Monday, October 18, 2010

If The "Luke's Landspeeder" Hallmark Ornament Is So Detailed, Why Am I So Underwhelmed By It?

The Good: Incredibly detailed, Decent size
The Bad: Terrible balance, Underdetailed on Luke, Seems expensive
The Basics: A good, but not great, ornament, Luke's Landspeeder is detailed in many ways (save Luke) and is quite poorly balanced.

In my eagerness to review all sorts of Christmas ornaments, I tend to look at a lot of science-fiction themed ornaments because I am a big fan of science fiction and I like collectibles. So, looking over the sea of Star Trek and Star Wars ornaments put out each year by Hallmark, I have been surprised some by of the choices the manufacturer of ornaments has made. After all of these years, Hallmark has been getting low on recognizable starships it can use for the vehicle line of ornaments and last year, they went with Luke's Landspeeder. Luke's Landspeeder is one of the more recognizable ships, outside the Millennium Falcon, Star Destroyers, TIE Fighters, X-Wing fighters and Death Star which have all been done by Hallmark before (to the best of my knowledge). And while this might not be the most Christmas-themed ornament, Luke's Landspeeder is generally well-made, but it still left me feeling unimpressed.

For those unfamiliar with such things, Hallmark Keepsake has a line of collectible ornaments from major franchises, like Star Wars and Star Trek. From the Star Wars line comes the "Luke's Landspeeder" ornament. Fans of the Star Wars Trilogy will easily recall the moment Luke drove his landspeeder across Tatooine in A New Hope (click here for that review!). Luke flew over the ground of Tatooine to rescue the droids when they went off after Obi-Wan Kenobi and he sold the landspeeder at Mos Eisely to get enough money to pay Han Solo for the flight to Alderaan. It actually makes a decent ornament because the gliding vehicle did not have wheels and it hovered over the desert ground as it sped along.


The "Luke's Landspeeder" ornament faithfully recreates the recognizable vehicle from the first Star Wars film with a small Luke Skywalker in the driver's seat. The ornament is simply the vehicle, without any context; this does not include any ground or sky to place it in a setting. The ornament, released in 2009, is a surprisingly good work in terms of detail and craftsmanship. It is twelve centimeters long, seven and a half centimeters wide and three and a half centimeters tall. Still, for an ornament without any light or sound functions, it seems a bit pricey over twenty dollars.

The Hallmark "Luke's Landspeeder" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has Luke driving the flying vehicle. The landspeeder is extraordinarily detailed with such fine work as the panels and engine compartment atop the back of the vehicle being perfectly molded and immaculately colored. As well, the engines and hood are painted appropriately; so it looks like the vehicle has had quite a bit of wear.

The only real detailing bit that is unimpressive is Luke himself. Luke is monotonally painted in the face and it looks like an animated version of Luke with no real detail. Instead, it is a bland face with a black dot for the hair and the skintones are monolithic. The "figure" in the cockpit is only recognizable to the fans by the costume and the fact that this is Luke's landspeeder. Given the complexity of the detailing on the rest of the vehicle, it does not seem like getting more facial and coloring detailing to Luke is not outside the abilities of Hallmark, they just chose not to do it.


Luke's Landspeeder has no real features. Luke does not move and the clear plastic windshield is hardly a "feature." Instead, this is a very traditional ornament in that it sits and does not move, make sounds or light up on the Christmas tree.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Luke's Landspeeder" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Wars Christmas Tree, the "Luke's Landspeeder" ornament is a take-it or leave-it piece. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of the windshield, which is the middle point of the ornament. Unfortunately, though, Luke's Landspeeder is essentially a lever and the engine block is the heaviest point. As a result, this ornament lists awkwardly up with the front ascending at almost a 45 degree angle! This has terrible balance for such an ornament and no amount of finagling I could do righted it.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for that review!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost every major Star Wars vehicle and person.

Hallmark Keepsake ornaments tend to be mass produced and the "Luke's Landspeeder" ornament appears to be fairly common. As a result, this ornament, which is still widely available on the secondary market has not increased in value and only sold out through the after-Christmas sales last year.


Ultimately, Luke's Landspeeder is a very specific and esoteric ornament that is off-balance, over-common and under detailed on the human aspect. This makes it a tough sell, though objectively Hallmark got a lot right with it.

For other Star Wars Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2010 Rebel Snowspeeder
2006 Imperial AT-AT and Snowspeeder
1999 Max Rebo Band Mini-ornament set


For other ornament reviews, please visit the index page by clicking here!

© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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