The Good: Amazing detailing, Good coloring, Great costume work, Decent accessory
The Bad: Costume to head bandaging details.
The Basics: Grazing on perfection, Dengar is a surprisingly good 12" bounty hunter doll that will impress fans of the Star Wars bounty hunters!
Dolls and bounty hunters, not exactly the most natural pairing in the known universe! Still, the Star Wars toy line makes the attempt at combining the two things with the twelve inch figure line from Hasbro. Sure, most people who collect these probably do not want to call them dolls, but they are. The melding of plastic, fabric and rubber comes together to make dolls that are exquisitely detailed and hard to ignore. One of the best is of the bounty hunter Dengar.
Like most of the dolls in the 12" Star Wars action figure line, Dengar is a faithful cloth and plastic replica of one of the infamous bounty hunters seen briefly in the Trilogy. Dengar, like many of the bounty hunters, was not a speaking part and he appeared in a single scene in The Empire Strikes Back (reviewed here!), which is pretty much known as the bounty hunter scene in that movie. For those not versed in Star Wars lore, that's the very brief scene aboard an Imperial Star Destroyer where Darth Vader hires a group of bounty hunters to capture Han Solo in his attempt to trap Luke Skywalker. There are several bounty hunters standing in a line and Dengar is the bandage-wrapped human who is wearing armor but has a visible human face. Common Star Wars lore has it that Dengar appears in the background in Jabba's Palace in Return Of The Jedi (reviewed here!) as well. After several viewings, it does appear that he is stuck in there, albeit briefly.
Dengar is a human bounty hunter that had perhaps five seconds of screentime in The Empire Strikes Back and less in Return Of The Jedi. The figure stands 12 1/4" tall to the top of the bandages on his head. Dengar is dressed in cloth clothes which are then augmented by a breastplate and other armor that gives the character an "assembled" look. Unlike the notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett, though, Dengar's face is exposed and he is clearly human. The figure is made of hard plastic and after four or more years out of its packaging, it shows no fading or wear from light or air sources. The head, unlike the main body of the figure, is made of a slightly more elastic (or rubbery) plastic, though the coloring is consistent with the rest of the figure.
This toy is a pretty incredible sculpt, looking precisely like the bounty hunter. Dengar is amazing in his coloring detail, including faint scars on the character's face. The real mystery, though, is why Hasbro decided to make the bandages that hood the character's head part of the mold. Instead of having a cloth wrap, like a turban I suppose, Dengar's head with bandages are all molded, slightly rubberized plastic. Yes, it would have lowered the flexibility of Dengar's head, but it's not like this was a character with a real active role in the film anyway!
Dengar, intergalactic badass, comes dressed in a flight jumpsuit made of actual cloth. Dengar's outfit is held on with Velcro in the front and truth be told, I've never tried to undress him. Most of the cloth outfit is actually covered with the armor pieces. The armor is dark brown and all of it is detailed to show wear for realism. As well, Dengar's shoes are scuffed in front and have a dirty look to the top. This is a level of care and detailing that makes this a superlative display piece!
Dengar's backpack is made of a rubberized plastic and it has detailing that is extraordinary. There are at least six different colored panels that have detailing that makes the pack look heavy and realistic. In other words, the pack is not monolithic in its coloring, which adds to the overall value.
Dengar, like any bounty hunter worth his salt, comes with a firearm. This is an eight inch plastic blaster rifle that fits perfectly in its right hand. The blaster rifle is detailed well as far as containing all of the nooks and crannies the firearm appears to have in the film, including a different colored butt to the rifle! There is no detailing that makes it look worn or more realistic, though, as this is simply solid gray plastic. Still, it is a fairly faithful replica of what appeared in The Empire Strikes Back and it is different from any other firearm as it has an almost harpoon-like middle section!
I don't know who plays with these twelve-inch figures. As far as displaying, though, there is much to recommend Dengar. First, this is a well-articulated action figure. Dengar is impressively poseable, whatwith his twelve points of articulation. This bounty hunter has joints at the knees, groin socket, shoulders, elbows, wrist, torso and neck. The neck is a simple swivel socket, which is all right. As a result, Dengar can turn his head left to right, but not front to back as any sort of nodding motion. However, the shoulder joints and groin are both ball and socket joints, so the hunter's arms and legs move realistically! As well, the joints are all hidden beneath the fabric costume allowing for decent range-of-motion without looking doofy from inconsistencies in any aspect of the creature or its costume. As well, with the wrist flexibility, Dengar can take a two-handed grip on his firearm, which makes for realistic posing.
Dengar can turn at the waist, but not all that much. More problematic is that Dengar is not incredibly well balanced. When posed in a flatfooted position, he requires a bit of manipulation or the backpack causes him to fall backward. It is difficult, but not impossible, to get Dengar so stable that he does not wobble or shake at all from vibrations near one's display. Dengar can be situated such that he does not fall over. Still, it is not the easiest figure to balance completely.
Dengar is part of the twelve-inch series that came out concurrent with the Attack Of The Clones line, a series of Star Wars action figures that were released during a time that they were largely being mass produced. Dengar was actually fairly common, which tended to devalue the figure quite a bit (though most of the Star Wars figures have taken a hit from overproduction and the sheer number of them that have not been taken out of their packaging on the hopes that someday they might be an investment that pays dividends).
In other words, Dengar is only truly worth something to people who have a fetish for bounty hunters; he is not going to be a gold mine for anyone's collection.
Dengar is a surprisingly well-made bounty hunter figure, but the detailing on the head undermines the figure some, robbing it of perfection. With such detailed clothwork and painting on other parts of the figure, that Dengar does not have a cloth-wrapped head for realism undermines him some.
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© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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