Here we go, FigureFan’s first forray into Kenner’s line of loveable Masked Crusaders who were fond of working overtime fighting crime… fighting crime! I was tempted to start small and work my way up, but obviously a lot of the MASK toys I’m going to look at don’t have their packaging anymore, so I wanted to start off with one of my packaged MASK toys just to convey how these things looked on the shelves. And so let’s kick it off with one of the mid-sized MASK vehicles: Hurricane and its driver, Hondo MacLean. Hurricane is a 57 Chevy that converts into what’s called a “Field Command Post.” Let’s look at the package and see what this thing is all about.
Hurricane is a Series 2 toy, and like most MASK toys, the vehicle and figure come in a simple box with the MASK logo and a red and yellow deco. You get some nice artwork on the front showing the vehicle in its combat mode, and every other panel of the box is loaded with big photos of the toy and all its features. The front panel also has a photo of the Hondo figure and his mask, Blaster II. The photo of the figure is very close to actual size, so you have a good idea what you’re getting. In fact, even though there’s no window to see the actual toy, the MASK boxes really do a great job conveying everything there is to know about the toy inside. Besides the vehicle and figure, the box contains a folded set of instructions, a sticker sheet, and a poster.
Let’s go ahead and start with the figure. Unlike GI JOE, MASK was always a bit more about the vehicles than the figures. That’s not to knock the figures, though. Sure, they only come up to the waist of your average 3 3/4″ figure, but they’re still plenty cool. The Hurricane actually features the second version of Hondo MacLean, as he was originally bundled as the driver of the Series 1 vehicle, Firecracker.
This version of Hondo is an all new figure, and while the original version came with the Blaster mask, this one comes with the newly designed Blaster II. The sculpt and paintwork is pretty good for such a little figure. In fact, the only real stumbling point with these guys tends to be the lack of paint apps on the faces. Kenner probably guessed kids would have the masks on them most of the time, so why bother. Hondo’s wearing a pretty hi-tech looking pilot suit in yellow and purple with some blue sculpted instruments on his chest and right leg. Yeah, the deco is a little garish, but it was the 80’s after all. The Blaster II mask is not one of my favorite mask designs and its red and aqua green deco doesn’t do much to subdue the figure’s color scheme. Then again, it shoots “supersonic laser rays” so who cares what color it is, eh? MASK figures all have the same standard seven points of articulation, which ain’t too shabby for a figure this small from 1986. The head turns, the arms rotate at the shoulders, the legs rotate at the hips, and the knees are hinged.
Moving on to the main attraction, its the Hurricane! Straight away, I’ve got to say how awesome it is that Kenner was able to use proper licensed vehicles for many of their toys. Nowadays this would probably have been a generic vintage car, but in this case, the Hurricane is a bonafide 57 Chevy, complete with the appropriate logos, and if you still doubt me, it even says it on the package. Hell, even the real rubber tires say Goodyear on them. I love it!
In its regular vehicle mode, Hurricane is an awesome looking toy. Its mostly molded in greenish blue plastic, with vac metal bumpers, wheels, and accents and topped off with some bitching flame tampos. The windows and windshield are painted black. The toy rolls along great and has only a few subtle hints that it is in fact more than meets the eye. Oh, wait… wrong toy line. The only real downside of Hurricane is that you can’t really put Hondo into it in its regular car mode without revealing its secrets. While they definitely look like they open, the doors on the sides are only sculpted to appear that way. Hondo gets into the vehicle from the opening roof hatch and once you open the roof hatch, you’re starting the conversion to battle mode. So, let’s convert it and take a look at the features!
Officially, Hurricane’s alt mode is called a “Field Command Post” but I prefer the name “Wagon of Rolling Death.” because this thing is armed to the teeth. Turning the roof causes the car to raise up on its hydraulics and reveal a third set of wheels in the center, probably to stabilize it while firing its howitzer. Yes, howitzer! Opening the roof hatch causes a howitzer (I’m sorry, make that “Gale Force” howitzer) to deploy from the front windshield and a pair of cutting lasers flip up over the top of what is now an armored shield. What is now the turret can rotate 360-degrees to dish out death to VENOM fools from every angle.
Hondo can sit inside the Command Box in the turret or he can peg in behind the armor plate to man the cutting lasers. The inside of the turret is decked out with stickers, and yes, you can keep the figure in there when you convert Hurricane back to its regular street mode.
Hurricane’s front bumper lifts up to reveal a Night Vision scanner and the two headlights pull out to serve as Infrared Blasters. Lest, you think Hurricane is all business up front and party in the back, let’s check out the caboose!
Reach under the rear bumper and give a tug and you reveal the circular sawblade. Push down on the rear bumper and you launch the spare tire, which becomes the “Terror Spare” Landmine!
One thing you’ll see in all my MASK features is a question of concept versus execution. From a concept angle, Hurricane isn’t as simple as some of the Series 1 toys, like a car turning into a jet or a motorcycle into a helicopter. Nope, the designers just said let’s take a vintage car and see how many weapons we can pile onto it. In execution, it works great. The decision to go with a vintage car gave the vehicle enough bulk to conceal all its deadly goodies and what you get is a really fun toy with lots of cool surprises. If this were a Series 1 toy, the designers probably would have been happy with just the hydraulics and the turret, but the addition of the headlight blasters, infrared shield, buzzsaw and spare tire bombs give it a neat James Bond kind of feel. In fact, Hurricane can make use of a lot of these gadgets without even fully converting.
Hurricane is a fairly common find at a lot of the regular vintage toy haunts. Its a toy that doesn’t tend to break easy and except for the spare tire and flip up cutting lasers, there really aren’t any parts to lose. The stickers are almost all located inside the cockpit, so sticker wear isn’t as big an issue with this vehicle as it is with some other MASK toys and the flame deco tampos tend to survive fairly well. The chrome wear is probably Hurricane’s biggest enemy as well as the usual cracking that can occur with the rubber tires and the possibility of the spring mechanisms wearing out. I seem to recall paying around $35 for my Hurricane, complete with instructions and a pretty worn box and it was worth every penny.