Welcome to the first in a series of toy reviews covering the absolute best toys of 2015! Today I examine the Air Hogs Star Wars RC Ultimate Millennium Falcon, which is a very cool Star Wars themed quadcopter. Experience what it’s like to be Han Solo himself (or Chewbacca, if you prefer) as you pilot your very own Millennium Falcon starship all over your back yard! Keep on reading for full details of this fun little flier.
My first impression of the Falcon upon receiving the package was that it was a lot smaller than I had expected. From the photos I had seen, I expected it to be approximately 3 times as large as it was. But this wasn’t really a disappointment. After all, smaller means lighter, and this lightness helps the Falcon to fly quite nicely. As you’ll also notice in the photo at right, the Falcon is mostly constructed from high density, yet lightweight and durable, impact resistant Styrofoam. This isn’t the same stuff you’ll find steak sitting in at your local grocery store. It’s actually very tough, meaning that if your Falcon gets bumped and banged around a bit during her run-ins with Galactic Destroyers, she’ll probably come out of the ordeal with nary a scratch. I’ve proved this out time and time again while testing the Falcon myself.
One of the nicest things about this mini Millennium Falcon is the moulded in detail that covers its every surface. Look closely and you’ll see details like vents, hatches, pipes, wires, various housings, weapons, and anything else that the real Falcon might possess. This detailing definitely adds authenticity to the toy, and I’m really quite impressed with the level of intricacy achieved here. As for some of the other key considerations for those thinking of picking up one of these Falcons, I’ve charted several of them below in a question and answer format.
Charting the Key Considerations
|How much set up time is required?||There is no set up time whatsoever required here, only a battery charging time of less than 1 hour (which then provides several minutes of flying time).|
|What type & quantity of batteries does the Falcon use?||The Falcon requires 6 AA batteries (not included) and 1 built-in rechargeable Li-Po battery (included).|
|What are the mobility (& range) characteristics of the Falcon?||The Falcon is a standard miniature quadcopter with the exterior design of Han Solo’s infamous Millennium Falcon Starship. It can fly at a range of up to 250+ feet.|
|Does the Falcon feature any special lights & sounds?||The Falcon has a good range of light and sound effects, including 2 white LED lights in the front, a solid blue bar of LED light across the back end of the ship, & various authentic (as in they come from the films) flying sounds.|
|What is the suggested age range of the Falcon?||This toy is meant for those aged 10 and up (manufacturer recommended age), and I personally agree that this is an appropriate age range for the toy. Also, there’s certainly no upper age limit for this one!!|
|How much of a WOW factor (on a 0-5 scale) does the Falcon have?||
On the WOW scale, the Falcon gets a solid 4.5 from me, meaning that it is a pretty awesome (though not entirely perfect) item!
Testing & Play
In testing the Air Hogs Falcon, I have found that it flies exactly like any of the (many) other quadcopters I have tested. As is typical of these machines, I found the controls to be fairly sensitive. It doesn’t take much extra pressure on the upward thrust lever to send the Falcon soaring extremely high in the air. Its range is meant to be roughly 250 feet from the controller, but the signal on my test unit is very strong and I believe that there’s a real possibility of going even further away than that. I have mostly confined my testing to a large indoor garage to prevent loss of the copter (if you watch my short demo video below you’ll understand what I mean).
I’ve also found that the Falcon flies very evenly. And it looks absolutely amazing in the air. With the LED lights going, it looks about as much like the real Millennium Falcon as you could ever expect. There’s even a hyperspace mode (for trying to outrun the empire)! All in all, the Falcon has performed very favorably during testing and I have enjoyed it quite a bit more than other copters I’ve used in the past. I think this is directly related to the Falcon’s status as Han Solo’s starship. After all, it’s always been easy to play as Luke Skywalker or Obi Wan Kenobi—all you need is something to mimic a lightsaber. But even when playing at Star Wars as a kid, there was something rather inaccessible about the Han Solo and Chewbacca characters when engaging in role playing scenarios. Solo only ever wielded a light sword when carving up Luke’s Tauntaun for warmth, and that doesn’t exactly have the same appeal to a child as a lightsaber dual with Darth Vader or General
For & Against
[I’ve decided to include a short section called “For & Against” to my forthcoming toy reviews. Here I’ll simply offer (in my own opinion, of course) the single most important factor in favour of (as well as against) the toy in question.]
The single feature that most recommends the Air Hogs Millennium Falcon is its obvious tie in to the Star Wars universe. Were this merely another of the numerous mini quadcopters that currently flood the market, it wouldn’t really stand out from the crowd in any special way. Don’t get me wrong—this is as fine a mini quadcopter as I have ever tested, but it would still just be another of the largely undifferentiated drones out there. What makes this specific model special is the fact that it is a Star Wars spaceship—and Han Solo’s ship at that! It’s really about time that Star Wars fans and drone enthusiasts had a nice crossover product, and the Ultimate Millennium Falcon succeeds brilliantly in giving them one.
The most significant factor (to me) that goes against any wish to own this toy has to do with scale. I can live with the fact that it’s not in scale with the standard 3.5 inch Star Wars figures that have thrived in toy stores since the late ’70s. After all, this Falcon is neither a play-set for figures to interact with, nor is it made by the same company as those figures. What really does bug me though is the fact that the Falcon isn’t even compatible (size wise) with the other Star Wars Air Hog fliers that are part of the same product line. Take a look at the image of the Falcon with the Air Hogs X-Wing fighter at right. Surely the falcon should be the larger of the 2 ships, yet it is only about half the size of the X-Wing. This is by no means a deal breaker for me, but it is rather disappointing. Of course, if I could change either of them, I’d make the X-Wing smaller rather than the Falcon bigger.
Examining the Video Evidence
Please check out my short introductory video of the Air Hogs Millennium Falcon…
Ultimately, whether or not you choose to pick up the Air Hogs Millennium Falcon largely depends on your interest, or lack thereof, in the Star Wars film franchise. Quite honestly, this is a toy that I highly recommended to anyone in either the Star Wars camp or the drone enthusiast camp. It operates as advertised & looks great while doing it. But, best of all, you finally get to BE the pilot of the iconic “hunk of junk.” After all, she’s the fastest one in the galaxy!
Be sure to check out the new Star Wars Hub here on the Plug-In blog for all of the latest info on Best Buy’s great selection of amazing new Star Wars toys. And, join me again very soon when I review the Air Hogs X-Wing Starfighter and many other cool toys (both Star Wars themed and otherwise). For now, may the force be with you!
Mini Gallery of Extra Photos