In 1982; Hasbro rolled out the GI Joe line to a generation craving the next great 3 3/4 toy line that would supplant Star Wars as the top of the line. GI Joe went on to become one of the greatest toy lines ever created and even with a few "bumps" in the road it is still being produced today.
The initial roll out by Hasbro was first and arguably the best.
Were there many flashy offerings ? No. Were there Ninjas ? Technically not yet. Were there plenty of toys that could spur the imagination of pre-adolescent boys ? YES !!
It was the start of things to come. The first wave had the short lived "Straight Arms" that preceeded the greatest running change to be implemented into a toy line; the "Swivel Arm Battle Grip".
Steeler was included in that first offering. He came packaged as the driver of the Motorized Battle Tank (MOBAT). It was the tank of the GI Joe team. It was self propelled and all kinds of awesome !!
Steeler himself is different from his teammates. The M.O. of Hasbro was to re-use and re-paint in the first line. That said, even though he is created from a "Flash" head and "Zap" waist and legs; the torso and arms are unique to Steeler. Also, he got the cool "Snake Eyes" Uzi and a binocular attachment for his helmet that was unique as well.
The chest piece is unique and detailed. I always loved the pistol holster, it just looks bad ass !
The arms are unique to Steeler which is a grand departure from the rest of the line. His are adorned with a gold paint app to his left bicep. But the coolest feature is the little pouch on his wrists which are completely unique to this mold.
Here is the 83' version with swiveling arms but no wrist pouches. Uh oh, looks like he has the dreaded "Broken Crotch Syndrome". ouch ......
I did not get the MOBAT and Steeler in the first wave. The price must have been too high for me to get it right off the bat, but I managed to get the rest of the line in its entirety before the second run started. I got the MOBAT the next year with Steeler and his swivelin arms. That tank became a mainstay of my battles. C'mon, it the frikin' tank ! You had to use it ! I managed to get the straight arm version recently pretty cheap on eBay and was pleasantly surprised to see the wrist pouches. I never knew the difference til now and its a neat little bit of detail that sets him apart. I'm unsure if the wrists were used for any other figures but if my memory serves me correctly; they remain unique to Steeler and his Straight Arms.