Monday, June 27, 2011

In Trying To Make The Perfect Dengar Figure, The Vintage Collection Backslides!

The Good: Amazing coloring detail, Good accessories, Wonderful articulation, Generally good balance
The Bad: Parts fall off.
The Basics: Dengar has been made into figures before, which is why it might seem odd that Hasbro fails so spectacularly with the new Vintage Collection version!

Sometimes, I am baffled by how capitalism works. I am blaming capitalism for the quality of the new Star Wars Vintage Collection Dengar action figure because when Hasbro came so close to perfection with the 2003 Original Trilogy Collection Executor Meeting Dengar (reviewed here!) that the only reason to try to tinker with the formula was to try to make a buck. To be fair, the new Vintage Collection Dengar is sufficiently better than Kenner's Power Of The Force Dengar (reviewed here!), but given how pieces of it fall off and the head articulation makes the figure look ridiculous, it is just too hard a sell for me to keep.

For those unfamiliar with Dengar, he is one of the bounty hunters seen briefly in The Empire Strikes Back (reviewed here!). Seen briefly on the deck of the star destroyer Executor, Dengar is one of the bounty hunters being spoken to by Darth Vader and urged to hunt Han Solo as part of his scheme to entrap Luke Skywalker.

The 4" Vintage Collection Dengar was completely recast from the last Dengar figure and granted a great deal more articulation and unfortunate costume changes that set the figure back once he is out of his package.


The Vintage Collection Dengar figure stands just under 4" tall to the top of his wrapped head. The figure is the bounty hunter as he appeared in The Empire Strikes Back in his armored flight suit and bandages. On the surface, the toy is a great sculpt, which is saying something because Dengar is, traditionally, a top-heavy character who falls over very easily. This Dengar is cast such that only his face is showing and his head is appropriately wrapped in bandages. His suit appears to be armor over cloth and he is stocky enough that he looks like he could take a few blaster hits!

The first serious issue with the new Dengar is with the codpiece. Dengar comes with a removable belt which features the armor that would cover his genitals. This belt, for some inexplicable reason, comes off. This is especially problematic because when posing Dengar, or playing with the figure, this piece frequently falls off. In no other Dengar figure was this piece removable or this problem an issue. But the dropping cup armor action is pretty lousy.

To be fair, Dengar is colored with pretty amazing attention to detail. His skin has depth and shading, though the radiation burns are more molded into his cheeks than accented with color. While his lips are colorless, his eyes are more than just black dots on a white field, so this makes Dengar look pretty real. More than that, his maroon and cream costume is not entirely clean. His white gloves are covered in rust and his boots are similarly dirty. As well, Dengar features color highlights like burns on the thigh pieces of his armor and meticulously contrasting straps on his boots!


Dengar is a bounty hunter and comes appropriately armed. This Dengar features a backpack, blaster rifle and a blaster pistol. Dengar's backpack is a 1 3/8" tall brown, silver and black plastic pack which plugs into the back of the figure and provides Dengar with supplies. This perfectly fits the color scheme of the figure and attaches easily to the figure's back!

The blaster rifle is a pretty standard blaster rifle which is 2 7/8" long and looks like a rifle. It is black but features a brown butt which makes it look like a wooden stock. The gun fits in either of Dengar's hands and he is molded to hold it in a two-handed grip as well.

Dengar also comes with a blaster pistol that looks virtually identical to Han Solo's blaster pistol. It is a 3/4" long plastic gun with a boxy appearance. It features a silver colored barrel and a gray grip. It fits in either of Dengar's hands and also slides nicely into the holster on the figure's right thigh. It looks good in any of those positions because the gun is in the correct proportions.


The four inch toy line was designed for play and Dengar is good for that, despite the problem with the codpiece. In fact, the reason for the removable codpiece is arguably to allow Dengar to sit down. I would think they could have made the armor fit better or molded the armor so it worked, but Hasbro didn't and this is the figure we are left with.

This Dengar figure has pretty good balance, which is saying a lot for a Dengar figure. Flatfooted, Dengar is pretty solid, and because of the lower half articulation of the figure, he has incredible posing options, more than virtually any other Dengar figure. As well, the holes in the bottom of his feet allow him to stand tall on any number of playsets in outlandish poses or attach to pegs on vehicles!

Dengar holds up very well in the articulation department, despite having the head wrap that appropriately flares out at the bottom. This makes him look utterly ridiculous when he turns his head, but his head has great articulation. He has hinged ball and socket joints at the ankles, knees, elbows and shoulders, as well as a ball and socket joint which allows a great range of motion for the head. The wrists, groin socket and bust each have simple swivel joints.


Dengar is part of the Vintage Collection line that was released in 2010 and he is one of the pegwarmers of the collection. Dengar is Vintage Collection figure VC01 and makes a pretty potent argument that being the first out of the gate is not necessarily a good thing. Now that fans are not able to redeem the UPC from Dengar for the Mail-Away Boba Fett, his price is plummeting and he is easily available on the primary market, an no one seems to want to bother with putting him into the secondary market above common cost.


On the fundamentals, the Vintage Collection Dengar might seem worth picking up, but the problems with it outweigh the value and I'd recommend the 2004 model before this one any day!

For other Vintage Collection figures, please check out my reviews of:
VCP03 Boba Fett
VC11 (Twin Pod) Cloud Car Pilot
VC22 Admiral Ackbar
VC37 Super Battle Droid
VC46 AT-RT Driver
VC48 Weequay Skiff Master
VC49 Fi-Ek Sirch


For other Star Wars toy reviews, please check out my index page by clicking here!

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

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