Big Trak

 

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A First for the Hubbard Media Group. This item is not actually owned by anyone who runs this website but must be remembered by all of you who were a kid during the late 70s early 80s. MB Electronics Big Trak. A programmable vehicle that you could set to perform simple tasks by entering in a series of commands via the touch pad on its back. It cam complete with a set of laser cannons at the front and mildly resembled a garish Mobile Unit of the S.H.A.D.O. organisation from Gerry Anderson's U.F.O. A year or so Later came Big Trak Transport, which was a trailer type thing that Big Trak could tow around. It could also be programmed to tip out its contents as and when the operator desired.

Here mum !!!?  Guess where my fingers been????

The operator would enter in the direction that it wanted Big Trak to go and the duration in seconds. A staggering 16 commands could be entered into Big Trak which wouldn't really take it very far. The operators Manual talks of Big Trak being programmed to go from room to room in your house but in those days memory chips were very basic. At pre determined points Big Trak could fire its "Photon Cannon" which was a small white bulb under a translucent piece of blue perspex. Still it looks very nice.

Oh Christ !!!! theres dozens of them!!!!!

One nice feature it had was a self test setting. This could be used to check the toy was functioning correctly. Great !!!

This Big Trak was kindly loaned to HMG for photographic and scanning purposes and is owned by our good friend Ralph Daye (brother of Piers "Vertibird" Daye) Despite spending over a decade and a half in his loft the toy has survived. After loading 4 D cells and a PP3 into it it performed admirably first time and is something that should bring back a lot of memories for those of you out there who had one of these fine and innovative toys.

Ralph has finally submitted the story of how he came to have this toy and his reccolections are as follows:

My friend Phil has asked me to write a few words around Bigtrak, so here we go.

It was about 20 years ago when I think I was about 10 years old or so when I got it. I remember waking up on Christmas morning, about 3.30am as you do when you’re a child, feeling a great weight on the end of my bed. I threw back the covers and found my stocking filled to the brim with presents ! This was the time when Christmas actually meant something as when you get older and grow up it feels like an ordinary day and nor do you get to empty your sack, of presents that is………………

I probably rushed into by brother Piers’ bedroom to see what ‘Santa’ had brought him, this was something we always did on Christmas morning. We would have been told by ‘the’ parents to go back to sleep as it was too early, so we would have had to wait another three or four hours before we could open our presents !

By the time 7:30 am had come we would have rushed into Mum & Dad’s bedroom, clambered onto their bed and started the monstrous task of opening all of these presents.

I don’t recall opening the wrapping to Bigtrak, the first recollection I have is playing with it on the lounge carpet, listening to the noise it used to make, the laser flashing at the front, it seems like only yesterday.

I was also fortunate enough to have given to me by my Nan, the Bigtrak Transporter, the ‘barrow’ that could carry items to a pre-programmed place, raise itself and empty the contents before returning to it’s starting position.

I had trouble with this not working correctly, so it was taken back to WH Smiths (says it all), where no more were available so a remote controlled car was purchased instead. (The price of the Transporter has stayed in my head though, it was 14.99 at the time).

Anyway, Bigtrak was played with for a long time, before it was placed in the Toy cupboard in my bedroom, along with other ‘unwanted’ toys like Astro Wars.

It was then probably transferred to the loft where it remained in ‘dry’ storage until my brother, Piers asked me about two month ago if I still had it as his friend Phil wanted to do a piece about it for this website.

This is my story of it. My example of Bigtrak is still in it’s original box, with instructions all in mint condition and can be seen on this page. I will lend it to him again soon, so that a video can be made of it working.

So there you have it. But its not quite the end of the story. Big Trak is back after a long hiatus of over 20 years. Watch this space for a review of the new version...

See the newly launched Big Trak here

 

Click on the image below to view a larger version of the MB Original that Ralph got for xmas.

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Author: Phil Hubbard

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