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 Sci-Fi Figure and Accessories
The Russian Funskool GI Joe Sci-Fi was released in or around 1998, according to the translated packaging.
This figure uses the same mold as Hasbro’s 1994 Star Brigade Sci-Fi (version 4), and retains all of that figure’s parts and accessories. While the figure is visually similar to its Hasbro counterpart, the colors are very different when you compare them. As with all Funskool figures, the plastic quality on this Sci-Fi is slightly lesser than what you’d find on a Hasbro release.
On the Funskool card, the instructions are printed on the figure bubble area instead of on the back of the card the like the Hasbro version. This card uses Funskool’s standard GI Joe package design, while the Hasbro card used their Star Brigade layout from 1994. Though both packages use the same character artwork, they are vastly different.
All text on the card back is printed in Russian, including the file card and cross sells. Indian Funskool GI Joe packaging used English.
Russian Funskool GI Joe Sci-Fi is primarily dark grey and bright yellow, utilizing both plastic molded in those colors and painted detail. The color matching on the painted areas is generally very good. The figure also has pink and orange highlights, along with a silver gauntlet on its left arm.
As far as GI Joe figures go, this is a small number of paint applications. But that was also true for the Hasbro release.
From the side:
Russian Funskool GI Joe Sci-Fi comes with a large orange backpack, a grey helmet with transparent red faceplate, a black pistol, two black missiles (only one is pictured, but they are identical), as well as a two piece zipline apparatus and strung (not pictured).
The backpack has a hook that works with the zipline. The backpack’s two attachments, a gun and a missile launcher, can be rotated up and down. The missile launcher is easily removed from the backpack.
The pistol is cast in plain black plastic and, as with the one from Hasbro 94 Sci-Fi, it is a recolor of Cold Front’s weapon.
The helmet is a two piece affair, with a nice clear red plastic used for the face shield. This helmet was released in different colors with Funskool Metal Head.
The zipline hooks and missiles are cast in black plastic.
The figure All Geared Up:
Though the plastic quality for Funskool Sci-Fi is slightly lower than what Hasbro used, it is still a good, solid GI Joe figure. It retains all articulation and features from the Hasbro version. The missile launcher shoots quite well and the figure fits and holds all of its accessories nicely.
Russian Funskool Sci-Fi Compared to 1994 Hasbro Sci-Fi
This comparison is where things get interesting. At first glance, the Russian Funskool Sci-Fi seems very similar to its Hasbro counterpart. When you compare them side by side, however, you notice how different the colors actually are.
The figures (L – Funskool, R – Hasbro):
The Russian Funskool GI Joe Sci-Fi’s yellow is a plain “bright yellow” or even “canary yellow,” while the Hasbro Sci-Fi uses a neon “highlighter” yellow. They are both bright figures to be sure, but the Funskool version is not neon like the Hasbro version.
The Russian Funskool Sci-Fi also uses a darker grey plastic (and matching paint) than the Hasbro figure. The Funskool figure’s grenades are a pinkish orange, while its belt is light pink. The Hasbro version has orange grenades and a pinkish-orange belt. The silver gauntlet hands are nearly identical.
The Funskool figure also uses a much different skin tone, and the paint applications for the face and hair are a little sloppier.
From the side:
(Update 5/11/21: I’ve been informed the pistol I’m using with my Hasbro Sci-Fi belongs to Scoop. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t notice. Unfortunately, though, I don’t have the ability to retake these photos right now. My apologies.)
The biggest differences in accessories comes down to the backpack color and the helmet’s face shield.
The Russian Funskool Sci-Fi backpack is a dull orange, while the Hasbro version is a neon orange that looks pink in some lighting conditions. Note the trigger on the Hasbro version’s missile launcher is an entirely different shade from the backpack, while the Funskool version’s trigger is the same color as the backpack itself.
Funskool Sci-Fi’s helmet is a darker grey, and its clear face shield is cast in a much deeper, brighter red that borders on neon pink. I’m not great with colors, but you get what I mean. Hasbro’s Sci-Fi’s helmet has a face shield that’s a pale peach color.
The pistols are nearly identical, but the Hasbro version is slightly more glossy. You would have a hard time telling them apart in photos, and it would only be slightly less difficult if you had them both in hand. They are very close.
If you need to see the Hasbro version’s zipline anchors and string, you can visit this page at YoJoe. They should be almost identical to the Funskool version’s zipline gear.
The figures All Geared Up:
The Russian Funskool GI Joe Sci-Fi construes the same idea as the Hasbro figure, but the colors are fairly different once you look a little more closely. While it’s a relatively straight forward release as far as Funskool figures go, it’s different enough from the Hasbro version to be interesting.
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