Monday, January 3, 2011

Harder To Balance, Still Looking Cool, The Power Of The Force Dengar Wobbles.

The Good: Good concept, Good accessories
The Bad: Proportions are a bit off, Serious balance issues, Lack of articulation.
The Basics: A generally cool, if inarticulate, action figure, the Power Of The Force Dengar is more likely to fall over than impress collectors.

For obscure scenes in films, it is quite probable no one in cinematic history makes out as well as the bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back. Dengar, for example, appeared in the bounty hunter scene of The Empire Strikes Back, did not utter a single line and still has appeared in so many alternate mediums and merchandising avenues that I seem to find new ones each day! For a character who turned slowly to face the walking Darth Vader, it is astounding that there is a 12” doll and an ultimate 4” figure in the Saga line that I have. There are others that I haven’t gotten yet and some I would never pick up. But the first Dengar I had as an adult collector was the Power Of The Force Dengar from Kenner!

For those unfamiliar with Dengar, he was one of six bounty hunters Darth Vader hired around the midpoint of The Empire Strikes Back (the film is reviewed here!) to find Han Solo. Intended to lay a trap for Han Solo to lure Luke out of his training, Dengar was clearly-wounded human who was bogged down with a heavy backpack who turned on screen. That was enough to get years of merchandising and fanfic created about him!

The 4" Dengar figure is very average, especially in retrospect, but it fleshes out the full Star Wars universe wonderfully, but it has since been recast, making the Power Of The Force figure more or less obsolete. Still, this is a generally good figure and if one can find it inexpensively, it might well be the way to go!


Dengar is a bulky bounty hunter and the figure is instantly recognizable to fans of the Star Wars trilogy. This human has his head wrapped in bandages which are dirty and a set of armor which makes him look bulky and like he could take some serious shots before having any issues! The figure is made entirely of hard plastic, though after years, the legs and arms do seem to have gotten a little more rubbery (I’ve no explanation for that).

This toy is a decent sculpt, more in the proportions than the coloring. Dengar's head is wrapped awkwardly in the bandages, so Kenner gets away with minimal detailing there, but while the bandages are decently colored to look worn, the figure itself does not have realistic fleshtones or eye color. Mine has brown eyes and white pupils. This figure does not have the facial scarring Dengar was cursed with, either.

Dengar’s outfit is surprisingly bland outside the white portions. Looking at his heavy maroon armor, this is a very clean version of Dengar! There is no shading detail on the armor, only the cloth parts, so this is an odd coloring for the figure. The real strike against this sculpt is that it does not contain the backpack. Dengar turns on the Executor, clearly weighed down by his massive backpack and the giant gun he is toting. This figure lacks that important detail (which was molded into the original Dengar figure in the 80s.).


Dengar, wounded bounty hunter that he is, has few accessories. All he comes with is his blaster and blaster rifle. The little blaster is unimpressive in either of Dengar’s hands. The inch-long choking hazard fits in either hand, but seems more natural in the figure's left hand. This is a monolithically molded black plastic blaster that is simple, though at least it is in proportion with the rest of the action figure (that was a problem with many of the Power Of The Force figures). Unlike the Imperial blasters, Dengar’s weapon appears to be unique as it has a butt which is turned up as opposed to absent!

The blaster rifle is a two and three-quarter inch long gun that has great surface details molded into the barrel and grip, but is a solid molded piece of black plastic. In other words, there are no coloring details to this accessory and as a result, it is very easy to mix up with the other accessories from other figures. As well, it offers a strong contrast to the actual figure which does have the weathering, at least on the white/gray parts of the toy.


The four inch toy line was designed for play and Dengar is mediocre to lame in that regard. The figure is poorly articulated and lacks significant articulation to make him interesting with his firearm. In addition to low articulation, Dengar has limited posability. While this Dengar has decent balance for such a topheavy figure, if the feet are moved out of a flatfooted position, this figure tips over. In fact, this figure tips over remarkably easy and it always seems to be forward, so one is left wondering why Kenner did not mold the backpack to the figure as a counterbalance! Dengar comes with only six points of articulation, all of which are simple swivel joints. As a result, he has joints at the groin socket, shoulders, neck, and waist and he twists at any of those points. The elbows do not extend, though he may hold the blaster in either hand or in a strange two-handed grip that looks entirely inorganic.

Fortunately, there are playsets with foot pegs which fit into the holes in either of Dengar's feet.


Dengar is part of the Power Of The Force four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was incredibly common. Dengar was ridiculously overproduced, appearing on at least three different cards as an identical sculpt. In other words, Dengar is a poor investment and it may often be found dirt cheap. The Dengar figure on the green card was the first of the three. As well, the figure has been recast at least once in the 4” scale.

Despite it being a decent figure, this is a figure better for play than collecting or investing.


Dengar might not be particularly collectible or posable, but he was a cool idea and a good figure until it was recast later on for the new Saga series. But because he falls over, he it tough to recommend to anyone who wants to play with him or set him up for display. Ultimately, this was a razor decision and I went with the “recommend” because the bounty hunter does look cool and when supported properly, this is an inexpensive way to flesh out one’s Star Wars bounty hunter collection.

For other Power Of The Force figures from The Empire Strikes Back or of bounty hunters, please check out my reviews of:
Deluxe Hoth Rebel Soldier
Mynock Hunt 3-pack
Deluxe Probe Droid
Deluxe Boba Fett


For other toy reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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