Friday, July 20, 2007

Stop, Look, Go

[Rhino: you best get out the way]
Written by GL

If you never owned anything M.A.S.K., or if you don't know even a single thing about this acronym M.A.S.K., you best leave this web-page now, dig a hole for yourself somewhere in the vicinity of Subok, and bury yourself in shame. Now that those fellas are out of the way, let's continue with the show.

[M.A.S.K. : Darth Vader's cousins]

M.A.S.K. was not just any show, and the toy line manufactured to compliment the show was not just any old toy line - it was a revolution in toys. Which brings me to one of the best M.A.S.K. vehicles ever made for the purposes of childhood fun and boyish imagination. I'm talking about the very well-named Rhino.

The Rhino basically looks like a purple-carrot juice colored Peterbilt cab mack-truck, except for one simple difference - it totally rocks monkey's underpants. The Rhino was a semi-tractor that acted as the team's command center and mobile defense platform. Let's just say, it was a bad mamma-jamma.

[The Vehicles: never fear road-blocks ever again]

The Rhino appeared in the very first manufactured series of M.A.S.K. toys in 1985 - this was the series that featured most of the original characters and vehicles. The Rhino was packed with two featured characters (perhaps two of the coolest M.A.S.K. members); a Matt Trakker variant, with a non-Spectrum mask called Ultra-Flash, and Bruce Sato, the token Asian with the awesome power of Lifter (which, being Asian, he would pronounce 'lif-toh').

[Original Box: I had this baby and I let her go; shame!]

Surprisingly, Alex Sector, the on-board scientist of the Rhino, is not featured in the box but comes packed with the Boulder command center instead.

Of course, being the mobile defense center for the M.A.S.K. team, the Rhino came with enough features to be almost like a modern day Castle Greyskull on wheels (see previous post). Rhino had anti-gravity cannons quite similar to the ones used in Bruce Sato's mask. It also had a button release battering ram in front, a detachable little car that could come out of the back, a computer/control room that could perfectly fit those 3" inch figures, and a spring-loaded missile launcher that looked like it could have blown a hole through a kitten. Check out the scans below of the toy's instruction manual if you don't believe me.

[Instructions: this thing tells you how to do stuff]

The Rhino is real close to being one of the best toy vehicles ever made, from its sheer likeness to the actual cartoon representation, to its playability with the M.A.S.K. action figures, to it's simple design ingenuity. It's too bad that I was just a dumb kid who took awesome toys like this for granted, or else I would have stashed away my Rhino so well. Now I'm just dumb and take things for granted.