Monday, September 15, 2008
StarBird Space Avenger; toys JPX never had, but often wished for
From bugeyedmonster, In the 70’s, a lot of toy companies were incorporating electronics into their toys. While I still maintain that Rom the Space Knight is the coolest of the electronic 70’s toys, the Starbird and it’s variations are pretty close. All the Starbird toys have a few things in common; press a button and their front lasers light up and fire, tilt the ship up or down and it makes engine sounds that raise or lower in pitch, removable front assemblies, wing fighters and engine parts. These ships are often missing parts, most commonly a little gun that sits in the ball turret at the back.
There are two main modesl of Starbird, the Electronic Starbird and the Star Bird Space Avenger which was also boxed as the StarBird Avenger. Depending on the model, there are diferent sticker sets. The lasers on the Avenger’s nose are set closer together, the canopy plastic is much darker. The Avenger was a second release of the Starbird and included updated electronics that could both send and receive infrared signals. The Avenger model comes with a "target" to shoot at to test your skill with the infrared lasers.
A third vessel, the Starbird Intruder, was also made but is much harder to find. It is basically the front assembly of a Starbird with wings done up in black. It makes the same laser and engine sounds and includes the advanced infrared electronics as the Avenger. In fact, the Avenger and Intruder can have battles, knocking out the opponents ship with infrared beams like lasertag. A disabled ship’s engine will knock out briefly when hit.
Milton Bradley made a playset to go along with the Starbird line, the Command Base. It is a large cardboard station with plastic accessories like radar dishes, laser guns, a working crane, little vehicles and space men.