Monday, July 18, 2011

Spying For The Empire, Garindan Was Improved By A Recast.

The Good: Decent sculpt, Generally appropriate accessory
The Bad: Flexibility issues
The Basics: Low on articulation and posability, Garindan is a mediocre action figure that has since been recast better.

One has to love the simplicity of the old Star Wars toy line. I'm not referencing the mid-90's reboot of the toy line, I mean the late-70's, early-80's merchandising that made a toy empire out of the Star Wars franchise. Back in the day, the figures were simple, poor representations of the intended characters and they bore the most wonderful and simplified names. After all, in many scenes, aliens and the like had no names in A New Hope. So, to try to market some of the characters, Kenner was given license to name them. They came up with names like "Hammerhead" and "Long Snoot." By the time the Special Editions were released and Kenner/Hasbro remade the Star Wars line of figures, there was enough lore to accompany most of the peripheral characters in the Star Wars universe that they were able to come up with names that were better than simple physical descriptions of the beings. As a result, with the 1997 Power Of The Force line of figures, "Long Snoot" became "Garindan!"

For those unfamiliar with Garindan, this creature is one of the many aliens seen around the Mos Eisley Cantina in A New Hope (reviewed here!). This alien was pretty significant as it wandered through the streets spying on Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker and the droids until it finally made the leap and turned them over to the Imperial forces - stormtroopers - patrolling that section of Tatooine.

The 4" Garindan figure is pretty cool and 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.


Garindan is an alien seen in the Cantina in Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope). The figure stands 3 7/8" tall to the back of its hooded head. Garindan is a robed creature that looks like it is an Imperial officer, without rank insignias, wearing a cloak and a gas mask. The creature has eyes that look like goggles and a cape that descends down to its boots. The figure is made of hard plastic, save the cape/robe, which is made of a softer plastic.

This toy is a decent sculpt, looking precisely like the extraterrestrial. Garindan is impressive in his coloring detail, especially in the skin tones on its snout. The rest of the outfit is bland and this is a very clean version of Garindan, without any sense that he's been on a desert planet for any amount of time. There is no shading detail on the costume, cloak, arms or legs. The alien's robes are simple soft plastic (not soft enough when it comes to possibility) and are made in muted gray and black plastics that makes it hard to believe that Garindan was a spy!

What Kenner got very right was the transmitter that is molded into Garindan's right hand. Painted silver, the tiny device looks much like the one the alien reported in on in A New Hope.


Garindan, alien that he is in the Cantina, requires few accessories. In fact, all he comes with is a small hold-out pistol. In the movie, he was only seen with his transmitter! This, obviously, is a bit more playable. The gun is pretty basic looking and it fits into the alien's left hand perfectly. The gun is basically a simple barrel with a handle and tiny trigger area. This is pretty basic and it makes Garindan more dangerous than he might otherwise be. The gun has a few molded surface details, but no coloring details.

As part of the Power Of The Force toy line, Garindan comes with nothing else. The green carded version came with variants in packaging where the photograph was covered with a hologram or not.


The four inch toy line was designed for play and Garindan is good in that regard. The figure is poorly articulated and lacks significant articulation to make him interesting with his firearm. In addition to low articulation, Garindan has limited poseability. If the feet are moved even slightly out of a flatfooted position, this figure tips over, especially when it is holding its hold-out pistol. He comes with only six points of articulation, though much of it is inhibited or guts its poseability. As a result, he has joints at the groin socket, shoulders, neck, and waist. The elbows do not extend and it may only hold the blaster in the left hand.

As well, the legs and arms cannot be spread or raised very far because of the figure's cape, which is not very flexible. As well, the head does not truly turn because of Garindan's descending snout. This is a very tippable figure, even flatfooted. Fortunately, there are playsets with foot pegs which fit into the holes in either of Garindan's feet.


Garindan is part of the Power Of The Force four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was incredibly common. Garindan was ridiculously overproduced, appearing on at least two different cards as an identical sculpt. In other words, Garindan is a poor investment and it may often be found dirt cheap.


Garindan might not be particularly collectible or poseable, but he was a cool idea and a good figure until it was recast in 2004 for the new Saga series. That figure had increased poseability and better detailing, making this one obsolete. There's no great reason to hunt this toy down, though fans could do worse and it makes for an adequate Garindan.

For other Star Wars figures in the "Power Of The Force" line, please check out my reviews of:
Death Star Escape 3-pack
Luke Skywalker In Stormtrooper Disguise


For other toy reviews, please check out my index page on the subject by clicking here!

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