Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
Ultimate Flint - G.I. Joe Retaliation wave 3.5
The term “ultimate” gets used an awful lot in genre circles. Marvel Comics has been especially guilty of this using the word to differentiate an entirely separate continuity from the primary 616 universe. They’ve also used it in their animated endeavors to denote “the best possible version of”—as in the current Ultimate Spider-Manseries shepherded by Man of Action studios. It’s this second usage that Hasbro seems to employing for half of the figures in G.I. Joe Retaliation wave 3.5. In many ways the term “ultimate” is their way of saying “we know the first version wasn’t perfect but look at this new one.” There’s also a bit of irony in the respect that “ultimate” can also be used to mean “final” and we know that this isn’t the final version of Flint that Hasbro will ever produce. So, is the Ultimate Flint figure worth acquiring as an upgrade to the movie line character? Read on, and find out this Joe fan’s opinion!
It’s a pretty well established fact that Hasbro has a real penchant for being able to repurpose existing tooling to create new characters. It’s a logical move in many ways; from a manufacturing standpoint it keeps development costs down and from a military toy line perspective it can help to provide a cohesive appearance to your core cast of characters. If this particular version of Flint looks familiar it’s because he’s borrowing quite a few parts from Agent Mouse from the Tactical Ninja Team 3-pack (which I’ve yet to review—SLACKER) as well as the G.I. Joe Trooper figure from wave 1. The lower body is ALL Mouse/Joe Trooper while the upper body features a short-sleeved black t-shirt that just might be from the animated Renegades version of Law. (Yes, another figure I’ve not reviewed. Stupid multi-year hiatus!) Over the top of this is placed a repaint of the tactical vest used with Mouse but this time it’s sporting a brand new weathered paint deco. To round out Flint’s design, gloved hands with hinged wrists are added which work really well with the incredible kit that is packed with the figure. (More on this later.) The only real oddity in the design is the “scarf” that is attached to Flint’s neck. It works well for the most part to add some visual flair to the character—unless the tactical vest is taken off. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue for me but I’ve found that I almost like this figure better w/o the vest as it really frees up the full range of motion for Officer Fairborne.
I have to admit—I really like the overall body design quite a lot. It’s both “real world” as well as film accurate in appearance. The colors used come together exceptionally well and I find myself really believing this figure design as something that would work for a highly trained Special Forces operator. I understand that the wave 2 Flint was designed much earlier in the film’s development but part of me wishes that this had been the initial release. The camouflage pattern on the pants and the weathering on the vest really help to breathe a great deal of life into an already solid figure sculpt. To the crew in Pawtucket I can only say “well done!”
For once, there’s not much to say here. This figure is sporting the same great head sculpt as the Retaliation wave 2 Flint action figure. It’s a solid likeness of actor DJ Cotrona although it might be just a millimeter wide. However, that’s just nitpicking at this point. Plus, since it’s the same head the beret from the first Flint fits it like a glove!
It would seem that someone at Hasbro is compensating for the lack of gear in the kits of the original wave of Retaliation figures. (Except for you, G.I. Joe Trooper—you’ve got enough weapons to take on a small army… and win!) Much like the wave 3 Lady Jaye figure, Flint comes with a plethora of weapons and accessories—enough to equip himself and a few of his buddies. From what I’ve been able to determine, his gear breakdown is as follows:
Yeah, it looks like Flint is going to war with this amount of equipment! Not all of these items were used by DJ Cotrona in the film but it’s certainly enough equipment to spread out to the rest of your figures. I love the M26 shotgun and Milkor M14 and these have become my default gear for the figure. In fact the only thing that’s missing is a good automatic pistol for him to use as effectively as he did in the film. I also love the included tactical helmet which is also used with both Mouse and the Ultimate Duke figure. (Yes, I know… haven’t reviewed this one yet either. Reviewers who suck: THIS GUY!) The helmet, which is molded in black, looks great on the figure’s head and really adds to the tactical appearance of the figure. There’s even a small combat knife that slides into a small sheath located in the small of the figure’s back on the body armor vest. The knife is tiny and isn’t a great fit in Flint’s hands but I’ve really been leaving it in the sheath anyway. All that’s missing the signature beret which can be easily stolen from his wave 2 version.
There’s one more piece of gear that is worth mentioning and that is the working parachute and harness. Remember the chute that came with the Retaliation wave 1 Cobra Trooper? Take that accessory, produce it in gray and add a G.I. Joe logo and you’ll know exactly what you’ve got here. It’s not something that I’ll be using much as an adult collector but I still remember how much I loved the working parachutes that came with my Fisher-Price Adventure People as a kid. Seriously—if you can get this figure into the hands of child and show him or her how the parachute works it’s an instant sale! Sadly, G.I. Joe seems to be having a harder and harder time connecting with kids these days otherwise this feature alone would sell Flint figures!
So, at the end of the day, is this “Ultimate Flint” worth owning? After all, many fans already own the wave 2 version which uses the same head sculpt. I’m just going to come and say it: ABSOLUTELY! The first version was fun but it wasn’t terribly film accurate, had some interesting color choices, and some really ridiculous gear. Ultimate Flint, on the other hand, keeps the same great head sculpt as the original, looks much more film accurate, has a metric ton of usable accessories, and is packaged with a working parachute with the G.I. Joe logo. Seriously—if you don’t already own this figure, go out and snag it now. If nothing else, the body will serve as a great base for custom figures and the gear can be spread out to the rest of your figure collection. This has rapidly become one of my favorite figures in the entire Retaliation line with his terrific articulation, kit, and actor likeness.
The bottom line: This is absolutely worth a purchase and a tremendous value at the manufacturer’s SRP. Plus the body makes for great custom-fodder.
|Copyright 2003 JoeBattlelines.com|