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 Budo and Accessories
Russian Funskool Budo is very similar to his Indian counterpart (if not exactly the same), and largely similar to Hasbro’s 1988 Budo, as well.
Near as we can figure, this Russian Budo was released in or around 1998. People who live in former Soviet territories report still finding these figures from time to time, but 1998 is the most likely release date.
Russian Funskool Budo uses most of Hasbro Budo’s parts, with the exception of the upper arms, which come from 1988 Spearhead (thanks to Mike T. for help with the parts identification). The paint apps and coloring are mostly the same as the domestic Budo figure, and the Russian toy is the same as the Indian Funskool toy in almost every regard.
The figure’s accessories are the same as Hasbro Budo’s, but there are some interesting color differences, which we’ll get to in the comparison section.
Like all Funskool figures, this toy is made of slightly lower quality plastic than the Hasbro release and the paint apps may be a bit sloppier.
All Funskool card backs are made of flimsier material than Hasbro packaging– it feels more like paper than cardboard.
The card itself is mostly identical to the Indian Funskool Budo card, until you look at the back. All of the text on the card back is written in Russian, whereas Indian cards are mostly written in English. You’ll also notice the Two Beetles logo on the lower left hand part of the card.
Aside from minor paint or coloration differences from various factory runs, where discrepancies are expected, the Russian Funskool Budo and Indian Funskool figures should be identical.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Budo features light grey, warm brown, warm green, and flesh tone plastic. Various brown, grey, red, and black paint applications are included.
The paint applications are a bit sloppier than Hasbro Budo, especially on the pouches on the Spearhead upper arms. There’s also some paint mismatch– note the boots and the crotch armor compared to the torso.
Overall, though, this is a nicely presented figure without any glaring errors or problems.
From the side:
From the back:
Russian Funskool Budo poses nicely and has tight joints. The plastic quality may be lower than that of a Hasbro release, but it’s a solid figure that does everything it’s supposed to. There are no problems or red flags to be aware of.
What you see is what you get with this one.
Russian Funskool Budo comes with a brown backpack, a silver helmet (with removeable ornamental horns), a silver sai, a silver sword, and a red sheathed sword.
The loop on the sheathed sword works perfectly with the peg on the figure’s right hip. The connection is solid and the sword stays in place securely.
The tines on each side of the backpack provide storage for the silver sword and sai, and both weapons hold securely. I have not noticed any weird tolerances or excess plastic that might warp the weapons or make things otherwise difficult.
The helmet fits well enough on the figure, but on my copy it’s a bit difficult to get the helmet’s nose guard to line up exactly with the figure’s nose. This isn’t a huge deal, of course.
The figure All Geared Up:
The figure has no problem holding either of its weapons.
Overall, Russian Funskool Budo is a nice GI Joe action figure. If you can find it cheaper than the Hasbro version, like it more than the Hasbro version, or just enjoy international figures, then it’s a good purchase.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Budo Compared to 1988 Hasbro Budo
Most of the figures Funskool and its Russian partner Two Beetles released look pretty similar to the original Hasbro versions. Other than a few fun differences in the accessories and some color shade differences, Budo follows that trend.
The figures (L- Funskool, R- Hasbro):
In this comparison photo, it’s easy to tell the difference between the figures’ upper arms. The Funskool version uses parts from Spearhead– no one is quite sure why Funskool didn’t just use the Hasbro Budo upper arms.
The Russian figure itself retains all of the paint applications from the Hasbro figure, including the red on the gloves.
With these two figures, minor color shade variations provide the main difference. The best way I can describe the brown on the Funskool figure is “duller,” while the green is both lighter and “warmer.” It’s a pleasant shade of green, but it’s not the olive shade the Hasbro figure uses.
The Hasbro figure’s belt is much darker, as well.
Side view comparison:
Notice those upper arms!
Back view comparison:
The date/country stamps are different. Let’s throw a parade in honor of this very interesting fact.
This is where it gets interesting. I don’t have all of Hasbro Budo’s accessories, but I can still effectively show you the fun differences.
Let’s start with the helmet. Russian Funskool Budo’s helmet is entirely missing the red paint apps from the Hasbro version. It still looks fine without them, but it is a missing detail.
Funskool Budo’s sheathed sword is presented in red, whereas the Hasbro versions is cast in silver.
Much more interestingly, the Funskool Budo’s usable sword is silver instead of red. It switches the colors on both swords, resulting in some fun possibilities.
Here’s what all of the Hasbro version’s accessories look like:
Screen grab courtesy of YoJoe.com
That’s the most fun part about the figure– both sword colors were switched completely. We’ll get more into that in just a second.
All Geared Up Comparison:
If you want, you can mix and match accessories between the two figures and get a figure with two silver swords– that should please people who don’t like that Budo’s main, usable sword was cast in red plastic.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Budo isn’t extremely different from his domestic counterpart, but the accessories make for a fun release and the figure is solid on its own merits.
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