In the early days of GI Joe, they put out a lot of compact play sets and vehicles. Compact didn’t mean boring though. The large play sets and vehicles were awesome, but for most families room and money were a big issue so there was a great deal of thought that went into the small ones as well. Most if not all the small play sets and vehicles were pretty awesome in the 80’s. Starting in 1982 the Ram and MMS were compact but both packed a huge punch and are still a staple in any collectors line up today.
The 1983 Pac Rats were simple yet very cool. 1984 they hit a high amount of small sets such as the Bivouac, Watch Tower, and the defense units. They also put out some small vehicles like Zartan’s Chameleon, the Cobra Claw, and a really cool mail away the Manta. 1985 also had a lot of cool compacts. This year brought 2 of my all time favorites the Silver Mirage and the GI Joe Checkpoint. 1986 had the Cobra Surveillance Port and an all time classic in the Devilfish.
1987’s Buzz Boar and the Coastal Defender were arguably the last 2 decent small play set/vehicles. Not that there wasn’t some awesome vehicles, play sets, and figures through the 90’s but the small sets seem to diminish in number and in quality, and kind of faded out. The smaller sets were nice because you could get a few and build up cool scenes with barrels, sandbags and such to create one big set and still have room to store everything on a shelf. All in all some of the best vehicles and play sets from the 80’s were these compact ones and I’m glad I had a good many of these at some point either as child or collector. All are pretty cool in their own respect.
Which small playset was your favorite? Let us know AFTER THE JUMP!