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Ranking The Vehicles Of M.A.S.K.

Among the many the toyline-to-cartoon behemoths of the '80s is the often overlooked M.A.S.K. M.A.S.K. combines the best parts of Transformers and G.I. Joe, offering kids heroes, changing vehicles, and super-powered helmets. The cartoon follows the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, led by Matt Trakker, as they battle the appropriately named forces of V.E.N.O.M., AKA the Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem, run by the insidious Miles Mayhem.

Like other popular franchises of the time, M.A.S.K. is basically a commercial for its own toys, cycling in new masks and vehicles over the course of its run. To fit in with its peers, M.A.S.K. also offers an annoying young character in Scott Trakker and his worse robot friend, T-Bob, as well as having PSAs like G.I. Joe's. It's not all bad, though — check out its catchy theme song from Shuki Levy and Haim Saban.

Where the cartoon falls short, the toyline picks up the slack. The pieces are all detailed, well-made, and come with a ton of functionality. Moreover, the show features no origin episode, so the toys come with mini-comics that explain the history of M.A.S.K. These are M.A.S.K.'s most iconic rides, ranked from the most forgettable to the truly iconic.


It took quite a while for the only woman in M.A.S.K. to receive a toy. Sadly, it's not the best. Gloria Baker's original car is Shark, a white Porsche that can transform into a submarine and appears in 20 episodes of the show. For whatever reason, potentially due to licensing, a Shark toy was never officially made, and can only be found in the form of custom-crafted models. Eventually, Gloria and her new car, Stiletto, came out in the fourth wave of M.A.S.K. toys, as a part of the Split Seconds set. This set was released after the show's initial run and received little to no television advertising.

To make things worse for poor Gloria, the sculpting on her Stiletto figure isn't good. The Stiletto is also prone to yellowing, though fans have found a fresh coat of paint keeps it looking amazing in automobile mode. The attack helicopter it transforms into, however, looks boxy and a bit awkward compared to the flying cars that preceded it, while the secondary plane form is simply pathetic. The only things to praise here are the functionality of the blades and how well the rear missile fires. Overall, the franchise did one of its best and few female characters quite dirty with the Stiletto.


This is a dumb-yet-fun vehicle that fits in with the '80s setting as an RV that becomes a weapons and surveillance platform, as well as being capable of shooting out small plane. But there's a reason Slingshot only appears in four episodes later on in the show's run: An RV just isn't that cool to kids, and wasn't old enough to be retro at the time of its debut. Slingshot's appeal lies entirely in what it could be hiding. A second-wave toy, this bulky transport is driven by Ace Riker, a former NASA test pilot who decides to spend his later years as a hardware store owner. He goes by the codename Falcon, and wears Ricochet, a mask that can fire an energy boomerang.

While in combat mode, Slingshot's platform provides surveillance options and a nice arsenal. But its most important factor are its much-needed anti-air weapons. Slingshot's transformation is weirdly simplistic for a M.A.S.K. vehicle: It transforms from a slick-looking recreational vehicle by splitting down the middle to reveal an aircraft. How, one wonders, does this sonic jet take off without charring the important equipment beneath it — or someone who gets too close? Even in a vehicle this big, there's only so much room to launch a plane.


The best way to describe Volcano might be as an armored all-terrain van that's meant to look like an odd tank. Its box refers to it as a "high rise tracker," but that doesn't explain much about what makes Volcano cool or useful. There are several weapons that emerge when Volcano transforms, including hubcaps that shred other vehicles, mini-mortars, sandblasters, and lava launchers, which sound simply devastating. A pod also pops up in the middle of the car, which takes one of the vehicle operators out from the safety of the armored car. However, it does supply the heroes with a turret. This hidden power makes it a one-vehicle powerhouse, able to thwart V.E.N.O.M. easily.

Though it seems like Volcano would work better with two people, there are often times when it only has one driver: Jacques LaFleur, the Frenchman with the helmet called Maraj. This particular mask allows Jacques to project a field around his automobile, allowing it to become invisible. With a weaponized vehicle like Volcano, this almost seems like cheating. Uniquely, the Volcano toy uses two C batteries for motorized action, which is neat, if a bit loud.


Jackhammer seems like an incredibly standard ride for the M.A.S.K. universe. It's driven by Cliff Dagger, a character with one of the most henchman-appropriate names ever, with a voice to match. His mask, Torch, shoots flames (as the name might suggest) and looks quite intimidating, like some awful Medieval torture device. His black Ford Bronco 4x4 SUV is a mainstay, appearing in over 50 episodes of the show and proving to be one of the more effective V.E.N.O.M. combatants.

When it's ready to fight, Jackhammer has armor that slides up over the windshield and dual machine guns that pop out from the front. These are especially neat in toy form, because as the vehicle rolls, the weapons move to imitate firing. There is also a large turret that pops up from the back, for someone to rain down lasers on the other drivers with 360-degree rotation. It's incredibly useful, but always a bit confusing to watch. You're never sure who's driving Jackhammer when Dagger is manning the guns, or if there's an autopilot feature.


Dusty "Powderkeg" Hayes is an incredibly skilled individual, vastly overqualified for his day job as a pizza chef and delivery guy (but hey, maybe it's something he truly enjoys). One look at his Gator vehicle reveals why these two make a perfect pair. Along with his mask, Backlash, which stops and deflects incoming projectiles, Hayes' bright orange Jeep Wrangler CJ7 offers off-road ground support. The front lifts up to shoot out a small speed boat for control of the seas. Gator contains a small number of weapons, but each is quite effective. One especially impressive item is a chrome depth charge capable of dealing with Sly Rax and his Piranha sidecar submarine.

The Gator is another well-built toy, which offers a decently reliable mechanism for shooting the boat out of the Jeep. The mold itself is nice and detailed, with crisp Goodyear lettering on the tires like several other vehicles in the line. Gator likely required a lot of testing before being put in the field, to keep poor Dusty Hayes safe in that open-framed Jeep. Gator isn't the coolest vehicle, but it makes for solid support.


For a vehicle that only appears in eight episodes of the television series, Hurricane leaves quite the impression. A '57 Chevy with a wild turquoise paint job and flame decals, it looks like its meant for the beach or a laid-back cruise down the highway. But this vehicle is actually a rolling arsenal with many tank-like attributes — though for some reason, its toy packaging refers to it as a "field command post." Hurricane is the second vehicle to be driven by Hondo MacLean, a history teacher and weapons expert. Released in wave two, Hondo's remodeled Blaster helmet looks much better here than in his first plastic rendition, and the new color scheme he takes on when driving Hurricane is excellent.

The car is temporarily called Night Stalker for a few episodes, but Hurricane seems to fit its color scheme and crazy weaponry more. Twisting the top of the car lifts up the body to reveal a mostly useless extra set of wheels, but hey, it helps with that tank-like feeling. There are a variety of guns that pop out, especially when the hatch is up, and a spare tire that can be launched at other cars. Hurricane's headlight cannons look unnecessary and out of place, unfortunately, resembling odd metal tentacles. It's a cool vehicle, but in no way covert, or the most sensible ride around.


Condor is the quintessential motorcycle of the M.A.S.K. universe — sorry, Piranha — managing to be very cool, but stay simple in its design. Condor appears in 20 episodes of the show and was released in the first series of toys. This was the piece that almost every M.A.S.K. fan owned back in the day, as it was released in large quantities and at a lower price. Its ability to quickly go from a sleek lime green motorcycle to active air support with just a few twists and turns of the toy is seriously alluring. Its pilot, Brad Turner, is a genuine rock star, complete with stylish '80s shades, and that attitude carries over to his vehicle of choice.

Though Condor doesn't have a large array of weapons, Turner's helmet, Hocus Pocus, can project convincing holograms from the sky to throw off the enemy. The only issue with this slick cycle are the questions its design raises. The back wheel converts into what should be the rear propeller, but without further alterations Condor can't perform, there's just no way this transformation would work. Also, in observing how the main blades rise into place for Condor's helicopter mode, it's hard not to wonder how many people were injured or straight up decapitated in the testing phase.


Matt Trakker, with his plot-breaking helmet, Spectrum, needs an awesome vehicle to complement the prestige and power he holds. Enter one of the few vehicles that is truly synonymous with the IP: Thunderhawk. Thunderhawk's look is pure '80s cool, with a body inspired by the Chevy Camaro and gullwing doors, made famous by the Mercedes-Benz 300SL and cemented as an entertainment mainstay by the DeLorean. These doors rise up and become wings with chrome laser cannons attached, allowing the hidden jets in the back to propel the vehicle through the skies to face off against V.E.N.O.M. On top of all that, it's flaming red and comes with lightning decals, droppable bombs, and working seatbelts to keep Matt strapped in when doing evasive barrel rolls.

The only big issue with the Thunderhawk is something many M.A.S.K. vehicles share: A lack of spatial awareness. The problem is more egregious here, as the helmets the heroes wear are supposed to descend from the roof, which doesn't exist thanks to those cool gullwing doors. Even with them closed, there is no room to store anything. Still, this is an iconic vehicle from the first series of toys, and one that remains highly sought after — especially the variant, which has see-through tail lights. Just hope the spring that operates the doors doesn't mess up.


Some fans think the Switchblade is a bit redundant, being a machine that transforms into two aerial combat vehicles. But for Miles Mayhem, the head of V.E.N.O.M., it's perfect: He would want complete dominance of the skies, especially if we assume his uniform makes him a former member of the Air Force. With Switchblade's ability to change from a helicopter to a fighter jet, Mayhem has advanced maneuverability, powerful weapons, and plenty of options for how to attack his foes. Switchblade's formidable reputation is a weapon in and of itself: It not only holds the top spot as Mayhem's personal vehicle, but is a symbol for V.E.N.O.M. as a whole, with Vanessa Warfield even piloting it on occasion. Its appearance means destruction is right around the corner.

As a toy, the helicopter blades can spin with the press of a button, and the wings spring out with a satisfying sound, making it fun to transform between the two modes. Switchblade also has guns that pop out and a missile ready to be unleashed, which rounds out its clever design. Switchblade is a fine toy to own and a vehicle that can't be ignored in any conversation about M.A.S.K.


Featured in almost every M.A.S.K. image and promo, Rhino is a Kenworth W900 semi truck with a sweet looking maroon shell and an imposing presence. It acts as ground-based muscle for the good guys and doesn't have a traditional transformation. Instead, it comes equipped with an assortment of weaponry and offers a mobile command center in the back of the cab. With its smokescreens, cannons, and battering ram, this beast can muscle through any situation and has a detachable ATV-like vehicle in the back for strategic maneuvers. Rhino is also unique for being one of the few machines to have two operators at most times, usually Bruce Sato and Alex Sector, the philosophical heart and the brains of the team, respectively.

Rhino's toy is a solid piece in any collection, and one many fans own. The only reason it isn't held in the highest regard is because Rhino is a big rig that excels at being a field operations base, but doesn't fly, go underwater, or change drastically. It's a solid vehicle for sure, but still missing that cool factor some of the other top cars have. Still, it's a cornerstone of the franchise and comes with an ejector seat for extra fun.


Action figures of female characters weren't treated with much regard back in the 1980s. M.A.S.K. only has two primary female characters: Vanessa Warfield and Gloria Baker. Warfield's vehicle, Manta, wasn't released until the third wave of toys, despite appearing in the second episode of the show and being a fan favorite. Often compared to G.I. Joe's Baroness, this red-headed seductress is sometimes referred to by the codename Ice Queen, and is a master in the field of covert espionage. It makes sense that she would need a stealth vehicle with plenty of firepower to shoot her way out of bad situations. Warfield's mask, known as Whip, does exactly as the name implies, using energy bands to strike or entangle victims.

Manta looks like a Nissan 300ZX, done in sleek dark lavender with neon green accent stripes. Warfield has many hidden weapons at her disposal: Manta conceals guns behind several panels, in addition to Trident missiles and even more cannons available in flight mode. Manta transforms into an aircraft, with a set of canard wings coming from the front tires, a propulsion system swapping out for the back tires, and some hidden thrusters in the back. It looks great on screen, but is even more fun as a toy. There is also an ejector seat in case things get too hairy or Warfield runs out of tricks. But knowing her, that isn't likely.