Note: This is not a full review. This simply a more in-depth look at the figures I profiled in my Russian Funskool GI Joe Jamboree post, and is intended as a resource for fans and collectors.
According to a source in a former Soviet country (who has also translated the card backs), the entire Russian run of Funskool GI Joe figures was released in 1998. The company who assisted in this release, Two Beetles (see their logo on the card back below), likely had a connection at Funskool. Aside from Chuckles, all Russian Funskool figures are nearly identical to their Indian counterparts– only the card backs were changed. Though these were reportedly only produced for a year, they can still be found in former USSR territories. As a fun side note, “beetle” is Russian slang for “swindler.”
Russian Funskool GI Joe Airtight and Accessories
The Russian Funskool GI Joe Airtight was released sometime around 1998, according to my sources.
Much like its Indian counterpart, this Russian Funskool Airtight figure was made entirely from Hasbro’s 1985 Airtight mold. Overall, it’s very close in coloration to the domestic release.
There are many slight color variations found in Indian Funskool Airtight figures, which could just boil down to when the figures were produced and the plastic color/mixture Funskool was using for each factory run. As far as I know, there are no variations of the Russian Airtight figure.
The figure retains the same accessories as its Hasbro counterpart, and they look very similar to one another.
Much like every Funskool release, this Russian version of Airtight is made of slightly lower quality plastic than Hasbro GI Joe figures.
Note that all Funskool packaging cards are made of thinner, flimsier material than Hasbro backing cards.
In addition, these cards mark the biggest difference between Indian and Russian Funskool releases– where as the packaging for Indian Funskool figures primarily uses English for information, file cards, brand info, and cross sells, the backs of these Russian cards are written in Russian.
The front of the card is the same as any Indian release, and the figure is basically the same, as well.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Airtight is cast primarily in bright yellow plastic and features green, black, and flesh tone paint applications. The figure retains all of the Hasbro 1985 Airtight’s paint applications, and looks largely identical until you compare the two side by side.
The paint applications are also a bit sloppier than what you’ll find on a Hasbro Airtight. Regardless, my individual example of the Russian Funskool GI Joe Airtight figure is nicely done and looks good overall.
From the side:
From the back:
The joints on this figure are good. It has no problems posing or interacting with its accessories, and it retains the classic GI Joe articulation scheme. Nothing feels fragile or janky, although there are some more pronounced seams in the legs and shoulders than what you’ll see on a Hasbro figure. This is likely due to the lower quality plastic. This is a nice GI Joe figure overall, though, and there’s nothing to be concerned about.
In my experience, it’s tough to stand this particular figure when it’s equipped with all of its accessories. I’m not sure why that is, but I had to use a figure stand for a couple of photos on this page.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Airtight comes with a green backpack, a black hose that connects the backpack to the figure’s head, a black “sniffer” rifle, and a standard black accessory hose.
On this Russian figure, the backpack/helmet hose is flexible enough to work just fine with the figure. It does sometimes pop out or make certain poses more difficult, but I imagine that’s true for the Hasbro version, as well. I mention this because I’ve heard reports that many Indian Funskool Airtight figures feature rigid hose assemblies that cannot work with the figure or its backpack at all. This Russian figure has no such problem.
The backpack fits the figure as it should, and the figure has no trouble holding its sniffer accessory. Sometimes standard black hoses are iffy with Funskool figures, but this hose connects to both the backpack and sniffer with little effort.
What I’m saying is that everything here works how you’d expect it to. There are no problems.
The figure All Geared Up:
This is a nicely done figure with very few problems. As you’ll see in the next section, though, it is very close to Hasbro’s own Airtight release. Because it’s so similar, it lacks the “unique” quality that so many Funskool releases have, and there’s no surprise or whimsy to be found.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Airtight Compares to 1985 Hasbro Airtight
By and large, the Funskool figures released by Two Beetles in Russia played it pretty safe. Most of them are fairly close to their Hasbro counterparts, and the Russian releases didn’t dabble in the wilder figures like Skydiver and Cross Country.
The Russian Funskool GI Joe Airtight maybe plays it the safest of all, which is also true for the Indian release. As I mentioned earlier, this figure is exactly the same as the Indian release, minus some plastic color variations found in different factory runs.
The figures (L- Funskool, R- Hasbro):
Looking at the figures side by side, there’s really not much difference between the two.
Both the yellow plastic and the green paint on the Russian figure are slightly different. You might call them brighter, but I’d hesitate to say that’s entirely accurate– they’re just different. You could possibly say they’re more saturated, but I’m not sure if that’s the right way to describe it, either. You can determine that for yourself.
The paint applications and the amount of painted detail between the two figures is the same. The paint is a bit sloppier on the Russian Funskool version, and that might be the best way to tell them apart.
If you see one of these figures on its own on eBay or in person, chances are it’s the Hasbro version. But if you see slightly sloppy paint, it might be a Funskool release. Other than that, it’s kind of hard to tell them apart unless you’re looking at them side by side.
From the side:
From the back:
The Funskool figure also seems to lack the obvious date stamp on its butt. That’s about as far as I’m going with this, though. You can either do more research or bring in an outside consultant, because I find it very hard to care about these types of things.
I don’t own the Hasbro Airtight’s backpack/helmet connector hose, so I can only show you the backpacks and sniffers.
Again, the greens are slightly different. It’s hard to tell the difference unless you have them both together like I do here.
Hasbro Airtight’s sniffer accessory is maybe slightly glossier, but the difference is negligible. Just know that finding Hasbro accessories in the wild is much more likely than finding Funskool accessories. They should work for you either way, though.
The figures All Geared Up:
If you need an Airtight and find a Russian Funskool version for cheaper than a Hasbro version, it’s a great figure to buy. If you already have the 1985 Hasbro figure, though, this one doesn’t offer much variety.
Did I miss anything? If so, please let me know through social media or this website’s contact form.