In 1985, Kenner created both the M.A.S.K. action figure line as well as the cartoon. They used the artwork from the cartoons to act as a guide to create the action figure line. The artwork was printed on standard copy paper and the pages with color were hand colored and have a very high gloss finish. The pages without color are standard Xerox copies of pages that were likely based on a master style guide. All pages, however, were used as an original color guide to provide the coloring schemes of the action figure toy line and all have color notations handwritten in either pen, pencil, or marker.
Color codes were based on charts provided by Kenner similar to the one below from DC Comics.
Color guides were used on the concept art, as well as in the mini-comics like in the example page below.
Based on the revision date of 3/20/1985 found on the Vampire (“Vulture” cycle) which wasn’t released until Series 2 (1986) it is my belief that these were all done prior to the release of Series 1, they just split up the ones they released between the two series. One thing that I find fascinating is the changes in names and designs found in these early concept renditions than compared to what made the final product. Changes in names can be found in vehicles, characters, and the masks themselves. Something else I found fascinating, the pages with 3 characters in a row then 3 masks in a row are set up on the pages where you can layer the pages and hold them up to the light (or place them on a tracing table) and see how the masks fit on the characters through the different layers of paper.
I do have several of these but as you can see my set is not complete. I arranged these by Series and grouped the Figures with the Vehicles they came with. Feedback/corrections/input always welcome. Enjoy!
M.A.S.K. Series 1 (1985)
Boulder Hill (not shown) / Alex Sector / Jackrabbit
Boulder Hill (not shown) / Buddy Hawkes / Penetrator (previously “Bodyguard”)
Cliff-Sly 2-Pack: / Cliff Dagger / Torch
Cliff-Sly 2-Pack: Sly Rax / Stilleto
Rhino (not shown) / Matt Trakker / Ultra Flash (previously “Freefall”)
Rhino (not shown) / Bruce Sato / Lifter (previously “Penetrator”)
Thunderhawk (not shown) / Matt Trakker / Spectrum (previously “Super Scanner”)
M.A.S.K. Series 2 (1986)
Firefly (or “Dragonfly” converted) / Julio Lopez / Streamer
Raven / Calhoun Burns / Gulliver
Slingshot / Ace Riker / Ricochet (previously “Boomerang”)
Volcano / Matt Trakker (not shown) + Jacques LeFleur / Lava (not shown) + Maraj (“Mirage”)
Outlaw / Miles Mayhem + Nash Gorey / Python (previously “Superscope”) + Powerhouse (originally “Samson”)
Stinger (previously “Scorpian” or “Scorpion”) / Bruno Shepard (previously “Mad Dog”) / Magna-beam
Vampire (or “Vulture” “Valture” converted) / Floyd Malloy / Buckshot
M.A.S.K. Series 3 (1987)
Manta / Vanessa Warfield / Whip
In Series 4, Gloria Baker was released with a Lamborghini called Stiletto. This early concept art shows Gloria in a Porsche instead, with a similar outfit (different color scheme) and the same mask.
Porsche 920 (“Shark”) / Gloria Baker / Collider
13 thoughts on “Kenner M.A.S.K. Color Guides”
Wow…this Art & information are excellent. I`m excited with this. This ART collection is GOLD!
Is possible obtain more information to respect?…more concepts to complete it?
I would like to see the original with my own eyes!
Thanks for share it with us
P.D. my website up was created in 2003 approx. was closed by geocities, but you can enter to some sections yet.
This is my research thus far and I’m always looking for more info on them to share with people.
I took a look at your site. I haven’t seen a Geocities site in ages, that’s great that some pages are still up! If you ever want to dive back into setting up a page and maintaining it you should hit me up, I can help with that. 🙂
Where did you come across these?
And would you mind if I shared them on a facebook page?
Sure thing, Mark. Share away!
I bought these from the family of the artist.
Thanks a lot.
Wow, just saw this pop up on the M.A.S.K. EIRE Facebook page and traced them back here. Will defintiely be sharing with our followers!
Thanks so much for posting these! Love seeing the history behind M.A.S.K. and how it was developed.
Very nicely done Jason.
Follow up, I just posted an in-depth look at this collection here:
Thanks again for posting an awesome look into M.A.S.K.’s history!
Wow lovely collection. Been trying to mail you but the link doesn’t work. any other way to email you?
Hello, thanks! Well, I just tested the contact form and it seems to work ok, but you can get me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m from Germany and I was a big MASK-fan back in the 1980s.
I’ve just discovered this site and of course I am amazed of those cool illustrations, too…
What came to my mind when I saw it was an episode of toy hunter, where the expeditioner/
toy collector guy meets with the designer of the”Slingshot”-van. Latter one still had a boxed copy
of his vehicle, but he refused to sell it away when Hembrough was making him an offer.
If you have some time, you can look for it somewhere on Jordan Hembrough’s channel on youtube.
As we can see these drawings are altering not just in one aspect from the actual models of the toy
line. For instance you can pinpoint it here in the battle-mode of the “Firefly”-buggy– when it’s bottom plate-halfs
are folded back to form the wings of a jet-fighter, its backwheels aren’t folded entirely behind the buggys rear
but are still visible as non-aerodynamical elements on the wings trailing edges.
I personally disliked the idea of having a cars wheels converted in some kind of turbines modifications, ever since.
This is just one example of many deviations that were involved in the completion of the MASK-toyline, and
it must have been also in a relatively early stage. The toy-cars have an imprint “made in Macao (c) 1985.
So this is just my two cents, maybe there are some of the blueprints as a bid, one day. If it’s not going
to be too expensive I would go for it.
Thanks for sharing these, they are awesome and bring back great memories.
I wonder if the Manta was intended for 1985 Series 1 as it and Vanessa Warfield featured in the cartoon from episode 2 of S1
and Shark with Gloria Baker another Series 1 regular that had yet to be done as a toy at that point 1985 in the end Manta was not out as a toy until the racing series range came out while Shark was not released