Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Prelude To Rogue One Merchandise: The 2016 Death Trooper Ormament Impresses!

The Good: Amazing sculpt, Great balance, Good coloring
The Bad: Expensive!
The Basics: The first Hallmark ornament from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the new Death Trooper and it lives up to all the hype!

Right now, there are no films I am more excited about than the impending release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (there is a special review of the trailer here!). The collectibles market has been abuzz as the film's release gets closer with new releases that are related to Rogue One and even Hallmark is getting in on the action! As with last year before The Force Awakens hit theaters when Hallmark did November and December ornament releases from that film, this year, Rogue One is getting ornament treatment before the film's release. Smartly, Hallmark is starting with a new, generic Imperial soldier ornament in the form of the 2016 Death Trooper ornament.

The Death Trooper is a new-release Hallmark ornament that is not part of the usual numbered series of Star Wars character ornaments. Death Trooper is well-sculpted, well-colored, well-balanced, but is more expensive than the regular Star Wars ornament releases, even though it is in the generally same scale as them.

Hallmark has the Death Trooper, masked in black Stormtrooper armor, carrying an awesome blaster rifle, in an action pose.


The Death Trooper ornament recreates the villain who wields a new style of powerful-looking blaster rifle in a two-handed grip in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2016, is the currently unfamiliar adversary in black armor, with an additional blaster pistol secure on his belt! Death Trooper in ornament form is 4 5/8" tall, 2 1/2" wide and 3 1/4" deep, making it one of the biggest Star Wars character ornaments Hallmark has ever made. Hallmark charged $17.95 for the ornament originally and it has sold-out from the November release at several of the Hallmark stores I have been to already!

The Hallmark Death Trooper ornament is made of a durable plastic and it is well-sculpted. Death Trooper is basically a new-style of Stormtrooper in imposing black armor and bearing an incredible-looking new weapon. The Death Trooper's armor is expertly sculpted and the ornament includes pretty incredible detailing on the hands, like the extended right hand's trigger finger which is on the blaster rifle's trigger and what appears to be additional charges on the character's abdomen.

The Death Trooper is very light on any coloring details, which makes sense for a stormtrooper-like character. The armor is colored in monotones and the armor is almost universally, monotonally black. The black is glossy and a very different color from the blaster rifle, which is gray and actually looks more weathered near the end of the muzzle, so it looks much more like a practical weapon than the firearms on most of the Hallmark Star Wars ornaments! There are additional coloring accents on the eyes, belt and firearm, so it is not at all monolithic.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the Death Trooper 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 a new Death Trooper and it simply hangs on the tree.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Death Trooper ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Wars Christmas Tree, the Death Trooper might be essential (we don't yet know how important the Death Troopers will be in the expanded Star Wars and Rogue One films), but it certainly looks awesome. Die-hard collectors and fans will definitely want one, if for no other reason than it's Star Wars and it is from the new Rogue One corner of the Star Wars franchise! The ornament has a steel hook loop embedded into the top back of the character's back between the shoulder blades, just below the helmet. From that hook loop, the hook may be comparatively hidden! From that hook, the Death Trooper ornament hangs perfectly level.


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 Death Trooper ornament is somewhat limited and has the potential to quickly appreciate, save that it has a pretty steep original release price.

Given that there is so much new Star Wars merchandise from The Force Awakens and now Rogue One a lot of fans are feeling the budget crunch. Despite that, the inherent quality of the Death Trooper ornament is high and it seems like it would be a solid investment piece for collectors.


Like most Star Wars ornaments, Death Trooper has nothing to do with the Christmas holiday and this ornament is incredibly well-sculpted, well-colored and well-balanced. For those who can find it, it is well worth picking up!

For other Hallmark ornaments of Star Wars characters, please check out my reviews of:
2016 BB-8 The Force Awakens
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

This is an item I proudly sell in my online store! To order one, please check them out here!


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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