Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Dewback And Sandtrooper Toy Is One Of The Power Of The Force Successes Worth Tracking Down!

The Good: Detailing on both the Dewback And Sandtrooper, Good accessories, Cool play function, Decent balance.
The Bad: Terrible collectible value, Minor scale issues
The Basics: The Dewback And Sandtrooper deluxe toy from Kenner’s Power Of The Force line is one of the worthwhile ones for fans and collectors even now!

A few weeks back, I discovered there was a brand new Dewback deluxe figure in the Star Wars toy line. This, naturally, excited me, but it also got me to pretty immediately revisit the Dewback I already have. Back when the Special Editions of the Star Wars Trilogy were released in 1997, Kenner released a Dewback and Sandtrooper deluxe vehicle figure set. I still had mine and before I invested in a new one, I figured I should see how good the old Dewback is. The truth is, it’s pretty good and it holds up well even now with the newer figures.

For those unfamiliar with the Dewbacks, they were the beasts of burden on Tatooine in A New Hope (reviewed here!). Used by the Empire, the lizards helped the Sandtroopers stationed in the desert get around. They were digitally improved for the Special Edition and the Kenner toy reflects the new imagining of the beasts.

The Dewback, all saddled up for Imperial use, is the subject of the Dewback and Sandtrooper deluxe vehicle figure!


The Dewback is the four-legged, scaled lizard that the Imperial Sandtroopers rode while on the desert planet of Tatooine. The toy stands 4 3/4” tall, 10” long tail to snout and 4 1/8” wide that puts it in scale with most of the figures in the 3.75” Star Wars toy line. The Dewback is instantly recognizable to fans of the Star Wars Saga and is a vast improvement over the bright green one from the original Kenner toy line.

This version of the Dewback is molded with the saddle on the back of the reptile beast. This Dewback is cast with its back legs in a solid stance and its forward legs ready to swipe at an unsuspecting womprat. This sculpt reflects the more dynamic nature of the CG Dewbacks from the film. Kenner got a lot right with the sculpt of the Dewback as it has the teeth, claws, saddle with bedroll all molded on in perfect proportion. The detailing is consistent with the figures of the time and Kenner even textured the body of the Dewback to look scaled, as opposed to leaving it smooth (which would be entirely inaccurate).

As for the coloring, Kenner did a fairly decent job on that front. The Dewback is clearly dirty and the green is accented by a considerable amount of brown, especially on the top of the lizard. The brown of the saddle is appropriately darker than the rust brown of the scales, which offsets it nicely. The claws are clean and black and the teeth are a decent off-white. Even the red tongue inside the toy’s mouth is well-rendered. The eyes are glossy in good contrast to the dry, matte coloring of the scales! While this might not have a lot of coloring subtlety or shading, it looks decent in the colors it does have!


The Dewback And Sandtrooper was a deluxe figure (vehicle) set. The Dewback came with five accessories; a Hoth Sandtrooper figure, backpack, a bridle, battle lance and a blaster. The bridle is a soft plastic loop that fits around the Dewback’s head. Brown and undetailed, the loop is made to look like it is two straps that connect at the Sandtrooper’s hand. That other end of the loop is a straight bit that into the Dewback’s mouth. The bridle does not fit overly well into the figure’s right hand.

As for the Sandtrooper figure, this is essentially the same as the Power Of The Force Hoth Sandtrooper with a gray shoulder guard as opposed to an orange one. The primary difference between this Sandtrooper and the main Power Of The Force Sandtrooper (reviewed here!) are the legs and the arms. The figure is also rust colored, as opposed to the gray-dirty plastic of the independent Sandtrooper. The hands are oriented to hold the Battle Lance and the linked portion of the bridle. The Battle Lance may be held in either hand, though it is ideal in the figure’s left hand. At the time this toy was released, it was a big deal that this Sandtrooper featured knees that bent. This does allow this Sandtrooper to sit well on the saddle of the Dewback. This Sandtrooper also stands fairly well as a result of the increased articulation. It does not, however, have the holes in the bottom of his feet needed to allow him to interact with the playsets. The intent here is clear; this figure is supposed to ride the Dewback and nothing else!

The backpack is a black and white plastic backpack that clips perfectly into the slot in the back of the Sandtrooper’s back. The whites are appropriately dirty, so the backpack matches the figure very well. The Blaster Rifle attaches to the backpack via a hole on the left side. That hole fits a peg on the blaster rifle.
The blaster rifle is a generic, thinner Imperial blaster rifle than the one that comes with the standard Stormtrooper or Sandtrooper figures. The 2 15/16” black plastic gun fits loosely in the Sandtrooper’s left hand, but very well in the figure’s right hand. There are no coloring details on this gun to make it at all distinct for this toy. Contrasting with the Dewback’s detailing, the gun is distractingly simple.

Also simple is the monotonal black Battle Lance, a 7” long lance with a force prod at the end. The squared off handle is ideal for the figure’s left hand and it makes the Sandtrooper look like he means business, even if the coloring does not match the rest of the figure!


The Dewback that comes with the Dewback And Sandtrooper has decent playability. First and foremost, the balance for the Dewback is very good. Because the toy lacks any sort of support for under the feet (this is way too big to simply plug into the usual pegs playsets have – and it lacks the holes on the feet for that sort of support), it must stand on its own. Fortunately, it has a wide stance and is very difficult to tip. This is true until one tries to pose the Dewback in a swiping stance where it might use its left forepaw to attack a victim. This, unfortunately, may make the Dewback look dynamic and cool, but it makes it very easy to tip this beast over.

The Dewback is not the most articulated toy in the Star Wars toy line. The tail is inflexible, though it does move as part of the action feature, and the Dewback has only seven points of articulation. There are simple swivel joints for the legs and tail. The mouth and head are on simple hinge joints.

The Dewback comes with an additional playability feature, though, and that is an action feature. The tail may be pulled to the side and that raises the Dewback’s head and opens the beast’s mouth. Dropping the tail basically causes the Dewback to bite and that is a neat additional play feature.


Like most toys in the Power Of The Force toy line, the Dewback And Sandtrooper toy was overproduced by quite a bit. Demand for the toy was easily met and while the price once peaked at about twice the original release price, the value has since plummeted. Given that there is a brand new Dewback toy, it is unlikely the Power Of The Force version will ever rebound in value. In other words, this is not a great investment figure. That said, the Dewback looks good even with newer Star Wars figures and toys, so if one does not want the expense of hunting down the new Dewback, one option is to pick this toy up cheap! It also makes a great background Dewback when building an Imperial desert assault force!


The Dewback And Sandtrooper toy and figure set holds up fairly well, so if I upgrade to the new Dewback, it will be because I like the idea of adding to my Empire, not replacing this older model.

For other Star Wars toys and playsets, be sure to visit my reviews of:
Power Of The Force Luke Skywalker And Tauntaun
Saga Legends AT-AT
30th Anniversary AT-AP


For other toy reviews, please be sure to check out my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the toys I have reviewed!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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