Thursday, August 30, 2012

All Summer I Waited . . . To Be Mildly Disappointed By The Discover The Force Dewback!

The Good: Amazing saddle detailing, Good detailing on Dewback, Good balance
The Bad: Unimpressive articulation, Vastly overpriced.
The Basics: I was so excited about the new Discover The Force Dewback deluxe toy from Wal-Mart’s exclusive Discover The Force line that when I finally snagged one on clearance, I was left with only disappointment.

For those who might not follow my blog as regularly as others, this summer, there have been two things I have reiterated (one much less loudly than the other!); my wife was away for the summer (leaving me very lonely, but allowing me to produce quite a bit for the blog!) and I was holding out on buying the new Dewback toy until it went on clearance locally. Well, my wife’s job is keeping her in Michigan, so I uprooted from my home state (New York) and have moved to Michigan! As my gift to myself for the move, I picked up the Discover The Force Dewback which finally went on clearance for $21 locally at Wal-Mart. (Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of Wal-Mart, but this was only available there!)

It was, alas, not worth the wait, which made for a real disappointment when I finally opened it this morning.

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 Discover The Force version is the latest incarnation of the lizard beast of burden.

The Dewback, all saddled up for Imperial use, is the subject of the Dewback 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 5 1/2” tall, 13 1/2” long tail to snout and 3 3/4” 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, but (oddly) not a significant improvement over the one in the Power Of The Force line (reviewed here!). In fact, when expense is factored in, the Discover The Force Dewback is less thrilling than the two pack (Dewback and Sandtrooper) from the earlier line.

This version of the Dewback is molded without the saddle on the back of the reptile beast. This Dewback is cast with its back legs and forelegs in a solid stance. This sculpt reflects the more dynamic nature of the CG Dewbacks from the film. Hasbro got a lot right with the sculpt of the Dewback, though they cheated several details; for example, this Dewback has a closed mouth and therefore does not have any detailing for the teeth or tongue. That said, the leathery-looking skin, beady red eyes and vicious curved claws all look incredibly good with this version of the toy. The detailing is consistent with the new Discover The Force and Vintage Collection figures, though this is a very clean desert reptile by its coloring!

Oddly, the bottom of the Dewback is marred by production numbering stamped on, which almost undoes the cool details like the molded in spine of the beast of burden. This Dewback was also more neutral in its stance and molding than the earlier versions and comes with two of its legs detached. Attaching them is fairly easy and they plug right into the ball joints.


The Dewback was a deluxe figure (vehicle) set. The Dewback came with its saddle and bridle, for use by (presumably) Sandtroopers, like the Vintage Collection Sandtrooper (reviewed here!). The saddle, is immaculately detailed. The coloring detail on the saddle is incredible; it looks like worn leather and every metal buckle and rivet seems to be appropriately colored. The straps are thin and flexible and it is molded to precisely fit the new Dewback.

The bridle is a simple brown soft plastic harness that goes around the Dewback’s head and fits into holes on either side of the Dewback’s mouth, to make it look like it is chomping down on its bit. The harness fits the basic color scheme of the rest of the Dewback, though it is more simply colored than the rest of the toy or its accessories.


The Dewback has fair 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. As well, this incarnation of the Dewback features additional articulation at the ankles and “wrists” that make it much more poseable than prior versions of the toy!

The Dewback is not the most articulated toy in the Star Wars toy line. The tail is inflexible, though it claims on the packaging to be poseable. Instead, it is virtually unmovable and when it is moved, it quickly reverts to its original, slightly curved, pose. The wrists and ankles have hinged ball and socket joints and the head and sockets for the haunches and “shoulders” are more than simple swivel joints. The ball and socket joints offer limited range of motion, but are more articulated than the prior incarnations of the Dewback.


The Discover The Force toy line was exclusive to Wal-Mart and the Dewback was one of two vehicle/deluxe toys in the line. The Dewback was a hotter seller than the Vulture Droid, but was still a slow-enough seller that I remain able to find them on clearance (or in regular stock for full price, though I’m not sure how that works!) at about one in five Wal-Marts I still visit. The Dewback, then, is not likely to appreciate in value for some time and having taken it out to play with it, it is underwhelming and left me less enthused than I was before I opened it up. This is not likely to be a great investment toy for quite some time.


The Dewback toy is fair at best, which is a huge letdown for those who might have been looking forward to it for several months! If you can find it cheap (it’s got to be less than the $21 clearance price from Wal-Mart to make it even a passable value!), the Dewback fits the newer lines of figures fine, but it is not all that it ought to be for today’s toy enthusiasts.

For other Star Wars toys and playsets, be sure to visit my reviews of:
Power Of The Force Hoth Battle playset
Attack Of The Clones Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi Starfighter
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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