STEELER v.7 (2015)
In my last post I reviewed the G.I. Joe Chimera, which is really just a Cobra HISS tank painted green. It was included in the 2015 San Diego Comic Con exclusive G.I. Joe box set titled “Crimson Strike”. The premise of the set is that the Joes and Cobras have acquired each others vehicles and repurposed them to fit their own needs. A captured Joe Skystriker became the Cobra Scythe and to fly the new aircraft the Cobra pilot, AVAC, was also included in the set; makes sense. Just as sensible is the inclusion of the Joe team’s premier tank driver, Steeler, to man the Chimera.
Steeler was one of the original 13 Joes released in 1982. The OG13 hold a special place in the hearts of most Joe collectors; especially old guys like myself who’ve been collecting since the beginning. Of the original roster I owned Snake Eyes, Stalker, and Short-Fuze. My brother Doug owned all the rest. By ’83 things evened out and we began collecting each subsequent wave 50/50 but Doug really cleaned up that first year. One of the 10 originals Doug owned was Steeler who came packaged with the original G.I. Joe tank, the Mobat.
I really liked Steeler from day one. Not only did he have a sweet ride but he also had an awesome binocular headset attached to his helmet. A number of the ’82 Joes had clear visors on their helmets but Steeler’s solid black headset was totally unique. When I was little I assumed that all real-life tank drivers wore similar binoculars on their helmets but as I think about it now I don’t think thats actually the case.
In an odd design choice by Hasbro, Steeler couldn’t actually sit inside the Mobat. Instead, he stood in the roof hatch like a drunk girl hanging out of a limo on prom night. Not the safest way to roll into battle to be sure. But after driving around like that for so many years I imagine the oft ridiculed glass canopy of the HISS tank will feel pretty damn safe to Mr. Pulaski.
I got my first Steeler figure in 2004 and sadly it was not a good one. It had a small head and a huge barrel chest. Those proportion issues are why many collectors completely ignore the new-sculpt years of the early 2000s.
My next Steeler (version 4) was released as part of the 25th anniversary series in 2008; the first modern-era interoperation of the character. Unfortunately it was a pretty weak figure too. The design was bland, he had dreaded “Duke arms”, his helmet didn’t fit right, and even his ride had been downgraded to the pitiful Armadillo which looks more like a go-kart than a tank. The worst offence committed by that figure was that it didn’t have Steeler’s trademark helmet binoculars.
Another Steeler (version 5) was released later that same year; this time with a tan uniform. I prefer the tan one because Hasbro fixed a few of the problems of the previous release. Version 5 had new lower arms with full sleeves and gloves which was closer to the 1982 design and it solved the Duke Arms problem, he got his Mobat back so he was a proper tank driver again, and he had a visor on his helmet. Unfortunately the visor was a standard “glass” model and not the classic binocular set.
The only part from the 2008 figure used for this latest version of Steeler (version 7) is the head. I don’t really like this head sculpt all that much but I appreciate that Hasbro has used it consistently for the character throughout the modern-era. I don’t like when a character’s physical appearance changes drastically from one version to the next. That said, it is kind of annoying that Steeler’s hair colour has changed from brown to red. Speaking of his red hair, my Steeler has a dab of orange paint on the tip of his nose which I didn’t even notice until I took these pictures but now I can’t unsee it. Ho-hum.
Steeler’s body is made up of Firefly and Roadblock parts. They work well together and provide for a detailed yet simple basic military uniform. It’s a nice update to the character without getting too far removed from the original design. I quite enjoy some of the more fantastical elements of G.I. Joe but I like the OG13 to stick to their military roots. His uniform is a nice crisp shade of green and the grey padding makes him more interesting to look at. This figure is taller than past versions due to the Roadblock legs but it works out well because I seem to recall that Steeler is supposed to be a big tough guy which is something that never came across in past versions.
For accessories Steeler has a rifle, a pistol that can be holstered on his hip, a padded vest with a detachable radio, and finally a helmet with some goddamn binoculars. I’m so happy that Steeler has his proper headgear at long last but honestly they don’t look as cool as I was hoping. I don’t recall the vintage figure’s binoculars looking so wide and the red paint on the visor makes Steeler look as though he should be leading the X-Men into battle rather than the Joes.