TANK COMMANDER  
  Code Name: STEELER  
 

G.I. Joe's original tank driver, Steeler pretty much disappeared into obscurity in a very short time in the Marvel comic - the series actually didn't have much time for tanks, preferring ninjas. Surprisingly, after a couple of minor roles, Steeler would get a wonderful send-off in the Sunbow cartoon, of all things, in the two-parter "War Without End", which saw him have a nervous breakdown before staying behind (along with Clutch and Grunt) to face probable death in a Cobra-dominated alternate world. Mind, he got to cop off with the Baroness while he was at it - men have certainly thrown away their lives for less.

Two 25th Anniversary versions of Steeler were produced. The first was of the greenshirt variety, packed with the Armadillo tank as well as Serpentor and the Air Chariot. The second featured a tan uniform (seemingly just because) and came in the 'Ultimate Battle Pack', where he got to drive his trusty MOBAT. Disappointingly neither looks much like the cartoon version, not even having blond hair. The green-shirted version does at least get the uniform right, but it looked so different otherwise that I went for the tan one to get at least some variety.

While the head cast is new, the basic figure is fairly generic, so it's a shame Hasbro basically botched the two bits that differentiated Steeler that bit more. Firstly, there's the webbing/holster. It's intended to recreate the original figure's shoulder holster (Steeler was one of the few original figures to have a unique torso piece), but in practice however much you try to get it in place, it has a habit of drifting from his left breast to the centre of his chest and looking silly. Even more unforgivably, there's the helmet. The original Steeler has a superb, distinctive flip-down range finder mounted on his helmet; the 'Ultimate Battle' version just had a translucent black standard visor of the same design seen on Flash and Grand Slam. The two-pack version didn't have a visor at all (though the drivers in these were routinely stripped of their accessories, cf. Breaker). The helmet, annoyingly, won't even properly take the original viewfinder - it can just about be persuaded to stay in ether position, but doesn't really work... This is a real shame, as it fits on Breaker's helmet fine, but Steeler's head is a lot thinner and that one won't stay on.

Overall, then, Steeler is a real disappointment in either version, probably the least impressive of the original members (at least Rock N Roll looks about right). Go for the green version for comic accuracy, or the tan version for variety, but either way you're not going to end up with a particularly great figure.



G.I. Joe Steeler
G.I. Joe Steeler
G.I. Joe Steeler
G.I. Joe Steeler