Steeler (1983)

Steeler is just a damn cool early RAH figure, even though I found him to be odd looking back when I was a kid. I actually didn’t have a MOBAT, so my only exposure to this figure was via visits to a friend’s house. He looked so different from the first and second series Joes I had, I didn’t quite know how to take him. Admittedly, the gold undershirt is a bit strange, but the details on the sleeves and especially the gold pistol are quite cool. Like other unique drivers such as Clutch and Grand Slam, those differences really set him apart from his single carded early teammates. It’s amazing what just a change in the torso mold and a couple of accessories can do.

The visor is another unique element that makes him stand out from the pack. For some reason, it reminded me of a welder’s mask. Again, I didn’t have Steeler himself, but I had the visor from an accessory pack. I often put it on Flash to use as a secondary visor.

Even the Sunbow cartoon put Steeler into a different outfit from what the other early Joes wore. The only thing he really had in common with the figure is the short collared open jacket and a slightly different version of his visor. He even wore a gold (well, yellow) undershirt too. I’ve always wanted to see some of the Sunbow exclusive uniform designs make their way into the toyline.

Steeler may be best known to toon fans for having a major role in the excellent two-parter “Worlds Without End.” I won’t spoil the ending, and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t seen it. It’s very freaky stuff, Sunbow-style.

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  • Steeler became one of my favorite characters when I was just getting into Joe in 2005. It was when I saw my first two episodes of the Sunbow toon–which coincidentally were both parts of “Worlds Without End”. Since then, I now have an ’83 Steeler figure of my own. Now I just need a MOBAT.

    I have a little fan-cannon that explains, believe it or not, how Grunt–despite his fate in those same episodes–reappeared in the DIC cartoon. My idea is this–a year or so after the events of G.I. Joe: The Movie, the Joes discover that the rip in reality that originally opened to the Cobra-dominated Earth is still there, and it’s torn open again. A small team of Joes goes in after the Cobra agents heading there (Serpentor had learned of this through Zartan planting a bug in the Joes’ main computer to access their files). After heading them off with the help of Clutch, Grunt, Steeler, and that world’s Baroness, those same four decide to return to their own world, having helped liberate the world from Cobra during all this time. They do so, with Steeler and the alternate Baroness (now going by a new name) getting hitched. After years of working with the CIA, she officially joins the Joes in 2000 under the Chameleon name (hint hint).

  • I too thought it looked like a welder’s mask right before clicking on this entry. Before, I thought it was rectangular binoculars, like for seeing targets farther away better for aiming. It also kind of looks like a VR headset.

    Steeler seems to be one of those figures that really helped the drivers look distinct from the regular carded figures that were out that early in the line’s history. That was one of GI Joe’s greatest strengths- vehicles with exclusive drivers.

  • Steeler is my favorite character and its a pity he didnt get to do more in the cartoon.
    The custom Steeler i have [a repainted R.O.C Scrapiron] has “Anna” and a love heart on the side of his helmet.

    Do you think the guys who wrote Ashes to ashes ever saw that episode?

  • I managed to get the MOBAT late into its run, sometime in 1984 before it was discontinued. I’d already grown to love Steeler thanks to his early comic appearances alongside Clutch and Breaker.

    The figure itself is a beaut: Like Clutch, you have a unique torso mold, what appears to be an armored undershirt, nicely done gold paint detailing, a Uzi, and of course, his incomparable visor. I think I’d figured out that they were binoculars after reading those early Trimpe and Perlin issues.

    Steeler’s Sunbow episodes were cool, but I always preferred the comic version. Years later, I better understood the Pittsburgh connection as it relates to his code name, the football team, and Pennsylvania’s leading manufacturing industry. And his file card made him out to be a bad ass, so that only sweetened the pot for me.

    Steeler was still around in his original uniform during the 90’s Trucial Abysmia story arc and I was greatly relieved to see him survive it when other favorites of mine did not. He’s one of the best figures from the Original Thirteen and ranks highly among the great drivers right alongside Clutch, of course. 😉

  • @Acer. That’s a nice sequel you thought up there. I like it better than IDW’s take on Chameleon.

    I used to imagine that the Battle Corps era could be explained away as being the Joes from that parallel universe. Not having a Battle Corps Steeler or Clutch to go with ’91 Grunt kinda made the concept sound shaky, though.

  • I got a MOBAT for Christmas one year. The moment I pulled Steeler out of the blister pack, he flew apart in my hands. (At that age, I didn’t know what an O-ring was). So we sent him back to Hasbro, and they delivered a fresh Steels a few weeks later (great customer service!)

    The next summer, I was at a friend’s birthday party, and my MOBAT, with Steeler in the turret, rolled down a hill. Never found him again 🙁 until a few years ago via ebay, that is. Now my MOBAT is complete again!

  • @Skymate: That sounds like a great custom fig. We need a place here to post pics of our own stuff alongside the contributing reviews.

    I wouldn’t rule out that the writers of Ashes to Ashes were influenced by Worlds Without End. That was a fantastic concept on its own. Great stuff! Gene Hunt is an awesome character.

  • @kurteh: That really is too bad about your first two Steels and the MOBAT. But boy, Hasbro sure could deliver back in those days. What a great toy company to deal with. They led the action figure pack in terms of quality and dedication alongside Kenner.

    I had no idea of how to fix a broken o-ring either. As a kid, I wasn’t even aware that there were screwdrivers small enough to help remove the back of a figure, let alone where to get new o-rings. (True Value hardware stores were always close by!)

  • I only had the British version in Z-Force colours so this one still looks a bit odd to me.

  • @Clutch
    Heh, not only was he still around in his original uniform in the comics–he was still around in actual toy form in 1994! He got offered at the convention of that year with Duke’s binoculars instead of his visor, and a new filecard.

    • @Acer: That’s right, I forgot about the ’94 convention version. I thought the last we’d seen of the guy was his aborted stint as a mail-in driver before Rampage took his place. So technically, Steeler was the only figure to be offered at both the start and end of the vintage era. Quite an achievement.

      @Skymate: Yep, both the MOBAT and Warpath are based on the old M551 Sheridan. I wouldn’t mind a homage combo along the lines of the Skystriker/Starscream package from a couple of years back. It would be great to finally have a larger MOBAT with room for three figures as seen in the comic.

  • I liked Steelers downfall [not a “Hitler reacts to-” joke] in Worlds without end as it made him more human than so many of the others.

    I just thought of something isnt the M.o.b.a.t a Sheridan. And Warpath was a Sheridan. Any chance of getting a red one as a crossover Warpath [though that might confuse people with that red Cobra mobat]

    @Clutch Thanks for your comment. I have a problem with him though. When i was swapping the legs, the clips/holster do-da fell into the abys between the unasembled Airfix stuff and the unasembled Space marines. Its now lost forever and Steeler looks fine from most angles except his right leg which now looks bionic as you can see the innards

  • truly a classic

    and this version of Steeler has never been topped or bettered since in his followup versions

    • @NFCJD: Agreed 100%. Neither the comic pack nor the 25th Anniversary version can match it. That’s very rare for a first series figure but Steeler truly is one of a kind.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    This is a nice looking figure. And although the MOBAT does look cool, I can’t help but like the Cobra CAT just a little more. That red and black color scheme just looks so much cooler.

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  • ”1982/83 Steeler w/MOBAT combination .Great collection .

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