Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Cleverly-Constructed Cashgrab, The 2016 Imperial Stormtrooper Ornament Impresses!

The Good: Excellent sculpt, Wonderful detailing, Cool sound clip, Good balance
The Bad: Very expensive!
The Basics: The Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is surprisingly cool, even if Hallmark charges quite a bit for it!

It seems like every year, Star Wars fans have more ornaments that Hallmark produces for them. Given that all of the main characters have been produced in ornament form, along with many of the significant scenes from Star Wars have been rendered as well, the Star Wars ornament line is now being fleshed out with repeats of prior characters and some obscure characters - like those from Star Wars: Rebels. This year, Hallmark has released the first helmet ornament in order to try to get another $17.95 out of Star Wars collectors.

The Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is the first in a new series of helmet ornaments from Star Wars. Fans of the original Star Wars Trilogy (reviewed here!) will easily recognize the helmet of the classic Imperial Stormtrooper. Hallmark captures the Imperial Stormtrooper's helmet, in ornament form all on its own, without the rest of a Stormtrooper's armor attached.


The Imperial Stormtrooper ornament recreates the helmet alone in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2016, is the iconic white Imperial Stormtrooper helmet on its own. Hallmark managed to get $17.95 originally for this ornament and it is selling very slowly locally, which might well mean it is not catching on with collectors . . . or they are feeling burned by having so many Star Wars ornaments to buy this year. This helmet ornament is 2 3/4" tall, 2 1/4” wide and 2 1/2” deep.

The Hallmark Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the helmet alone. The sculpt is entirely accurate to what the helmets look like in the Star Wars Saga. The sculpt is hardly a difficult one to get right given how iconic and how many models there are for the Stormtrooper helmets (including digital models).

What is impressive is how detailed the coloring is on the Imperial Stormtrooper. While the Imperial Stormtrooper helmets seem like they would be simple to get right on the coloring front, the helmets are not simply white and black. There are veins on the side of the helmet's bottom that are gray and front pieces have different shades of silver-gray and black to accent the various parts of the helmet. Hallmark gets the detailing absolutely right on the Imperial Stormtrooper helmet!


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the Imperial Stormtrooper comes with a sound function. On the back of the helmet ornament is a rather obtrusive and obvious button (why didn't Hallmark put it on the underside of the helmet?!). When the button is pushed, the Imperial Stormtrooper ornament plays clips of Stormtroopers speaking from A New Hope. The dialogue clips are cool, distinctive, and instantly recognizable . . . and they are from the original Star Wars audio track, not the Temuera Morrison re-recorded versions. The ornament is powered by watch batteries (which are included) and the (at least) five audio clips are loud enough to be heard clearly whenever the button is pressed.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Wars Christmas Tree, the Imperial Stormtrooper helmet ornament is very much a luxury. The top of the ornament has a steel hook loop that allows the ornament to be attached to a hook, from which it may hang on a tree. From the hook loop, the ornament hangs perfectly level and balanced.


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 Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is very common and given that there at least three other Stormtrooper ornaments, it is a tough sell to get collectors to shell out again on this new style.

This is not a great investment piece and it is unlikely to appreciate for quite some time, if ever. Given how far in advance Hallmark produces the Star Wars ornaments, it would be unsurprising if fans are given another helmet option regardless of the success (or lack thereof) of the Imperial Stormtrooper helmet ornament.


The Imperial Stormtrooper ornament is a mediocre idea but it was executed so well that it is hard not to recommend. As Hallmarks move toward their clearance time, this is one of the essential Star Wars ornaments to pick up at a deflated price!

For other random Star Wars ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2016 BB-8
2015 Darth Vader Peekbuster
2014 The Rise Of Lord Vader
2014 Lego Boba Fett
2006 AT-AT


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

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