Monday, August 22, 2016

Banking On The Force Awakens, Hallmark Makes A Mediocre Star Wars Ornament With The 2016 T-70 X-Wing Fighter!

The Good: Good sculpt, Decent paint job, Good sound clips
The Bad: No light effect, Sound effects are not iconic, Expensive, Front-heavy.
The Basics: The T-70 X-Wing Fighter is a well-sculpted Star Wars ornament that still manages to underwhelm.

Hallmark took a year for Star Wars fans before making their Star Wars ornament line all about The Force Awakens. Most of the ornaments this year are focused on The Force Awakens and for the ship ornament, the ornament is Poe Dameron's T-70 X-Wing Fighter. The T-70 X-Wing Fighter is essentially a repaint of the classic X-Wing Fighter ornament with a new sound chip and while there may be a whole new generation of Star Wars fans starting collections based on The Force Awakens, as someone who is not a johnny-come-lately, the ornament feels much more like a cop-out than essential collectible. Then again, for all that was good in The Force Awakens, the film was not chock full of iconic new starships.

For those unfamiliar with the T-70 X-Wing Fighter, this is the Rebel ship seen attacking the Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens (reviewed here!). Not yet one of the indispensable ships of the Star Wars universe, the T-70 X-Wing Fighter was basically a black X-Wing fighter and there are almost no accents to this ornament that make it distinctly Poe Dameron's.

Hallmark has the ship alone as the subject of the 2016 T-70 X-Wing Fighter ornament.


The "T-70 X-Wing Fighter" ornament faithfully recreates the Rebel vessel in fine detail on such things as the X-Wing's laser cannons on the wings; the ornament is perfectly recognizable, arguably because the X-Wings were the most prevalent Rebel ship in the Star Wars Saga. The ornament, released in 2016, is an impressive casting of the standard Rebel attack ship with its exceptionally simple paint job and a sound feature. Measuring five inches deep, 4 3/8” wide and 1 3/4” tall, the T-70 X-Wing Fighter ornament fits the scale of the Star Wars ship ornament line. The $32.95 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 "T-70 X-Wing Fighter" 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 T-70 X-Wing Fighter is detailed incredibly, from the basic shape, which features the standard cockpit section attached to a main section and four wings, spread open to look like an "X" when viewed from the front. The central cockpit section is long and Hallmark even molded the wing 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 black ship yellow accents, but no visible wear, as if this X-Wing had not been in battle. The finest painted detailing are the dots on the droid's head that implies it is supposed to be BB-8 helping navigate the ship.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the "T-70 X-Wing Fighter" has a sound function, no light one. Given how the T-70 X-Wing Fighter had noticeable engine lights in the back, the lack of a light function is a little disappointing, but it's not surprising given the accuracy of the sculpt and size. Lights would have been hard to place correctly. 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, the droid on the top, center of the ship acts as a button to activate the sound clip. Pressing BB-8's head down, the sound clip begins to play. For several seconds, the T-70 X-Wing Fighter plays one of three sound clips, ranging from orders being barked out by Poe Dameron to the sounds of the ship's weapons systems firing. None of the sounds associated with the T-70 X-Wing Fighter are especially distinctive and memorable from the film, though they are all appropriate to the ship.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "T-70 X-Wing Fighter" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Wars Christmas Tree, the "T-70 X-Wing Fighter" ornaments is an entirely unnecessary addition, despite it being Poe Dameron's vehicle. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top center of the vehicle’s drive section. From there, the T-70 X-Wing Fighter is seriously unbalanced. The front is so much heavier than the back section, so it leans troublingly forward.


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 "T-70 X-Wing Fighter" ornament seems to be overproduced relative to the demand and The Force Awakens was pretty heavily over-merchandised long before Hallmark hit the marketplace with ornaments from the film. One suspects that thrifty collectors who absolutely must have every Star Wars ornament will be able to wait until after the holidays and get it on clearance. 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 T-70 X-Wing Fighter might be a repaint of Luke Skywalker's X-Wing fighter, but it looks and sounds good . . . but its unremarkable nature and the cost make it very tough to get excited about.

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
2015 Y-Wing Starfighter


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

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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