M.A.S.K. CARTOON SERIES and Toys

By Mark Nobes

This action-packed 80s cartoon series featured transforming vehicles and super-powered masks, combining the best elements of Transformers and G.I. Joe. A range of toys was released around the same time. There were two seasons of cartoons from 1985-86, with 75 episodes made in total by DIC Enterprises, inc.
You can watch the pilot episode in the video at the top of this page. Scroll down the page to see many of the original toys from the 80s.
M.A.S.K. (Mobille Armored Strike Kommand) was an underground task force of mask-wearing crime fighters led by multi-millionaire Matt Tracker. The storylines were based around the battle between M.A.S.K. and a criminal organisation called V.E.N.O.M. (Viscious Evil Network of Mayhem) led by Miles Mayhem, who had killed Tracker's teenage brother, Andy.
The inventor was Kenner products, an American toy company that became defunct in 2000. Along with the cartoon series, four series of action figure toys were also produced, as well as a range of comics.
M.A.S.K. The Movie, VHS cassette with box

You may well have watched M.A.S.K. The Movie on VHS cassette

In the cartoons, each mask could perform a different function, and I remember one which enabled its wearer to fly. Some could fire weapons such as flames and darts. Both the good guys and bad guys had masks.
The transformer style vehicles were very cool, and amongst them were a helicopter that could turn into a plane, a flying racing car, and even the gas station (M.A.S.K.'s headquarters) would turn into a flying vehicle. Many would argue that the cartoon was created just to sell toys, which, no doubt, it was, but it was still very exciting to watch.

Seasons

The very first episode in season 1 was "The Deathstone", which aired on September 30, 1985. There were 65 episodes in the first season, ending with "Raiders of the Orient Express", which was first shown on December 27, 1985.

There were only 10 episodes in season 2, starting with "Demolition Duel to the Death, which aired on September 6, 1986, and ending with "Cliff Hanger", on November 26, 1986.

Characters

M.A.S.K. featured a diverse cast of characters, each with their own distinctive mask and vehicle. Some of the most memorable characters included:

Matt Trakker (Spectrum Mask) - The fearless leader of M.A.S.K. and the protagonist of the series.

Miles Mayhem (Viper Mask) - The cunning leader of V.E.N.O.M. and Matt Trakker's arch-nemesis. Maximus Mayhem is his younger brother.

Brad Turner (Hocus Pocus Mask) - A skilled pilot with a mask that allowed him to convert into a bird.

Gloria Baker (Aura Mask) - An expert in illusions and a formidable member of M.A.S.K.

Cliff Dagger (Torch Mask) - V.E.N.O.M.'s strongman with a fiery mask that shot flames.

Other characters include Scott Trakker (the son of Matt),Hondo MacLean, Dusty Hayes, Bruce Sato, Nash Gorey, Bruno Sheppard and Boris Bushkin.

The M.A.S.K. cartoon series was of a very decent quality, with a lot of imagination, top notch animation and a cracking theme tune, too. The plots were simple, but many kids preferred this, and the last thing they wanted was to be confused by complex storylines. It was certainly very entertaining.

Video Games

A trilogy of video games was also released by Gremlin Graphics (starting in 1987 with MASK 1) for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 home computers. MASK II and MASK III were also released for the MSX computers. The games were never released for the Atari 8-bit family, and being the owner of an Atari 800XL, I remember being envious of my friend who bought the first game for his Sinclair Spectrum. 

MASK Toys

In the realm of 1980s pop culture, there was no shortage of iconic toy lines that captured the imaginations of children across the globe. One such line that left an indelible mark on the era was M.A.S.K. These action figures and vehicles not only provided countless hours of entertainment, but also left a lasting legacy that continues to captivate collectors and fans to this day.

There were many vehicle toys manufactured by Kenner in the U.S., including Vampire, Billboard Blast, Piranha, Goliath, Meteor, Rave, Wildcat, Jackhammer, Stiletto, Bulldog, Thunderhawk, Dynamo, Firefly and Razorback.

Despite the popularity of the toys, the M.A.S.K. line was relatively short-lived, with production ending in the late 1980s.

MASK Dynamo Vehicle Toy by Kenner in box

Dynamo is an off-road chopper and assault car which comes with 2 action figures

The legacy of M.A.S.K. toys has endured through nostalgia and the collector's market. Many fans who grew up with the toys now seek out vintage M.A.S.K. figures and vehicles to relive their childhood memories or complete their collections. Ebay is one of the top sources for finding such toys.

M.A.S.K. Bulldog Toy. Armored half-track and diesel truck with Boris Bushkin action fgure

M.A.S.K. Bulldog toy. This includes an Armored Half-Track / Diesel Truck with a Boris Bushkin action figure with mask. A vehicle missile and poster were also included.

M.A.S.K. Wildcat tow truck vehicle and box.

Wildcat is a tow truck and vertical fighting machine, and comes with a "Buddy" Clutch Hawks action figure with mask.

M.A.S.K. Thunderhawk sports car with box and action figure

Thunderhawk is a sports car and fighter jet which comes with missiles and a Matt Tracker action figure with mask.

Kenner M.A.S.K. Firefly toy vehicle with box and Julio Lopez action figure

Firefly is a dune buggy and rocket glider and comes with a Julio Lopez actopn figuire with mask and rocket.