Saturday, December 31, 2011

Not As Cool As It Ought To Be, The 2011 Cyclon Centurion Battlestar Galactica Hallmark Ornament Is A Tough Sell!

The Good: Good sculpt, Decent sound effect
The Bad: No light effect, Very weak sound effect, Backheavy, Seems expensive.
The Basics: While Battlestar Galactica fans may flock to Hallmark to buy up the Cylon Centurion ornaments, general ornament enthusiasts are likely to be a little less wowed by this one.

Right off the bat, it is worth noting that I have yet to get into the new Battlestar Galactica craze. I know that it is out there, but I am one of those people who will not buy an entire series on DVD or Blu-Ray without seeing it first. Given that I do not have cable, I doubt this will change in the foreseeable future. So, my memories of Battlestar Galactica come mostly from my childhood when the show was more campy than cool. It was, however, enough for me to recall the basics and know enough to recognize the classic Cylons. So, when Hallmark released their Cylon Centurion ornament for the 2011 holiday season, I was excited to provide a pretty objective analysis of it.

For those unfamiliar with Cylon Centurion, this is a silver and black mechanized warrior who is out to destroy humanity in the Battlestar Galactica franchise. Reminiscent of the Star Wars stormtroopers, save in silver shiny armor, the Cylons were armed and deadly and they hounded the surviving humans in Battlestar Galactica. The Cylon Centurion is the squad leader of the Cylons.

Hallmark released the Cylon Centurion ornament with little fanfare in October 2011 and features the Cylon Centurion on a base that allows it to have a sound function.


The Cylon Centurion ornament faithfully recreates the black and silver soldier on a black base. The Cylon Centurion is well-molded and looks like the robot it is supposed to. The Hallmark Cylon Centurion ornament is made of solid black and silver plastic that features the silver soldier with its black skirt-like cape and a blaster which the Centurion is holding in a two-handed grip. This ornament does not have the date stamped or painted on it. Instead, the date is faintly molded into the very bottom of the platform the Cylon Centurion is standing on as part of the copyright information. This ornament is powered by very small watch batteries (included!) which allow the sound effect to be activated.

The Cylon Centurion is detailed very well, which makes some sense because the Cylon Centurion is supposed to have a very manufactured look to it. The robot soldier is 4 1/2” tall, 2 3/4“ wide and 2 1/16” deep. This makes it one of the bigger ornaments this season from Hallmark and it is fairly reasonably priced at $19.95 (less now that the holiday has passed!).

The Cylon Centurion stands upon a base that has the Battlestar Galactica title in the appropriate typeface across the front. I found myself a little less impressed by this detail. Hallmark could have molded the name in and accented it with paint, but it appears to basically be silkscreened on and that seems like it might wear off much easier than other ornaments.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the Cylon Centurion could have a light and sound function. Fans of the Cylons are likely to be disappointed that the Cylon Centurion only has a sound function. I’m not usually one to gripe about this sort of thing, but the Cylon Centurion’s eyes are supposed to be lasers or something that glows red and it looks at an angle like Hallmark did get the visor red colored. Unfortunately, it does not light up.

However, a button on the front left side of the Cylon Centurion’s base does activate the sound function. When pressed, the battery-operated ornament begins to speak. The voice chip plays one of four soundclips from the television show wherein the Cylon menaces humanity. I’m fine with the sound clip not featuring anything about Christmas. However, the volume on this ornament was uncharacteristically low, making it less impressive than it ought to be, even with four quotes. The Cylon Centurion ornament is powered by watch-sized batteries, which are included with the ornament!


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Cylon Centurion ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. For those creating the ultimate science fiction Christmas Tree, the Cylon Centurion ornament is a fair addition. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top center of the Cylon Centurion’s head, which is the most stable point on the ornament. Unfortunately, because of the way the Centurion is cast with the skirt and legs (and presumably some of the electronics for the sound clips) the ornament is a little backheavy. I found I could not adjust it in any way that did not have a fifteen to twenty degree pitch from the back up. Fortunately, this works better as a desk ornament because of the stable base, for those who want a Cylon Centurion the whole year round!


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas from virtually every major franchise, including retro television shows like Battlestar Galactica, Cheers (but not Frasier!), and Star Trek. The Cylon Centurion ornament appears to have been slightly overproduced as I have found several since the after-Christmas sales began. I suspect either demand was low because the television series has been off the air or that Battlestar Galactica fans are more discriminating about their swag. Either way, this may be found now comparatively inexpensively and I suspect it will take a while before it appreciates in value.


Fans of the Battlestar Galactica franchise, Cylons and Hallmark ornaments in general might want to get this ornament on the cheap while they can find it. It is not a bad ornament, but it feels like it could have been so much more.

For other 2011 Hallmark genre ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
CLU’s Light Cycle Tron: Legacy ornament
Green Lantern ornament
Slave I Star Wars ornament


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

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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