Gift It! Make the Season Take Off with Spin Master's Millennium Falcon Air Hog

Despite the four rotors and the spongy body, this remote-controllable replica feels surprisingly authentic.

By , Columnist
With so much Star Wars-branded merchandise around this holiday season it is easy to dismiss anything with Kylo Ren's face on the packaging as a cynical cash-in. Not everything is a product of convenient marketing, though: some toys that have been designed to capitalize on the hype are cool for kids and adults and Spin Master's Air Hogs Remote Control Millennium Falcon Quad is one.

The appearance of Star Wars' most famous ship in The Force Awakens is surely one of the new film's highlights. Anticipating this, Spin Master has designed a remote-controllable aircraft that looks just like the Millennium Falcon aside from the four propellers that keep it in the air.

SpinMillFalcon_2 (Custom).pngThe body of the ship is made of soft Styrofoam to ensure it doesn't break when it hits a wall or crashes into the ground. The Styrofoam has been molded to resemble not only the shape of the Millennium Falcon but general details on its outer surface, too, which give it an authentic look. The four rotors are set within the body as discretely as possible and don't detract from the ship's overall appearance. The blades are made of soft plastic to keep the ship light but they could easily be bent so this toy is best kept out of the hands of toddlers.

In order to get the ship in the air, you first need to charge it using the included micro-USB cable. Oddly, this is achieved by plugging a cable hidden in an arm in the remote control into the small charging port set into the Millennium Falcon's upper surface and plugging the remote into a computer. Getting the plug onto the small prong in the ship's charging port is tricky and slightly unnerving because of the latter's small size. Once this has been achieved, though, it takes an hour or so to fully charge the ship's internal battery for the first time.  

SpinMillFalcon_3 (Custom).pngThe remote control is shaped like a console gamepad with left-to-right and up-down sticks and trigger buttons on the back that give the ship a speed boost in flight or cause it to produce sound effects. Also on the remote are a mute button to turn off those sounds and a battery charge indicator. The remote takes six AA batteries, which unfortunately are not included. Hence, if you are buying this for a gift, make sure you buy a bunch to put in the box.

Spin Master's web page states that this Air Hog is intended for indoors use only. Ironically, though, in the company's promotional video it is being flown outside. That makes sense because it really isn't maneuverable enough to fly in confined spaces. What's more, as with all remote controlled aircraft, it takes some practice to get used to the controls so you can expect plenty of crashes on the first few tries. It's better this not be around someone's china ornaments.

SpinMillFalcon_4 (Custom).jpgAnother reason why flying this in a confined space isn't ideal is that the whirring of the four rotors is noisy. My office cat went scurrying under the table when I first tested it and if someone tries this out in the family room on Christmas Day, there is no way anyone will be getting a post-turkey nap.

Spin Master says the range of the remote is over 200 feet, which is much further than the length of room in most homes, anyway, so if it's going to be pushed to its limits, outside is best. Expect it to attract attention, though, because this is one Star Wars-branded toy that deserves to fly.

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Michael Simpson is a freelance writer, editor, presenter, researcher, instructor, gadget freak and sci-tech consultant based in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Formerly from the UK, he’s converted from tea to coffee and written and presented on film, TV, science, nature, technology,…

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