SANDTROOPER with Dewback
Power of the Force Beast Assortment
Item No.: Asst. 69645 No. 69743
Includes: Blaster, prod, backpack, dewback
Action Feature: Bending knees
Availability: Summer 1997
Appearances: Star Wars: Special Edition
Image: Adam Pawlus' toy room.
Bio: A sandtrooper, or desert trooper, was an Imperial stormtrooper equipped with modified armor and equipment to withstand the harsh climates of desert planets like Tatooine. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)
Commentary: Retool time! Kenner quickly figured out they could sell numerous versions of the Sandtrooper with limited changes, and after the first one hit in 1996 they were off to the races. This versions was packaged exclusively with a Dewback, a giant sand lizard, and was notable for being the first-ever 3 3/4-inch Sandtrooper with knee articulation, which made it a big hit. The trooper was essentially a modified Stormtrooper, but with some knees, repositioned legs, and extra gear. Because it was from 1997, most fans regarded a Sandtrooper as a Stormtrooper with a backpack and a shoulder pad-- we hadn't yet realized there were alternate belts, unique lenses, ammo pouches, and other extras that would make it more accurate to the film. The figure is really bulky and beefy by today's standards, but Kenner did successfully engineer a figure that could sit with his knees bent on top of a giant lizard and not look stupid standing up. It's a great toy, and a fine example of what I'd like to see more of today-- I mean, as far as sitting and stuff goes. The sculpt really doesn't age well, and 11 years later, the figure is less collectible than it is disposable. Odds are you'll get one when you buy a POTF2 Dewback, but it isn't worth seeking out the figure for his own merits unless you make it a point to collect these early, muscular releases.
Collector's Notes: This Sandtrooper came in two flavors-- the first release as seen here is regarded as "clean," and another release came shortly after it which was dark red and dusty, basically "filthy." Neither seems more rare or desirable.
Day 780: June 24, 2008