Vertibird by Mattel was, without question, THE COOLEST TOY EVER MADE!!!! I
did not have one as a kid and was very lucky to get this original Rescue Ship model for
a reasonable price. I purchased it without a rotor with the hopes that I could
get/make one and found the pure black replacement on eBay in 2002 or so. For your enjoyment here is my
original Vertibird and bunch of Vertibird knock-offs, including some Jasman/Kool Toyz Chopper Command Sets
released in the 2000s. The latest versions of the Jasman Chopper Patrol is a well done clone (last ones
on the page).
Some versions of Chopper Patrol, the well done Vertibird clone by Jasman, might still be available through Amazon.
While not a toy exactly, Bob B. and I dropped many dimes in the Midway Whirly Bird arcade game at Grant's Department Store in our youth.
|An original Coast Guard Rescue Ship Vertibird
with its box. The rotor is a new replacement purchased off of
eBay. It works pretty well, a bit of shimmy at low speeds but
quite smooth at higher RPMs. My toy is missing all of the
accessories. Item number 8243 dated 1973. Interestingly, the
Vertibird will work on either two or four D cells.|
Remco's futile attempt at a Vertibird clone is called the CSF
- Controlled Space Flight and features the U.S.S. Enterprise from
Star Trek. Unlike the Vertibird that is run via a cable from a
stationary motor, this bugger has an electric motor in the saucer
section of the ship. To make it fly there was a counterweight on
the far side of the ship rods (mine was missing so I fabricated
one out of wood and a couple dozen washers). So does it fly?
Kinda. This one flies straight up and down quite well but does
not go around in a circle. Oh well. Interestingly, the
accessories including the often missing hook and radar dish are
still sealed in the bag, but the box itself is in poor shape. Go
figure. Item number 602 dated 1976.
Another CSF vehicle from Remco this is the Spider-Man Copter.
My version is incomplete, missing its tail which does not stop
it from flying very well. I purchased this copter on eBay from
a seller in Italy. Item number 614 dated 1978.
Available through the 1998 J.C. Penney Christmas
catalog, the Micro Machines Skyhawk Rescue Copter by Galoob is an
excellent Vertibird clone. Substantially smaller than the
original bird, it operates on two D cells and flies exceptionally
well. Galoob missed the boat by packaging the copter in a plain
white box instead of a fine litho box as in the past -- what's up
with that? I have not opened the instruction/stickers bag nor the
bag of accessories which include a Micro Machine vehicle and a
copter hook. Item number 70034 dated 1994 (on instructions,
re-released in 1998).
The Batman battery operated remote control Batwing from Blue Box Toys, item
number 34031, dated 1989. Like the Remco CSV, this bird has an electric
motor in the vehicle itself and a counterweight to make it fly. In an ingenious
design, the counterweight is just a plastic holder into which you place
your own Alkaline D-cell. Also ingenious, is that the power is transmitted to
the motor in the wing via the two metal rods in the maneuver arm.
The electrical contact is not as good as if the bars were hard-wired so the
motor cuts out occasionally. The wing does not fly very well at all though with
a little more trial and error in getting the counterweight properly balanced
I hope that it might. Cool looking toy anyway. Alas, mine came without the box.
Available through Target Stores (and K-B Toys I've heard)
starting in August, 2000, the Kool Toyz Chopper Command
Helicopter Set is an excellent Vertibird clone. Incredibly, the
toy sells for $15.00, about three dollars more than the original
Vertibird from Mattel cost in 1971. When these showed up in
Target stores people immediately bought them out and started
selling them on eBay--the first one sold for over $200.00. The
toy is manufactured by Jasman (who plans to make four more birds,
including the Military set below), has a light-up control
panel, and flies exceptionally well. Mine came without the hook
and due to clean living or some other act of God, a friend's
chopper came with two hooks and he gave me one! It appears that
the bird doesn't have enough power to lift and fly with the
heavier objects (the cars and motorcycle). Or perhaps I have just
worn the batteries down by flying the copter for so many hours.
The rotor is a yellow-tipped clone of the original Vertibird
rotor and looks like it should fit on the older birds though I am
a little afraid to pull mine off the new bird to try it. A great
toy and an extraordinary value. Item number 087 07 1039 dated
Available through Tower Hobbies
starting in November, 2000, the Jasman Military Chopper Command
Helicopter Set is so cool. Complete with a 48" playmat, it has a light-up control
panel, a flashing strobe light, and makes a helicopter sound while flying.
The toy has three
cardboard military buildings and military skyhook accessories such as a plane,
tent, jeep-like vehicle, radar dish, and two soldiers.
Item number 16812 dated 2000.
Jasman more recently released the Command Force Micro Series clones. Shown here are
the AH-1 Super Cobra (top) and the AH-6 Little Bird micro helicopters. Each is about
a foot long and came blister-packed with batteries included so you could try the copter
before buying. A great idea. The back of the package shows an AH-64 Apache Helicopter
and I own this one as well but it is not really a Vertibird clone as it doesn't fly in
a circle around a center stand. No dates on the package but I want to say 2003-2004.
Jasman's latest clones are the nearly Vertibird sized Command Force Series.
A very well done set of birds, this one is the AH-1 Super Cobra which comes
with a nice set of accessories to pick up.
Blue Box Toys, Galoob, Jasman
||Early 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s
||eBay, J.C. Penney Catalog,
Target, Tower Hobbies
||Vertibird Simulator - cool game for your PC
Vertibird Central - repairs, parts and vintage sets for sale
Chopper Patrol toys for sale on Amazon.com
|Look for it:
Search eBay Auctions - Current
Search eBay Auctions - Completed
Contact me: Sam Cancilla, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Modified: June 9, 2008
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