Sunday, December 9, 2012

Utterly Unnecessary: The Lego Star Wars Stormtrooper Ornament Is An Obvious Cashgrab!

The Good: Looks like it is supposed to
The Bad: Overpriced, Ridiculous subject, Poor balance
The Basics: The saving grace of the Lego Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is that it looks exactly like what it is supposed to.

This year, I feel sorry for the Star Wars ornament collectors. The reason is simple: this year, they got fleeced by Hallmark. Big time. For every major possible exclusive opportunity, Hallmark rolled out a new, exclusive Hallmark ornament geared to separate Star Wars fans from their money. So, in addition to the four general release Star Wars ornaments this year, there was: sneak preview weekend exclusive, San Diego and New York Comic Con Exclusive, October release Peekbuster exclusive, and if that weren’t enough, a very quietly released Celebration exclusive. To make Star Wars fans feel even more taken advantage of, with the October and November ornament releases from Hallmark, the company made one last stab at the Star Wars fans’ wallets by releasing a Lego Star Wars Darth Vader (perhaps identical to last year’s?) and the Lego Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper. My local Hallmark was already sold out of the Lego Darth Vader, so I only had the option of picking up the Lego Imperial Stormtrooper and my recommendation is pretty firmly that fans not do that (why encourage Hallmark to keep making Lego Star Wars ornaments?!).

From the Star Wars line comes the Lego Imperial Stormtrooper ornament, the second in the series of character ornaments from Lego Star Wars. Fans of the Star Wars Legos and, perhaps as important, the Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga video game (reviewed here!), will easily recognize the Lego variation on the classic Imperial Stormtrooper. Hallmark captures the Imperial Stormtrooper, in Lego form, with his little Lego imperial blaster in his hand, in the process of firing!

This is a very typical, very average Star Wars ornament with no bells and whistles, but given that it is based on a video game, based on a toy, based on the movies, it seems far too many degrees of separation to be worthwhile.


The Lego Imperial Stormtrooper ornament recreates the Lego soldier in solid plastic on a black and gray plastic Lego block base. The ornament, released in 2012, is the soldier holding an imperial blaster in his right hand, or socket given how rounded the hands on Lego characters are. Hallmark managed to get $14.95 originally for this ornament and it is selling slowly locally, which might well mean it is not catching on with collectors. This character ornament is 3 1/4" tall, 2” wide and 2 1/8” deep. Given that the ornament was designed for fans, this is an ornament that appeals to collectors, though I suspect it is not nailing it with either of its target demographics. It is not detailed and realistic the way most Star Wars fans like their collectibles and it is not small enough or versatile enough to actually appeal to fans of Lego block toys.

The Hallmark Lego Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is made of a durable plastic and has him holding a blaster in his right hand. His feet are arranged in a solid stance, attached as they are to a Lego block base. This is a very simplified sculpt of a Lego Imperial Stormtrooper, but the essential parts are there: the helmet, the rounded blaster, the Lego-style open hands.

The Lego Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is also detailed with the coloring to back up the sculpt. The front panel is made to look like a classic Lego toy sticker, but it is painted on, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, the Lego Imperial Stormtrooper is a pretty basic character and so there is not much that can be done in terms of detailing, so Hallmark does not need to try to add depth, shading or anything else to the color palate to get this ornament right. It is a bland character and a pretty bland ornament! They did add a red laser bolt (in Lego style) to the front of the blaster pistol and that is a nice touch.

Unfortunately, the ornament does not have any articulation to it, so fans who want to turn the helmet – which is a slightly different shade of white than the body of the toy on mine – or move the arms will be disappointed.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the Lego Imperial Stormtrooper could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but does not. This is just an ornament, a low-cost (comparatively) option for those who might not want to shell out for the ship or diorama series' of Star Wars ornaments. This Lego Imperial Stormtrooper simply hangs.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Lego Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Wars Christmas Tree, the Lego Imperial Stormtrooper is very much a luxury; this whole concept is more ridiculous than realistic, so this is very much a “luxury” ornament for the serious die-hard fans. The ornament has a metal hook loop embedded into the top center, slightly back, of the character's helmet. From that hook, the Lego Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is front heavy, from the way it is holding its blaster out. As a result, it leans constantly forward, further diminishing its coolness (especially given that the forward pitch is made more obvious by how the block base does not hang level as a result!).


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 branched out into other popular franchises like Star Wars and The Wizard Of Oz. The Lego Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is very common and one suspects more will sell on clearance after the holiday is over.

This is not a great investment piece and it is unlikely to appreciate for quite some time, if ever.


The Lego Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is a bad idea, executed well on the sculpt, but without the balance, collectible value, or fan interest to make it a success. It is certainly not one to run out to the store to get excited about.

For other Hallmark ornaments of Star Wars characters, please check out my reviews of:
2012 Sith Apprentice Darth Maul
2012 General Grievous
2012 Momaw Nadon Limited Edition
2011 Jedi Master Yoda
2011 Bossk Limited Edition ornament
2010 Lando Calrissian Limited Edition ornament
2010 Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot
2010 Boba Fett and Han Solo in Carbonite mini-ornament set
2009 Greedo Limited Edition ornament
2009 Han Solo As Stormtrooper
2008 Emperor Palpatine ornament
2005 Slave Leia ornament
1999 Max Rebo Band mini-ornament set


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

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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