Radar Station (1987 Action Pack)
If there was ever evidence of how big the GI Joe line was in the 80’s, one need only look at the amount and variation of product and its increase as those first few years went by. From the beginning, Hasbro was wise to include a variety of price points in its offerings. There were big ticket items like the MOBAT and the HQ, along with less expensive items like the RAM, JUMP and the even smaller PAC/RATs. Carded accessory packs that included recolored weapons, helmets and backpacks were also a low price option. The line branched out further with an accessory pack that included vehicle missiles. Another outgrowth of the small price point items were the motorized Action Packs, debuting in 1987.
While many of the Action Packs, most of which attached to figures like a standard backpack, were either cumbersome or just plain ridiculous, the Radar Station is a pretty useful battlefield accessory. Its main use to me is to populate a display with a bit of background interest, adding a seldom seen element of defensive GI Joe equipment.
The Radar Station is basically a wind-up toy, whose action is a rotating dish and a spinning radar screen. Simple but effective. Like the other packs, it also has a peg on the back, allowing figures to schlep it around. I’d hate to be the one to pull that duty. The cardback shows Sneek Peek carrying it fairly easily. My man Flint had a harder time, so I’m thinking there was a bit of chicanery going on in the old Hasbro photo. Some poses may require support–no kidding. Maybe the packs were created as a way to increase sales of accessory packs with battle stands.
These sort of toys are really fun, and as crazy as some of them are, they fleshed out the line at a low price point. I’d like to see something like it in the modern line. I suppose the closest we’ve come in recent years were the deluxe figures of the early 2000’s. Now that I think of it, I’d like to see those come back as well, in a form more interesting than the recent cycle figures. A deluxe Night Landing with Eels set is coming, and it looks great, but I want my wind-up axe swinging backpack too.