Wednesday, January 05, 2011

M.A.S.K. Meets GI Joe - Specialist Trakker

I have a small number of GI Joe figures in my collection.  I'm really not much for military-stuff, but there's always been something about the "Real American Hero" that I still remember fondly from my childhood.  Perhaps it's the way that the GI Joe and Transformers franchises (both properties of Hasbro) were apparently tied to each other way back then.

In 2008, Hasbro released a GI Joe figure that was a crossover with another 80's toy line.  Specialist Trakker is an homage to Matt Trakker, the leader of the good guys in the M.A.S.K. line.  M.A.S.K. was a series of figures released by one-time Hasbro competitor Kenner.  The Wikipedia article for M.A.S.K. describes the line as "a hybrid of... G.I. Joe and The Transformers," and this seems an accurate enough description.  M.A.S.K. featured action figures that drove vehicles that converted from one form (a "regular" vehicle mode or similarly nondescript disguise) to another (usually with additional flight or offensive capabilities).  Each figure would wear a "mask" that was supposed to grant the wearer special powers.  One person's mask would fire energy blasts, while another would cast illusions, while another would allow the wearer to leap great distances, and so on.

Kenner was absorbed by Hasbro in the early 90's, making the M.A.S.K. characters Hasbro property.  Although there has been no indication that Hasbro intends to release any wide-scale M.A.S.K. revival, the addition of Specialist Trakker definitely demonstrates that the line has not been forgotten.

The original Matt Trakker figure (seen here without his mask on, and here with two versions of his mask) was not only made more than 20 years ago, but was a bit smaller than the average GI Joe figure, so it's really no surprise that the GI Joe version was a bit larger and more detailed.  What's perhaps more surprising is that, other than the head and arms, this new Trakker figure is actually repaint of a previously released GI Joe figure.  Just add the right colors, and it's a very effective homage.  The green backpack even evokes thoughts of one of the original M.A.S.K. vehicles, if only in color and generic purpose (it doesn't actually convert from one form to another, sadly).

2 comments:

  1. GREAT figure! I found my Specialist Trakker at Big Lots for $4! Was hoping to find other Joes there, but no luck. :-(

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  2. A number of Big Lots in my area can still be found to have that blue Scarlett figure, but I expect most have been picked clean by now.

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