We love it when a plan—er, playset—comes together. This set, released in 1983, had an elevator, a crane, escape hatches, and a working periscope—in other words, everything a kid could want to continue the adventures of everyone’s favorite rogue military squad. The set was pretty big too, measuring 3 feet tall and over two feet long.
This wasn’t a playset in the traditional sense, but many 80s kids-turned-adults probably still have a soft spot for this toy, which debuted in 1981. It featured flat background boards of scenes from Smurf Village, plus tiny little plastic Smurf pieces that stuck to those boards like magic. (Although sometimes that stick was made stronger by licking the back of the plastic pieces.) There were three sets: Smurf Colorforms Play Set, Smurf Land Colorforms Super Deluxe Play Set ,and Smurfette Colorfo
The U.S.S. Flagg was featured in a number of G.I. Joe properties, from cartoons and comic books to commercials and action cards; it was based on a Nimitz class aircraft carrier. The playset, released in 1985, was awesome for its sheer size— over 7.5 feet long, to be exact. It had an electronic public address system, missile launchers, lifeboats, and an elevator deck, and you could fit a whole lot of Joes on and in it. It floated, too.
For New York kids, pretending to be a Ghostbuster was easy—all they had to do was head down to the Tribeca firehouse that served as the location in the films. For everybody else, the Kenner playset, released in 1987 and based on the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters, was the next best thing: It had a space for the Ecto 1, three levels, a ghost containment unit, a spinning pole that the action figures could slide down, and even came with some gooey Ecto-plazm.
Castle Greyskull is kind of a big deal: Without it, Prince Adam wouldn’t be able to transform into the most powerful man in the universe. Released in 1982, this interactive playset allowed kids to harness the power of Greyskull themselves. The toy had a roof-mounted laser cannon, workable elevator, a rack with set-exclusive weapons, a lockable drawbridge, and a trap door activated when the throne was turned—all the better to defend the fortress and Eternia from the evil forces of Skeletor.
The Thundercats’ base on Third Earth was carved out of a natural granite mountain and equipped with electronics from the wreckage of their space ship—so it’s only fitting that the 1986 plastic playset would be similarly tricked out. The toy had a pivoting cat head with a working light beam (it could shoot out light, and also recognized light from Mutant vehicles), hidden trapdoors, battle stations, and paws that lifted to reveal an ion beam cannon. There were also a variety of sound effects.