Here we go, the final regular MASK edition of Vintage Vault, and I saved the biggest MASK toy in my collection for last. Its the Rhino, a big extended semi cab that converts into a mobile command post, missile base and recon vehicle. This is one really cool and really fun toy and it took me a little while to get mine complete again. As always, let’s start with the figures…
The Rhino comes with not one, but two figures, Bruce Sato and an alternate version of Matt Trakker. While most kids probably preferred the Thunderhawk version of Matt over this one, the Rhino was the only way to get the Bruce Sato figure. And Bruce was pretty prominent on the cartoon, so he was an important figure to have in any collection. He’s a fairly solid looking figure, with a jumpsuit, sculpted boots and a black, detailed vest. He does suffer from the blank face syndrome that many MASK figures do, as there are no paint apps on his face to really accentuate the sculpt.
Sato’s mask is called Lifter. Its power is basically a combination forcefield and tractor beam. The mask is a decent enough design that actually looks more like a hood, but its the same color as the mask that comes with Matt, so the two are a little too similar for my taste.
As for Matt, this is certainly the less iconic version of MASK’s leader, as he isn’t wearing his grey flight suit, but rather a brown jumpsuit and orange vest. The sculpting is mostly in the vest, and there’s some decent paintwork on the silver accents. The head sculpt appears to be identical to the version that comes with the Thunderhawk.
Matt comes with the Ultra Flash mask. Again, its certainly less iconic than Spectrum, (which is ironic since this is the one depicted in the MASK logo!) but I really dig the design. It looks really robotic and the orange matches up with his vest pretty well. As the name suggests, Ultra Flash’s power is blinding enemies. I used to use this Matt Trakker figure as another character.
As always, both figures feature seven points of articulation. The heads turn, the arms rotate at the shoulders, the legs move forward at the hips, and the knees are hinged. This pair are solid enough figures, but ultimately I think their color schemes are a bit too alike to make them really stand out.
And then there’s the main attraction… Rhino is a big honkin semi cab with an extended front. It looks absolutely fantastic, with its mix of burgundy red body and silver, chromed out parts. There’s lots of detail in the mold and the sides are adorned with sticker stripes to give it a little character. Even though its scaled for the smallish MASK figures, its still a sizeable and impressive toy, rolling along on twelve real rubber tires. All the windows are transparent, the doors open and the detailed cab interior comfortably seats two figures. What makes Rhino really impressive in this mode is that there’s really no way to tell it changes into anything. It just looks like a really cool toy truck.
Rhino features a ton of different hidden features, some of which can be used while the thing is in vehicle mode, and some are intended for when its deployed as a missile command post. In vehicle mode, the smokestacks can angle forward to become machine guns, the front grill shoots out to become a battering ram, and the passenger side seat can eject a figure out through the door. Ok, that last feature never really made sense to me. Is it supposed to be tossing out unwanted passengers? I never really got it. Either way, the Rhino can convert to a formidable attack vehicle while its powering down the highway. I used to love making this thing ram Jackhammer.
For something a little more stationary, the back of the cab pulls back to open it up and reveal the little missile command post. A ramp drops down to give the figures access. The launching missile itself looks like its big enough to take out a small city, and there are computer banks and terminals inside and a radar dish on the top. While in this command post mode, the back of the cab can detach to form its own cool little off-road vehicle and the smokestacks can still angle forward into machine guns to help defend the position.
The designers threw a lot of stuff into Rhino and the result is just an amazingly fun toy. Its a bit unlike a lot of MASK vehicles, where it doesn’t so much have a single conversion mode, but just a lots of gimmicks and gadgets to play around with. Its not the only big truck in the MASK line, but it is the first, and in my opinion the best. Next to the Boulder Hill playset, this was probably the one Series 1 toy kids nagged their parents over.
Rhino is a tough MASK vehicle to get complete and in good condition. There’s a lot to go wrong with this thing. The chrome pieces often wear down and often snap off, particularly the mirrors. The windows scratch up easily and the various springs and retaining tabs wear and break over time. And don’t even get me started on the stickers. There’s lots of them and they peel and chip, and as you can see in the photos, the interior stickers love to curl up. My Rhino has its share of blemishes, but its at least complete and in honest, good working condition. Complete versions even in rough shape can often get close to $100 on the secondary market, and if you’re looking for a showpiece, $150 is probably closer to the mark.
And that wraps up all the MASK features that I had planned when I started doing these about seven weeks back. It was a fun ride through what is still one of the underdog toylines of the 80’s. We’ll definitely be coming back back to other MASK toys in the future (and there are plenty more to look at!) as it will work its way into the rotation of Vintage Vault in the coming weeks.