G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary - VAMP Mk II w/ Flint (Danger at the Docks ComicCon Exclusive)

The reaction was immediate and visceral around Toy Fair 2014 when the image of the vintage inspired VAMP Mk II w/ Flint was announced as a "ComicCon Exclusive". Rather than be restricted to HasbroToyShop this year, though, it was released through the Entertainment Earth booth and then sold through ToysRUs.com. The online sale only lasted about 90 minutes, but it was a far easier check out process than the HTS nightmare from years past.

I'm still not quite sure what the thought process was behind making the ComicCon exclusive a much desired vintage update to Flint and the VAMP mk II, but that's kind of been the formula over the years (when they weren't concentrating on Transformers vs. G.I. Joe) and as an attention-grabber it works. After all, the ComicCon exclusives are technically geared towards those fans that aren't diehard G.I. Joe afficianados, so the more familiar stuff has more appeal.

Whatever the case may be, that's the way it shook out this year, and I was fortunate enough to be online when they launched, so I got my set.

The VAMP Mk II makes a lot of sense as a vehicle update, with great ties to the vintage version, and the ability to reuse a lot of existing tooling. I loved that the original 25th Anniversary VAMP added the shovel and the ability to "mix and match" accessories, so it could be re-utilized down the line, first as a Stinger, and now as the VAMP Mk II. This updated G.I. Joe jeep uses the roof and doors from the aforementioned Stinger and a new rocket launcher for the back. Make sure you pay attention to the cables for that launcher, too, as the instructions don't mention plugging them in before snapping the launcher together.

Unlike the vintage version, this updated VAMP is a more darker and deeper brown, and less tan, but the color is still pretty close to what we got back in the 80s. Construction is decent, it doesn't feel too cheap or flimsy, and it's a really fun updated version of the classic. Figures fit in it nicely, it's got some good play value, and updates the vintage in all the right ways.

Flint

First revealed at the now infamous "Concept Case" from the 2012 G.I. Joe Convention in New Orleans, this updated Flint was also a rumored 30th Anniversary release according to a leaked Wal-Mart list as well. Whatever the source, he's obviously been in the planning stages for quite a while, and is a figure that was desperately in need of a vintage accurate update. At this point, by far my favorite Flint is the G.I. Joe: Resolute version, and Hasbro evidently felt the need to bring the vintage design back into vogue. Well, I think they did it.

Using the head sculpt from the G.I. Joe: Resolute version, the figure uses the torso from Firefly, arms from Agent Mouse, and the legs from Lifeline. Essentially it's the Firefly figure with Mouse's arms, and the combination is spectacular. It's also what the formula was going to be for the Concept Case Hit & Run, which was one of the reasons I was a bit upset that the Club version didn't match that formula. The interesting thing about this formula, though, is that when the original 25th Anniversary Flint was released, there were some complaints about the 3/4 sleeves vs. short sleeves (not to mention the lack of gloves). While this updated Flint takes care of the glove issue, he still has the 3/4 sleeves that seemed to irk many fans 7 years ago.

Side note - the 25th Anniversary was 7 years ago? Daaaaaamn.

For the most part, though, I think the construction is good enough here that the aesthetic differences won't bother too many folks. Agent Mouse's arms are fantastic, with great range of motion and good sculpting. Regardless of your thoughts about 3/4 vs. short sleeves, these are some really great arms.

The legs are equally great. I know there are some issues folks have with the medical gear on his right thigh, the same complaints that Firefly got, but I think the stuff looks generic enough to work as some other kind of tool like a flashlight. Now, unfortunately, Flint isn't quite perfect. Some of the quality control issues that have plagued other figures are there for Flint as well, though mostly paint related. He seems to have a dark "film" over the flesh of his arm, almost like some kind of over spray. It's not dramatic, but its certainly there, and one has to wonder if this figure got made a couple of years ago when it was intended, if the end result wouldn't be a little bit better.

Still, for the most part, this is a great update to the classic Flint.

Accessories

The G.I. Joe Warrant Officer comes with a pretty basic assortment of gear. First, I feel compelled to mention his new webgear, which is spectacular. The twin shotgun shell straps are his trademark, of course, but they compliment it with some great pouches, and even a knife sheath on his left hip which is really awesome. Granted, it does cover up the holster on his leg a little, but I like the addition enough to overlook that. Sculpting on the webgear is really, really nice as well. It's pretty much the perfect way to update this design.

Along with the webgear, he has a pistol and shotgun, and two knives. All of the extraneous weapons have sheaths or holsters, too, which is an awesome touch.

Flint is one of my favorite characters, and one I much prefer to some other favorites like Duke and Snake Eyes. He is a very layered character with some great design elements, and this updated version does pretty much everything right. I wish there weren't the QC problems with the flesh paint, but aside from that, the construction is great, the color choices are terrific, and the figure itself is a really nicely done update.

Both the vehicle and the figure really touch the right vintage nerves and do a great job updating for the modern construction style. If you have a chance, consider picking this set up.

GRADE: