I was all-in on Micro Machines in the late ’80s and early ’90s. I had cars, small playsets, bigger playsets, Monster Trucks, trains, and more. But the toy that alluded me that I really wanted was this Super Toolbox City. Just look at that thing! It folds out to such a degree that you could put 20 – 30 cars on this thing for maximum play fun. And that replica of the Golden Gate Bridge is massive and just seems to come out of nowhere for such a small playset.
The earlier play sets that were released for Micro Machines were the pocket playsets. They were pretty cool in their own right, as they would fold up to a size that you could put in your pocket. When you were ready to play, you’d unfold, install whatever set pieces with had with it, and you were ready to go. You could also snap all the little playsets together to make one larger cityscape.
But this bigger one was pretty cool because it could be toted along pretty easily, didn’t take up much space, but still unfurled to make a hell of a playset. I always fantasized about having this thing and toting it to grandma’s house, knowing that it would keep me from getting bored there. And that John Machida guy is pretty damn cool too.
Throughout my memories of the mid-’80s, two action figure lines dominated my playtime. Masters of the Universe and G.I. Joe. The cartoon series and the Real American Hero toyline was a powerful combination. I lived and breathed G.I. Joe pretty hard back then. I mean, I still do today, but not nearly like I did back then.
This commercial combines the two pretty well. The animated sequence at the beginning is befitting of its own episode of the cartoon and would make a great commercial by itself. But then you throw in the hovercraft itself, and I was in playtime heaven.
Like most things I salivate over in these old commercials, I never owned the WHALE, nor did I ever get a chance to play with it. So watching the kids in this commercial put it through its paces makes me excited even today. The fact that it actually floats on water is a big drawing point, and watching the depth charges roll off into the water almost sent me over the edge. It was a stellar toy in a line full of them, and yet it still stands apart from the rest because of all its cool features.
And what about that environment they are playing with it in? I wish I had had a place like that to take my Joes back then and fight out the battles between G.I. Joe and Cobra.
The Masters of the Universe was one of the great loves of my cartoon and toy life when I was young. I had a fairly large collection of Masters, as well as Skeletor minions. I also had some of the vehicles, and I had Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain. But just when I thought the battle for Eternia would finally be won by one side or the other, along came Hordak and his Evil Horde to make it a three-way battle!
The Horde had some cool figures, but its playsets were where their real strength was. The Fright Zone was pretty good as a small base of operations, but the Slime Pit was evil at it’s best…in playset form anyway. This commercial did such a great job at making this thing look so darn evil, yet awesome at the same time. After seeing it at the time, I knew I just had to have it.
Slime of any kind was the hot property back then, so MOTU incorporating it into its line was a no-brainer. But how they incorporated it was genius and fit the story so well. Hordak would seize his victims and had them transported to the Slime Pit where he would drown them in his slime and turn them into his zombie servants. And they made a toy out of that. Sheer genius. At least until you tried playing with it in your room on the carpet where the slime would become stuck and your Mom would then outlaw the stuff from that point on. But that’s a story for another time.