GENERAL HAWK is the kind of officer who gets into the thick of it with his team. The only thing Hawk fears more than becoming a desk jockey is playing Settlers of Catan with Lightfoot and Airtight. He always keeps one extra bullet on him at all times, just in case that nightmare scenario arises. Hawk isn’t even content to lead his troops into battle from the front– instead, he flies over them with a prototype jetpack, where he can yell orders, take pot shots at Frag Vipers, and never even get mud on his designer flight boots.
“At least he’s not Duke,” goes the popular saying around The Pit.
Qualified Expert: Two-Barreled Machine Gun That Overheats Twice as Quickly, Child Support Payments, 1981 Ford Ranger
From the Files of General Flagg: “General Abernathy is going through one hell of a midlife crisis! Most guys, even most military guys, go for a fast car, a few Mr. Big records, and a sno cone machine for backyard barbecues. But, no, not Hawk! He straps a bundle of jet fuel, four missiles that violate the Geneva Convention, two flimsy wings, and a space helmet on himself, and watches from above as his men are attacked by neon robots and mutant scorpions! My kind of guy.”
1991 General Hawk and Me
In the summer of 1991, my Mom gave me a jetpack General Hawk. I’d had GI Joes for many of my 7 years on this earth at that point, ranging from 1988-present. But General Hawk instantly became my all time favorite.
I liked him so much that I flew him around the neighborhood– shooting Cobra Battle Copters, strafing squirrels, and even flying him through the old lady down the block’s house after I helped clean her blinds. Every kid on the block loved this General Hawk as long as they had even a passing interest in GI Joe. He has a heroic face, a muscular physique, cool body armor, an awesome gun that’s realistically sized and colored, and a JETPACK THAT LOOKS LIKE A TINY F-14 TOMCAT YOU STRAP TO HIS BACK.
In fact, I loved Hawk so much that I lost his gun, helmet, and missiles within a week. I’d like to think they’re still somewhere in my mom’s neighborhood, and one day a plastic tree will sprout from their humble seeds. I also hope none of the aforementioned squirrels tried to eat them (stick to nuts and garbage, little fellas).
I still had Hawk’s jetpack for many years, but the figure quickly fell out of favor after I lost his helmet. I could never find another helmet that fit, and he looks silly in action scenarios when he’s not wearing it. I could have found another gun but, without the helmet, he was useless. Talking Battle Commander Hawk, whose screws were stripped so I could never remove his giant backpack, took his place for most of my childhood.
Such tragedy, even from a young age.
1991 General Hawk Review
So, let’s look at 1991 General Hawk. My childhood version is long since gone (I’ll tell that story soon, in another post), but I recently purchased a pretty nice version on eBay. Since he was a childhood favorite that only lasted a couple weeks, but has so many strong memories attached to him, he was my first vintage-style Joe purchase since around 2005.
First, let’s look at the figure without his accessories:
As you can see, Hawk has a pretty sensible design. He’s mostly green and brown, which is what people want from Real Ass Military Toys who fight against Real Ass Blue Terrorist Toys. Highly realistic. The gold accents let you know he’s a general, and also let you know he thinks of himself as being far above his troops– so far above that he straps a jetpack to his back just to show them how cool he is and how lowly they are!
Speaking of Jetpacks, here’s the 1991 General Hawk All Geared Up:
He immediately looks so much cooler, right? He doesn’t look ready for action without the helmet, and the jetpack just balances his whole look out. And you can tell this dude’s dangerous. He’s carrying a drum-fed machine gun (probably Russian surplus– Yo Joe!) that looks pretty GD nasty, and his jetpack has four missiles strapped to it.
Here’s a closer look at his accessories:
Those are all good, reasonable accessories. Though I will warn you– the missiles come off of his pack pretty easily, which I figured out when I took Hawk outside to photograph him. I eventually found the missiles, but I took two lessons away from this experience:
- Never go outside under any circumstances
- Gold is the most effective color for camouflage
1991 contains many of my favorite GI Joe figures, and Hawk is one of the best of them. Sure, you 80s guys had a million clones of Grunt and brightly colored flamethrower troopers, but the 90s gave us the coolest version of Hawk. No, I’m not talking about the one with the Donald Trump complexion. I’m talking about the one featured in this review.
Seriously, a jetpack and a space helmet are way cooler than a pistol and a bomber jacket. Though I confess, I like that 86 General Hawk as well. It’s just that how many heinous wartime atrocities, carried out in the name of an eternal war on terror, can you commit when you’re not even wearing a jetpack? Not enough for this Joe fan.
Verdict: If you’re a GI Joe fan who even considers buying figures from the 90s, you can’t lose with this version of Hawk. This is the crazy, take-no-prisoners, international law violating war criminal of a general you’ve always wanted to lead your Joes into battle. He’s great for play or display, and probably fits into your grandpa’s collection of pre-1989 Gi Joe toys, as well. Highly Recommended.
- If you want another (better) perspective on this figure, here’s Mike T’s Forgotten Figures Review.
- Gi Joburg has a delightful video review of 91 Hawk.
- Here’s the YoJoe.com entry on 91 Hawk, in case you haven’t already been through the entire site a million times like I have. It’s a lifestyle, baby.
- Now, for the first, time you can check out the Good General’s finely-sculpted glutes IN 3D!
Other Thoughts on 1991 General Hawk
How the shit does he fire those missiles, or even control his jetpack? I’ll throw you 80s GI Joe fans a bone here– at least the JUMP had a control stick. I’m guessing there could be an ignition switch in his gloves, and he has some sort of controls for maneuvering in there.
But how does he fire the missiles, and how does he hit anything? Maybe he has a voice command interface, like an early version of Siri.
I imagine it might go something like this:
Or even this:
Also, why does his gun have two barrels? We weren’t that far into 90s opulence when Hawk came out– we weren’t yet adding extra gun barrels and various pouches to our characters just because the sheer decadence made us frisky.
I guess it could be based on a real gun, but the only gun I know is orange and grey, and was pretty much useless every time you unplugged it from the Nintendo.
My Friend Pat on 1991 General Hawk: “this version of general hawk effectively doubles as Space Gambit”
Please feel free to let me know how Hawk controls his missiles, or tell me what else I got wrong in the comments.