March 2009 Recap

Below is a recap of all the post we've covered in March 2009. If you missed any, or simply want to see them again, click on each "title" to be taken directly to that post. As always, thanks for reading.

G.I. Joe 1984
G.I. Joe 1985

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M.A.S.K. (Kenner)

1985 - 1986

M.A.S.K. - Mobile Armored Strike Kommand. The life of M.A.S.K. started out as a seventy-five episode syndicated television series which ran from 1985 to 1986. It featured a special task force featuring an array of characters, led by Matt Trakker, with transforming vehicles engaged in an ongoing battle against the criminal organization V.E.N.O.M. (an acronym for the Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem), with an emphasis on super-powered masks worn by the characters on the show.

Kenner produced a series of toys which ran twice as long as the actual television show (1985-1988). The series focused mainly on the vehicles, but still managed to produce several figures which were packed in with each vehicle and playset as well as on bubble cards of their own.

The two packs of figures only contained the figures and their masks.

Advenure packs were single pack figures that included an assortment of accessories.
Mystery Adventure Packs were the final release of stand alone figures.

The "meat" of the series definitely lied in the vehicles. Kenner appeared to put the majority of their efforts and production value into the four waves.

The final wave of vehicles produced were under the sub series "Split Seconds". These were based off of the final ten episodes of the show (season 2), where the series focused more on a racing premise as opposed to M.A.S.K. vs. V.E.N.O.M.


An anonymous reader commented to let us know that the above is not actually entirely correct. As the reader clarified for us, none of the Split Seconds vehicles appeared in the show at all. The wave prior to it which contained Wildcat, Bulldog, etc. appeared in the racing episodes.

Thanks, anonymous!

The only playet produced for the line was Boulder Hill. In terms of playsets, it didn't offer much interactive play, but was still a great addition to the line.

M.A.S.K. is a hit or miss show with the majority of people who watched it. They either loved it, or hated it. For those select fans who loved it, the toys are a great addition to their collections, and a fond memory of a cherished childhood.

For those fans, please enjoy the opening theme from M.A.S.K.

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G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero 1985 (Hasbro)

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero

1985...The year of the Joes! The 1985 series is considered to be the best set released in the entire G.I. Joe line. This would also be the largest set released since the series began, but would not be the largest released to date. Believe it or not, with each passing year, sets kept getting larger, and larger all the way up to 1994.

The 1985 series didn't hold back. Releasing even more of the most popular figures, the series included twenty grunts, six vehicles drivers, one Listen N Fun figure and a new mail away offer.

The grunts included in the series were; Airtight, Alpine, Barbecue, Bazooka, Buzzer, Crimson Guard (not to be mistaken for the Crimson Twins - which were also in this series), Dusty, Eels, Flint, Footloose, Lady Jaye, Quick Kick, Ripper, Shipwreck, Snake Eyes, Snow Serpent, Tele-Vipers, Tomax, Torch, and Xamot.

A new concept to be introduced to the G.I. Joe line was the figure/cassette combo which included the figure Tripwire (dubbed Tripwire Version 2). Listen n Fun Tripwire did not come with a traditional filecard. However, there was a small yellow filecard-like description on the front of the card. The tape itself included a narrated story entitled, "The Cobra's Revenge," not to be mistaken with the animated mini series, "The Revenge of Cobra," which aired on TV.

Much like the prior series, the vehicle drivers came with their respective vehicles from the show and included; Crankcase, Frostbite, Heavy Metal, Keel-Haul, Lamprey, and Tollbooth.

Sgt. Slaughter was available via mail order from Hasbro Direct in late 1985. He was also available on and off from 1986 through 1989. Several versions of the Sarge would be released over the remaining years of G.I. Joe's existence, but this version was only available via mail order.

Battle Gear Accessory #3 was also released during the 1985 period as was the mail away parachute.

Vehicles came in all shapes and sizes, and varied in price range as a result. What's interesting to note about the vehicles (and playsets) from 1985 is that several were made available via mail order, and varied slightly in color between the retail version.

Back in 1985 there were two kinds of kids - Those who had the coveted USS Flagg, and the rest of us. The rest of us were the majority by the way. Yes, you who had this gigantic toy were the kid that everyone wanted to play with, yet at the same time everyone hated. It was the mother of all playsets, and one that has yet to be topped even today in shear size and fun. Where else could you find a playset large enough to hold other vehicles on top of it?

The rest of us had to be content with the much smaller Tactical Battle Platform or the variety of even small peg boxed playsets.

That about does it for G.I. Joe up to 1985.

Tell me, does the name Matt Tracker mean anything to you? If so, then you were probably a fan of the short lived M.A.S.K. series. Stay tuned for part 7 when we take a look at the complete M.A.S.K. series!

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G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero 1984 (Hasbro)

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero

By 1984 G.I. Joe had become a household name among kids. The action figure wars were on between several popular kids shows, but to date, G.I. Joe would outlast all of them in terms of merchandising and marketing.

There were a total of 20 new figures for 1984 (11 grunts, 8 vehicle drivers, and one mail-away) which included some of the most popular characters from the cartoon series. Among the grunts were; The Baroness, Blowtorch, the recently only available mail-away Duke, Firefly, Mutt and Junkyard, Recondo, Rip Cord, Roadblock, Scrap Iron, Spirit, and the ever popular Storm Shadow.

One of the greatest figures from the series was available this year as a mail away, and sadly never made its way to a card. The Hooded Cobra Commander figure was available by mail from 1984 all the way up to 1990. As an added bonus, he was available one last time as the "Secret Bonus" figure in the 1992 and 1993 collector kits.

The eight vehicle drivers which hit shelves this year were; Clutch (now sporting a tan uniform), Copperhead, Cutter, Deep Six, Stinger Driver, Thunder, and Zartan. Each figure came packaged with its respective vehicle from the show. The most popular one seemed to be Zartan who came with a sheet of heat sensitive stickers which were placed on the chest piece and each thigh pad and a disguise.

More vehicles and accessories than you could shake a stick at hit the shelves in 1984. That was one thing G.I. Joe had going for it. Not only were there plenty of action figures to choose from, but all the rich kids could also get all the vehicles they could dream of to go along with them. The vehicles and accessories this year included; A.S.P., Chameleon Swamp Skier, C.L.A.W., Killer W.H.A.L.E., Rattler, S.H.A.R.C., Skyhawk, Slugger, Stinger Night Attack Jeep, V.A.M.P. Mk II, Water Moccasin, Accessory Pack 2, Bivouac, Machine Gun Defense Unit, Missile Defense Unit, Mortar Defense Unit, Mountain Howitzer and Watch Tower. There was also a mail away M.A.N.T.A., and a Sear's exclusive V.A.M.P. and H.A.L.

G.I. Joe was definitly here to stay. With each year that passed, kids got more and more ravenous for the series. But no mater how excited kids were in 1984, it was just the begining. 1985 would mark the biggest year in G.I. Joe history.

Stay tuned for next time when we take a look at just that; Part 6, G.I. Joe 1985.

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