Steam-Roller (1987)

Some driver figures are classics, to the level of the regular single carded characters. The early Real American Hero years are a perfect example of the drivers being as well developed and as much a part of the cartoon and comic stories as the main liners, when guys like Clutch and Wild Bill were integral parts of the team. As time went on, and the GI Joe ranks grew, even some of the individual carded personalities, as well as the drivers, fell by the wayside.

Stream Roller seems to be less remembered than his vehicle, the impressive and massive Mobile Command Center. That tackle box on treads is a memorable vehicle/playset, even if its driver has been largely forgotten. Steam-Roller is a unique looking, well detailed figure with lots of personality in his sculpt and his file card. This has got to be one of the burliest and most ripped of all the Joe team members. He looks like he could give Big Boa a run for his money at the gun show. He wasn’t equipped with an actual gun, only a knife, but the gun molded into his waist is cool enough to offset any lack. Not to mention, I’m sure he does all his fighting with his bare hands.

The body mold made another appearance as a new Dreadnok, called Demolishor, in the 2004 Collectors Club convention exclusive set. Even as a straight repaint with a different head, the mold had a lot of character. However, it did not have an awesome old school tattoo on its arm.

Since Steam-Roller has a background as a heavy machinery operator, I have to wonder if the “DOG” on his hat isn’t a play on the familiar CAT brand of construction equipment. Speaking of construction, with his look and background, he could make a good partner for Tollbooth, another hard working driver who doesn’t usually get his due.

On a final note, the hat and the head sculpt both make me think of Cooter from The Dukes of Hazzard. Only meaner, and on steroids.


  • The knife he came with also saw some reuse, but only once. It came with the 1993 mail-away Interrogator in the same colors as the original. I have to say, Steam-Roller is in my top 20 favorite Joes in the short time I’ve been getting into the line.

  • I was thinking that maybe his beefy build and uniform were inspired by Swartenegger [or however its spelt] from Predator but that cant be right as that film came out at the same time he did [i think?]

    Maybe Rob Leifeld had something to do with him?

  • Liefeld hadn’t broken out into comics yet, so the Predator thing might be more likely.

    Can I also say that it’s nice to see that kind of tattoo on a figure like this? I almost thought it was the old “Mom” with the arrow through the heart for a minute.

  • Steam-Roller ranks highly among the most underrated drivers and is one of the best figures released in 1987. A great sculpt all around, worthy of a single carded release.

    It’s too bad that he never made it to the Sunbow cartoon and appeared briefly in the comic not long after the Mobile Command Center had been retired from store shelves. He certainly merits revisiting.

  • Yes, a great figure with loads of character and I love the description of the MCC as a tacklebox on treads.

    Maybe it was Schwarzenegger in “Commando”. That came out a couple of years earlier and had a similar look.

  • Thanks, Dekkard i had completlyforgotten about that one

  • You may be on to something with the “DOG” and “CAT” regarding the hat. I can see it.

    Steamroller made it into my own personal top favorite 30 figures from ’82-’94 (RAH).

  • That guy is awesome, hard as nails. I agree with your DOG/CAT theory, makes sense.

  • I had never even seen the driver for the MCC before, a serious loss on my part.
    Looks pretty cool, has an awesome background I’d say its time for a custom of this guy. . .

  • he has a can of chewing tobacco sculpted into the back pocket of his trousers. That kind of detail makes this figure interesting.

  • Kind of interesting the driver for what was a large mobile fortress would be so armed for close combat (handgun, grenades). He has strong airs of being support personnel, the kind that aren’t going to be on the front lines with a rifle or in the trenches (like Tollbooth, Hardtop, Payload). Notice he is rather plain & unassuming (for a toyline focused on soldiers who see action) yet he is very detailed. Contrast with Armadillo, who is plain & unassuming, but very lacking in detail.

    Can/tin of tobacco? Rob, can you post a picture of Steam-Roller from behind so we can see that?

    I agree with the statement that if he draws from a Schwarzenegger movie, it’s more likely Commando than Predator but I’m wondering if he might be drawn from another movie… Wait a minute. Predator came out in June 1987. Steam-Roller would of had to have been well in production if not out then. Commando was Oct 1985.

    Yeah, Liefeld wasn’t really on the radar til 89/90 with New Mutants, which led into X-Force and during that time he left with other artists to form Image Comics. Liefeld was responsible for perhaps one of the ugliest covers in comics history (the pigeon-chested Captain America). There’s some funny stories about him and his reliability in submitting art on time.

  • @Little Boa: Check out the tobacco can at Steam-Roller’s 3DJOES page.

  • Upon looking at that, I think it might actually be his wallet.

  • Pingback: April Review Round-Up, Part Two (April 15th-30th) 157 Links! « It'sAllTrue.Net

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.