Thunder (1984)

by Flag Points‘ Dave

Thunder’s not every Joe fan’s favorite, but he holds a special place in this toy-collector’s heart, let me tell ya. The slugger does too, even though I’ve heard many Joe fans bash the funny-looking tank. But something happens when you get a completely-unexpected, fairly plain Joe and his funny-looking tank from your Aunt and Uncle on Christmas day, 1984 after you’ve opened all your “good stuff” at your own house that morning. Sgt. Matt Breckinridge and his Slugger become some of your favorite toys of all time simply because of the experience you had with them 28 years ago.

As soon as I ripped him out of his bubble, I appreciated the colors chosen for the fig. I loved Rip Cord too, and to me, these guys had a very similar vibe. While Thunder lacked the awesome HALO gear RC had, he seemed to me to be a no-nonsense, get-things-done kinda guy. I thought of him as an unsung hero and he certainly was unsung in the comics and the toon for the most part. I know now where and when he appeared in the media, but I don’t really remember watching him on the TV or reading about him in the comics as a kid. To me, he was just a cool fig and reliable character with a VERY powerful tank that probably would blow him back a 1/2 mile when fired in real life — even with that self-planting stabilizer blade deployed!

12 comments

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  1. Acer

    Thunder is definitely a figure I hope to own someday. For now, I’m working on a custom 25th Anniversary version using the torso of the ROC ThunderBLAST (based on Thunder) and the legs of the Jet Storm Cycle Snake Eyes, with a couple of spare Cobra Trooper hands. I’m thinking of using the lower arms from the 25th General Hawk, and I have yet to figure out a distinctive head and something to use for the chest plate.

  2. Steven B. Williams

    It’s nice to get a Plain-John Joe from time to time; not everybody looks like Superman or Batman. Real American heroes include blue-collar types and Thunder fits that look. While his self-propelled howitzer gets shafted and misundesrtood (even misused in media; you don’t shoot down enemy planes with a howitzer, even if it’s self-propelled), the Slugger was needed and so was Thunder. I hope we get a couple more Joe Shmoes (and a Plain Jane or two) in the near future.

  3. Jeremy

    Thunder is a great figure. Where did you get the grey colored headphones and helmet? I thought they were brown….

  4. Skymate

    Two things 1: I have the Thunder that came with the R.O.C armourdillo and it is a pretty good update. Wish he came with a gun 2: the S.A.W viper is a dick

  5. Neapolitan Joe

    I have Thunderblast!

  6. Dave

    The helmet and headphones are a shade of green although the photo doesn’t depict the color right. Brown may be accessory pack colors? Not 100% on that. Forest green visor I think too…

  7. Dekkard

    A solid figure and a no-nonsense vehicle. I was very pleased when I finally found them both.

    Be seeing you…

  8. Clutch

    I got Thunder and the Slugger for Christmas of ’84 as well. Thunder is an awesome figure with realistic colors, a sharp looking head sculpt, and a unique helmet all of his own. I would team him up with Rip Cord due to them both being redheads. They could pass for brothers if you think about it.

    Sadly enough, it took a couple of years for Thunder to show up in the comics and we all know how things ended up for him later on. The Sunbow cartoon featured him more prominently in the two-parter where Cobra captures the Joes’ relatives and the one where Thunder borrows some horses to catch up with a train.

    I still think he’s one of the most underrated figures from the early years and easily the underdog out of all the ’84 releases.

  9. MARSagent

    I still have mine from my childhood and your right he is still one of the coolest figures.

  10. Carson

    One of my favorite features on Thunder was the helmet, visor, and radio antennae. What a great piece of molding there to make those three parts work so well together.

    I was glad to see his ugly mug and these same accessories reprised with the Skystriker (Tiger Force) figure several years later. Also, his head sculpt with Wild Weasel’s body was a good combo IMO.

    http://www.3djoes.com/skystriker-v1-tiger-force.html

  11. jd

    he made a great ammo round catcher in comic 109

    :)

  12. Carson

    Love that head sculpt too. Classic figure!

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