Last Thursday I headed to Disney’s London HQ to play with most of the new Star Wars toys, before purchasing a good deal of them just after midnight to continue said research in the comfort of my own home.
Below are the findings of said research.
This list contains some pretty expensive Star Wars toys, but there has to be a place for the humble 3.75-inch action figure ($9.99/£9.99).
I mean, this is where it all began and it still underpins the entire range.
Like many action figures currently on the market, each Star Wars figure comes with a component of a weapon which can be assembled if you buy all three characters within a particular ‘Mission Theme’.
There are more detailed, more expensive Force Awakens figures out there, but Hasbro’s entry-level option shouldn’t be overlooked.
Micro Machines are back, with new vehicles and play sets. Vehicles are going to be sold in blind bags as well as themed vehicles packs, which cover The Force Awakens as well as the Original and Prequel trilogies.
But the best items in the Micro Machines range are the themed playsets. Each character or ship opens up to reveal a self-contained playset inspired by the a location in the movie. There are four in total: Star Destroyer, Millennium Falcon, R2-D2 and a First Order Stormtrooper.
Playsets range from £22.99/$19.99 to £44.99/$39.99.
Nerf has released a range of Star Wars-themed weapons, and the pick of the bunch is definitely Chewie’s Bowcaster. This isn’t just a themed-nerf gun – well, obviously it is – what I’m trying to say is it uses a real crossbow action to fire the nerf darts distances up to 65 feet.
The Falcon is definitely the pick of the two, It’s a quadcopter, based on the same technology as Air Hogs’ well-received Helix X4. The X-Wing has ducted fans, and requires more space and probably a much more experienced RC pilot.
Each one has a range of phrases taken from The Force Awakens, and these figures are our first chance to hear these characters talk.
I was lucky enough to interview Ren, and you can hear what he had to say in the video below (possible spoilers):
He wouldn’t shut up.
Kylo Ren’s lightsaber was arguably the most enduring and debated image of the first Force Awakens trailer, and now you can buy at several different price points. Below is the entry level model, but you can pay a little more if you want to buy into Hasbro’s customizable ‘BladeBuilders’ experiment, which allows lightsabers to be broken down into components and recombined to create new and distinctive weapons.
And if you have the money to spare, there’s a Force FX version which comes in at £219.99/£199.99.
You can also see the cheaper replica of Ren’s lightsaber in action and hear it snarl in the short video below:
I realise the middle section of this list is a bit of a Kylo Ren love-in, but for £20.95/$24.95, this Kylo Ren mask is seriously good. The mask attaches over the head with a harness that can be adapted for most head sizes. (I’ve got a really big head and it fits me comfortably.)
But in addition to the mask, which is fairly detailed with various bumps and depressions, it comes with a hood that conceals a lot of the illusion-breaking straps and switches.
The voice changer isn’t that great, mainly just adding some fuzz onto your muffled speech, but the recorded Ren dialogue isn’t bad and includes some cool snippets of dialogue.
And when you’re not wearing it, Kylo Ren’s head doubles-up nicely as a decorative item/conversation starter.
The are seven new LEGO sets specifically tied to The Force Awakens, ranging from Rey’s Speeder to the Millennium Falcon. They’re all really good, featuring a great deal of interactivity and action-points for a LEGO set, but we’re picking the Millennium Falcon.
Take a closer look at the Falcon and all the other LEGO sets by swiping through the gallery below:
It comes with 6 mini-figs and BB-8, and features a huge number of small details for Star Wars fans to appreciate. The design’s really elegant too, with the Falcon opening up like a flower to reveal the interior, which is essentially a huge play set. There’s hidden compartments, turret stations, and even a Holochess set. It’s also the only place right now where you can get a figure of Han Solo in The Force Awakens.
Revealed during the 18-hour live stream, the Elite series is a new range of highly-detailed, die-cast figures exclusive to the Disney Store.
Prior to now, Hasbro’s Black Series was the go-to range if you wanted a more detailed action figure without straying into the dangerous realm of high-end collectibles.
The Elite Series hasn’t supplanted the Black Series, which also has its own versions of Rey, Finn, Ren, and more, but with its detail and reassuring build quality, it’s a very enticing alternative. What’s more, Disney will be releasing more figures in the range, including classic characters, in the run-up to The Force Awakens.
Unsurprisingly, BB-8 by Sphero sits at the top of this list. But once you’ve met or seen the little fella in action, it’s difficult to argue otherwise.
Yes, it’s essentially a remote-controlled toy, but yet that doesn’t quite do it justice. This is the closest you can get to owning your very own droid. In fact, the best moments come when you’re not in control, and BB-8 reacts spontaneously, turns his head towards you in surprise, or you tell him ‘It’s a trap!’ and he dashes into the kitchen.
In terms of technology, there’s much less going on, but this BB-8 does have certain advantages: it doesn’t require a smart phone (it comes with its own wireless controller), creates its own sound effects (Sphero’s sound effects are pumped out of the paired smart device), and it’s much bigger and has a more worn, scuffed appearance in keeping with what we’ve seen of BB-8 in the movie. It’s a bit more wobbly and a lot less authentic in comparison, but it’s still a decent option.