For any action figure-loving child growing up, the holy grail of any collection was an oversized playset. Not every kid was lucky enough to get their hands on these oh-so-prized, oh-so-expensive toy wonders, but for those who did, playing with toys was never the same again. From battle fortresses to command centers to evil lairs, here's a look at some of the greatest action figure playsets of 1980s and '90s.
Masters of the Universe Castle Grayskull
The fortress of mystery and power known as Castle Grayskull is the most iconic location in Masters of the Universe lore and makes for one hell of a playset, too. Whether it's your Skeletor, Hordak, or Snake Men action figures attacking the famed stronghold, He-Man and his crew always have the advantage thanks to an armory of weapons, a laser cannon, a working elevator, a trap door over the dungeon, and a hinged "Jawbridge."
G.I. Joe Cobra Terror Drome
Not to be outdone by the G.I. Joe Headquarters Command Center, Cobra's forces had a pretty b*tchin' headquarters playset, too. Featuring computer stations, consoles, pivoting turrets, hidden garage doors, and a silo to launch the Firebat jet, the insidious fortress has more places for your Cobra troops than any kid can dream of.
The Real Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters
Every adventure with The Real Ghostbusters team starts here: the Firehouse Headquarters. The ultimate place to park your Ecto-1 (sold separately), the Firehouse Headquarters is fully equipped with a ghost containment unit and a working fire pole, which allows you to send Peter, Egon, Ray, and Winston (also sold separately) spiraling down to the garage level. And if you don't mind a little mess, that "goop grate" on the roof is perfect for sliming your team with Ecto-Plazm.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Technodrome
Every kid growing up in the '80s and '90s drooled over the prospect of getting their sticky hands on the Technodrome, the mobile fortress of Krang, one of the most menacing villains in the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series. Fully stocked with tons of anti-Turtle technology, including a spring-loaded Brain Scrambler, a Turtle Mutation Chamber, and the Turtle-Smashing EyeSpy Radar, the Technodrome was the ultimate villain lair and the epitome of action figure playsets.
G.I. Joe Headquarters Command Center
G.I. Joe has more badass playsets than you could possibly count, but the most all-encompassing has to be the Headquarters Command Center. It's got everything a kid could want: a helipad, a mechanic's lift, a supply depot for restocking your tank, a command console with swiveling seats, and a stockade to contain enemy Cobra militants. And that's not even counting the accessories, which include search lights, surveillance cameras, machine guns, a radar dish and the official G.I. Joe flag. Knowing is half the battle, but the other half is action-packed mayhem, and the Headquarters Command Center is loaded with it.
ThunderCats Cats' Lair
Though it hasn't had quite as much staying power in the toy aisle as G.I. Joe or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, ThunderCats was one of the most popular cartoons on TV in the 1980s. The ThunderCats’ headquarters, the Cats’ Lair, was one of the most desirable toys on the market. Loaded with trap doors, battle stations, underground cells, and even a laser beam emitter, Lion-O, Cheetara, and the rest of your ThunderCats figures had the ultimate battle fortress to fight back Mumm-Ra and his forces of evil.
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi Ewok Village
The Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi Ewok village playset was everything a young fan could've hoped for. (Fun Fact: the Ewoks were never actually called that by name in Return of the Jedi. Fans learned they were called Ewoks from the toys.) Including a working lift, rotating fire spit, and swinging boulder, Wicket, Logray, and the rest of your Ewok action figures have everything they need for a good, old-fashioned Han Solo roast.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Bridge Playset
What better place to house your Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures than on the Starship Enterprise Bridge playset? An authentic reproduction of the bridge from the TV series, it's easy to set up your crew at their signature stations. With eight different classic bridge sounds (including the ever-important "red alert!") and a light-up viewscreen, toy lovers can finally go "where no man has gone before."