The General and Major Storm
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.
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.
Like 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 about 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.
The 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.
To 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.
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 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.
Moving 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.
In 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.
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.