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A daily look back at the toys, games, and objects that captured our attention as children and continue to fascinate us today.

Star Bird from Milton Bradley (1978)

Company: Milton Bradley
Release date: 1978
Where to purchase: eBay

“THE AMAZING SPACESHIP with realistic engine sounds and flashing laser blasts.”

In 1978, amidst the hoopla surrounding Kenner’s burgeoning Star Wars toy universe, Milton Bradley released Star Bird, a hand-held “space transport with electronic circuitry”.

The all-plastic toy was constructed of multiple detachable pieces that could be mixed and matched into various space-faring configurations. For example, the front hull could be combined with the power thruster engine to create the Star Bird Fighter. Small ships, called interceptors, could be detached from Star Bird’s wings to help repel enemy invaders, while the shop had a rotating laser turret that did double duty as an escape pod.

Like most toy spaceships, Star Bird came with an arsenal of photon beams which were powered by a single 9-volt battery. The photons were activated at the push of the “fire” button, causing the toy’s laser ports to light up while a firing sound emitted from the integrated speaker.

Star Bird also emitted engine sounds. A ball bearing integrated into the toy’s design altered the engine’s sound, mimicking acceleration and deceleration depending on how the ship’s nose was pointed.

Along with the primary space ship, Milton Bradley released several other toys in the Star Bird line, including a Command Base playset and the smaller, all-black Star Bird Intruder.

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