Propel Star Wars Quad drones first look

propel-x-wing-fighter-boxSome will be counting down to Christmas whilst people like me and my friends are counting down to the next Star Wars film. Star Wars fans have another reason to be excited now though. Propel have released the first three Star Wars Battle Quads!

These new Star Wars Battle Quads are officially licensed and the work of drone experts Propel. The first thing that strikes you is the amount of detail that these things have.

These aren’t just for looking at though, these drones have been built for full-on dogfights.

These are the drones…

The first three drones to be released are modeled after the T-65 X-wing fighter, Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced X1 fighter, and the 74-Z Speeder Bike, naturally accompanied by a Biker Scout riding it.

propel-speeder-bike-undersideBeing quadcopters, each has four rotors mounted underneath the carefully hand-painted body. I have been told that these drones can hit a top speed of 40mph, with 35mph coming up in less than three seconds.

propel-speeder-bikeNot only are they fast but they’re pretty nimble in the right hands.

Packaged to collect

Star Wars fans are really going to love the attention to detail put in to the drones themselves but there’s so much more. There are all kinds of clips, references, and Easter Eggs that have been built in to everything we saw.

propel-tie-fighter-boxLet’s start with the box. They look pretty cool anyhow but lift the lid and a random audio clip plays relevant to that drone.

ant-opening-the-x-wing-boxpropel-x-wing-in-display-boxThen sat in the box is your underlit drone in what has become a display case.

propel-speeder-bike-revealStar Wars sounds

The included screwdriver that’s used to open the battery compartment on the controller looks like a tiny light saber. Opening up the compartment triggers a custom audio message from a Star Wars character prompting you to put the batteries in.

propel-star-wars-quad-controllerPlug some headphones into the controller and a Star Wars soundtrack plays. Think of it as a silent disco to motivate you during dogfights.

Battle time

You can fly with up to 12 other drones for a proper battle. Each drone can fire lasers that can actually be seen in a dark room, or against the night sky.

Games can be created to destroy the enemy leader, or have team battles. You can even go solo for a killer game until the last victorious drone is left in the air.

propel-speeder-bike-frontEach ship has its own ‘lives’ which are displayed on the controller. When your drone runs out of lives the ship is out of the fight and spirals (safely) down to the ground.

At the event we witnessed a dogfight and it’s a fast and furious affair. You soon forget about the whirring rotors, and it’s all about the lasers and craft weaving in and out of each other. It certainly didn’t hurt having the classic John Williams themes blasting out as well as a laser show though.

They have programmed the famous barrel-roll in to the drones so you can pull that iconic evasive manoeuver.

Flying the drones

Propel wanted people to experience something more than merely flying a drone around. They wanted to provide pilots with battles that were exciting, engaging, and immersive.

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That’s all very well but you cannot forget the most important bit though, they have to be fun to fly too! This means that Propel has had to make the drones accessible to all levels of pilots, not just experienced hands.

Learn to fly

To help new recruits learn how to fly, Propel has created an app that links up to the controller via Bluetooth. Without actually putting your lovely drone at risk you can learn the basics using a virtual drone in the app.

propel-tie-fighterIt’s tailored to recreate the real-world physics of drone flight so you do get familiar with everything without smashing up your new craft.

You can then progress to your first real flights. Even now you can slip it in to T-Mode.

This activates an artificial floor and ceiling so you can neither ditch it in to the ground nor fly too high to control. The drone will also stay hovering safely if you let go of the controls.

Intelligent drones

There’s, of course, some very clever tech at work. Not only to make the drones easy to fly but they are also aware.

propel-store-displayWhen you’re flying and battling against other drones they exchange information with each other. This is done via Li-Fi technology and actually uses the laser blasts. This means that the scoring and positioning of who’s playing is accurate and up to date.

The controllers then understand the battle, and will even prompt you to attack the ship with the fewest lives left.

Propel Star Wars drones first impressions

Me and the team saw the drones in action and got hands on but haven’t actually had chance to fly any of them yet.

This did not dampen our enthusiasm one bit. They look good, sound good and, in the experienced pilot’s hands, fly pretty darned good too.

propel-speeder-bike-backStar Wars battle drones price and availability

These drones are going to be thin on the ground and highly collectable. They will be getting a limited release ahead of Christmas.

Each drone sold will be a limited edition and come in a numbered box. We will get them from December 1st with a price tag of £230.

They will be available through Currys, Hamleys, and Argos.

On the other side of New Year they will get a wider, and global release which will also see the Millennium Falcon joining the ranks.

We all agreed that most people will be attempting to be them in twos – one to keep pristine and the other to enjoy. That has already halved the stock right there. I’m getting my letter off to Santa now!

Head on over to the Propel website for more information.