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Wednesday, September 23 2015 07:40

Review: Air Hogs STAR WARS Remote Control X-Wing Starfighter

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Holiday Wish GuideWhen "Force Friday" arrived on September 4th, families couldn't wait to get their hands on some of the latest STAR WARS toys, many of which are inspired by or based upon J.J. Abrams' forthcoming STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (opening December 18). With mostly radio silence leading into release day, many had questions about some of the more unique, and in some cases higher-dollar toys that had arrived on-shelves - things well beyond the usual realm of action figures. Spin Master jumped into a galaxy far, far away with a host of new items - their first run as a STAR WARS licensee. From their Air Hogs line came two of the most talked-about - a Millennium Falcon Quad, and a Remote Control X-Wing Starfighter. With both of those having been sent to Rock Father HQ for review, we've spent some time with them and are ready to file a report. Up first is the X-Wing Fighter that's unmistakably based on Luke Skywalker's "Red Five" from 1977's STAR WARS: EPISODE IV - A NEW HOPE.

Air Hogs X-Wing

Right out of the box, the detailing is impressive, and the size and scale reminds me of my original Kenner X-Wing that I had as a kid... particularly because I had the "battle damaged" version from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. I was, however, surprised at how light this thing is - and that the foam material came pre-coated with what appears to be clear packing tape for protection upon crash-landings. While I am not an expert on R/C vehicles, it should be noted that this is a toy and not a "hobby grade" flying machine. Controls are pretty basic, and there is a mistake in the instructions which claims this to be "for indoor use only," which is completely incorrect. Not only is this an outdoor toy, you need a BIG, open space to fly it... and you have so fly it without it's trademark, and included, laser cannons. Due to weight and aerodynamics, they're "display only" on this model.

Finley and her X-Wing

When it first arrived, little Finley and I took it out in front of the house and made some attempts to get it going up and down the street. Thing is, the street was just too narrow a space - with too many trees and some decent wind. Still, she LOVED seeing it crash, and really liked just carrying it around and pretending to fly it. It wasn't until the whole family took it to a larger park that we were able to experience it in all of its true glory. Check out the video below:

The controller is simple, with the left stick handling up and down (main thrust) and the right stick handling steering. There's a trim adjust knob that should help straighten the flight, but I didn't find that really effective. Through trial and error (and starting with a full charge), I learned that the controls are delicate - much like some other R/C flying machines we have here. It's a weird thing by design, because a true "X-Wing" isn't really a workable, functional thing - despite how cool it looks on-screen. A good, level launch by hand is the key to a good start, and also to have the thrust only about half-way up. The twin engines seem like a little more power would be helpful, but again - we're talking about a toy, so you can see where the designers probably had to weigh certain options to keep things affordable for most.

controller xwing

Flying this to an unsuspecting audience, I can tell you that it's a HUGE hit with kids (and their parents), and I let a bunch of kids we'd never met before take turns launching it. My wife said that I probably "made their day, possibly their week." Even players from a girl's softball team (whose game we flew over) were excited to see "that cool ship from STAR WARS!" They say the range is 250ft, and I'd say we hit that easily in some of the locations where we shot the video - possibly even farther at one point.

While I think this is really cool, and something that I'm recommending for my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide, it should be noted that its suggested for ages 10+, but I'd say even that is a little young. While this is a toy, it's one that comes with a learning curve, is fragile, and requires patience. We've got some real-life "battle damage" on our own X-Wing, with some tape about to be required for its nose, and we're missing a tiny chunk out of one wing - probably from clipping a tree. 

If The Force is with you, Master Yoda will be proud. Otherwise, you might find him shaking his head after rescuing your X-Wing from a Dagobah swamp... or a neighbor's roof.

Available now at retailers Nationwide (including my friends at Entertainment Earth) and online. Learn more at http://www.spinmaster.com/

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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