Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Action Figure Archives is a new series at Champion City Comics where I write about great vintage toys. This article will be featured every Tuesday, so be prepared to take a stroll down memory lane.

Click to enlarge - photo courtesy of boulder-hill.net
As a member of Generation X, I have fond memories of playing with my toys, and over the past five years I cleaned up some old Star Wars, Masters of The Universe, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Transformers, and G.I. Joe toys and gave them to my children. Last night, my daughter placed a Stormtrooper in the driver seat of a G.I. Joe APC and all was well in the universe. While that is wonderful, I am having a hard time accepting the fact that the toys of my youth are now labeled as 'vintage'.     

I'm starting off the Action Figure Archives with Condor from M.A.S.K.. I owned this toy as a kid and last year my sister purchased it sans the action figure at a garage sale for my son as a bath time toy. At first I didn't recognize the toy, but my son started moving some parts around and the motorcycle turned into a helicopter. I had a M.A.S.K. flashback. Do you remember M.A.S.K.?

M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) was developed by Kenner in 1985 and it definitely appealed to me because it seemed to be a great mix of G.I. Joe and Transformers. The G.I. Joe fan in me liked the military conflict between the good guys of M.A.S.K. battling the villains of V.E.N.O.M. (The Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem). Yes, the acronyms are terrible, but there is only so much you can do in the world of kids toys. Illusion was the ultimate weapon, so both sides had vehicles that could transform into combat vehicles. The Transformers fan in me liked this concept because a big rig could turn into a mobile defense unit or a helicopter could change into an airplane. The icing on the cake was the fact that the operator of the vehicle wore a mask that had special powers.

Condor was one of the toys that I owned when M.A.S.K. was popular. As I mentioned earlier, it was a motorcycle that turned into a helicopter. The toy had a few weapons. You can see them in the second image below. There is a gun where the front headlight of the motorcycle is located and then you can see the two guns at the lower portion of the transformed motorcycle. The blades spin around for proper helicopter action.

Click to enlarge - photo courtesy boulder-hill.net

Click to enlarge - photo courtesy boulder-hill.net

The operator of this vehicle was Brad Turner, a rock musician, and his mask power was "hocus pocus" which meant he could project holograms. Would it not make more sense for Brad to be a magician rather than a rock star? Rock stars should not have a hocus pocus themed mask. Brad's mask should be called something like shredder with a sonic rock and roll power that stuns the enemy. Think of Banshee from the X-Men. Am I right?

Click to enlarge - Photo courtesy Albert Penello

I can not remember the site, but I once read an article that claimed that the M.A.S.K. franchise suffered from poor quality toys. If I remember correctly, I had four M.A.S.K. vehicles and never had a problem with quality. My son plays with the Condor toy frequently during bath time and it is still in great shape. It transforms without any problems, and we have had Condor chase down a few bad guy Hot Wheels cars.

I have good memories of my M.A.S.K. toys. Many Saturday afternoons were spent battling V.E.N.O.M.. This was the last toy line that I played with as a kid. I turned twelve when M.A.S.K. was introduced and it was not viewed as cool to be playing with toys. It was also the time when I started a love affair with rock and roll, so my Saturday afternoons were dedicated to listening to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Now that I have kids, I am playing with them and watching my kids come up with fun adventures. I've noticed that some people have love for the M.A.S.K. franchise and you can find some great M.A.S.K. items for sale at Ebay.

Did you own a Condor M.A.S.K. toy or another M.A.S.K. toy as a kid? Share your comments below!

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and head writer at Champion City Comics. His comics include Dr Death vs The Zombie, Day 165, and The Red Devil

1 comment:

  1. ps the mask comic was drawn by curt swan of which i own 2 pages.


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