When I was growing up there were two big electronic toys that I really wanted to own. The first was the awesome programmable Big Trak, and the second was the slightly less educational, but just as fun, Starbird.
Starbird was a space ship toy which looked the business. It was sleek and groovy looking, just like one of the ships from Star Wars, and it could be pulled apart and converted into a smaller mini space ship as well. Best of all those was the fact that it made sound effects!
After switching Starbird on it would start to make a futuristic sounding engine noise. Tip the nose of the ship upwards though and the noise changed to sound like it was accelerating to climb higher, whilst tipping the nose down made it sound like it was decelerating. OK, this was all a bit nonsensical for a space ship, but it sounded cool.
Even better though was the little button on the top that fired the Starbird laser cannons. As well as playing a laser blast sound, some little lights under the lasers came on as well.
As if that wasn’t cool enough, the Starbird even went through a little revamp and was re-released as the Starbird Avenger. This had all the same functions as the original, but could also send and receive infra-red. It came with a reflective target which you could then practice shooting at, in a similar manner to the way Laser Tag worked.
Also joining the range was the Starbird Intruder. This was a smaller ship made out of black coloured plastic (so you could easily say that Starbirds were from the good guys, since they were white, and the Intruder was the baddies). The Intruder had the same electronic functions though, and it was then possible to have space battles. If you were able to hit your opponent with the infra red beam it would briefly make the engine noise stop to register a hit.
Sadly I never got any of these toys, though now I’m all grown up I think I can understand the reason why. Firstly, the price (they were quite expensive as I recall) and secondly, the fact that to adult ears it would soon have become incredibly irritating, as this video clip of somebody playing with their old Starbird clearly shows…