Who Needs a Hatchimal When You Can Fight the Empire With a Star Wars Drone
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the toughest toy to get your hands on this season has been a toy egg that hatches a stuffed animal. Well, the Hatchimal is about to be dethroned by a big-kid toy that just may be the coolest thing to hit the market this holiday season. Everyone's favorite Star Wars vehicles can now actually take off, fly, and battle thanks to Propel's Star Wars Battle Quads ($240) — essentially Star Wars drones.
The quadcopters, currently available in three versions — a T-65 X-wing fighter, Darth Vader's Tie Advanced X1, and a 74-Z Speeder Bike from Return of the Jedi (a Millennium Falcon version will be available next year) — are approximately the size of your hand and fly up to 200 feet away and up to 35 miles per hour. Unlike similar quadcopters, each of the four propellers is clear and placed under the body of the devices so the vehicles actually appear to be flying through the air on their own. Each quad comes equipped with two batteries that provide approximately eight minutes of fly time.
Though the box provides a suggested age of 14+ for the devices, Propel must know that younger kids are going to want to try their hands at flying an X-wing Fighter because it's created three levels of play that take novices into account. The beginner level (highly recommended as I immediately crashed one upon taking over the controls this week) maintains an even altitude during flight so the pilot can work on mastering the steering function. Each quadcopter also comes with a training cradle that protects the device should it crash into a wall or perhaps a tree on Christmas morning. Intermediate play makes the quad a bit more responsive to the controls, while level three play is full-force, 35-mile-per-hour play.
But much like the ones in the movies, these quads do more than fly — they actually engage in multiplayer battles via lasers (red for the rebel forces and green for the imperial forces). Pit two or more against each other and feel on the control each time your quad is hit. After three direct hits, your drone will fall into a flat spin and slowly drift to the ground. Battle points will be tallied in a soon-to-be-released app, which will also be used for flight simulations and worldwide competition.
The quads are beautifully designed, each hand-painted with detailing that even the most ardent Star Wars fan will appreciate. But there is more to it than just the quads that come in the box — the box itself is something to behold. More of a presentation case than a box, lift off the top and prepare to be amazed as it illuminates and begins playing Star Wars theme music tied to the model inside. The case can be charged via USB cable so it can be repeated time after time.
So what's the catch? The Star Wars Battle Quads are going to be tough to get your hands on. Though the website allowed people to reserve the opportunity to purchase one in advance, Bed Bath & Beyond, Brookstone, and Best Buy are currently taking orders online and a limited number of special edition drones will be in store across the US the week of December 5th. A more widespread release is planned for later next year.
Read on for images of each of the three quads being released, and good luck getting your hands on one before the holidays!