Toy Spotlight: Thunder Hawk

I've had a good bit of experience with M.A.S.K. toys over the last several years. I'm not saying I know everything, but if you've seen my collection video, you know I've spent a great deal of time handling the vehicle sets and their accessories. And since I've been fortunate to collect about 90% of the toylines, I thought it would be a great time to pass along what I've learned.

Instead of just downloading the information from my head into a plain toy review, I want to provide more of an analysis of the M.A.S.K. toys. Collectors don't always have the full scope of information going into a purchase and with vintage toys not getting any cheaper, I want to provide a M.A.S.K. toy commentary of sorts with these Toy Spotlight posts. My main goal is to provide as much information as possible on each vehicle set so that you'll know the right questions to ask before you buy. I'm teaming up fellow collector Erik from Boulder-Hill.Net to provide quality pictures of each toy (click any image to enlarge) along with my personal analysis of concerns, restoration, variants, and value.

I can't think of a better way to kick off this series of posts than to feature the flagship vehicle of M.A.S.K., Thunder Hawk!

Thunder Hawk will always be one of my favorite toys of the '80s. A sports car that converts into a jet was such a fascinating concept for my 9-year old brain in 1985 and still captivates me almost 30 years later. Here are the vital stats for this vehicle set:
  • Series: 1
  • Year released: 1985
  • Vehicle: Sports Car/Fighter Jet
  • Figure: Matt Trakker
  • Mask: Spectrum
  • Accessories: Two Stun Bombs
Thunder Hawk's features include flight seat belts and Goodyear rubber tires. A button on the roof engaged pop-up action for the gullwing doors and rear spoiler. Pressing either of the hidden dual thrusters below the back bumper engaged the bomb dropping action.

Concerns: Thunder Hawk has a few pain points that collectors need to watch out for. Obviously, the door opening mechanism must engage smoothly to retain its value. The doors stay upright using a small triangular-shaped spring that pushes against two plastic tabs on the doors. Often the spring can be carefully bent to help maintain the horizontal plane of the wings, but if the tabs are broken, the doors will not stay upright unless repairs are made. The rubber tires can become split from weathering or heavy use. A smooth ride also means the metals axles are not bent from heavy play. The plastic door guns can also become loose from heavy use which means they can remain extended or even fall out when the doors are upright or closed.

Restoration: As with all vintage toys, stickers are always important for that fresh-from-the-box look. Sticker Fixer offers new replacement Thunder Hawk sticker sheets for $8. A little chrome paint can also go a long way to bring back Thunder Hawk's headlights, door guns, and wheels to their glory days. Also, Jackhammer and Thunder Hawk tires are similar and can be interchangeable if replacements are needed.

Variants: Series 1 vehicle sets featured two versions of masks. Most collectors believe this was either for a better fit on the figure and/or to prevent choking if swallowed. Early productions feature what is known as a "short" mask that is closer in likeness to the masks featured in the animated series. Later productions often have a longer mask with extensions in the front and back as well as holes in the top of the mask. The "short" mask is more sought after by M.A.S.K. collectors so you can expect to pay a little extra to get the original version.

Price/Value (U.S. Dollars): Thunder Hawk will always hold its value as probably the most recognizable M.A.S.K. vehicle. My personal experience with eBay would lead me to believe that even a heavily used vehicle with good action mechanisms and no bomb or figure accessories can still fetch up to $20. A reasonable price for a complete loose set would be around $50 while including an original box might increase that price to around the $75-$100 range. A reasonable expectation for a Mint In Box set including inserts, comic, and poster would be around $200 or so. (Again, pricing is just based on my own assessment at the time of posting this article. Use for reference purposes only and not as a solid price guide value.)

Any thoughts or comments you might have with added information, corrections, or missing details are very welcome!

Sticker image provided by StickerFixer.Com
Toy Spotlight: Thunder Hawk Toy Spotlight: Thunder Hawk Reviewed by Jason Gross on 12:07:00 PM Rating: 5

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