As promised in the last post, this time we are going to cover two new awesome topics. The first, is how to restore and repair your battered M.A.S.K. vehicles. The second, is a new site on the internet that deals exclusively with a very cool area of M.A.S.K. mostly left untouched. Brace yourself for our longest post ever!
There are a variety of tools, tricks and techniques to employ when fixing up a M.A.S.K. vehicle (for the record, a lot of these tricks will help with any vintage toy). Here are three products that can add a LOT of new life to a tired toy:
- NOVUS Plastic Polish
The first product on our list is the NOVUS Plastic Polish. This is a line designed specifically for the care of plastic. Available in either 2oz. or 8oz. sizes, each package comes with three bottles; step 3 for heavy scratches, step 2 for fine scratches, and step 1 for polish and shine. The NOVUS line can be used to remove or reduce scratches and scuff marks on M.A.S.K. vehicles, but it is particularly effective on one specific area. M.A.S.K. vehicle windshields are one of the easiest to scratch, and the NOVUS line quickly and easily restores them. To use the polishes, first clean the area you wish to polish, then apply a small amount of polish three, gently buff the area then wipe it clean, repeat the process with polish two and one, then clean the area again. If the area still seems to have some scratches you can repeat the process. For those of you restoring M.A.S.K. vehicles the 2oz. bottle set is more than enough to fix up your collection. You can read more and explore NOVUS’s products on their website.
Some people may have heard of the Retr0Bright process already. While not exactly a product, Retr0Bright is a method for reversing the yellowing that can occur with older plastics. The basic idea is that you mix Hydrogen Peroxide (available from any drug store) with a small amount of “Oxy” laundry booster. You then submerge your yellowed plastic into the solution and expose it to an Ultra-Violet light for a few hours. This will reverse the yellowing effect dramatically. Proof of the process and a more detailed walkthrough can be found at the Retr0Bright website. Know that the method is mostly meant for light colored plastic (think Boulder Hill, Collector and Meteor!). One obvious limitation is that any decals on the plastic will have to be removed prior to the process, so keep that in mind before you toss your whole collection in a Hydrogen Peroxide bath!
The final product group should come as no surprise to any reader of this site. For years now, boulder-hill.net has endorsed StickerFixer.com (the link is already on the right!) for their amazing replacement decals. Not much explanation is needed for these wonderful guys. They produce high quality replica labels for vintage toys, including M.A.S.K. Currently, they offer six different vehicles; Condor, Firecracker, Firefly, Gator, Stinger and Thunderhawk. But these guys never stop, so if the vehicle you need labels for is not available yet, do not lose hope and check back occasionally, or contact them to ask about upcoming releases.
Next, we will offer some tricks and techniques that can also help you get a few more miles out of your busted or beaten toys.
A trick almost any kid knows is that you can take the working parts of one toy and use them to replace the broken parts of another. Thanks to the internet, and especially eBay, this has become an even more practical method of restoration for a M.A.S.K. fan. Lots of broken or beat up toys show up every day on eBay for very reasonable prices. This can be a great way to complete or fix an otherwise good condition vehicle.
The second trick is also obvious, but frequently overlooked. Clean your toys. The amount of dirt, dust and grime that can build up over twenty plus years is staggering. We suggest using a slightly damp cloth to wipe down most of the surfaces. Then use some cotton swabs to get into the smaller areas and corners. Remember to clean inside the cabin/cockpit of your vehicle as well!
Our final trick is not for everyone and we recommend you practice before jumping in. Sometimes you have a piece that is broken but still has great labels, these labels can still be utilized, with care. By carefully heating up the decal (actually the adhesive under it) you can peal the sticker away and (quickly) reapply it. This method can be used to transfer labels from one piece to another, or to reapply labels that were not put on correctly the first time. For a heat source, we suggest a hair dryer on the low setting. To pick up and move the labels a tweezers works very well for that delicate work. Please try this on a label you do not care about for your first run, it is very easy to mess up and ruin the label you are attempting to salvage.
Whatever method or style you use, remember that things can often be saved. Trying to turn that trash into treasure can be very rewarding, so give it a second thought before giving up on an old toy.
Now on to the much more exciting part of today! There is a new kid on the block, and his name is William Scott Crawford. Scott has recently started his own M.A.S.K. blog, dedicated to the M.A.S.K. comics. For those who do not know, M.A.S.K. had some limited comic release in the United states, less than twenty issues in total. However, in the United Kingdom M.A.S.K. enjoyed a great deal more success in this medium, lasting over EIGHTY issues! William was kind enough to talk to boulder-hill.net and give us some info on himself and what he is doing.
Scott’s website is dedicated to the M.A.S.K. comics published in the UK. It is called, appropriately enough, M.A.S.K. Comics. We asked him a few questions and this is what he said:
b-h.net: So, who are you?
WSC: I’ve lived in Kippen, a small village outside Stirling in Central Scotland, all of my life. Married to Heather, we have little boy called Reece. I attended Kippen Primary School and then onto Balfron High School. Over the years I have had a few jobs and I currently work in the Vehicle Repair Department for Enterprise Rent-a-car. I’m going to be the ripe old age of 40 in January next year.
b-h.net: When did you get interested in M.A.S.K.?
WSC: I first got into MASK in October 1986 when I received a free Preview Issue of the MASK comic with my regular comics and it all started from there. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the toys or cartoon – but I soon found out as much as I could about them.
I collected all the comics (80 issues), all of the holiday specials and annuals until it merged with The Eagle comic. As soon as a comic merged with The Eagle this sounded the death knell and wouldn’t be long until the MASK comic strips would be diluted and eventually disappear.
b-h.net: What draws you to M.A.S.K.?
WSC: The comics allowed my imagination to run amok. The Editors page encouraged you to send in your letters and drawings and it wasn’t long before I’d come up with ideas for new vehicles and Masks. It got to the stage that I studied Art & Design and Technical Drawing with a view to a career as a Toy Designer – perhaps following in the footsteps of Bruce Sato? This career path died for me around the same time the MASK comics, cartoons and toys stopped.
There are many lasting images that I have of MASK from my youth. The Cover Art and centre page posters were unique in comparison to other similar comics of the day. The classic style of the Black and White comic strips had some of the best artwork of any comic and far exceeded it’s American counterpart. But then, this comic is from the same stable as 2000 AD and Judge Dredd that were famed for their Artwork.
Despite my love of other genres such as Action Man (G.I. Joe in the US), Star Wars and Transformers, I feel that MASK was less known and highly underrated. MASK toys had the advantage of being to scale - which can’t be said of the 12″ Action Man toy range or Star Wars toy range where the vehicles were scaled down and always felt out of proportion. This helped make the MASK toys more “real”.
b-h.net: You also mention a M.A.S.K. script on your site, tell us about it.
WSC: A few years ago, stuck in what seemed like a dead end call centre job, I started writing a script. I revisited it a few years later and rewrote the script based on feedback I’d received. I caught the scriptwriting bug and suddenly MASK sprung to mind. What with Transformers movies, G.I. Joe movie, The A-Team to name but a few, MASK seemed like a logical choice to make a comeback.
I started writing the script in September 2009 and by January 2010 I had approximately 80 pages written. My little boy came into the world on the 7th of January 2010 and around the same time my Father’s health deteriorated and my plans were put on hold. After my Father passed away in May, I’m now committed to completing my script. Currently at 122 pages, I need to complete it and then work on getting back down to around 120 pages.
Working to strict rules, the Vehicles and Masks will only have the functions as described on the toy packaging. This was my only complaint with the comics and cartoon that functions would be added to suit the story so the mission could be completed. By restricting what they can down adds a sense of realism and vulnerability – humanising the story and characters.
As well as well loved characters, I have added in a couple more bringing in some interesting Masks and Vehicles into the world of MASK.
b-h.net: Do you have anything planned for the future of your site?
WSC: I’m looking to review all of the British comics first, then move onto the US comics and books, etc. Once I’ve finished my script, I’m hoping to write some short storys that will come after the movie and post them on the site. I’ve already started the first of these which centres around Matt Trakkers Jungle Challenge Adventure Pack.
That about wraps up this massive post. We want to thank Scott for taking the time to answer some questions. A link to his website can now be found on the right hand side as well. Hopefully some of this info helps our readers out there reinvigorate their collection.