Lumberjack Nick’s Star Wars Holiday Gift Guide!
Have that special someone who loves Star Wars and you can’t tell the difference between a mynock and a dianoga? Fear not, below you can find my top Star Wars gift picks for this holiday season including some of the best Star Wars: The Force Awakens offerings!
Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars The Force Awakens X-Wing Miniature Core Set
The Hype: Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) has been killing it with their Star Wars table top/roll playing games over the past few years. FFG got the Star Wars license earlier this decade and haven’t looked back since, putting out several miniatures games, a “living card game”, as well as a much-celebrated narrative driven roll playing game. There’s something for everyone in FFG’s ever-expanding library of Star Wars games.
Though technically not allowed to put out a board game, FFG has found a work around by creating tabletop games that don’t actually use a technical board. I personally believe that limitations help promote creativity, and this is nowhere more evident with FFG’s X-Wing Miniature Game. As a The Force Awakens tie-in FFG surprised everyone by releasing a brand-new core set featuring ships and characters from the much-anticipated film this past Force Friday.
The Skinny: FFG’s X-Wing miniatures are simply put: Incredible. In fact, I am thoroughly surprised that Star Wars fans haven’t begun just collecting the miniatures for displaying even if they’re not into the game itself. All of the ships are in perfect scale to one another except for the “huge ships” (though I debate that they are not that far off). The paint jobs and washes are second to none. And the ships are so amazingly detailed that JJ Abrams could have saved money on building his practical effects and just bought FFG’s X-Wing miniatures to use in the The Force Awakens.
Bonus: The game is actually a lot of fun, and super addicting. Be warned though, if you buy your loved-one either of the core sets they WILL get “the hunger”. While the expansions only run roughly from $11.99-$15.99 for the small ships and $19.99-$29.99 for the large ships, as you can imagine the cost of the game adds up fast. And you will need to buy several expansions shortly after buying the core set as the core sets only include two TIE Fighters and one X-Wing. This is great for learning the basics of the game, but the real fun starts as you amass your own personal squad.
The Grade: A-
The core set is exciting as it gives us a glimpse into the new movie, but it does sort of feel like a retread of the original core set as it features, once again, two TIES and an X-Wing. Though I should state that these are not the same ships from the original core set as they boast upgraded specs. I give the over all X-Wing Miniatures game an A+++.
Honorable Mentions: Anything FFG, Star Wars or not. If your loved-one is more into the video game arena, then may I suggest EA’s Star Wars Battlefront for older gamers, and Disney’s Infinity 3.0 Edition Star Wars Saga Bundle for younger gamers? If you go with Star Wars Battlefront you might as well pick a copy of Del Rey’s in-canon Star Wars novel Battlefront: Twilight Company to help encourage less time in front of the screen, and more time reading. If you go with Disney’s Infinity, be ready to drop some cash collecting the rest of the game’s collectable figurines.
Hot Toys Sixth Scale Captain Phasma
The Hype: I cannot visit Hot Toy’s website without wanting to weep at the beauty of its figures. Hot Toys, a few years ago, finally were allowed to sell their products here in the USA, via Sideshow’s website (I love seeing two competing companies work so well together), and about a year or so ago got one-half of the Star Wars 1:6 scale figure license (the other half belonging to Sideshow). Now, Sideshow’s 1:6 figures make me want to weep as well, but it is Hot Toys that have pushed the limits of facial detail to a photo realistic, almost a creepy, level. While both companies have succeeded in creating armored figures that look identical to their onscreen counterparts, it is Hot Toys that stands out as the forerunner when it comes to maskless hero and villain figures.
The Captain Phasma figure is a shinning example of Hot Toys’ craftsmanship. Upon visiting their site at first you’ll believe you’re looking at new photos from The Force Awakens, and not piece of molded plastic. Captain Phasma is not only my top pick in the action figure category because of her superb detail, but also because she is the first female character I would actually cosplay as not in an ironic way (e.g. Slave Leia.)
The Skinny: She is ex-pan-sive. Hot Toys figures usually run at a higher cost than Sideshow’s figures, but at $249.99 she may be the only thing that special someone finds under their tree this year. And actually she is up for pre sale, meaning it may be next year’s Christmas tree she’s under. Be warned though, like FFG’s X-Wing miniatures, both Sideshow’s and Hot Toy’s figures are addictive. Unlike FFG’s X-Wing miniatures, you may need to take out that second mortgage on the house to afford a sizeable collection.
If you can afford it, and can justify the cost, then Captain Phasma, or any of the Sideshow/Hot Toy’s 1:6 scale figures will surely bring a shinning, Kit Fisto sized grin to your loved-one’s face.
The Grade: A+
Honorable Mentions: If something a little cheaper is more in the budget, or if you’re shopping for a younger collector, then Hasbro is a good alternative. Though I’ve personally been disappointed in Hasbro’s effort these past few years, many collectors have been excited about their dive into the 6” scale Black Series action figures. Their 5 points of articulation 3 ¾” scale figures are great for kids who do more playing with their toys and less setting them on the shelf to look at.
Pro-tip: Don’t just grab the first figure you see on the shelf. Inspect and compare the figure’s paint job. Hasbro’s shoddy paint application has been notorious as of late.
Disney’s Limited Edition Elite Series Die Cast Action Figures are a step above Hasbro’s 6” scale figures, though they run double the price (and quadruple the price on the secondhand market). Check out the Captain Phasma figure as a prime example of what these figures have to offer.
$179.99 (Amazon) The price has been fluctuating recently, but sometimes you can still get it at the lower $149.99
The Hype: And lastly, I’d be remiss to not mention the star of this holiday season. How perfect is it that Star Wars is not only getting a new movie this December, but one of its tie-in products is also the hottest toy on the scene this Christmas.
I think the biggest attraction to the Sphero BB-8 is a carry over from the wow-factor that we all had when we first saw BB-8 roll out onto the stage at Star Wars Celebration this past spring and all had the same collective thought, “How the bleep does that work?” Now to be given the chance to actually own a working version of the miracle of modern engineering that is BB-8, of course it’s going to fly off the shelves….then find its way onto ebay at an inflated cost.
The Skinny: My personal fear regarding the Sphero BB-8, though I don’t own one, is that the cost might out weight the novelty. Meaning, before you become swept up in BB-8 fever and drop nearly $200 dollars, stop and think how soon will this bad boy…ball find itself no longer the center of awestruck attention and instead find itself forgotten on a shelf collecting dust.
Don’t get me wrong-o, I’m definitely hoping to own one of these someday. Just someday after the prices drop and perhaps a 2.0 version is released, or even a working 1:6 scale version to sit next to my lonely Sideshow 1:6 R2-D2.
The Grade: B+
A definite buy if your loved-one is obsessed with remote controlled toys.
A Somewhat-Honorable Mention: Don’t get the Target Remote BB-8 confused with the Sphero BB-8. Though the Target version is much cheaper it’s nowhere near as cool unless your loved-one is a youngster and won’t know the difference.