the wave 1 Snake Eyes, and a long knife that would make Crocodile Dundee green with envy. Flint also comes with one very important item—a removable beret! The chapeau fits very nicely on the figure’s head and stays on decently as long as Officer Fairborne isn’t exposed to anything like a barrel roll. I’m suspicious that this is the same beret that will be included with the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club FSS Iron Klaw figure coming later this year as the Club likes to make use of existing tooling in Hasbro’s library. Overall, this is a well-rounded equipment package—some gimmick items for the kids, and some standard accessories for both the kids and the collectors.
Now, here’s the real question—is Flint worth purchasing? It’s all going to depend upon your perspective. There is very little about this figure outside of the included beret that is immediately recognizable as the classic Flint fans have known for 30 years. In that respect, some fans are going to be put off and might be less likely to purchase what can be seen as a “parts reuse place holder.” However, as was the case with the Wave 1 Duke, I see this figure as more of a “special mission” Flint—possibly part of the same operation as the aforementioned Duke. He’s not nearly as film accurate as the recently-revealed Ultimate Flint but he’s still a decent figure in his own right, with a nice selection of equipment and a decently poseable base body. If you’re going to purchase just one Flint figure from the line, my advice would be to hold out for the incredibly film accurate Ultimate Flint. However, that figure is a ways off—and this figure is nice enough to have its uses. I tend to see him as a mission specific figure—akin to the Accelerator Suit Duke and Roadblock from the Rise of Cobra line. This figure was on my list of ones to acquire as quickly as I could and I don’t regret the purchase one bit. However, I’ll also be snagging Ultimate Flint when he comes out and I see that as more of my default movie-version of the character. Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
End result: He’s worth a purchase but can be skipped in favor of Ultimate Flint if $$$/space is an issue.