(Post Updated 7/20/21 with individual pages for Barbecue and Croc Master. See each character’s section for links.)
Back in November, I bit the bullet and ordered a lot of 24 Russian Funskool GI Joe figures from eBay. It’s possible you’ve seen the lot, as the seller seems to have many of them, and it’s also possible I directed you to the lot. I’m seeing these pop up a lot more on Instagram now, where people are selling them for over $25 a piece.
I ended up paying about $6 per figure, which is a fair price for any carded GI Joe– Funskool or not.
Funskool released Hasbro molds in India for quite a long time. And, for a while, they were cheap and readily available. In the early 00s, you could get many figures for $5 or so from YoJoe.com and SmallJoes.com.
As I was around 16 at the time, and my income was Pretty Bad, I only ever got a few of them. A Hydro Viper, a Cobra Eel, A Toxo-Viper, and Tunnel Rat. I’ve kicked myself many times for not scooping up Night Vipers and Crimson Guard Immortals. But I can’t change the past, since time travel is socially irresponsible, so there’s not much I can do about that now.
Funskool GI Joe figures are much more expensive now than they were then. I’m not sure what the distinction between the Russian and Indian versions of these figures are (as my Russian and Indian Hydro Vipers and Eels seem nearly identical, for example), but none of them should fetch $35 carded.
But the GI Joe market is weird right now.
Anyway, if you’re looking into buying any of these figures, I hope this post helps you. I’ll be keeping each figure’s write up short and to the point. Also, if you do decide to buy these, I recommend buying them in a lot from Russia, as that’s bound to be cheaper than buying them for $20+ each.
And before you say “wait these aren’t from the 90s,” understand that at least some of them are 90s molds, understand maybe some were released in the 90s, and understand that I absolutely don’t care.
(Update from Mike T. of Forgotten Figures: “I believe [These Russian Funskool Figures] were produced in the early 2000’s, at the same time that Funskool was pumping out all the figures that ended up in the US, too.”
A Quick Primer on Funskool GI Joe Figures
If you’ve never owned or handled a Funskool GI Joe figure before, there are certain things you need to be aware of.
- Funskool figures are universally made of lower quality plastic than Hasbro figures. That’s not to say plastic quality is bad, it’s just not as good as what you’d get from a Hasbro GI Joe. They’re fine toys, just manage your expectations before you go in.
- With that plastic quality in mind, never force a weapon into the figure’s hand, as you will break a thumb. Treat them like you’d treat a Corps! Figure.
- The Lanard comparison is a decent one. These aren’t as good as Hasbro figures but, like The Corps!, they’re better than most anything else.
- Don’t force any joints when you take them out of the package. Instead, slowly move the joint back and forth until it moves freely. Funskool figures will commonly have very stiff bicep swivels and knee joints. Just take your time.
- Expect some amount of paint slop and shoddy paint work. It’s usually fairly good, but be aware there’s more room for error with Funskool figures.
These are fine GI Joe toys, but you can’t expect them to be exactly the same as a Hasbro release. Treat them with care and they will love you back.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Airtight
This is Airtight. He’s a fairly straightforward version of GI Joe’s first hostile environment trooper. His yellow is slightly different, and his paint applications are slightly worse.
Still, he looks good to me and having all of Airtight’s accessories is nice. I’ve heard people say the helmet hoses on the Indian Funskool version were too inflexible to use, but all of the gear on this Russian Funskool Airtight works just fine.
I really like Airtight as a character and a figure, and this is a neat one to have. He is the Original Eco Warrior, after all. And you know I love Eco Warriors.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Barbecue
As you can see, this Russian Funskool Barbecue is a drastic departure from the American Barbecue v1. I love the blue and yellow– I think the extra colors look great and make the figure much more interesting. It’s also nice to get Barbecue’s accessories in different colors.
But he can’t hold his axe without some poster tac, and his sprayer can’t really fit onto his leg. The worst part, though, is how terrible and sloppy the paint is. I couldn’t do any better but, as far as a GI Joe release goes, this is as bad as paintwork gets.
I still find him charming, and I think he fits in nicely with an Eco Warriors team– so I can’t be too mad at him!
Russian Funskool GI Joe Beach Head
This version of Beach Head is rendered in a much lighter and brighter green than his American counterpart. That means he’s an interesting figure to display or photograph. It’s also very nice to have high quality versions of all of Beach Head’s accessories.
I have to get this out of the way– I’m not crazy about Beach Head’s big, ugly balloon head. I don’t like that you can see his mouth through his mask. The figure was never as cool as the card art, the character in the cartoon, or the character in the comics.
But, colored in this pastoral shade of green, I now find Beach Head’s Balloon Head (BHBH) endearing. The Russian Funskool Beach Head is a very fun and high quality figure.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Budo
This version of Budo is interesting for a couple of reasons, and I think I prefer it overall to the American release. His sheathed, ceremonial sword is colored red and his actual sword is colored grey– the opposite of the American version. This means his primary weapon boasts a more realistic color than its domestic counterpart.
His helmet is also fully grey instead of red and grey. I’m fine with that. Budo is also a surprisingly fun figure, and this is the only version of him I own. I don’t feel the need to track down any of the others.
If you can find this Budo for an affordable price, and think Budo is a figure you’re interested in, you can’t go wrong.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Chuckles
I love this version of Chuckles, but I love Chuckles anyway. 1987 is my favorite 80s year for the GI Joe line, and Chuckles is one of the biggest reasons I’m such a fan of that year’s releases.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Chuckles is pretty different from the American version, in that his shirt is painted in a darker, richer blue. It’s a great look.
This is a very nice figure. If you like Chuckles, this is a good version to have. If you don’t like Chuckles, why are you even here?
(Update from Mike T. – “Chuckles never showed back up again on Indian cards in the 2000’s. It’s very weird that he ended up in the Russian set, but never on an Indian card. I’m guess that no store in India wanted to take a chance on a large lot of Chuckles figures. But, it shows that Funskool had the mold in the 2000’s and may have even kept it.”)
Russian Funskool GI Joe Croc Master
When I was a kid, my best friend owned Croc Master. I always liked his mask and his overall look. We used him as an elite Cobra bruiser. I also really enjoyed Croc Master in the Cobra comic book series. But still, owning a vintage Croc Master figure was never a high priority for me.
In the end, I’m glad I have this guy. Russian Funskool Croc Master isn’t much different than the American version, but I think his whip is a little harder to manage. The alligator’s leash/collar is a bit tough for the figure to use, as well.
But still, it’s a good source for that elusive Croc Master breathing hose!
Russian Funskool GI Joe Deep Six
I love everything about this figure. The colors on this Russian Funskool Deep Six are a bit different than the American version, but is still gets the same feeling across. Plus, the plastic color for the helmet is amazing– it seems to positively glow under most light sources.
I am very partial to all underwater GI Joe and Cobra operatives, and this Deep Six has a great design. I also had the domestic release as a kid (and still have him!), so there’s tremendous nostalgia value for me.
Kitted out with all of his accessories, this Deep Six is hard to beat. I like the Funskool version just as much as the American version, which is to say I would marry this toy if that was a legal thing I could do.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Dial-Tone
The Russian Funskool Dial-Tone is another interesting figure because it differs so much from its American counterpart. This figure replaces the domestic release’s neon yellow highlights with a nice dark green color. This is already a strong mold, and it’s even better in these colors.
But, there are some problems with this version. The helmet is made of a super hard plastic, and mine split in half the moment I put it on his head. Also, the head features much weaker paint applications than the American version.
Still, I like this figure enough that I bought the helmet from the American Battle Corps Dial-Tone just so he could have a silly hat. His accessories are also great– 92 Gung Ho’s giant machine gun, Psyche-Out v1’s cool pistol, a knife, and Dial-Tone v1’s submachine gun, all done in a delightful (not neon) green. He also has a giant red missile launcher, 2 green missiles, and a stand. I like to outfit him with the American version’s helmet, the SMG, and a Corps! radio backpack.
In most ways, this version of Dial-Tone is superior to the American release. Just watch out for that helmet!
Russian Funskool GI Joe Eel
This Russian Funskool Eel is based off of the 1992 Cobra Eel, which is a figure that’s near and dear to my heart. I love almost every figure from 1992, and the Eel was a favorite during childhood battles. Again, I love the underwater stuff.
But, this is not the American 1992 Eel. The colors are different, and the paint is overall very bad. I have an Indian and a Russian Funskool Eel, and both of them have too-tight elbow swivels and lesser quality plastic.
Still, the design is good, it looks good with other Cobra Eels, and it’s a good source of Eel accessories. I like it, but it could be better. The American version is just far superior in every way.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Flint
Flint is one of my favorite GI Joe characters, but I still don’t own a v1 Flint. I grew up with the Eco Warriors and Battle Corps versions, and I still like both of those figures very much.
But, there’s really no beating the original. The Russian Funskool Flint features different coloring from the American original, mostly on his straps and shotgun shells. There’s no mistaking it for an American Flint, but it still retains the character’s iconic look.
The plastic quality isn’t as good as an American GI Joe, but the figure is still nice enough that I’m not frantically searching for an original Flint v1.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Hydro-Viper
The Indian version of Hydro-Viper was one of the first figures I bought when Funskool products became readily available in the United States. That’s because I love underwater figures and I love the Hydro-Viper’s overall look.
The Russian Funskool Hydro-Viper features a different purple than its American counterpart, and lacks some of the helmet’s painted details. I also cannot get the hoses to attach to the helmet and the backpack securely, but that’s something I rarely bother with anyway.
My Russian Hydro-Viper’s helmet doesn’t fit as well as my Indian version’s, and he has a much harder time holding his harpoon gun. It’s a good looking figure, but those are some issues to be aware of. I like this guy a lot, but he’s not objectively great.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Mainframe
As you can tell from the carded photo, my Mainframe had a big problem when he arrived to my house. The t-bar/hook that holds his legs and torso together had crumbled into dust– because it was made of plastic! I’d never seen anything like that before.
I had a broken Serpentor lying around, so I took his legs apart and donated his t-bar/hook to Russian Funskool Mainframe. I’d never performed that kind of surgery before, but I’m glad I did.
Mainframe is another one of my favorite characters, and this figure is excellent. I’m happy to have a nice, complete, minty Mainframe that’s not much different from the American version.
Just watch out for possible internal failures, I guess.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Night Viper
Everyone loves Night Vipers, despite the fact that they have the worst weapon ever. A scoped shotgun for a guy who operates on stealth and already has a giant scope sticking out of his face? And it has a strap, but also attaches to his leg? Hello, redundancy and easily broken pegs!
All that aside, the Night Viper is well loved for a reason. And since the Russian Funskool Night Viper is very similar to his American counterpart (minus the ‘insignia patch,’ trading a green Cobra logo for a yellow one, and with different colored accessories), this figure was straight up Cialis for collectors back when the Indian version was $5.
And it is a nice figure. The yellow scope and orange backpack aren’t the best, but Night Vipers are expensive, so we all take what we can get. I like this one a lot, even if I like to use different weapons and lend him Funskool Tunnel Rat’s backpack.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Psyche-Out
As a kid, I loved Psyche-Out v3. He was one of my most used figures, and I still have him– missing almost all of his accessories, and with very loose joints.
This Russian Funskool Psyche-Out is also fantastic. It’s the best design for Psyche-Out, and it’s not much different from the American release. Sure, India and Russia gutted the sonic backpack of its electronics and colored it orange, but do you honestly give a shit about the backpack anyway?
The small dishes for the figure’s chest, the large dish for the stationary gun, and the figure’s headset are all colored grey. This is an advantage over the American release’s bright blue dishes, and a lateral move for the headset.
Psyche-Out v3 has a ton of small accessories, most of which are easily lost. I love this Funskool release because I now have a complete Psyche-Out. I like to equip him with Dial-Tone’s green Psyche-Out pistol and a surplus Tele-Viper backpack from a Joe vs Cobra Neo-Viper, as his own orange backpack and stationery space gun aren’t too practical.
This is one of my favorite Funskool figures, and one of my favorite GI Joe figures overall.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Quick Kick
Quick Kick was offered as a mail away figure sometime in the 1990s. So, one summer afternoon I got Quick Kick, Jinx, and a FANG helicopter. I brought them over to my friend Mark’s house, and we had an adventure with his mail away WHALE, Quick Kick, Jinx, and the FANG. I somehow lost Quick Kick shortly after that, but he does kindle some fond memories for me.
As a figure, Quick Kick is nice. As a military operative, Quick Kick is bonkers. I don’t really care, as he’s a fun toy who looks cool. The Russian Funskool Quick Kick is a bit different from the American version, mostly due to the coloring on the belt. I’ve heard there are some variants, as well.
This particular figure can’t hold his sword at all, which is disappointing. It just slips through his hands.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Ripper
I’ve never owned any of the original three Dreadnoks. I liked them well enough in the cartoon and comics, but buying them was never a priority for me. So this Russian Funskool Ripper is my first OG Dreadnok experience, and he’s grown on me since I first opened him.
The Funskool version’s colors are, again, differant than but similar to the American version. That makes for a fun variant or a decent default Ripper to own. I like his sculpt, and this figure is fairly nice.
The accessories are made from terrible, chintzy plastic, though. The hose will not connect to his backpack or jaws of life. His rifle is almost transparent. But still, he works well enough for me. I don’t love him, but I do like him as a friend.
(Update from Mike T – “A store in India ordered an exclusive run of Ripper figures. (You could do that if you bought enough. I think the number was like 3,000 figures.) So, that got the Ripper mold into production for a short time. Only one American dealer got any, but they also appeared in this Russian set.“)
Russian Funskool GI Joe Roadblock
The 1992 Roadblock is my favorite version of the character. I could never find one as a kid because he was recalled. Something about deadly disc shooters. Anyway, when I got back into vintage GI Joe figures, the 1992 Roadblock was one of the first toys I tracked down. But, sadly, I couldn’t find one that came with his gun. I couldn’t even find the gun itself for less than $20!
That’s where this Russian Funskool Roadblock comes in. He’s not much different than the American version, but he does include that figure’s very cool oversized scoped machine gun. He donated it to my 1992 Roadblock immediately, and received Dial-Tone’s huge green machine gun in return.
This Roadblock also comes with an orange version of Rock n Roll v2’s backpack, and a yellow and black version of one of that figure’s gatling guns, plus a black ammo belt. This is an extremely fun accessory set, and you’ll see who I use it for later on in this post.
If you don’t own a 1992 Roadblock, or you need his machine gun, you can’t go wrong with this figure.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Road Pig
Road Pig is ugly, and this release is no exception. But, having Russian Funskool Road Pig in hand, I actually like him quite a bit.
He’s not terribly different from the American release, but he’s my first experience with the mold. I love his weapons– the cinder block on a stick and wrist crossbow with a grenade mounted to the bolt are both great. His shield and shoulderpads are also cool.
I like Road Pig in the Marvel comic, too, so I’m happy to have this one. He’s not for everyone, but I enjoy him.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Sci-Fi
I grew up with Sci-Fi v2 (who is in my top 10 favorite GI Joe figures) and Sci-Fi v3. Not long ago, I acquired a Sci-Fi v1 in a lot. I also own the modern era Sci-Fi. That’s a lot of Sci-Fis! But I never owned a version of the 1994 SF mold until I thus Russian Funskool Sci-Fi arrived at my door.
This figure has some paint differences from its domestic counterpart, but it still gets the point across. And it’s a great mold! The armor is great, and the robotic hand with built-in gatling gun is also neat. I am very fond of the helmet and the pistol, as well. The backpack and its laser gun, missile launcher, and zipline feature are also fun.
I don’t see this guy as Sci-Fi, though. With his weird helmet and bright colors, I see him as a hazmat operative. In my head, I see him as a Cobra nuclear scientist working under Cesspool. Because, again, I am obsessed with Eco Warriors. But, isn’t that a terrifying character concept?
Anyway, this is a good toy.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Spearhead
This version of Spearhead (and Max!) is based on the Night Force version of the character. Spearhead v1 was one of my first ever GI Joe toys, so I’m fond of that figure– but the Night Force version’s colors are objectively much better.
The Russian Funskool Spearhead takes Spearhead v2’s color scheme and adds some nice blue for added color interest. The figure’s only fault is its bright green backpack. It’s not a dealbreaker for me, but some of you might not be into it.
For my money, this is the best version of Spearhead available. It takes everything good about the Night Force version and doesn’t cost the same price as four Lamborghinis and a 24 pack of Keystone Light.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Storm Shadow
As is the story with many of these figures, this Russian Funskool Storm Shadow was my first real exposure to Storm Shadow v2. Sure, I have the red ninja repaint Hasbro put in a comic pack, but that isn’t really Storm Shadow.
This is Storm Shadow. I love both Storm Shadow v1 and Ninja Force Storm Shadow dearly, but this one rivals them both. It doesn’t do anything the American version doesn’t, but it’s a beautiful, well-made figure with great accessories.
There’s no reason to get this one over the domestic release, but I’m not aching to get the American version now that I have this one, either. It’s an all time classic, and I don’t mind that it’s the Funskool version.
Russian Funskool GI Joe TARGAT
It’s time for another interesting figure! The Russian Funskool TARGAT is based on Star Brigade TARGAT, but does things a bit differently. Instead of TARGAT v2’s gold coloring, this figure goes with a more subdued copper hue. The purple is still there, but the Funskool version replaces the orange highlights with yellow.
It’s not a bad look at all. Plus, TARGAT v2’s gold plastic is somewhat prone to breaking or degrading, and you don’t have to worry about that with this version. He comes with some joyously absurd neon pink weapons and a red missile launcher.
I also think he looks amazing with Roadblock’s ridiculous yellow and orange gatling gun apparatus. He’s not my favorite figure, but he’s fun and I’m glad I have him.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Toxo-Viper
This is another case where I think the Funskool version of a figure has better colors than its American release. In this case, the Russian Funskool Toxo-Viper has much nicer colors on his helmet than the domestic version. The dark green is much more aesthetically pleasing than the brown.
His backpack is bright green, but I consider that a feature instead of a bug. Eco Warriors. I can’t get enough of them, whether they’re officially part of that sub-line or not. This is my favorite version of Toxo-Viper v1, and I consider it an important and vital figure.
I haven’t noticed any difference between the Indian and Russian versions.
Final Thoughts on these Russian Funskool GI Joe Figures
This article was a change of pace, but it was fun for me, I figured I’d put something together on these figures, as there’s not much info out there about them, and I’m sure many of you are interested in buying some of them.
Next time, I’ll be back with a more standard review– with a twist!
What are your favorite Funskool GI Joe releases? Let me know in the comments.