Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Where's The Sound? The 2016 BB-8 Star Wars Ornament Leaves Fans Wanting!

The Good: Good sculpt and balance, Good coloring
The Bad: Expensive, Lack of sound function
The Basics: The Star Wars: The Force Awakens BB-8 Hallmark ornament is a nice, but not perfect, addition to the Star Wars ornament line!

Fans of Star Wars must be causing Hallmark some sense of anxiety at the corporate level. After all, every year, Hallmark releases a character ornament from their Star Wars line of ornaments as part of a regular, numbered production run, but then there is usually at least one additional character ornament produced as well. This year, I actually found myself considering that when the BB-8 ornament was released. BB-8 is the perfect style of ornament for having a sound function, but the 2016 Hallmark ornament does not have one. As a result, it is basically the same style, pricing and quality of the numbered ornaments, which are up to their 20th in the series this year. To me, this begged the question of "Why not release BB-8 in 2017 as the 21st ornament in the series?!" The two answers that come quickest to mind are that Hallmark wants to make more money this year and that with the plethora of characters from the (now) seven Star Wars films, Hallmark is desperately trying to produce as many as possible before fans either die off or lose interest in collecting the ornaments. Regardless, BB-8 was produced as a second character ornament without any flourish and for an ornament based upon a very easy-to-adapt physical and digital model, it is tremendously disappointing that the ornament does not have a sound function, especially for the price.

BB-8 is a new-release Hallmark ornament that is not part of the usual numbered series of Star Wars character ornaments. For those unfamiliar with it, BB-8 is the new droid featured prominently in The Force Awakens (reviewed here!). Lost by Poe Dameron, BB-8 is found by Rey and when Finn finds them together, the adventure takes all three off-planet and headed across the galaxy. BB-8 supposedly holds the vital information needed to help the Resistance find Luke Skywalker in hiding!

It is BB-8, droid on its own, that is the subject of the additional ornament.


The BB-8 ornament recreates the droid on its own in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2016, is the sidekick that is essentially one ball with a half-sphere atop it for a head! Hallmark charged $15.95 for the ornament originally and it is somewhat unsurprising that, lacking a sound or light function, it has not sold out at any of the Hallmark shops I have stopped at.

The Hallmark BB-8 ornament is made of a durable plastic and it is well-sculpted. BB-8 is a new droid that is an adaptive, mobile ball that rolls around, while still managing to keep its head level atop the sphere that moves it. The detailing on the BB-8 ornament is impressive; the panels, eyes and antennae are sculpted into the body and head and look amazing. For such a simple character sculpt, Hallmark made certain to get the surface detailing absolutely right.

In a similar fashion, BB-8 is incredibly detailed on the coloring front. The whites for the droid are somewhat weathered and the oranges are vibrant and clear. The eyes feature glossy paint and the silvers are clearly metallic, though without a shine to them. In other words, the BB-8 ornament looks exactly like the droid in the film did!


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, BB-8 could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but does not. This is just an ornament, a comparatively high-priced ornament compared to other Star Wars character ornaments. This is BB-8 and it simply hangs on the tree.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake BB-8 ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Wars Christmas Tree, BB-8 is pretty much essential, at least for fans who are willing to accept the whole new Trilogy before it is finished, but it remains a tougher sell than it ought to be given its lack of a sound chilp, which many other Star Wars character ornaments have. The ornament has a steel hook loop embedded into the top center of the droid's head. From that hook, the BB-8 ornament hangs perfectly level.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally 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 BB-8 ornament is not at all limited and does not appear to be selling out anywhere anytime soon. As a result, I suspect that the BB-8 ornament will be available on clearance some places before it starts to appreciate noticeably in the secondary market.


Like most Star Wars ornaments, BB-8 has nothing to do with the Christmas holiday and this ornament is incredibly well-sculpted, well-colored and well-balanced, which put it ahead of a number of ornaments this year. Even lacking a sound function, BB-8 is a Star Wars ornament worth picking up!

For other Hallmark ornaments of Star Wars characters, please check out my reviews of:
2016 Han Solo The Force Awakens
2015 Captain Phasma The Force Awakens
2015 Kylo Ren The Force Awakens
2015 C-3PO and R2-D2
2015 Admiral Ackbar (Limited Edition)
2014 Yoda Peekbuster Ornament
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 the Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

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