I'm a huge Transformers fan, but oddly enough one of my favorite memories revolves around my 6th birthday (1983) when I received the massive G.I. Joe ARAH Headquarters. Before my parents bought me the HQ my grandmother had taken me earlier for lunch and to pick out a toy for my birthday. I always thought that was cool of my grandmother to let us choose opposed to buying us some random toy for our birthday. After a quick lunch at Wendy's we went across the street to a store called Rose's (very similar to the early days of Walmart). I had my choice of a lot of different toys, but ended up going w/ the G.I. Joe M.O.B.A.T. tank.
Already having the tank in hand it made my excitement that much more upon unwrapping that large HQ. I wanted to immediately rip into the box and start setting up the playset right there in the middle of my birthday party, but alas my dad made me wait in fear of losing any parts. I swear for the rest of the party I wasn't the best behaved 6 year old as I was ready for my friends to go home so I could set up the new Joe HQ!
Once I had the chance to finally sit down and pull out all the parts I was in heaven. One thing I liked about the old Joe toys was building the vehicles and playsets. As cool as the inner workings of the base were I loved the two bays on each side. Once it was set up I was quick to park my new M.O.B.A.T. tank in the repair bay. It was much later before I was able to get the V.A.M.P. jeep to park in the other side of the base.
I kept all of my Joe toys for a long long time, but like a lot of kids growing up my parents sold most of my toys when I got older. It wasn't until a few years ago when I bought the HQ again to "Cobra-ize" that these memories were re-kindled.
(all pictures courtesy of YoJoe.com)