THE BASEMENT TOY BOX: The Star Team by Ideal!

I love that I grew up in the 70’s. There were so many great toys when I was a child. For today’s kids, it’s all about video games. When I was a kid, we would use our imaginations to create new worlds and adventures. If we weren’t on the floor playing, we were definitely outside for hours on end. One needs only to look at a vintage Sears Wish Book from this decade to see what I am talking about. The Star Team, by Ideal, had a long history.

The original Zeroids by Ideal.

In 1967, toy company Ideal came out with a toyline called the Zeroids, a series of motorized robots. There were three in all, Zerak, Zintar and Zobor. Zerak, the blue robot, was supposed to be the “commander” of the three robots. He came with hook hands, an interchangeable magnetic hand and a throwing cup hand. Zerak’s right arm could be cocked and made to throw objects. Zintar, the silver “explorer”, could use his storage case as a sled-like vehicle, which was propelled by his own treads.

He had a throwing arm and special hands with spring-loaded opposable thumbs. Zintar was cast in both a silver sparkled plastic and plain light gray plastic. Zobor, the “Bronze” Robot, could “transport” lightweight items in his storage case. This could be “transformed” into a wagon with the attached wheels. The case/wagon could be latched to a hook on Zobor’s base. He had a throwing arm and special spring-loaded plier-type clamp hands.

Later, Zogg, a green robot was added to the set, and replaced Zerak as the commander of the Zeroids. Zogg had powered drive treds, and was the first Zeroid with an internal light bulb. Zogg did not have a throwing arm but he did have a sophisticated-looking “station” which had movable parts. It was activated by Zogg’s metal “hands” completing an electric circuit. The station had, among other things, a “radar” that would rotate. There was a spiral design ‘monitor” which would spin when Zogg would complete the electric circuit.

The Star Team by Ideal: Knight of Darkness, Star Hawk and Zem 21.

Zeroids were re-released in the late 70’s. Now known as the Star Team to capitalize on the success of the STAR WARS franchise. The Star Team line featured the “Zeroid Pilot”, a smaller R2-D2-style dome-headed robot. This was made from the lower body mold of the Zogg figure. It did not have the DC drive motor that the original Zeroids had. The batteries only powered a dome light.

The “Pilot” was cast in silver plastic, in red or blue trim, and without the electronic contacts in the arms. The ZEM XXI Flying Saucer was re-issued as the “Star Hawk” in red and grey plastic. It came with a non-powered Zeroid with red trim. The other star team robot was a humanoid called “Zem 21.” It was a green-headed silver-bodied figure that bore some resemblance to C-3PO. The villian they fought was the Darth-Vader-esque “Knight of Darkness”, which was an Ideal Captain Action body molded in black.

Original box art. What kid wouldn’t want this?

For me, the Star Hawk was the star of this series. In fact, it was the only toy in the series that I owned. I had a fascination with UFOs growing up so when I saw the commercials for this, I just had to have it! This was a big toy that featured a motorized hatch that would open with the flick of a switch. The landing gear was moveable. It could be put up, flush with the saucer, so that when in “flight” it appeared retracted. Then when the saucer landed, the three landing gear could be put down against the ground. The flying saucer that I got was predominantly red as on the box cover. I have also seen pictures where the main color is gray.

There was also a blue version of this robot available.

The Zeroid robot itself was very cool. It featured rubber tire treads, moveable arms and a blinking light inside of the dome on top. I loved the light feature. As a kid, any toys that lit up were just all the more cool. Unfortunately, the light bulb didn’t last long for me. The robot also came in two colors. The red version came with the Star Hawk and you could buy a blue version separately.

The contents of the Star Hawk box from the Star Team series by Ideal.

Even though I had no interest in the rest of this line, this toy gave me hours of fun. What I played with were mostly science fiction themed toys and as such, they all played well together. My only real complaint with this toy was with the motorized hatch. The gray part hooked into the clear dome of the craft at the top. For some reason, the hatch would always come undone. This was very frustrating as I tried to battle space creatures from beyond. Other than that, this was a toy that I still remember fondly to this day. I have often thought of finding a new in box version to add to my collection. With the prices they are commanding now, I do not see the Star Hawk being in my future anytime soon.

Don’t forget to check out other entries in my BASEMENT TOY BOX series!

~David Albaugh

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