- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Here’s a selection of top gift ideas for “Star Wars” fans in the family.

Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper (Hasbro, $29.99, includes 2 AA batteries, for ages 4 and older) – The Empire’s most-abused soldier class gets an homage via a 12-inch-tall action figure loaded with lights and sound. Encased in its familiar fearsome white armor, this fellow sports three points of articulation and has onboard motion sensors and an accelerometer to react to various movements.

For example, press his belt to wake him up and hear “reporting for duty commander.” Attach a standard issue blaster in his hand and shake him as though firing a shot and hear the classic “Star Wars” laser sound effect as well as “take that, you rebels” or “the Empire will always win” with even an explosion afterward.

Attach the jetpack, hold him horizontal and sounds mimic him taking flight and whooshing around a play area as a child swings the figure while he emotes “let’s take this fight to the sky.”

Best of all, drop him from a safe distance to a carpeted floor and hear that cry of anguish often heard by his brethren during the movies as they take one for the Imperial team.

A chest logo of the Imperial symbol also lights up in different colors depending if the figure has the jetpack attachment on his back, is holding a blaster, or his fists are thrust forward.

Hasbro promises over 65 vocal or sound effects for the Stormtrooper, but parents will appreciate the handy shut-off button.

Big-Figs Death Trooper (Jakks Pacific, $34.99, for ages 3 and older) – Fans looking to really appreciate “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” in their homes will not be disappointed when presented with an impressive, 31-inch-tall action figure.

This three-dimensional, generously sized, hard-plastic masterpiece captures the Imperial Intelligence elite soldier in shiny black armor and menacing helmet with translucent visor.

He wields a massive, silver-tipped variant of an E-11 blaster rifle attached to his hand, and with six points of articulation, he can turn his head, twist his torso and lift his arms to get into position and guard a bedroom or entertainment area.

Equally impressive is Jakks’ 20-inch-tall line of figures that includes a K-2SO droid ($19.99) and “Rogue One” heroine Jyn Erso ($19.99). Jyn features five points of articulation, a holster and removable blaster as well as a facial sculpt fairly close to Felicity Jones, the actress portraying her.

Death Star Popcorn Maker (Pangea Brands, $49.99) – The most-feared weapon in the Empire’s arsenal now focuses its firepower on exploding popcorn kernels for a tasty treat.

This roughly 12-inch-in-diameter, hot-air popper offers 1,100 degrees of heat in five-minute intervals to deliver roughly eight cups of popcorn with a half cup of kernels added to its base.

The coolest feature is that half of the battle station also acts as a lap-sized container for the finished popcorn. And, best of all, reattach the cover and it becomes an impressive model of the Death Star, perfect for display in a “Star Wars” collection.

Gift-givers enamored with the massive space station may also want to consider the Death Star Waffle Maker (Pangea Brands, $39.99), which has five heat settings and delivers circular-shaped waffles imprinted with the Empire’s weapon of mass destruction.

Rebel U-Wing Fighter (Hasbro, $49.99, for ages 4 and older) – A scaled-down version of one of the spaceships seen in the upcoming movie “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” allows a child to role-play with the Rebellion.

This 21-inch-long, blue-striped starfighter features adjustable wings to switch between flight and battle action modes; landing gear; an opening canopy; and a retractable, dart-firing cannon (two Nerf darts included). Best of all, it’s painted out of the box, and no stickers required.

Owners also get a 3.75-inch version of Captain Cassian Andor to pilot the craft. The action figure has six points of articulation and includes a blaster and holster.

For added multimedia fun, download the “Star Wars Studio FX” app for a smartphone or tablet (iTunes and Google Play) to capture a video diorama incorporating the toy.

In this case, shoot at least five seconds of video of the stationary fighter and embellish the surrounding with virtual explosions from an ion cannon, a Stormtrooper firing his blaster, a foot stomp from an AT-ACT walker or a hologram of Princess Leia just to name a few effects.

Make videos and collect points to unlock almost 50 effects and even scan a barcode off the U-Wing instructions to access a strafing scene and amass more points.

Princess Leia (Underground Toys, $12.99, includes 3 LR44 button cell batteries, for ages 3 and older) – This 9-inch-tall, plush doll allows owners to hug one of the key leaders of the Rebellion. Sporting the famed bun hairdo and holding a blaster, the doll arrives dressed in the character’s familiar white ensemble from the film “Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope.”

Push its chest, and (with the voice of Leia actress Carrie Fisher, no less) the princess says, “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You are my only hope.” Other plush dolls from the collection include Chewbacca, Yoda, Darth Vader, Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett.


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