The Good: Great rendering, Cool sound effect, Good balance, Amazing detailing
The Bad: No light effect.
The Basics: The TIE Interceptor may be an obscure choice for a Star Wars ship or vehicle ornament, but it becomes the first perfect ornament I’ve reviewed from Hallmark of the 2012 releases!
Every year, one of my favorite collections of ornaments to review are the Star Wars ornaments. For sure, I am a Star Trek buff more than a Star Wars enthusiast, but my interests are diverse enough to accommodate some merchandising from both franchises! This year, the honor of first perfect ornament of the season – something that often actually goes to the Hallmark Ornament Preview Weekend Limited Edition Star Wars ornament like this year’s Momaw Nadon (reviewed here!) – goes to . . . the TIE Interceptor. It is by no means a sure thing that Hallmark will have a perfect ornament each year or that one of the Star Wars ornaments will manage to achieve that level of quality, but this year, the TIE Interceptor gets there!
For those unfamiliar with the TIE Interceptor, this is one of the many Imperial ships seen defending the second Death Star in Return Of the Jedi (click here for my review of the film!). Not at all one of the indispensible ships of the Star Wars universe, the TIE Interceptor is still eminently recognizable as a modified TIE Fighter.
Hallmark has the ship alone as the subject of the 2012 TIE Interceptor ornament.
The "TIE Interceptor" ornament faithfully recreates the Imperial attack ship in fine detail that is impressive enough to wow even a critic like me! The ornament, released in 2012, is an impressive casting of the altered Imperial ship with an immaculate, if exceptionally simple, paint job and very cool sound feature. Measuring one and three quarters inches tall, 3” wide and 3” deep, the TIE Interceptor ornament is a welcome addition to the Star Wars ornament line. While I was originally a little shocked by the $29.95 original issue price, the ornament’s quality finally swayed me on it being worth it.
The Hallmark "TIE Interceptor" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the ship on its own, as is typical for Hallmark's starship and vehicle line of Star Wars ornaments. Unlike the earliest Star Wars ornament releases, I was unable to find a date stamped onto this ornament. If it is molded on, it is very subtle and may just be the copyright date. This ornament includes the batteries to power the ship for the sound effect.
TIE Interceptor is detailed incredibly, from the basic shape, which features the standard TIE cockpit section attached to two wicked-looking, pointed wings. The wings feature surprisingly delicate weapons and I was surprised by just how many turrets were molded onto this ship! This is a small mobile fortress with all its cannons and the ornament captures all the guns on the wing tips, in the retracted portions of the wings and on the cockpit section. The cockpit is molded with the primary window in black translucent plastic, but wisely the coloring makes it impossible to see inside and thus critique Hallmark for not getting the pilot or cockpit right!
The coloring is as impressive as the molded details. This is essentially a black and blue fighter and the simplicity of the coloring plays well to the subtle, uniform, menace that the Empire embodies.
As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the "TIE Interceptor" has a sound function, no light one. Given how the TIE Interceptor had no significant lights (maybe running lights? Weapons lights?), this is not at all a detraction to the TIE Interceptor. The vehicle is powered by two small watch batteries (which come with the ornament) which fit into the cockpit section of the vehicle. There is a panel that requires a screwdriver to open. The ornament comes with the appropriate batteries and given Hallmark's track record, it is easy to assume the one set will last at least one full holiday season.
After the batteries are installed and the battery compartment is closed, there is a button hidden remarkably discretely on the bottom of the cockpit section. Pressing the button up, the sound clip begins to play. For 22 seconds, the TIE Interceptor plays Darth Vader’s Imperial March while also producing sounds of TIE weapons fire and engine noise! I swear that there is also the sound of Darth Vader breathing, especially early on in the clip. The sound comes from a speaker that is front-mounted (as it turns out, the cockpit itself is the speaker!) and that helps the audio clip play in a way that is loud and clear to anyone positioned directly in front of the ornament.
As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "TIE Interceptor" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Wars Christmas Tree, one of the "TIE Interceptor" ornaments is a great addition, though it is in no way indispensible. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of the vehicle’s cockpit section. From there, the TIE Interceptor hangs perfectly level! This is a wonderfully-balanced ornament.
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 review). Since then, they have made ornament replicas from properties like Star Wars, Harry Potter and Tron. The "TIE Interceptor" ornament seems to be appropriately produced, though they have not sold out anywhere near me yet. This is one of the Star Wars ornaments that might be an investment value, but only once it is discounted. In other words, while I anticipate an eventual sell-out, I suspect it will be quite a while before it appreciates in value.
The TIE Interceptor is a perfectly molded, perfectly colored, amazingly well-balanced ornament with a great sound effect. It is a perfect genre ornament and one that should thrill any fan of Star Wars!
For other Hallmark ornaments of Star Wars ships, please check out my reviews of:
2006 Imperial AT-AT
2009 Luke's Landspeeder
2010 Rebel Snowspeeder
2011 Slave I
For other ornament reviews, please check out my index page!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |