Ok, so its Wednesday, but let’s all humor me and call it Monday, because we’re doing the delayed MASK thang today. This is the penultimate edition of MASK Vintage Vault, and today we’ll be covering what was one of my favorite MASK toys as a kid and also one of the ones that did not survive so well up until today. Probably because I beat the shit out of it. Its Sly Rax and his motorcycle, Piranha, which happens to double as a one-man submarine… sort of.
Sly Rax was without a doubt my favorite character on the cartoon. If they did a live-action MASK movie back in the 80’s, the great special effects gore-wizard and sometimes actor, Tom Savini could have just stepped right into the role. Even the action figure looks like he’d be right at home romping though a shopping mall chopping up zombies with a machete. With his blue jeans, leather jacket, sunglasses, and wicked mustache, he had the whole biker look down to a tee, even if what he drove was more preppy than gangish. And thanks to those shades, mustache and goatee, Sly has a lot more paint apps on his face than most MASK figures, making him stand out all that much more.
As usual, Sly Rax features seven points of articulation. You get a head that turns, rotating shoulders, legs that move forward at the hips, and hinged knees.
Sly’s mask is called Stiletto and its also one of my favorites. Its colored the same as Sly’s jacket so it really meshes well with his outfit and looks great on the figure. The silver trim is nice, although most of the trim on my figure’s mask is sadly worn off. If memory serves, Stiletto shot tiny energy knives at people.
In its regular mode, Piranha is a pretty normal looking purple motorcycle with a somewhat suspicious looking sidecar. Sadly, mine isn’t the best example of what this toy looked like brand new, as its missing all of the stickers from the front windshield piece, but the rest is all there. The sculpting on the bike is pretty solid and Rax can sit on top of it pretty well, although with his mask on it looks a little undersized for him. The translucent purple windshield piece is removable if you want, and there’s some nice chromed out details on the wheels and the engine. The sidecar fits a figure in the seat.
In its covert mode, Piranha doesn’t really convert into anything, but rather just shoots its sidecar, which converts into a one-man submarine. The sub itself is pretty cool, as the windshield slides up to enclose the capsule, fins pop out of the sides, and two guns appear in the front. I also really dig the chrome engine on the back. Its also worth noting that it shoots pretty far when you launch it. In execution, its a pretty cool little toy, but in concept? Even as a kid there were some things that bothered me about this design.
First and foremost, how many times is a motorcycle that shoots out a submarine really going to come in handy? A bike that turns into a helicopter? Sure. A bike that partly turns into a submarine? Mmm… not so much. Secondly, unless Rax has someone sitting in the sidecar, he actually needs to jump off the bike, and into the sidecar in order to make use of the sub. Lastly, the bulk of the motorcycle is left behind, so either VENOM has a whole garage full of Piranha bikes, or Rax always has to drive the sub back to the place he launched from, drag it onto land, and reattach it before he can take the whole thing back to base. I’m guessing MASK could just put an agent by the bike and capture him when he comes back. Yeah, I’m over analyzing the toy, but this is what I do.
Quibbles aside, Pirhana really is a cool little toy and I absolutely loved it when I was a kid. Its odd how two of my favorites were both motorcycles, and yet I’m pretty sure Condor and Piranha got a huge amount of attention. I’ll confess that when I was a kid, I probably used the sidecar as much as a jet as I did a submarine. While its a pretty simple toy, it tends to be tough to find in really good condition, mainly due to sticker wear on the front windshield, and the fact that the front windshield tabs break really easily. Every now and then I poke around on Ebay and try to find a new windshield with the stickers still there to improve mine, but the stickers are usually either mussed up or the tab that holds the whole piece is broken.
[And so next Monday will be the last of the MASK for a little while, and I saved one of the biggest pieces for last. We’ll be checking out the Rhino in all its glory. For now, I’m just glad I was actually able to get an update posted without the roof falling on me or my computer catching fire, since that seems to be the case lately. I’m going to try my best to be back tomorrow with the second update of the week so that I can cruise into Vintage Vault on Friday with a look at everyone’s favorite AD&D badass: Warduke! -FF]