Cobra Missile Command Headquarters
Cobra’s only 1982 accessory was this monster, the legendary Missile Command Headquarters. Yep, no jeeps, jets or tanks for The Enemy’s inaugural year, just a cardboard playset. I don’t mean that as a knock, because I love this set, not despite but because of its construction. As a Star Wars kid, my cardboard-based imagination was already primed by the cantina, Hoth Ice Planet and Cloud City playsets I owned. Though the Cobra missile base was limited in its depth, there was plenty of room to position figures around, and the moving elevator was a big bonus. I often imagined the Cobra Officer working repairing the missile; this was a time before Techno-Vipers of course. As a reader of the Marvel comic, the base to me seemed to be pulled right out of those early issues.
What you’re looking at is a pastiche of the original playset and the San Diego Comicon/HasCon exclusive. My childhood MCHQ survived in limited and damaged form. As a fragile toy, this thing has been through the rigors of many moves and poor storage. I managed to keep it fairly intact until sometime in the early 2000s, when our basement flooded and the backdrop took the brunt of the damage. Around that same time, the missile and its gantry disappeared. I’ve used the new versions as a stand-in. The difference is pretty glaring, as the recreation has a much slicker, and dare I say it, computer-generated look. While the pristine new set is great, there’s no substitute for the older, hand painted look.
I’m still enamored of cardboard playsets, and 2018 was a banner year for them, with two Star Wars offerings, and Super 7’s Planet of the Apes environment. Some folks may poo-poo them as as cheap, but for me it’s like the 80s all over again. Oh, and they make for cool photo backdrops.