I can honestly say that there have been certain moments in my life in which I behaved like a fucking idiot. ‘Hindsight’ they say, is a wonderful thing but is it really? Is it wonderful to be reminded of some of the totally dick-headed things you’ve done in the past only to wish in vein to undo them? No, it isn’t. But it does teach us lessons; hard lessons that may hurt now but which hopefully prevent us from doing those cretinous things again.
So what was this dipshit act I lament undertaking, I hear you ask? (I can’t actually ‘hear’ you, I’m just using that phrase as a literary device to get to the point…). Well the aforementioned feat of fuck-wittery was thus: I sold off my M.A.S.K. collection.
I know what you’re thinking: “What a complete arsehole.” And you’d be right.
To be fair I did hang onto my most valued M.A.S.K. vehicle: that purple juggernaut of justice, RHINO. I love that rolling hunk of plastic and the only way you’re gonna get that thing off me is to pry it from my cold, twitching dead hands.
Anyway, the pieces I did sell off a few years ago during that brief period of insanity were VAMPIRE, FIRECRACKER, PIRANHA, JACKHAMMER and (it still hurts me to say it…) RAVEN. Shit, I even sold my brother’s complete OUTLAW. Whatta c*nt! (my bro was complicit in that so I can’t take full blame, however I was the enabler.)
Suffice it to say, over the ensuing years the decision to off-load my M.A.S.K. collection is one I’ve come to regret and I’m reminded of it every time I visit my favourite comic shop in Melbourne as they have a nice selection of vintage toys for sale and the M.A.S.K. stuff takes up a nice portion of their display cabinet. Which brings me to HURRICANE.
About half way through last year I was hanging out in the aforementioned comic shop, steaming up the glass on the display cabinet with my face pressed firmly against it when I spied a couple of M.A.S.K. HURRICANEs. One was in the box and way out of my price bracket, but the other was loose and complete and looked really nice. Now, I never had HURRICANE as a kid but I always thought it was really cool looking. I’ve always had a thing for classic cars, even as a kid (as an adult I drove a 1958 FC Holden for 18 years) and the fact that HURRICANE was a ’57 Chevy really appealed to me, but as I said, I never managed to score this toy as a kid. I did have Hondo Maclean’s other ride, the FIRECRACKER; that was a cool truck but I always thought HURRICANE was a step up in quality, coolness and play value.
So there I was, stood in the shop, with the chance to partially undo my earlier life faux pas. I needed to take HURRICANE home. After a lengthy period of price negotiation which lasted all of about ten seconds and made me feel slightly less guilty about dropping cash on a thirty year old toy, I managed to secure that fantastic flaming blue bastard. Finally, HURRICANE would take a place on my shelf and maybe, just maybe, my reputation within the M.A.S.K. collecting community could be somewhat restored.
Anyway, enough of the backstory bullshit, let’s have a close look at this plastic conveyance of carnage.
We’ll start with HURRICANE’s ‘normal’ or ‘disguised’ mode. There’s no way you could mistake this car as being anything other than a ’57 Chevy; those tail fins and front grille are so iconic. The deep blue/teal colour contrasts nicely with the yellow and pink flames which scream of a 1980s colour palette. I’m pleased to say those flames are NOT stickers, they’re actually tampographs printed onto the car, a great sign of quality. Well played, Kenner.
HURRICANE sports plastic rimmed wheels with real rubber tyres; the tyres look better suited for an off-road application and don’t quite suit the disguised mode, but that’s a compromise I’m willing to accept as they still look awesome on the car. What I love about HURRICANE’s wheels are the fact they are 5-spoke deep-dish mags. These are my favourite type of mag wheel and really set the car mode off. Wheels can make or break the appearance of a car and in this case the choice of wheel couldn’t have been more spot on. I have a theory about 5-spoke mags and why I like them so much: (actually it’s based on a long-held ancient theory about odd numbers that pre-dates mag wheels by several millennia… but whatever…) essentially things arranged in odd-numbered groups are naturally more pleasing to the eye. For me, and I think for many others, things arranged in groups of 3 or 5 are aesthetically good to look at. 5-spoke mags also resemble the 5-pointed star which again is considered to be one of the most pleasing shapes to behold. There are many theories as to why this is, most stemming from the shape of the human body, but’s that’s a whole other conversation and probably too deep for a blog about toys but the ‘odd-number’ thing will present itself again when we get into HURRICANE’s attack mode.
HURRICANE also features some nice vac-metal chrome accents which bolster the feel of quality about the toy. What’s a ’57 Chev without chrome? Nothing. That’s what. There’s plenty of nice detailing throughout featuring side-vents, side exhaust pipes, a rear-mounted spare tyre, chrome headlights and panelling on the fins.
HURRICANE’s driver is HONDO MACLEAN, one of the foundation members of the Mobile Armoured Strike Kommand (M.A.S.K.). He’s a typical bad-ass who clearly has a liking for vehicles which double in height when in attack mode. Hondo features the usual seven points of articulation with some pretty cool detailing in the sculpt. He comes with the ‘Blaster II’ mask which enables him to fire laser bolts at the various scumbag members of V.E.N.O.M.. The mask is pretty weird looking but that’s fine because well, its M.A.S.K. and everything about this toy-line is fucking weird; and that’s why it rocks. Hondo’s outfit is somewhat… louder… than the one he wore while piloting FIRECRACKER. Here he’s decked out in a vibrant purple and yellow jumpsuit with blue accents. It’s totally fine and acceptable for the 1980s but stroll down the street wearing that in 2018 and you’d cop more than your fair share of sideways glances.
Hondo slots nicely into HURRICANE by lifting the lid on the roof. He assumes a central seated position behind an array of control panels. Drop the lid and he’s completely hidden from sight.
HURRICANE’s attack mode is where this toy really starts to get fun. By twisting the top of the car (the roof and windowed section) HURRICANE springs upward, doubling in height, revealing an extra set of wheels which reside in the centre of the car. Lifting the roof lid causes a Howitzer cannon to be released from the front windshield. On the front bumper a night vision scanner can be raised and on the rear bumper, a buzzsaw deployed. The headlights telescope outwards becoming a pair of laser guns and from the now-open roof lid a smaller laser turret drops forward. From here, Hondo can take up a gunner position essentially turning the cabin of the car into a rotating manned tank turret. Honestly, if you saw this thing hurtling down the road in your direction you’d render your underpants completely unwearable.
I warned you earlier that the ‘odd-number’ aesthetics theory would present itself again when discussing HURRICANE’s attack-mode and this is why: in profile, HURRICANE now has three wheels, three 5-spoked wheels. The pleasure this brings to my optic nerve is immense. In an earlier article on this blog I wrote about the now-discontinued HOT WHEELS RADAR RANGER which was a six wheeled space buggy. I love the look of that thing and that is largely due to the use of three pairs of wheels. Again, groups of 3s and 5s work. And work every time. Am I mad and thinking too heavily about this shit? Probably… but it’s my brain and I’ll do what I Goddamn please with it.
In case HURRICANE wasn’t packing enough fire-power to make Myles Mayhem completely soil his dandy-ass trousers, pressing down on the rear bumper will send the rear spare tyre flying off thanks to a rather beefy spring mechanism. But this is not really a spare tyre; this is a fucking land mine. Tread or drive over that swanky blue lozenge and its curtains for you and all your best mates.
Whether you’re a fan of M.A.S.K. or not (if not, then why the hell not?) there’s no denying that HURRICANE is a great toy. It’s tactile, nicely engineered and looks great. The fact that after thirty odd years it still works and functions perfectly is a testament to Kenner’s quality control. There’s plenty of gimmicks to keep you entertained and the colour scheme is a lot of fun.
M.A.S.K. was a great, if short-lived, toy-line in it’s heyday. It continues to maintain a strong fanbase as evidenced by the fact that complete M.A.S.K. toys in reasonable condition can continue to command strong prices on the secondary market.
I’m really pleased to have added HURRICANE to my little M.A.S.K. shelf and hopefully in doing so I’ve managed to right some of my previous wrongs. If you manage to stumble upon a HURRICANE in your unending quest for toy collecting greatness then pick it up and take it home. Beyond that, don’t sell it off. Unless you’re trying to raise money for a new kidney, hang onto your toys. It’s a message I’ve pushed a fair bit on this blog because once they’re gone, they’re gone. Sure, a spare bit of cash can be nice, but cash is fleeting. Regret stays with you forever!
Now, I have to get back working overtime, fighting crime.