Marvel World Adventure Playset from Amsco (1975)

Company: Amsco | Release date: 1975 | Where to purchase: eBay

“Have the world of Marvel in your own home!”

The Marvel World Adventure Playset encouraged young fans to play the hero, defeat the villains, and undertake adventures with a cast of Marvel superheroes.

Released in 1975 by Amsco (then a division of Milton Bradley) for children ages five and older, the playset was a colourful representation of the Marvel universe to build and explore at home. Manufactured from fibreboard and illustrated in a style similar to Marvel comics of the era, the playset included everything required to re-enact comic storylines and imagine new ones.

Everything needed to recreate the Marvel universe was included: the Fantastic Four’s Baxter Building, the Daily Bugle newspaper offices, Peter Parker’s apartment, the Avenger’s townhouse, Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, the Negative Zone, the Fantastic Four’s Fantasticar, an elevator, and secret trap door. Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America, Fantastic Four, Avengers, Scarlet Witch, Hulk, Dr. Strange, Daredevil, The Green Goblin, and Shang-Chi were among the 36 included characters.

Some assembly was required. The pieces were die-cut and needed to be carefully detached from the fibreboard template. Characters were inserted into the green plastic bases for stability and easy posing. The buildings required folding and assembly on the corresponding space indicated on the underside of the playset box.

The work to set up the playset was rewarded. Each piece looked like it had jumped directly from the comics, including the exterior of the building facades. The building interiors were thoughtfully detailed to encourage varied patterns of play.

The Marvel World Adventure Playset originally retailed for $6.95. The playset could also be ordered through the mail for an additional $.89 postage and handling fee. Mint editions of the toy are difficult to acquire because of the many pieces included with the set, the fact that they were made out of moisture-absorbing fibreboard, and because exposure to light eroded the colourful illustrations.

Amsco produced other fibreboard playsets in the 1970s, including Space: 1999, Planet of the Apes, The Waltons, and others.

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