That new unofficial Thunderhawk has had me thinking about M.A.S.K in general lately and I'm not sure if I've told this story here before... but I'm gonna today. I was fortunate to have quite a bit of M.A.S.K toys as a kid. I'm not sure if they were inexpensive or if I just got lucky, but I'm not complaining. Picture it, Christmas 1985 I hit the mother lode. The Fright Zone, Cobra Moray, Captain America Turbocopter, figures galore, and quite a bit of M.A.S.K! Included in that M.A.S.K haul was the Rhino! The Rhino was probably the coolest of the lot as it was this big semi truck with all sorts of action features. To this day I swear it's one of the better looking toys ever made.
However... there's no way it would pass a modern safety test. In the picture above, do you see that big rocket firing out the sleeper cab? That thing is DEATH TRAP. By pushing a button on the backside of the truck, with a loud KACHUNK, that rocket would fly out of the sleeper cab with the force of a thousand... I don't have an analogy, but it came out fast and hard. So hard that it knocked the roof open as it flew out with a vengeance. Because it flew straight up so hard and fast, the rocket itself was kinda heavy. I guess so it would fall down and not take the roof of your house. It was this big, thick heavy black plastic with a sharp point for some reason.
So there I was, happily placing the stickers upon the Rhino at the dinner table while my dad watched. Mom was in the kitchen cooking Christmas dinner. I rolled my new truck toy around after finishing stickering and played around with it's many features. Hey... how do I shoot that rocket? I looked all over, holding the back of the cab. Looking directly over the cab section when KACHUNK!
After a white flash I found myself reeling back in my chair, holding my head that now throbbing with pain. A small dent in my forehead, missile in my lap, and ANGRY father staring daggers at me from across the table. That shit I wrote a few words up there? Yeah, apparently I instantly screamed it out as the rocket knocked me back. Dad demanded to know what I just said. Myself afraid of getting in trouble while trying to see straight. In wrestling they call this getting your bell rung. Dad made sure I knew that I better not ever say that again while telling me to better be glad it was Christmas or I'd be in BIG trouble. Ironically we had just watched A Christmas Story the night before... but I never got the luxury of having my mouth washed out with soap. *ahem*
These days things like child safety laws come up and I'm usually pretty supportive. Between kids getting shot after pointing realistic toy guns at people, choking on missiles, or the above incident... I'd rather not see anybody get hurt. Some folks get all worked up over these laws, but oh well. They'll live... and so will the kids hopefully. I'm not sure if The Rhino had some sort of industrial strength spring in that thing or if the missile needed to be a potentially dangerous weapon but... I actually don't have a clever way to end this. That really hurt.