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VertiBird By Euphrates
The VertiBird, by Mattel, is one of those vintage toys that makes grown men misty-eyed
and quivery-voiced when introduced into conversation. This was, and still is,
a very, very popular toy. For those of you who didn't have one or, who have
just forgotten about it, here is how it worked.
The VertiBird series had many playsets but each generally contained a helicopter and had a rescue theme. The helicopter was connected to a 21-inch rod on one side that ran to a spinning hub. This hub (four D batteries) was controlled by "remote-control", which in the '70s meant a cable running to a controller. Your job was to start the helicopter circling around a disaster scene, usually involving a little plastic guy, and at the right moment, use the controller to cause the 'copter to swoop down and rescue him, "Barrel of Monkeys" style.
Mattel made various rescue sets from 1971 through the early '80s. VertiBirds were also available in Canada and Europe, providing some variations for the collector who has to have one of everything.
You can find VertiBirds quite easily today, but expect to pay for it as there are a lot of misty-eyed and quivery-voiced guys with expendable-incomes looking for them too. A boxed set with the majority of the pieces and in mostly-working condition can easily bring $150-$200. If you are after one, watch for common problems like missing decals, missing tailhook, cracked controls, missing battery cover, rusty battery compartment and non-working hub.
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