Remco Barracuda



At-a-glance information:

Item  Barracuda Submarine
Manufacturer Remco Industries, Inc.
Location Newark NJ
Manufactured 1963 non-confirmed


Talk about engineering! I had no idea of the delightful complexity of this toy until I opened it up.

How I knew about the Barracuda: There is another web site out there that showed some interesting Christmas Day presents circa 1962. It really profiled this boy who had received a Marx Big Loo for Christmas. It was a neat window into1963, seeing the pictures like this.

Well, this kid had another enormous box that had been opened, and it said on it in big letters: Remco Barracuda.

Since then, I had looked for this toy. I finally located one almost complete, but with no instructions or box.

I knew from reading accounts that it was supposed to ring a bell and slowly roll along the floor. When I received it, popping in the batteries got me a motorized sound, and something making an intermittent popping noise.

It seemed as though the props should turn in the back, but they did not. By flicking them, they would spin for a moment, and a few times I swore I heard a ding. So, I decided to repair the unit and get if functional 100%



Here is the front view of the unit. The plexiglass top in these is usually warped and cracked. I am lucky in that mine is warped but otherwise perfect. You can see in the shot above how it does not rest evenly on the unit. It was made to easily remove so that you can manipulate things in the sub, and the crew.
In order to find out why the sub was not fully functional, I had to, yes, disassemble it. Yikes! But, I am sharing the experience with you. Along the starboard and port sides of the ship, the deck walls are retained by screws. By the way, look at the detail Remco put into the walls of this!
  On the underside of the unit, four screws secure the tail assembly. It appears that the tail assembly can be opened and inspected independently, but that is not the case.
  The front guide wheel must be removed to get at a screw hidden behind. Gently tug the metal axle out with a good solid pair of needle nose pliers, being careful not to ding anything.
Back up topside, remove all the slide-in bulkheads, and then gently work out the bulkhead pressed in against the front of the conning tower.
  You do not need to remove the screws on the side of the conning tower. At this point, the hollow bottom of the sub can gently be pulled away. Do not force. At the mechanicals are connected to the underside of the deck. PLEASE be careful at this point.
Here is a close up of the drive wheels. Two sets of long, elegant and thin springs wind around and drive two separate assemblies.
   The front drive spring turns this red disk. Riveted to this disk is a piece of spring steel. This rotates around and snaps over the bottom of the missile tubes, shooting the missiles into the air!!!

 The rear spring does two things. The first is that it winds around and drives the two rear propellers. My problem was that the spring had jumped off of one of the pulleys. Easy fix.
  The other item the rear spring drives is this red disk. On this red disk is two metal circular pieces. As this disk flips around, those disks act as little hammers, ringing the flat piece of metal directly below which is suspended on rubber stand offs, a la a xylophone key!!! Hence, the sub bell!!!

 Before reassembly, I inspected the battery case. This is the only toy I know of that the batteries run in parallel, that is, the sub can run off the lower pair of batteries alone. Typically, the front of one set of batteries is strapped/connected to the back of the other set, giving you, say 6 volts from 4 batteries. Not the case here.

Reassembled, it is time for fun. Torpedoes are loaded into spring loaded chambers, activated by a set of buttons on both sides of the sub.

Here is the other side.

Missiles are loaded into the missile tubes. As the sub runs, it fires a missile about every 1/2 a foot.

 On/off switch and instruction detail. Periscope is rotated to activate sub.

Once 'underway', reactor glows red courtesy of a red bulb and effectively frosted reactor cover.

This switch allows you to silence the bell.

 I do not know if I have all the men that shipped with this. My count is of 25 men in different positions, plus a life raft. Anyone else who owns one of these, let me know your count. Interestingly, these men are of a weird size, almost too small for even little hands to play with. I have placed the blue Remco men next to a white figure from the Deluxe Reading X500 playset, who is about the size of a normal, 'green army man'. As you can see, the Barracuda crew is tiny!!!

Other interesting notes:

Many of these are missing the battery door at the bottom, but a hold down is easily fabricated.

The unit rolls nicely, even on carpet. The propellers spin, unit clangs, and the reactor light flashes on and off. Really a neatly engineered, and fun toy.

Take me back home