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COMPARING CHRISTMAS: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand in 1985

Mobile Armored Strike Kommand or M.A.S.K. is one of my favorite cartoons and toylines from the '80s. I vividly remember watching the series and collecting several of the transforming vehicle and action figure sets. I've gone back and review most of the series on MASKast with my longtime firend Wyatt and we were even immortalize as agents by my artist friend Brian awhile back. 

The animated series debuted on September 30, 1985 and the first series of toys also appeared in stores during Fall season. Perfect timing for Christmas! My collection started in 1986 when I bought several of the smaller vehicles like Condor and Piranha and then received Hurricane for my birthday later that year. My childhood collection ended in 1989 when I found the Boulder Hill playset on clearance at Hills Department Store in State College, PA. I also had a friend who had Rhino and Outlaw which were two larger toys that were fun to interact with on occasion.

I don't specifically remember circling M.A.S.K. toys for Christmas 1985 but with the spread of merchandise in all the catalogs, it would have been difficult to miss! Kenner was all in on M.A.S.K. and beyond the action figure/vehicle sets, you could find the logo and characters on pajama sets, watches, bed sheets, and much more. Let's take a look at "The Big 3" catalogs and see what M.A.S.K. items (not just toys) were available. Then, I'll make a final conclusion on which catalog did it best. 

Let's Compare Christmas!

1985 JC Penney Catalog





JC Penney had almost the complete first wave of toys (missing Firecracker) and several other items throughout the catalog. The toys were featured on a full page and included:
  • Boulder Hill Playset ($42.99)
  • Rhino ($29.99)
  • Switchblade ($21.99)
  • Jackhammer ($17.99)
  • Thunderhawk ($13.99)
  • Gator ($13.99)
  • Piranha ($8.99)
  • Condor ($6.99)
Also pictured above in the JCP catalog was a pajama set ($10), 2-piece jogging suit ($20), M.A.S.K. board game ($9.99), and a sleeping bag ($23.) Overall, the selection was great and I like how they did picture-in-picture to show the two vehicle modes. Now, let's see how the selection and pricing compares to the next catalog.

1985 Montgomery Ward Catalog




Montgomery Ward devoted three full pages to M.A.S.K. in 1985 including the toys, bedroom accessories, and clothes. The toys included the complete first wave:
  • Boulder Hill Playset ($36.99)
  • Thunderhawk ($12.99)
  • Switchblade ($19.99)
  • Condor ($5.99)
  • Firecracker ($13.99)
  • Jackhammer ($16.99)
  • Rhino ($25.99)
  • Piranha ($7.99)
  • Gator ($12.99)
Featured on the second page were all the bed linens, curtains, a sleeping bag (same as JC Penney catalog), and a digital wristwatch. The final page featured a job suit (different design than JCP), two pajama sets (also different designs than JCP), a long-sleeve shirt, and a t-shirt/underwear set. 

WOW! First, I like the staging and backdrop for the toy page. Prices are cheaper on every vehicle set and a whopping $6 difference on Boulder Hill. The bedroom items and clothes just scream the 1980s to me. So far, I think Montgomery Ward is the lead, but let's see what Sears had to offer.

1985 Sears Wishbook





Unfortunately, M.A.S.K. only had a minor role in the 1985 Wishbook. The toys got a half page with Boulder Hill being the only one that showed both modes and just five other vehicle sets appeared. Two other items I found were the wristwatch ($9.99) and pajama set ($7.99) which were both seen in the MW catalog. The toys included were:
  • Boulder Hill Playset ($39.99)
  • Switchblade ($17.99)
  • Piranha ($8.99)
  • Thunderhawk ($12.99)
  • Rhino ($27.99)
  • Jackhammer ($14.99)

Conclusion

After comparing all three catalogs, I believe there is a clear winner. The Montgomery Ward catalog gave M.A.S.K. the most real estate (3 full pages!) and had the best pricing on the toys with competitive prices on the clothes when compared to the others. And if that wasn't enough, M.A.S.K. fanboys (and girls) also had the exclusive opportunity to circle Firecracker and the bedroom accessories. 

I also think the photographers put some research and effort into that background for the vehicles. We know that Boulder Hill wasn't on a beachfront but they were able to capture the flying vehicles in the air and the marine vehicles entering the water. 

What are your thoughts on the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand toys and merchandise in the 1985 Christmas catalogs? Leave a comment if you agree or disagree with my assessment. 

Thanks to Christmas.musetechnical.com and WishbookWeb.com for the images!

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