Monday, September 1, 2014

Pricy, But Cool, The 2014 Sandcrawler Star Wars Ornament Is Worth It!

The Good: Great Sculpt, Interesting sound effect, Impressive balance
The Bad: Seems expensive
The Basics: Despite the size, the only real detraction to the 2014 Sandcrawler Star Wars ornament is its price.

For a nice change of pace, Star Wars fans are getting a pretty easy year when it comes to Hallmark ornaments. Usually, Star Wars fans get exploited for several ornaments and many of the pricier ones. While there is a convention-exclusive Star Wars ornament, there was no preview weekend exclusive for Star Wars fans. As if to compensate for the lack of a preview weekend exclusive, it feels like Hallmark jacked up the price on their more simple vehicle ornament this year. This year’s Star Wars vehicle ornament is the Sandcrawler.

The "Sandcrawler" was seen early in A New Hope (reviewed here!). The Sandcrawler was seen on Tatooine. It was the vehicle that picked up C-3PO and R2-D2 in the desert and carried them to the Skywalker moisture farm. Interestingly, for the iconic nature of the sandcrawler, it was only seen for a little bit of time in one Star Wars film.

It is the Sandcrawler vehicle on its own that is the subject of the 2014 Sandcrawler Hallmark ornament.


The "Sandcrawler" ornament faithfully recreates the Sandcrawler on its own. The ornament, released in 2014, is an impressive work of sculpted detailing and craftsmanship. Measuring four inches long, 2" wide and 1 1/2" wide, this Hallmark Keepsake ornament still seemed a little pricy at the original issue price of $29.95.

The Hallmark "Sandcrawler" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has a Sandcrawler without any desert ground underneat the treads. The ornament is colored in more than just simple monotones, so the Sandcrawler looks like a weathered vehicle working in the real world. The copper and browns of the vehicles sides contrast beautifully with the gunmetal of the treads.

The Sandcrawler is extraordinarily detailed with such fine work as the window in the upper portion of the side of the Sandcrawler. Near the top, front, of the Sandcrawler is the windshield that seems like it would give Jawas there a view out the front of the vehicle. The windshield on this toy is opaque, black, and the glossy finish which contrasts nicely with the matte finish of the rest of the Sandcrawler and gives it a realistic look.


The "Sandcrawler" ornament has the bonus feature of a sound effect! Unlike some ornaments that light up, the stark nature of the Sandcrawler prevents the vehicle from being adorned with much in the way of light effects. As a result, there are no diodes that emit light and, in fact, this ornament does not plug into a light strand.

On the back of the ornament, there is a simple button. Pressing the button activates a sound chip. The ornament plays several seconds of sound effects out a small speaker on the ornament. The sound effects are the noises of the Sandcrawler, dialogue from C-3PO when he finds R2-D2, 3PO’s famous “We’re doomed” line and the sound of a gonk droid.

The sound function is powered by three small 1.5V batteries (watch batteries), which are included. The batteries seem to hold out for at least fifty activations of the ornament, which I figure is a season or two of entertainment from this ornament.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Sandcrawler" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Wars Christmas Tree, the "Sandcrawler" ornament is a pretty wonderful accent piece. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top center of the Sandcrawler. As a result, the ornament, when affixed to a tree with a hook, hangs perfectly balanced from that loop.

This ornament has very little sway, as well; with the standard fishhook-style ornament hanger, the "Sandcrawler" ornament has a little bit of side to side play, but otherwise, the ground hangs nicely level, maintaining the illusion that the vehicle is traveling over level ground.


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, Hallmark has branched out into other serious franchises like Star Wars and Harry Potter. Hallmark Keepsake ornaments tend to be mass produced and the "Sandcrawler" ornament seems to be following in that trend. As a result, it is a harder sell at full retail price, but given the popularity of Star Wars, whether or not this will appreciate in value. Either way, at the moment it seems to not be a sell-out at all.


Fans of A New Hope, Jawas and Sandcrawlers will likely enjoy the 2014 Star Wars vehicle ornament, but for the price it might be a tougher sell to general ornament enthusiasts. Regardless of the price, the Sandcrawler is an amazingly-sculpted, colored and balanced ornament with a neat sound clip worth picking up!

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
2012 TIE Interceptor
2013 All Terrain Scout Transport (AT-ST)


For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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