TACTICAL BATTLE PLATFORM (1985)
This is the G.I. Joe team’s Transportable Tactical Battle Platform that was released way back in 1985. I’m not exactly sure why but I never called it that as a kid. This item was always known to me as the “Air/Sea base”. I’m not sure where I picked up that name for it but it must have been used in the cartoon, a commercial, or a department store catalogue or something. I can’t imagine that I would’ve just made it up on my own. The concept behind this platform was that the Joes could airlift it via helicopter and drop it wherever it was needed.
This piece was one of the largest and most impressive toys in my childhood toy collection. My brother Doug owned the Joe’s standard headquarters, the PIT, so it was nice to finally have a base to call my own. The PIT made for an excellent playset but I favored the platform because there seemed to be so much to do on there. On the front two corners are a double barrelled gun turret and a missile launcher equipped with 4 missiles. I always had a Joe manning each of these stations. In the back corner is a retractable hook on a rope which could be employed for multiple things. It could be used to hook a boat to the platform or swung as a weapon but most often it just served as a way for invading Cobra EELs to get onboard. For that reason, a Joe always manned the hook as well. There are two “rooms’ on the platform. The one on the right (with the hook) I suppose was intended as an armory. A removable weapons rack and a small ladder into the room were the only embellishments to the area. The rack could be loaded up with rifles but I never bothered filling it as it was a pain in the butt. I viewed the room more as a lounge where the Joes chilled out between battles.
The other room on the back left is the command center or computer room. This is probably my favorite part of the platform. It’s just a hollowed out boring square like the armory but this one comes to life when you snap on the 4-sided computer terminal which is loaded with sculpted details. On top of the computers, a sloped glass enclosure gets attached. I assume this is done to protect the computers from the elements. A chair placed at the computer terminal and a search light in the back corner finish off the room. My Mainframe figure was always in that chair and somebody else usually manned the searchlight. A thin hallway runs along the back of the platform, connecting the two rooms.
The hallway wasn’t very accessible at playtime because it ran beneath a helicopter platform that connect to the main base via a couple of curved steel girders and a ladder. The helipad greatly increased the surface area of the platform and I usually used it to station more figures as opposed to vehicles. The Joe copters were way too big to sit on the relatively small platform anyway but it worked pretty well with a Sky Hawk.
The platform also had a third and final ladder that attached to the side and lead into what would be the ocean depths. You would think that this would have been the easiest way for Cobra to swarm the platform but I found the weight of a figure usually pulled the ladder out of its slots, so the hook and rope was a studier and safer bet for enemy frogmen.
The last thing to mention are the 4 legs that the platform sits on. Each leg comes in 3 pieces that snap together to make a solid base on which to rest the platform. I loved the two toned look of the legs, I found it added to the realism of the platform. The many stickers go a long way in adding to believability of this item as well.
My air/sea base saw a lot of action when I was a kid. Most of it was on the bedroom floor but this thing also found its way into the yard, the sandbox and the kiddie pool. It was much easier to cart around than the PIT so it became our go-to mobile command center. You can probably see some of the damage that’s been done to it over the years. Mine’s not in too bad a shape but it’s far from mint. The gun and missile platforms are broken and the dock has a busted hinge. However I still have all the pieces and it can still be assembled and it still looks great. There are so many snap on pieces and sculpted details that make this an awesome set.
This will forever be one of my favorite non-figure Joe items. I was pretty stoked to be able to get it in KRE-O form recently and relive the joy of putting it together like I did on that Christmas morning nearly 30 years ago. I only wish I had room to display this set somewhere, it deserves to be seen. 10 out of 10.