Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Collectible of the Week: Star Bird Command Base (Milton Bradley; 1978)
One of the greatest of all Star Wars knock-off toy lines came from Milton Bradley in the late 1970s. The Electronic Star Bird (Milton Bradley) came first, and later the The Star Bird Avenger and The Star Bird Intruder. The designs for these plastic, interactive starships were fantastic, and the vessels could even come apart and re-form in new combinations, not entirely unlike the Micronaut Hornetroid or the Mattel Eagle One that I covered here last week.
My (now-deceased) grandfather drove me all over New Jersey in 1979 in an effort to find a Star Bird. We finally found both at Willowbrook Mall in what I believe was a Radio Shack. He purchased the ship for me at a price of thirty dollars, and then took me to lunch at Roy Rogers. It was a day I’ll never forget, and which means a lot to me, especially now.
From the same Milton Bradley set comes the Star Bird Command Base, a huge “action control center” for the Electronic Star Bird.
As the back of the box describes it: “The command base is a fabulous, fun accessory for more great excitement with your Star Bird. Assemble the strikingly detailed fiber board and action plastic parts. When you’re done, you have a specially equipped elevator base and control tower.”
Features of the base include:
“Anti-invasion laser guns: Set the turret bases into the corners of the tower cap. Mount the anti-invasion laser guns into any two of the bases and you can rotate them to return enemy fire.”
“Real working crane and hoist: Fit the working crane and hoist into any one of the four turret bases. Pick-up the transport vehicle and swing it into the maintenance tunnel.”
“Transport vehicle: “You’ll have lots of fun with the transport vehicle. It has four rolling wheels and a special carrier unit designed to hold the laser guns, Star Bird’s escape pod, its power thruster engine, or interceptors.”
“Interceptor landing deck: Star Bird’s interceptors sweep onto the Control Tower’s special landing deck. Rush them over to the main landing platform on the transport vehicle using the multi-purpose carrier.”
Requiring assembly, the Star Bird Command Base is absolutely huge at a height of over 25”. I had one of these for the longest time, but then in a fit of over-generosity gave mine away to a friend’s child in 1997. I’ve regretted being so nice ever since. What was I thinking?
Reader and friend Duanne Walton provides his list for the greatest science fiction films of the 1970s. Duanne writes: "Fi...