- The Washington Times - Monday, December 11, 2017

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

BB-8 2-In-1 Mega Playset (Hasbro, ages 4 and older, $199.99, requires 3 AAA and 3 AA batteries) — Perhaps the most immersive and coolest tech-enticing toy of Hasbro’s entire lineup tied to “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is a 17-inch-tall astromech droid statue that transforms into the jet black innards of a First Order’s Star Destroyer under attack by the Resistance.

When completely opened, the 24-wide, 21-inch-tall playset features four levels — Supreme Leader Snoke’s throne room, a hangar, control room and detention block — for owners to explore. Detailed areas include a garrison corridor, trap door, light-speed tracking room, catwalk, trash compactor and collapsing walkway.

SEE ALSO: Zadzooks 2017 Gift Guide for video game players

Buttons on main area activate sound and light effects — such as alarm noises with flashing red lights, blaster bursts and a tower that explodes off the set, revealing a noisy and illuminated crackling inferno. Also, when in BB-8 mode, a button on its noggin triggers some chirping and whirring sounds

The set also includes an interrogation chair, a missile-launching cannon and, best of all, a 4.5-inch-tall version of Snoke adorned in his gold robe, who can sit on his throne; and a 3.75-inch-tall version of one of his Elite Praetorian Guard with signature sword.

Now, here’s the real magic. The entire toy is “Force Link”-enabled, which means owners also get a roughly 7-inch-long device with a speaker to attach to their wrists that delivers authentic movie dialogue and sounds from the “Star Wars” universe when waved over parts of the playset or held next to the action figures.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Zadzooks 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

On the Destroyer, owners will hear a Stormtrooper say an accusatory “hey,” or “all troopers to their stations,” while the throne area offers a menacing Snoke voice, “I have been expecting you,” or the trash compactor area makes crunching noises.

Hold the included figures with the Force-Link active to hear from Snoke, “There has been an awakening,” or “Your emotions have made you weak,” or “The Resistance will soon be in our grasp,” or even “We will crush them once and for all.”

That Force-Link wristband also works on all of the other enabled 3.75-inch figures and scale vehicles in the collection, roughly 30 toys in total.

For example, hold the Luke Skywalker Jedi Master figure to hear “May the Force be with you,” or Rey says, “I feel the Force” with an activated lightsaber sound, or Poe Dameron’s “We’re gonna do this.” (each $7.99 each)

You can bet that the variety of voice and effects revealed will be a pretty astounding bonus for the young role player in the family.

Parents should be forewarned that they will need to apply about two dozen stickers to the set that may require hiring a microsurgeon due to some of the more hard-to-reach placements.

Big-Figs Rey (Jakks Pacific, $19.99, for ages 3 and older) – Padawans in need of a large dose of fun within the “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” universe will appreciate an impressive, 18-inch-tall action figure of its Force-welding heroine.

This small-hand friendly sized, hard-plastic representation of actress Daisy Ridley’s portrayal of Rey finds her dressed in a gray-and-dark-brown outfit seen during her training with Luke Skywalker.

Her garb features a brown, faux leather belt with holster (but no blaster included, rats), a diamond-patterned tunic (1/2 cloth), and a long grey scarf wrap (1/2 cloth).

The figure has 7-points of articulation (swivel arms, hands, head and legs) and comes with nicely detailed lightsaber once owned by the male Skywalkers with a blue translucent blade.

Gift givers will want to add the 18-inch version of a helmeted Kylo Ren with cloth cape and crossguard lightsaber ($19.99) to offer the perfect battle partner.

Endor Adventure (Hasbro, ages 4 and older, $34.99) — Part of the “Star Wars” Force of Destiny collection, this legendary leader of the Rebel Alliance, Gen. Leia Organa, empowers girls to role-play though an 11-inch-tall, doll-action set.

Offering a more animated than realistic facial sculpt of the heroine (based on the Disney YouTube channel cartoon series), the Barbie-like figure arrives out of the package dressed in her outfit, worn in the forests of the Ewok-infested Endor in the movie “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.”

Fans will remember that she worked with Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo to destroy an Imperial shield generator.

Highlights to the very poseable doll include realistic, braided and rooted hair; soft, easy-to-remove black plastic, creased boots; a greenish, hooded cloth tunic; blue cloth pants; a black plastic utility belt and holster (with removable blaster); and a scuffed-up helmet worn during her speeder bike chase.

Now, better yet, the set also offers a change of clothes. Specifically, the outfit Leia wore at the end of the movie, while in the Ewok village, to celebrate the destruction of the second Death Star. The soft brown cloth dress with faux cross-stitching has a brown belt, white sleeves and comes with braided sandals.

And, by the way, she also gets help from a 4-inch-tall, soft fur, hooded version of the Ewok Wicket who looks just like his onscreen counterpart. He wields a bow, arrow and spear and has just a pinch of articulation.

Without a doubt, young female Padawans will truly appreciate not only the detail but also the play potential afforded in this set.

Dark Prophecy (UltraSabers, $304, requires 4 AAA batteries included) — Hardcore Sith and Jedi Knights in the family now have a serious way to engage in battles with a collection of high-end, effects-loaded lightsabers.

UltraSabers, not affiliated with LucasFilm, offers a variety of built-to-order designs, featuring sizes from 16 to 40 inches long; blade colors ranging from fire orange to arctic blue; and a hilt style that captures just about any lightsaber featured in the “Star Wars” universe.

Each saber includes onboard motion- and button-based sound effects and full illumination of the blade. Sounds are ripped right from the films (from humming to whooshing as well as starting-up and powering-down noises) and are activated while the blade glows.

The blade is made of extremely durable white polycarbonate for rigorous workouts and can be set to look like it is crackling, when absorbing Force lightning, or sizzles when hitting another blade or object.

For a specific example of options, the 11-inch-long, flat black Dark Prophecy saber model (that may remind fans of a style wielded by Darth Revan) has a 36-inch, round tip blade that emits a purplish glow and flashes silver during strikes. It has a silver switch (with red illumination), a vented pommel and comes with a two-piece stand to showcase the hilt with the blade removed.

Although an expensive gift, it will truly allow fans to feel part of that galaxy, far, far away.

UltraSabers’ sabers prices start at $169 and go to upwards of over $400 depending on the features.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Deluxe Figure set (Disney Store, ages 3 and older, $24.95) — This exclusive collection of 10, 3.75-inch-tall, PVC plastic statues offers a great way to admire on a bedroom shelf or in a display case some of the epic heroes and villains of the latest “Star Wars” film in action.

What truly stands out in the set are the human facial features of the figures capturing the likenesses of the actors in such a small-scale format.

Especially notable are three-dimensional representations of a robed Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker (way better than any of the Hasbro figures of comparable size); Daisy Ridley swinging a lightsaber as Rey; a crouching, crossguard lightsaber-wielding Adam Driver as Kylo Ren; and a flight-suit-wearing Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron.

Other figures in the set include Finn in First Order uniform; Rose, a First Order Judicial Stormtrooper; Captain Phasma, Elite Praetorian Guard; and a pretty slick version of Supreme Leader Snoke.

Porg (Seven 20, ages 5 and older, $29.99, 3 AA batteries included) — One of the new furry legends of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” can now reside in a child’s bedroom with a life-sized animatronic, plush doll, seated at nearly 9 inches tall and featuring original movie sounds.

Owners press this plump avian’s belly to get the creature to squawk two different vocal patterns as his mouth moves, head shakes and wings flap just like he was conversing with Chewbacca aboard the Millennium Falcon.

Suffice it to report, the “too cute” meter is off the charts here, and I’m guessing this may be one of the hotter gifts this holiday season.

40th Anniversary Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi (Hasbro, ages 4 and older, $19.99) — The Black Series of “Star Wars” figures celebrates some of the classic characters from the “Episode 4: A New Hope” movie with a lineup of 6-inch-tall, multi-articulated action figures encased in packaging resembling Kenner’s original card design from its 1970s, 3.75 inch line.

This version of Ben Kenobi offers a strong likeness of actor Alec Guinness, and features a removable cloth robe, lightsaber (with a translucent, removable blue blade) that can attach to his belt and a costume that looks ripped from his time on Tatooine.

Although the figure sports 14-points of articulation, the too-cool retro anniversary packaging will make it nearly impossible for any collector to remove the action figure from his plastic tomb.

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