Monday, July 11, 2011

The Unflappable And The Unbalanced, The Jawa And "Gonk" Droid Figures Are A Mixed Bag!

The Good: Decent sculpt, Good accessories, Jawa is untippable!
The Bad: Limited poseability, Balance issues with "Gonk" droid
The Basics: The Power Of The Force Jawa is a worthwhile figure, but the "gonk" droid cannot stand, dragging this pack down from perfection!

Early on when Kenner still owned the Star Wars toy license - before it was bought out by Hasbro - the fine folks there realized that with small Star Wars figures, they needed to offer a gimmick to sell them with. In the case of smaller creatures from the Star Wars universe, like Jawas, Ugnaughts, and some droids (like R2 units), starting with the Power Of The Force line of action figures, some were doubled up offering two different sculpts of the same type creature for the same price as one larger figure. So, by the time the Commtech line of Power Of The Force figures surfaced after The Phantom Menace hit theaters, there had already been packs of Jawas on the market. Still, that did not stop Hasbro from releasing the Jawa and "Gonk" Droid two-pack to promote a brand new sculpt and new-to-the-line droid to capture more fan dollars after the big event.

For those unfamiliar with Jawa and the "gonk" droid, the Jawas appear early in A New Hope (reviewed here!), capture R2-D2 and C-3P0 on Tatooine and take them to the Lars Moisture Farm to sell to Uncle Owen (Owen Lars). While aboard the massive droid prison conveyance, the Jawa Sandcrawler, R2-D2 looks around and sees many droids. One of them is a boxy little robot that shuffles forward on two legs and emits a low "gonk" repeatedly, which won it over in the hearts and minds of fans everywhere. This two-pack includes one little Jawa and one "gonk" droid and it is a pretty cool pairing, despite the problems with the "gonk" droid figure.

The 4" Jawa figure is rather cool, but the "gonk" droid is a good idea poorly executed and what ought to have been a perfect figure is brought down by the accessory (which is henceforth how I am defining the "gonk" droid.


The Jawas are diminutive scavengers found on the desert planet of Tatooine and are coifed in robes that obscure most of their body. This sculpt of the Jawa stands 2 5/8" tall to the top of his hooded head. The Jawa is dressed in a light brown robe with a black spot for the face (in the film the faces of the Jawas are always dark, with two glowing eyes. The outfit is cast in a solid brown plastic without any shading for wear or dirt, though the Jawa bandoleer is appropriately painted crisscrossing the chest. The figure is made of hard plastic for the body, head and appendages, but soft plastic for the robes that cover the legs. As a result, this Jawa has an excellent sense of support, but some option for flexibility as well!

This toy is a decent sculpt, looking precisely like the desert scavenger. The Jawa is fairly bland in his coloring detail; there is no sense of shading to robes or gloves. Still, the figure has enough detailing to make it worthwhile. For example, atop the hood of the Jawa is a translucent panel. This allows light to flow into the figure and causes the eyes to appear to glow! This is a pretty cool idea and the execution of it is well worth the sacrifice of a tiny bit of detailing realism. Held up or posed in a well-lit area, the Jawa's eyes glow and that is a neat detail that enhances the figure beautifully! As well, his right leg has a blaster holster molded on with such detail that one can see it has a safety flap!


The Jawa, despite being an adept scavenger, comes with pretty limited accessories. This figure comes with a tiny blaster, the "gonk" droid, and a Commtech chip. The "Gonk" Droid is part of what is used to sell this figure and it is a huge disappointment. It is a 2 3/8" plastic box that would stand on its own two feet, if only it could. The figure comes with a button that when depressed causes the feet to flop and the toy to click. The problem here is that that feet start at a separation of about 30 - 45 degrees apart. As a result, the figure never stands flatfooted! So, there is no way to get it to stand up and all it does is tip over. Without fail! This is a lousy figure/accessory and given its lack of color detailing for the light panels on the "face," it is easy to be disappointed by it.

The Jawa blaster is the same blaster that came with earlier Jawa action figures. It is a 1 3/8"
choking hazard that fits in either hand and looks like the little cannon that a Jawa used to shoot R2-D2 in the canyon scene. This is a monolithically molded black plastic blaster that is simple, but at least looks good.

In addition, this figure comes with the standard CommTech chip for this series of figure. Starting with the "Episode I" figure line, Hasbro toyed with action figures that spoke to those who took them out of the package. Thus, each figure came with a chip that featured an image of the character and a voice chip. When placed on the CommTech reader and read, the CommTech player would play dialogue from both the Jawa and the "gonk" droid on it. This chip has phrases in alien gibberish - including the always popular Jawa exclamation "utinni!" - and the trademark "gonk" noise from the droid, but the rest is unintelligible and not worth recording here. The chip utilizes the actual dialogue from the movie, so it sounds perfectly like the Jawa and "gonk" droid.


The four inch toy line was designed for play and Jawa is excellent in that regard, but the "gonk" droid is abysmal. The Jawa figure is adequately articulated, though some of the "seams" are pointless. So, for example, while it appears the head is designed to turn, the sculpt of the robes and hood make it impossible to even budge the head! On the plus side, by recasting this Jawa with movable legs and softer robes, it has the perfect combination of support and posing options. As a result, this Jawa can be posed in running positions and is still untippable! That makes is a wonderful sculpt for play and display!

The Jawa comes with only five actual points of articulation, all of which are simple swivel joints. He has joints at the groin socket, shoulders and waist. The elbows do not extend, so all arm posing is straight-armed. The arms move up and down and the legs can turn all the way around, and while that might seem limited, it is more than enough for this little creature.

On the "gonk" droid, the legs move, but it doesn't matter; all it does is tip over.


The Jawa and "gonk" droid is part of the Power Of The Force four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was incredibly common. This later series, with the Commtech chips, though was hardly overproduced, and this Jawa was one of the harder ones in the first new wave of "retro" figures to be harder to find. Still, the Jawa is a poor investment and it may often be found inexpensively and might well be better for fans looking to play than make money eventually off it. Moreover, because there have been other Jawas before and since, the "gonk" droid's failure to "wow" limits its collectibility severely.


The Jawa is a cool figure and the "gonk" droid is a disappointment, but not one severe enough to not laud the decency of the other figure in the pack. This is one of the best Jawa figures and even with the tippable droid, it is still worthwhile and one of the best of this series of "A New Hope" figures from the Power Of The Force line!

For other figures of characters from A New Hope, please check out:
2009 Legacy Collection BD34 Leesub Sirln
Original Trilogy Collection Tatooine Transaction R1-G4
Power Of The Jedi Ketwol


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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