As amazingly detailed as action figures have become over the years, there’s still some features toymakers like Hasbro leave out, such as making Baby Yoda’s pod actually fly. It’s so tiny you’d need an aerospace engineer to pull that off, so it’s a good thing that aerospace engineer Adam Woodworth is as big a fan of The Mandalorian as the rest of us are.
Earlier this year, Woodworth created a flying version of the Mandalorian’s Razor Crest ship, but aside from some peculiar aerodynamics, that was a fairly straightforward build. This upgrade was significantly more complicated. Woodworth started with a Baby Yoda figure from Hasbro’s six-inch Black Series line but had to turn to Hasbro’s Mission Fleet line to find a toy version of the character’s floating pod which The Child uses to sleep in, but also keep pace with other characters in the show given his legs are so tiny.
Woodworth started by creating a foam replica of the pod which he used to test the placement of four motors, a rechargeable battery, and flight controller circuitry that had all been salvaged from a cheap palm-sized flying quadcopter toy. To minimize the appearance of the four props beneath the pod, Woodworth positioned them in an overlapping layout with just millimeters of clearance between each one, and angled each motor slightly to improve the stability of the craft.
After using the Hasbro Mission Fleet toy pod as a mold, Woodworth created a lighter plastic polycarbonate replica that could still fly even with the small figure and all of the requisite electronics packed inside. One of the biggest challenges of the build was that the cheap components he salvaged from a quadcopter toy couldn’t be reprogrammed so to tweak the flight performance of the flying pod he had to instead reposition motors and test various sizes of propellers to achieve the maneuverability he was after.
As you can see in the video, hovering the pod so it moves as smoothly and steadily as it does in the TV show is still no easy feat—if the Mandalorian takes his eyes off of Woodworth’s Baby Yoda for even a second he’s liable to lose an arm to those spinning propellers. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a Star Wars: The Mandalorian fan out there who wouldn’t have their credit card at the ready if Hasbro ever decided to turn this into a real collectible.