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.
Updated 5/6/21: 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 Dial-Tone Figure and Accessories
This Russian Funskool GI Joe Dial-Tone was released somewhere around 1998. That’s according to a reader who translated the Russian card back. The generally accepted release window for Funskool GI Joe figures is about 1998 to 2003, though that could be inaccurate.
This figure uses the most of the same mold and all of the same accessories as Hasbro’s 1994 Dial-Tone version 4. Other than two small body parts (the upper arms), only the colors and plastic quality are different– there were no mold changes and the Russian Funskool figure keeps the same accessories as the Hasbro version.
Note that the instructions on the front of the card are in English, and are identical to the Indian version’s instructions. The Hasbro instructions illustrated how to use the figure stand, which this card omits. I am sure Russian and Indian kids were smart enough to figure it out on their own.
Note that all text on the card back, including the file card and figure cross sells, are presented in Russian. Indian Funskool card backs used English. The card is also made of a much flimsier material than Hasbro used for its GI Joe packaging.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Dial-Tone uses mostly medium blue plastic– this is a color seldom seen in any GI Joe releases. The legs are a darker green, and the torso and arm paint applications try to match them, but don’t quite succeed. The figure also features black and red paint applications.
Instead of using the Hasbro Dial-Tone v4’s upper arms, the Funskool figure uses the upper arms from Road Pig. Why Funskool chose those parts is anyone’s guess.
The figure is also painted with black hair and a brown mustache, which is completely unlike anything Hasbro ever released. On my copy, the paint applications on the mustache are quite sloppy and not applied strongly enough.
Also note that this figure is virtually indistinguishable from the Indian Funskool Dial-Tone. Only the packaging is vastly different.
The figure from the side:
All of the figures accessories, minus the spring-loaded missile launcher and helmet, were attached to a GI Joe weapons tree– standard stuff for the 1993-1994 Hasbro Joe line.
The figure’s package callout boasts “9 Accessories!” and he certainly does have nine of them, which is a lot. All of these accessories were released with Hasbro’s 1994 Dial-Tone version 4 in different colors. See the comparison section for more information.
The figure comes with a green version of the original Dial-Tone’s sub machinegun, a green version of the original Psyche-Out’s pistol, a green version of 1992 Gung-Ho’s machine gun, a green version of Hit & Run’s knife, two green missiles, a green figure stand, a red missile launcher, and a blue helmet with green painted lenses.
The missile launcher was also released with Funskool Countdown, also in red. This means there were only three uses of the accessory– 1994 Dial-Tone, Funskool Dial-Tone, and Funskool Countdown. Note that while Funskool Countdown’s accessories are different than Dial-Tone’s, they were molded in the same green plastic and also came attached to a weapons tree.
The launcher’s spring mechanism is very strong and works nicely.
As you’ll see in many of the photos on this page, Russian Funskool Dial-Tone’s helmet is fragile. That’s because it’s made of a stiff plastic that can’t “flex” properly when you put it on the figure. Mine cracked right down the center the first time I placed it on the figure. It cracked further when I was taking photos for this page.
The figure All Geared Up:
Aside from the helmet being made of plastic that won’t work for its intended use, this is a high quality figure. The plastic is slightly cheaper than what Hasbro used for its figures, but Russian Funskool Dial-Tone retains all the same features and articulation as its domestic counterpart.
All of the accessories, minus the helmet, work well and fit the figure nicely.
Russian Funskool Dial-Tone Compared to 1994 Hasbro Dial-Tone
While the two figures look similar in broad strokes, the differences between the Russian Funskool Dial-Tone and the Hasbro 94 Dial-Tone are drastic.
The figures (L – Funskool, R – Hasbro):
Let’s start with the head. The skin tones are different, and the Hasbro version has brown hair and a more fully-painted brown mustache. The Russian Funskool version’s eyes, eyebrows, and mustache are all painted in brown, while his hair is black. The figure would likely look a bit better if it used black paint for its eyes and eyebrows as well.
The Funskool Dial-Tone’s chest is a medium blue, while the the Hasbro version’s is much darker. The Funskool version also trades the Hasbro version’s neon yellow highlights for dark green highlights. The Funskool figure’s legs are also molded in a much darker green. Both figures use black for the belt, boots, and grenades. While the Funskool version doesn’t use that extra pop of neon for the chest detailing, it does use an extra color (red) for the pouch on its left leg. So, while the paint apps are different, the Funskool version has an equal number of paint applications.
As mentioned previously, the Funskool Dial-Tone uses Road Pig’s upper arms instead of the 94 Dial-Tone’s upper arms.
The shoulder rivets are also different colors.
There was a variant of the 94 Hasbro Dial-Tone (that I don’t own) that featured extra green paint applications, matching the figure’s pants, on its torso. You can view it here. The Funskool version was clearly based on that variant, owing to the extra green paint apps on its collar and shoulders.
The figures, side view:
The date stamps on these figures are somewhat interesting– as interesting as a date stamp can be, anyway.
“There were two variants of the Dial-Tone action figure. The first variant has green highlights on the figure’s chest and has the date stamp “MADE IN CHINA.” The second variant does not have green highlights and has the date stamp “MADE IN INDONESIA.“
The Funskool version, which has the extra paint apps, has the “Made in Indonesia” stamp, the same as the Hasbro version without the extra paint apps.
There’s also a chance that YoJoe is wrong, as some 94 Hasbro figures with paint variants were not always split between China and Indonesia. See this post at Forgotten Figures for more info.
Are we all sufficiently on the edge of our seats? Good. Let’s move on.
While the Funskool Dial-Tone’s weapons tree accessories were cast in a medium green plastic, the Hasbro version used neon yellow that matched that figure’s chest details. I only have one of the Hasbro version’s weapons, but this should make it easy to see the difference.
Hasbro 94 Dial-Tone’s helmet is cast in the same dark blue as its torso, while the Funskool Dial-Tone’s helmet is cast in a lighter blue to match its torso. The Hasbro version’s helmet is made from a more flexible plastic, so there’s no danger of it cracking when you use it with the figure.
Additionally, the Hasbro version’s missile launcher was molded in silver plastic, while Russian Funskool GI Joe Dial-Tone’s is red.
The figures All Geared Up:
A closeup view of the helmets:
I generally just use a Hasbro helmet with my Funskool Dial-Tone, since its original helmet is cracked. Here’s what that looks like:
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