It was recently announced, that Hasbro will be producing a massive 4ft Playset of Jabba’s sail barge from Star Wars Return of the Jedi and selling it at a not no modest price of $499.99. It will be the most expansive action figure sets Hasbro has released in their history of making Star Wars merchandise. The pending release of this vast vehicle has toy enthusiast all a flutter and feeling very nostalgic. Imagine being a kid in the 80’s and having such a monumental play thing for your action figures? Well, no need to imagine… ’cause the 80’s were awesome. That decade was the pinnacle era for action figures and the vehicles and toysets to go with them. Some had one, some had all, and others had none but here’s a trip down memory lane to remember the biggest and best action figure playsets from the 80’s.
Oh, and for anyone that may still own one or more of these plastic marvels, may be entitled to a windfall of cash.
Star Wars: Death Star
The first and greatest of Kenner’s Star Wars playsets, the Death Star Space Station was any kid’s dream. It was a full 20 inches tall, with four floors on which one could recreate a whole range of exciting Star Wars scenes. It levels, trap doors, bridge, elevator (again with the elevators) and wonderful, wonderful trash compacter. Sure, it was just one section of the Death Star but do we really need to explain the logistical hurdles with a perfectly spherical playset?
Whats it worth now? $495-$600 Mint in Box ($115-180 out of box)
Voltron: Castle of Lions
What good was having Voltron if there was no Castle of Lions to defend? Originally, just the 5 lions that assembled together to make Voltron was released. After that, what was toy company Panosh Palace to do? To further capitalize on children’s imaginations and parents wallets, the Castle of Lions was delivered. It featured gun turrets, a descending rope device that took heroes to a shuttle for transport to the lions, and a few other cool bells and whistles. Best feature, was the tomb of King Alfor, Princess Allura’s father, complete with his ghostly image. It remains of the classiest and elegant playsets of all time.
What’s it worth now? Approx. $400-500 mint in box ($120 out of box).
The Real Ghostbusters: Fire Station
The Ghostbusters Firehouse headquarters was a remarkable playset. One of the rare playsets that actually had closest resemblance from the cartoon/movie that which it was inspired. It’s workable fire pole, ghost containment unit and slime grate made for greaet play. It’s funny how a simple thing like slime takes a toy playset from ordinary to extraordinary. On the other hand, kids from the 80s are grown up now and have come to realize that play slime is the bane of every parents existence. Can never get that crap out of the rug. Thus the reason why many kids failed to own this glorious playset.
What’s it worth now? Approx. $350-$425 mint in box ($80-100 out of box)
Star Wars: Millennium Falcon
Since the ship could almost be regarded as a character itself and has continued to play a lasting role in franchise, almost every kid wanted this. Yes, the Millennium Falcon is technically a vehicle instead of a playset, but the thing was big enough and did enough to be considered one. This playset had a number of removable components, including weapons, a cockpit canopy windshield, a game table, landing gear, a secret compartment, and a lightsaber training set like the one Luke uses in the film. Its storage compartment was also the perfect place to hide stuff. At the time candy. Now, maybe drugs or cash – it is a smugglers ship after all.
Whats it worth now? $700-$900 mint in box ($35-$65 out of box)
Master of The Universe: Castle Grayskull
Perhaps the most terrifying looking playset of its day and thus perhaps the reason why every kid wanted it. This thing was mean and scary looking. Actually, in hindsight, why was this He-man’s home/source of power? You’d think the castle with the massive skull on its front facade would be meant for, you know, Skeletor. Regardless, ole’ Grayskull had a fair share of cool features; an elevator (apparently things that went up and down were all the rage), trap door, draw bridge and so. It really didn’t do much else, it didn’t need to. It was a giant demonic looking skull. Anything that would give a good bible toting woman an aneurysm and sputter “el diablo” while holding the cross around her neck, well, that’s worth every penny right there.
What’s it worth now? Approx. $1,100-$1,300 mint in box ($130-150 out of box)
Thunder Cats: Cat Lair
Long before cat meme’s took over the Internet, there was the Thundercats – catlike humanoids that fought evil. Their home base was actually a lair because what else would cat people call it? For it’s time, this was one of the most interactive playset out there. On top of the cat’s swivel head, was a light ray cannon that could actually shoot at mutant vehicles, and vice versa. The lair also contained electronic sounds and movable claws that revealed secret battle stations.
Whats it worth now? $1,500-1,800 mint in box. ($250-$300 out of box)
G.I. Joe Cobra Terror Drome
Cobra Terror Drome. A multi-level battle station/base which featured gun turrets (because of course), a jet and pilot, compartments, computer stations, and a retractable dome. Now the bad guys (Cobra) had a place to store their their vehicles, rest their heads, throw back a few cold ones and have the occasional orgy/ Cobra was bad like really bad but at least the had orgies so call it a wash, eh?/ The greatest playset with a dome of all time.
What’s it worth now? $1,100- $2000 ($195-$300)
Masters of The Universe: Eternia
While curiously never actually featured in the animated series about muscular men in loincloths, this mega set trumped all the other He-man play sets, simply for it’s sheer size and expense. Complete with three titanic towers, three levels and a vehicle that ran on a monorail, it was the end all be all of the Masters of The Universe (MOTU) playsets. For the full effect of awesomeness (an assuming one’s parent’s are oil barrens to afford such pleasures) one would have to take both Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain and book this virtual city for it to truly come together. Marvel at it’s glorious splendor…but do not question it’s fatal design flaw that was the heroes train leading from Castle Grayskull right to the heart of Snake Mountain. Perhaps the prison on the Castle Grayskull side probably accounted for the lack of attention and intelligence of Skeletor’s warriors and hoped they would just ride on in? Eh, who needs logic with a spread like this? Master of the Universe, indeed!
Whats it worth now? $3,000-$3,500 mint in box ($425-$600 out of box)
G.I. : Defiant Space Shuttle
“Fighting for freedom over land and air… GI Joe is there!” as the theme song goes. Space was also a common avenue for Cobra-on-Joe violence but “over land and air and space” isn’t quite as catchy. Since Cobra knows no bounds, the Joes must be ready even if it takes them beyond the skies… to the stars. Enter the Defiant Space Shuttle. The Defiant playset is one of the largest GI Joe toys ever made consisting, in three parts, of the smaller shuttle, the booster shuttle, and the gantry/platform, all of which could be separate parts capable of detaching or attaching from/to one another. Both shuttles opened up to reveal interior playset areas that included computer terminals, walkways, and, in the case of the smaller shuttle, a crane arm. It also came with two exclusive figures, a driver and astronaut. There was some serious thought and imagination put into this. They just don’t make stuff like this these day which is a harsh reality.
Whats it worth now? $3,500-$4,000 Mint in Box ($380-600 out of box)
G.I. Joe: U.S.S Flagg
G.I. Joe had by far the best playsets out of any toyline. Some big, some small, some expensive and some not so expensive. The U.S.S Flagg could be classed in the epic, wallet pillaging category. So much so that, predominately kids with oil barren parents got to own one. The USS Flagg is considered the holy grail of playsets. What makes this so infinitely awesome? Oh…maybe because it was a personal aircraft carrier that was over SEVEN FEET long and could not only house several planes, the entire Joe and Cobra army but still have room left over to nap on. Oh, and it could float and had real working sound system! This breathtaking marvel had incredible detail, as displayed by the control tower, missile launcher, deck elevator, fuel truck and two vehicles. Originally priced at $109.99, it was the most expensive G.I. Joe playset of its time. To own this bad boy now? Depends. How many arms, legs, and sexual favors do you want to give up?
What’s it worth now? $7-$10,000 mint in box ($850-$1,200 out of box)
*Pricing based on average “completed” listings on Ebay.