Missile Defense Unit (1984)
Not every Joe item can be a winner, and as much as I like the battlefield accessories as a group, some just don’t work as well or aren’t as exciting as the others. A prime example of this is the Missile Defense Unit. It’s well-designed, but it just lacks the pop of some of the others. Once again, we start with a sign post and while it’s nicely done, it’s kind of unexciting unless you’re setting up semi-permanent displays.
The missile launcher is a piece that looks very good on paper, but it’s just one little issue away from being perfect. In order to keep the missile launcher pointing forward, the launcher is designed to only fit on to the base in one way. While it does give it great balance, I feel that one little tweak of just allowing it to pivot freely really would have made it a much better accessory. Its shining point is its very well-done stickers. For something initially made in 1984, they’re very well detailed and those details really do add something to the missile launcher. One side of the launcher has a targeting display (with what looks like a Cobra Rattler being bracketed by the targeting system) while the other side looks to have the firing controls on it. The missiles look very nice sitting inside the launcher and slide in and out quite freely. The spare missiles can be stored in a crate labeled “Explosive Devices”, which has a surprising amount of detail on it. While the top is relatively smooth, Hasbro even went to the trouble putting the detail of nail marks on the bottom of the box. The lid fits securely and leaves plenty of room for all three missiles to fit should you not want to leave the launcher armed.
The final piece, a “targeting wall” is really—at least in my opinion—the most useful part of this set. Being cast in grey plastic means it works well as either part of an installation or just as a city wall that’s taken some heavy damage. Being constructed out of two pieces also allows for a little customization for your needs. The smaller wall piece can be shifted around on the hinge fairly easily and means you don’t have to have a square corner. While it’s not much of an addition, it’s still something that looks nice and gives you a little more versatility. While I like the concept of the battlefield accessories, this one is just a little too bland because it doesn’t have that many play features. It just doesn’t really capture my imagination as much as some of the others and really, in my opinion, is one of the weakest that was re-released as a mail-in during the 90s.