The General and Major Storm

By KansasBrawler

During my Joe Con coverage, I mentioned that the loose, complete figures I picked up all had something in common. Major Storm should have been a hint, but here we go—all those characters were featured on the box art of The General. I got ridiculously lucky at my local comic shop and ran into a 99.9% complete General with Major Storm for an incredible price. Seriously, all I needed to find were an antenna, an unbroken right canopy, and a bomb. Major Storm came sans his gear, which is why I snagged another one at Joe Con, but it was a seriously great price and I decided to make that an early birthday present to myself since I figured it wouldn’t last too long in the store at that price point. The guys at my store laughed a little because they figured it wasn’t going to last long on display, and they were right. They put it out literally two days before I got there and it went home with me. So, now that my General is fully crewed, restored and dusted, I felt it was as good a time as any to review it.

The General

Starting off with the driver, I’m quite impressed with Major Storm. Surprisingly, Major Storm reuses a lot of parts. The legs were originally used back in 1985 with Crankcase while the torso came from Windchill. Judging by YoJoe’s parts listing, that means Major Storm’s crotch piece, arms and head are the new parts here. The Crankcase legs do look a little dated because they’re not quite as detailed as the rest of the figure, but they still work well here. The new crotch piece meshes well with the older legs and once again, I find myself impressed with the level of detailing Hasbro was able to put on these old figures. His web belt is incredibly well detailed, with web texture on it and eyelets molded into it. The Windchill torso is a piece I’m familiar with because my brother had the Arctic Blast and I got one from Hasbro when they goofed and packaged a vehicle without a driver (because they apparently ran out) and put two different drivers in it to make up for that. The Windchill torso works surprisingly well for a field jacket considering it’s more designed to be a winter coat than anything else. The jacket itself is fairly simply designed, with six buttons on it, a strap running diagonally from his right shoulder down to the left side of his belt. There’s also a pouch of some sort on his left pec, but truthfully, I’m still not sure what it’s supposed to be. You can also see a little bit of Major Storm’s shirt sticking out from below the jacket and it’s very well-detailed. The new arms mesh well with the jacket and have elbow pads sculpted into them and tight cuffs around the wrists. Topping off the figure, Major Storm gets a great new head. Considering the character’s filecard says he’s from Providence, Rhode Island, I wonder if Major Storm’s head is based on a Hasbro employee. Having a few figures based on real people in my collection (most notably Tunnel Rat and Cesspool—though Cesspool did have the wicked scar added to his face), I’ve found the heads based on real people tend to have just a little more detail in them and I kind see that here. Major Storm looks to be a bit on the older side of the Joe team, but considering he’s in charge of a vehicle like The General, that makes sense. The head sculpt has a lot of character in it and it helps bring Major Storm to life. Major Storm’s figure may be just a tad on the simple side, but it works for him. Truthfully, looking at the design of the vintage Major Storm, it would be shockingly easy to make a modern one without needing to tool up any new parts. While I doubt that will happen since he’s another character pretty strongly tied to his vehicle, it would still be a great surprise choice for the GIJCC to include in a subscription service line up.

Major StormLike the figure itself, Major Storm’s color scheme is fairly simple, but it still works well for him. The figure’s legs and arms are tan with brown boots and gloves. Considering the 1990 and 1991 Joe figures were influenced by America’s involvement in the Gulf War, those colors make sense and work well in a desert combat environment. Brown is also used on the figure’s belt and bandolier. The field jacket part of Windchill’s torso is dark green while the undershirt is tan. To be honest, I kind of wish the arms were dark green as well so it looked a little more like a field jacket. I’m not terribly familiar with military attire, but I’ve never seen someone in a field jacket where the chest of the jacket is one color and the arms are a very different color. I think the arms and torso would mesh better if they were the same color and some tan could have been used on the currently unpainted elbow pads to put a little tan on the figure. Up top, the paint work on the head is excellent and the hair and eyes are slop free. It may not be the most complicated paint scheme for a Joe figure, but the details are all painted and that’s something that couldn’t be said Major Stormabout figures released just a few years after Major Storm was.

As I said, the main reason I picked up another Major Storm at Joe Con was because the one that came with The General I bought was missing his gear. Vehicle drivers generally don’t get a lot in the way of gear, but Major Storm has got some nice pieces, so I wanted to make sure I had them. For a weapon, Major Storm has a large pistol with a pretty large barrel. It’s a little out of scale with the figure itself, but that’s not terribly surprising since there were a lot of weapons back in the day that looked a bit too big in their owner’s hands. Major Storm also has a great helmet. It’s quite similar in design to Voltar and Long Range since it’s got an eyepiece over the right eye. That’s a fairly common feature for helmets to have when the person wearing it is in charge of a high tech piece of equipment like The General. There’s a built in boom mic on the left side of the helmet and there’s a star sculpted on the top of the helmet. The helmet really helps bring the overall look together. Thankfully, even though Major Storm’s accessories are made from gold plastic, they seem to so far have avoided the dreaded Gold Plastic Syndrome that plagues golden Transformers.

LocustThe General itself is really two vehicles. You’ve got the larger General itself but The General also comes with a Locust helicopter. Since I actually had the Locust back in the day, I figure I’ll start there since it’s the piece I know it just a little bit better already. I’ve mentioned before that my play habits as a kid tended to revolve around the smaller, easier to pick up and play with vehicles and so the standard Locust saw a lot of use as a kid. The Locust’s design is fairly simple with a large, open cockpit, landing skids, a pair of dual cannons on the side, a large set of helicopter blades on top and a small rotor in the back. There are also bombs on top of the Locust and a small bomb bay underneath that can hold two more bombs to be dropped out of the Locust. I had the standard version and I’d completely forgotten about that feature until I was look over The General’s included Locust and opened the door to find one of the two bombs still in there. The open cockpit allowed you to see the driver fairly easily and I’m pretty sure I liked that feature a lot as a kid as well. Despite its simple design, the Locust is very well detailed, with a lot of molded details inside the cockpit. The look is quite sleek, but it works well for the Locust.

LocustTo make this model different from the one that you could buy on its own at the stores, the Locust included with The General has a drastically different paint scheme. Truthfully, I think the individual Locust’s brown and black color scheme may have worked a little bit better with The General, but this is still a pretty sharp-looking piece. The General’s Locust is a vibrant green with yellow-orange for the skids, guns, bombs and tail rotor. The green is a great color, but with the bright yellow-orange, it leaves the Locust looking just a little too bright. Like the individual release, the Locust’s canopy is done up in translucent blue. Aside from the color scheme, there are a couple of other sticker details that differentiate the Locusts. First of all, the Locusts have different call letters on the side. I had to check my father’s complete vintage Locust to check that, but the version included with the General has the call letters “LK521” on it and that is not the same set of call letters from the standard version. Also, the Locust included with The General has a unique sticker on the canopy that clearly identifies it as serving with The General. Those touches really add some value to the Locust, not that it really needed it. The Locust has always been a solid vehicle and it’s neat that The General comes with a version unique to it. I remember when my brother and I were looking at this set shortly after I bought it, he was quite amused at the concept of a bonus Locust, largely because it’s such a great addition to the set.

The General

All right, we’ve covered the two smaller parts of The General, so it’s time to talk about the big guy itself. The General is a big vehicle, however, a lot of it is just a shell. That’s a bit of a bummer because back in the day, big vehicles like the Rolling Thunder and Thunderclap had a lot of additional play areas inside these vehicles. If I had to guess, I imagine most of those areas had to be sacrificed to accommodate the massive mortar launcher and the battery-powered sounds and lights. The first thing you’ll notice about The General is its sheer size. I have the Thunderclap and my brother has the Rolling Thunder, but man, does The General just feel huge.

The GeneralThe cab is large and it only gets larger from there. There’s an impressive radar gantry behind the cab and an even larger winch on the front of the cab. Seriously, The General could likely pull just about anything from the Joe motor pool out of trouble between the size of The General itself and the size of its winch. Also behind the cab is the functional light and sound pack. Surprisingly, considering the vehicle’s age, these all still work. The sounds made are a radar sweep noise, a beeping followed by the sound of a missile launch, the Locust’s rotors starting up, some cannon fire, some machine gun fire, and the large mortar firing. The back half of The General has two helipads, an extendable roof to cover the large mortar which also doubles as the Locust’s launch pad, and four gun emplacements on the corners of the helipads. There are also four triple cannons between the front and rear wheels. The helipads also serve double duty. They can be flipped upside down to reveal a gunner’s chair and a gives The General a pair of quad-missile launchers. Underneath each helipad, there are also six missiles, three off the front and three off the rear. Unlike some Joe vehicles, there’s really not a firepower blindspot. The General has an impressive amount of firepower and it looks like quite a beast. The one thing I didn’t like about large Joe vehicles like this is that there really wasn’t much in the Cobra
motor pool that could compete with them and The General really typifies that. I don’t know what Cobra has that could stand up to this machine. It’s enormous and it’s armed to the teeth.

The GeneralMoving inside, there really aren’t a lot of areas for the figures to be used. That is legitimately a shame, but with as much real estate as there is on the outside of this vehicle, I don’t know if that’s a super huge drawback. The cab of the vehicle seats four figures, two facing front and two facing back. There’s also room for three figures to stand on each side of the cab. The helipads both fold up and reveal small command centers inside each. They’re both the same, but they’re still nice little additions and there are pegs for two figures to stand in each command center. The mortar area doesn’t actually have any space for figures to stand, but it does have storage for the massive mortars that really fire (and can cover some pretty impressive distance). That’s all there really is to say about the internal play features. It’s a little disappointing compared to the Rolling Thunder, but with all the large, flat surfaces that make up the exterior of The General, I don’t think it’s as big a problem as some people make it out to be since you have a lot of real estate to have figures fighting on.

The GeneralIn terms of colors, The General is pretty simple. The base of the vehicle is a light gray with green for the cannons, yellow for the missiles and gantry and olive drab green for the helipads. I’ll admit, I do find the color scheme just a tad boring. I keep thinking it would be a much more impressive vehicle if its color scheme were just a little more eye-catching. Regardless of my opinion about its colors, though, it’s a cohesive color scheme, even if the yellow is bordering on neon-territory.

The General

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my purchase of The General. I don’t remember wanting it really badly when I was a kid. The Thunderclap was enough for me, but I definitely remember thinking it was pretty cool. That impression definitely held up after purchasing it a few months back. I’ve spent the last few months dusting it and then spending a little money on the Joe Con floor buying the few missing pieces and now that it’s complete, I can’t believe how amazing this thing is. Major Storm is a great driver (and I can see why the GIJCC tapped him when they did their first 3 ¾” con set) and the Locust and General together are just amazing. There’s just so much great synergy in this set and while it’s not quite the caliber of the Thunderclap or Rolling Thunder, there’s still a lot to be impressed by here. I’m so enthralled with this piece, my father and I are currently formulating plans to build an end table around The General. It’s an amazing vehicle and it should really be on display. As of the writing of this Field Report, that’s not done and I wanted I haven’t fully crewed up The General yet because I want to write up the Field Reports on each of those figures before they start their duty on The General, but truthfully, The General has been a great purchase. I honestly can’t not smile whenever I look at it and spending the last few months slowly dusting it has proven surprisingly restive. When The General table gets built, I’ll be sure to send in some photos. While my collection is still currently oriented towards the modern figures, The General stands as a reminder of how incredible the vintage line was. You just don’t see toys like The General anymore, and that’s a real shame.


  • ”Kansas Brawler, what is the name, mailing address, email address and the phone number of your local comic shop.Anyone that has red your comment about the 1990 General w/Major Storm ,might want to see how lucky they can get ,and find something G.I.Joe vintage for his/herself that they are looking for.” ”Your story has brought great excitement to all.”

  • The notorious gold plastic Hasbro used on Transformers doesn’t seem as common in other lines and brands. I guess it may have had something to do with the factories. The only non Transformer I can think of that I ever saw that was made from the stuff was a power ranger monster one of my brothers friends had.

    The gold helmet on Major Storm reminds me of the line from the Patton movie when George C Scott was talking about the ‘Goddamn, beautiful, gold football helmet’ he designed for the tank corps.

    • GI Joe seems to have avoided gold plastic syndrome. The tell-tale sign is a swirl pattern in the gold plastic. Serpentor’s Air Chariot has held up and Major Storm’s helmet too. Almost everything else gold seems to be made from non-gold plastic painted gold (like Serpentor, who’s yellow underneath). I wouldn’t say it’s the factory. It’s the specific mix used to make the plastic gold-colored. The binding agent IIRC was the weak point.

      Note while Hasbro sold Transformers in the US, all the figures, even US exclusives (as much of the line from 1988-90 was) were designed and manufactured by Takara. Transformers was made all over East Asia from 1987-90 though centered on Macau for the higher profile years in that set (87-88). GI Joe was mostly Hong Kong then China. I recall the swirly pattern on, I believe, a Captain Power vehicle and a villain there had a soft silver plastic that seemed of the same texture as some of the GPS plastic.

  • I’m not a huge fan of Major Storm as a figure. But, the General is highly under rated. And, it is huge! I can’t imagine shipping one. So, finding it locally was a huge score.

    The vehicle has tons of play features and can hold a ton of figures. I had a beat up one years ago. But, I couldn’t justify moving it across the country. So, I stripped the parts and threw the body into the garbage. I do regret that now. I do want to get another one, in good condition, one day.

  • So, out of curiosity, how much WAS the General when you got it?

    • The General and Major Storm were priced at $85 (which is a little high compared to the prices in the first edition I have of the Bellomo book). I did a little looking on eBay after I bought it and just a General in comparable shape at auction was already up around $150 and that was without the driver, so I think I did fairly well.

  • Great find! It’s the only big playset I don’t have, it just came too late for me. I surely can appreciate it though.

    • Yeah, it was honestly kind of the same way for me. I would have just gotten the Thunderclap for Christmas likely in 1989 (I don’t remember what year I got it, but I definitely got it for Christmas) so the General wasn’t really much on my radar, but after seeing it online looking at the brand’s history, I have to admit it looked impressive, and it looked pretty great once I saw it in person for the first time.

  • If I understood right, the General was designed before the Rolling Thunder, and the Rolling Thunder was meant to stack on top of the General.

    Have you been able to try this?

    (You have the first picture I’ve seen with the light on, too, very cool!)

    • No, I haven’t, though I may try to look into that. Do you happen to know what purpose stacking the Rolling Thunder on top of The General would have beyond possibly making it easier for a kid to store both vehicles in a closet?

      Yeah, I was absolutely floored that the electronics in it still worked. I was just messing around with it that night after I’d gotten it home and I was fiddling around with it and slide the switch forward and, lo and behold, the light still worked. Of course, that led me to testing the SFX buttons and I was amazed that it still made sounds.

  • The General certainly is an interesting base-type vehicle (same class as the USS Flagg, Mobile Command Center). The low profile distinguished it from the Jawa Sandcrawler-esque Mobile Command Center and unlike the others, it’s geared more as a rolling weapons platform & helipad than a full-fleged base. As was noted in the entry, it lacks those other play areas for a vehicle of its size (Rolling Thunder, Thunderclap required many extra Joes to man the sub-vehicles, cannons). It looks like trouble rumbling on the horizon when it appears though. It’s certainly better than the other well-known low profile vehicle, the LCV Recon Sled, which doesn’t seem as terrible as people make it out to be though is kind of weird (more suitable for a 1987 release than 1986). The white/black/yellow/army green color sceme looks nice.

    GI Joe vs. Cobra was usually lopsided vehicle-wise and we had to imagine these giant vehicles were going against the miscellaneous Cobra bases seen in the cartoon pre-Terrordrome. Cobra got just 1 big base (that wasn’t exclusive as the 1982 Sears one was), the Terrordrome. Cobra got some large aircraft (Night Raven, Condor) and had some large aquatic tanks (Bugg and Hammerhead, which was odd they repeated the same unique type of tank back-to-back), but that was about it.

    I liked the Locust. It was a nice small vehicle for the Joes, feeling like it filled the niche the Sky Hawk did back during the cartoon era and the Flight Pod for Cobra.

    Major Storm being partially recycled would be ahead of the curve of Hasbro going back to recycling parts (He-Man was much more overt in sharing parts between figures). The figure itself has the subdued tones that dominate the 1990 aesthetic (seriously, look at the year’s figures, lots of browns & grays) though is colorful within that subdued palette (dark green torso, brown pants, lighter brown arms). The gold helmet with the star was cool. The eyepiece was getting outdated by then, being overdone the past few years with Joe drivers. The coat invokes high school jackets where the sleeves are made of usually a lighter color leather and the coat itself is a darker colored non-leather material.

    I would disagree with 1990 figures being influenced by the Gulf War. They would’ve had to have been in the pipeline by early 1990. Operation: Desert Shield started in August 1990 and things ramped up from there to Desert Storm. The large vehicles usually started shipping around Aug-Sept and given the time it takes to get enough produced and shipped overseas, choices of color palette would have to be decided much earlier. The Gulf War and Desert Shield did seem to influence 1991 having Dusty and finally a desert Viper (Desert Scorpion) and Duke in 1992-93 switching to a desert uniform, likewise the 1991 carded Cobra Commander have a desert-looking uniform.

    • I agree with the assessment that 1991 and 1992 were definitely influenced by the Gulf War, but there are several desert-y Joes in 1990, too, and something I picked up from the Bozigian panel at Joe Con that have me wondering about the real-world military influences on the Joe brand. The things he mentioned were that the Hasbro folks A) got to spend time hearing from the military about what non-secret equipment was coming down the pike and B) that a lot of their designers read anything they could from the military circles. I think there’s a chance that, in early 1990, the US military might be speculating about the chances of a war somewhere in the Middle East and that some of the writings that the Hasbro team read and some of the non-classified equipment they were allowed to see at some private tours may have focused on that potential and some of the figures looked so because of that. For example, Bullhorn, by all rights, should probably be decked out in urban camouflage, but there are more desert-based color tones than anything else.

  • All right, sorry for the delay in getting this info out, but since I’m friends with the staff, I wanted to check with them before I put their information out here. So, I found my General at Rainbow Comics, Cards and Collectibles in Sioux Falls, SD. This is their Facebook page with all the pertinent information. I noticed they’ve gotten in some new vintage vehicles (including a what looks to be complete or awfully close Rolling Thunder and Skystriker) and I was told about six months ago that they were processing a bunch of Joe stuff that they got out of a couple storage units. So, there may still be more to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.