Friday, December 19, 2014

An Annoying Concept Executed Very Well: The 2014 Yoda Peekbuster Ornament!

The Good: Great sculpt, Good sound effect, Most of the coloring.
The Bad: Monotones for the costume, Frontheavy, Sound clip plays poorly over time!
The Basics: The October Star Wars ornament release from Hallmark was a concept ornament in the form of the Yoda Peekbuster, which is pretty good . . . for what it is!

More than any other fandom that I have yet encountered, Star Wars fans seem to be the most receptive to concept figures and designs. For those unfamiliar with the terminology, concept figures are toys that are based upon original designs or ideas insinuated in, but not a part of, what is considered to be the canon of the franchise. Concept Star Wars figures include the likes of Bastila Shan (reviewed here!), a character who only appeared in the Star Wars novels and comic books. Hallmark has been expanding their ornament line in Star Wars and as they reach the end of their canonized characters, ships and situations, they have gotten creative. This year, Hallmark released a LEGO Boba Fett ornament (reviewed here!) and in October, they put out the Yoda Peekbuster ornament. When it comes to Star Wars, it is hard to go wrong with Yoda, Darth Vader and Boba Fett when testing the waters and because last year saw the emergence of the Darth Vader Peekbuster ornament, it is somewhat unsurprising that Yoda was next.

Yoda Peekbuster is a late-release Star Wars Hallmark character ornament that features a motion sensor and a series of unique sound clips designed to startle and delight those who come near it . . . and the presents it is set beside to guard! Based upon Yoda from the original Star Wars Trilogy, the Yoda Peekbuster looks like Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back (reviewed here!), save that he is on a snowy base with presents and cloaked in a Santa outfit, instead of being cast on the swamps of Dagobah.


The Yoda Peekbuster ornament recreates the alien Jedi in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2014, is the small creature staring outward, perhaps judgmentally, while wearing an incongruently festive Santa Claus outfit. Yoda is cast standing on a white snow-like base. He is wearing a red Santa hat and red Santa robe and leaning on his gimmer stick with his left hand while slightly extending his right. This Yoda ornament is just over 3 1/2" tall, 2 1/2" wide and 1 3/4" deep. Hallmark charged $19.95 for the ornament originally and I suspect I can still find it because that price is just a little steep for some people.

The Hallmark Yoda Peekbuster ornament is made of a durable plastic and has him holding his gimmer stick, standing amid presents with a noticeable Rebel insignia on one! He is the green-skinned humanoid originally embodied by a puppet. The ornament is molded with a decent amount of detailing. The character has the brow lines, toenails and fingernails that helped give Yoda more definition than the average puppet back in the day. The Santa outfit is molded to look like it has puffy fringe on the hat, cuffs, and bottom.

The coloring detail on Yoda Peekbuster is unfortunately erratic. Yoda himself is rendered and painted with such a level of detailing that he almost looks like a CG model could be made from him. The nooks and crannies on the characters face and the coloring of his nails and eyes are live-action quality and Hallmark has a lot to be proud of with that. Unfortunately, the costume and presents are colored in simple monotones. The result is incongruent; Yoda looks real, but enrobed in a perfectly clean costume that lacks the same level of realistic depth and shading.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Yoda Peekbuster has a sound chip but no light effect. When turned on, the Yoda Peekbuster is a motion-activated ornament. When it senses movement in the field before it, the Yoda Peekbuster speaks one of five admonishments to the person making the movement. Yoda calls out about how looking at presents early is not the way of the Jedi and how those who take presents early will be caught! The voice is close-enough to Frank Oz’s Yoda to make one believe they are being yelled at by Yoda!


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Yoda Peekbuster ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Wars Christmas Tree, the Yoda Peekbuster is very much a luxury which is likely to appeal only to the die-hard collectors or those who want to freak out their geeky children! This ornament has a steel hook loop embedded into the top center of the back of Yoda’s hat. From that hook, the Yoda Peekbuster ornament hangs noticeably downward. The ornament sways when rocked, but it is frontheavy, a fact accented by the slope of the base upon which Yoda stands.


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 (reviewed here!). Since then, they have branched out into other popular franchises like Star Wars and The Wizard Of Oz. The Yoda Peekbuster ornament is not as limited as many other Star Wars ornaments and has not appreciated in the secondary market yet, which makes sense because many Hallmark stores still have him on their shelves. At this point in the Star Wars ornament collections, fans are either sticking with what they know or accepting concept ornaments like the Peekbuster and LEGO Star Wars ornaments. I suspect that the novelty of this ornament will wear thin with people other than just myself and that it will be a while before it appreciates in value, especially because of its hefty initial price.


Untike most Star Wars ornaments, the Yoda Peekbuster has a lot to do with the Christmas holiday, but because the Star Wars Universe is not set in a place and time that would logically accept such a holiday, the ornament is a crapshoot with the fans. But, because concept figures go over so well with Star Wars fans and because there is some novelty and quality to it, I very lightly recommend the Yoda Peekbuster ornament to the open-minded collectors.

For other Hallmark ornaments of Star Wars characters, please check out my reviews of:
2014 Imperial Scout Trooper
2013 Jango Fett
2013 Wicket And Teebo
2013 Lego Yoda
2013 Boushh Limited Edition
2012 Lego Imperial Stormtrooper
2012 Sith Apprentice Darth Maul
2012 General Grievous
2012 Momaw Nadon Limited Edition
2011/2012 Lego Darth Vader
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
2000 Darth Maul
1999 Max Rebo Band mini-ornament set
1998 Princess Leia


For other holiday ornaments, please check out my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

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