MB Star Bird

Star Bird is a plastic-bodied, electronic handheld toy that was produced by MB Electronics from 1978 until ca. 1981.

It was Christmas eve, 1978 and my entire family was together at my grandparents house for dinner and presents. My nephew Marco and me just seen Star Wars and we were really into sci-fi bigtime.

There were 2 identical presents under the tree, one with my name on it and one with Marco’s name. And those presents were big boxes so we couldn’t wait to open it up.

We both had a blast playing with the Starbird!  It had a number of electronic sounds and made a different “climbing” noise when tilted upwards and downwards.  I remember running through our house firing the lasercannons as I attacked the inferior Starbird of my nephew…:)

You could hold it firmly and press the fire button without losing grip. 

A cool touch was you could remove the “cockpit” portion of the ship and it would dock with the main body and it had 2 detachable “fighters” at the wing ends.

The Star Bird manual describes it as “THE AMAZING SPACESHIP with realistic engine sounds and flashing laser blasts”.

The Starbird was constructed in three main pieces: the front inner hull which held the electronics and front lasers, the front outer hull (a thin plastic shell over the inner hull), the main body consisting of the center stalk like section and wings.

A molded plastic engine piece fit into the rear of the main body and is removable.

The toy is only used in three configurations: the Star Bird which consists of all available pieces, the Star Bird Fighter which is mostly only the front hull attached to the bare engine piece, and the Star Bird Orbiter which is the main body without the front outer hull.

When turned on the Star Bird mimics an engine sound.

If the toy is pointed upwards the sound would be altered by a ball bearing switch to imply a doppler effect acceleration or taking-off, while a nose down orientation gives the sound of decelerating engines.

A button at the rear of the cockpit activates the LEDs at the front of the toy, along with a blast noise, to simulate the firing of its lasers.

The button was designed to be pressed by the thumb while the ship was held by the main body or engine piece.

And I still have my original Star Bird, the first edition from 1978. Although the box is missing, along with some other small things, like the turret gun, but I still have my vintage toy from that Christmas eve. All sound effects still work and the lasers still light up when pressing the fire button after all those years. The white color is gone abit yellow and some of the stickers don’t look so fresh anymore but hey:

Who can say they own a 40+ year old spaceship!

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