Switchblade was the flagship V.E.N.O.M. vehicle for the first series of M.A.S.K. in 1985. It is a futuristic attack helicopter that changes into a heavily-armed fighter jet. The set includes Miles Mayhem, the leader of V.E.N.O.M., and his mask Viper.
Description and Features
Switchblade is a futuristic stealth-looking attack helicopter cast in navy blue with a clear purple canopy. The helicopter features swooshing landing skids, and a two-bladed rotor that can spin by pressing in the large button on the right side of the helicopter body. The vehicle is further decorated by chrome engine intake vents and colorful, striped, user-applied stickers. When the rotor blades are folded into the top of the helicopter tail and the downard-facing tailfin is rotated up to lock the rotor tips, jet wings automatically rotate out from the tail, which trigger two chrome gun barrels to spring forward. The landing skids can fold up under the wings, and each has a button that ejects anoter gun barrel forward. In either mode, a small catch on the bottom of the body can drop an orange bomb. There is a fueling port underneath the tail that can connect to one of the hoses included with Boulder Hill or Pit Stop Catapult. Miles Mayhem is featured with a bluish-gray military officer uniform with smartly pressed trousers and decorated with painted chest medals. His mask, Viper, “pretends to spit a corrosive poson”.
Date stamp location: underside of vehicle tail
Logo location: revealed on sides of jet tail when wings spring forward
Kenner's forward-thinking design narrows down potential issues to only a couple. The wings, rotors, canopy, and landing skids are fully removable without breaking, and can be exchanged to replace missing parts. However, the two small hooks that hold the wings against the tail are quite fragile and often chip off, leaving the wings unable to lock back in heli mode. Care should be taken when extending or locking the wings, as the hook part is near impossible to replace. Another flaw Switchblade suffers from is the leaf spring that holds the rotor hub lock in place: the spring is part of the same piece as the plastic rotor release button, and can snap off. In this case, the rotor hub cannot be locked down in helicopter mode, although the blades can be held in place by the tail.
Switchblade itself has no major notable variants, but Miles Mayhem is molded in different shades of plastic. Some appear more blue, while some appear more gray. Also, like all first series masks, Viper has a variant, although it was not lengthened like most of the others. Instead, early variants feature black painted plastic covering Miles' mouth, while later production variants have an opening molded through so his mouth and chin are visible.
Switchblade was available in 1985 and 1986.
MSRP: $17.99 - $19.99
Packaging: windowless box with no top flap, folded cardboard insert
Paperwork included: instructions, mini-comic, catalog