Sunday, October 25, 2015

Not Emblematic, The 2015 Y-Wing Starfighter Star Wars Ornament Is, Eh, All Right.

The Good: Great rendering, Decent balance
The Bad: No light effect, Sound effect is not iconic, Low "wow" factor.
The Basics: The Y-Wing Starfighter is a technically-impressive, still underwhelming Star Wars Hallmark ornament.

For a change, this year, I don't envy Hallmark when it comes to its Star Wars ornament line. The Star Wars ornament line is usually a pretty reliable cash cow for Hallmark and they milk the hell out of the fans. This year is no exception to that with Star Wars fans having the usual ship and diorama ornaments, but instead of one character-based ornament (and the usual limited edition and convention exclusives!), this year Hallmark has a whopping four general release character ornaments for Star Wars fans! Where I don't envy Hallmark, though, is with their Star Wars vehicle ornament line. Hallmark has done a pretty admirable job of releasing every major ship in the Star Wars franchise in ornament form at this point (except, as is it turns out the Tantive IV blockade runner!) and for 2015 they were stuck churning out a starship ornament that was not at all iconic . . . because they couldn't release a ship ornament from The Force Awakens so early. This year, Hallmark released the Y-Wing Starfighter ornament and it's hard not to feel a little exploited as a fan. Sure, Hallmark wanted to make its $30 off Star Wars fans and the well was pretty dry, but it shows a pretty low regard for the fans when the products released are either unremarkable like the Y-Wing Starfighter ornament or recycled, like this year's C-3PO and R2-D2 ornament (reviewed here!), where both had already been the subject of prior years' solo ornaments!

All that said, the Y-Wing Starfighter ornament is generally well-rendered, but it's not a particularly exciting or impressive ship. It takes a real die-hard fan to geek out for even an immaculately sculpted piece of Y-Wing merchandise!

For those unfamiliar with the Y-Wing Starfighter, this is one of the many Rebel ships seen attacking the Death Star in A New Hope (reviewed here!). Not at all one of the indispensable ships of the Star Wars universe, the Y-Wing Starfighter was one of only two types of ships the Rebels used to attack the first Death Star, but none of them were manned by recognizable characters from the rest of the film (or franchise!).

Hallmark has the ship alone as the subject of the 2015 Y-Wing Starfighter ornament.


The "Y-Wing Starfighter" ornament faithfully recreates the Rebel vessel in fine detail on such things as the engine pods; the ornament is certainly recognizable. The ornament, released in 2015, is an impressive casting of the standard Rebel attack ship with its exceptionally simple paint job and a sound feature. Measuring five and three-quarters inches long, 3 1/4” wide and 1” tall, the Y-Wing Starfighter ornament fits the scale of the Star Wars ship ornament line. The $29.95 original issue price is high for an ornament without a light function, but it is what fans have come to expect to shell out for a ship ornament and Hallmark isn't giving those fans a break this year (though fans can easily find this one cheaper!).

The Hallmark "Y-Wing Starfighter" 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. The Y-Wing Starfighter is detailed incredibly, from the basic shape, which features the standard cockpit section attached to a main section and two engine nacelles that thrust back, so that when looked at from an overhead angle with the cockpit forward, it looks like a "Y." The engine nacelles feature surprisingly boning and Hallmark even molded the front cannons on in an appropriate scale and thinness. The cockpit is molded with the primary window in black opaque 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 generally accurate; this is a ship with colored racing stripes, but no visible wear, as if this Y-Wing came right off the Rebel assembly line.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the "Y-Wing Starfighter" has a sound function, no light one. Given how the Y-Wing Starfighter had noticeable engine lights, the lack of a light function is a little disappointing, but it's not surprising Hallmark opted not to do a light effect. Lights would have been hard to place correctly and, frankly, Hallmark knew it would make its money on the ornament anyway, so why try harder?! The vehicle is powered by two small watch batteries (which come with the ornament).

After the batteries are installed and the battery compartment is closed, there is a button hidden discretely on drive section. Pressing the button down, the sound clip begins to play. For several seconds, the Y-Wing Starfighter plays sounds from the attack on the Death Star. Various Y-Wing fighter pilots chime in and the vehicle's weapons sounds play. None of the sounds associated with the Y-Wing Starfighter are especially distinctive and memorable from the film.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Y-Wing Starfighter" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Wars Christmas Tree, one of the "Y-Wing Starfighter" ornaments is an entirely unnecessary addition, as none of the recognizable character were ever even seen near one of these vehicles. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top center of the vehicle’s drive section. From there, the Y-Wing Starfighter 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 (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas from properties like Star Wars, Harry Potter and Tron. The "Y-Wing Starfighter" ornament seems to be overproduced relative to the demand and The Force Awakens is not going to make new fans want to buy up this particular ornament. The result is that easy money is on waiting for after the holiday to buy this for anyone who absolutely must have every Star Wars ornament. There is no good reason to purchase it at full price; there should be adequate quantities left after the holidays to get it at least half-price!


The Y-Wing Starfighter is a perfectly molded and accurately colored, but it is expensive and hard to get excited about because it is far from an iconic or even interesting Star Wars vehicle - in the films or in ornament form!

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)
2014 Sandcrawler

7.5/10 (Not Recommended!)

For other ornament reviews, please check out my Ornament Review Index Page!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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