Friday, May 6, 2011

D is also for Dewback

Dewbacks were large, four-legged, omnivorous, cold-blooded reptiles native to the desert wastes of Tatooine. As such, they were well-adapted to the harsh desert climate. This and the fact that they could be easily domesticated, made them commonly employed as beasts of burden by both the inhabitants of the desert planet and the off-worlders wandering its dunes. Due to their numerous useful traits and versatility, they were quite possibly the most respected of all the creatures native to Tatooine.

Dewbacks were employed by moisture farmers, local security forces and even off-world military organizations such as Imperial Sandtroopers and a desert specialist team from the 4th regiment of the Alliance Special Forces as mounts and pack animals.

For the original filming of Star Wars, the dewback was a mechanized lifesize puppet featuring limited articulation. On location in Tunisia, the dewback would not work properly, so it was tucked away in the background of shots rather than seen close-up. A single dewback could be seen during the Imperial search for the droids. The same puppet was placed outside the Mos Eisley Cantina.

Click on this picture for a bigger and better view :)

Dewbacks were employed by sandtroopers in "STAR WARS Episode IV: A New Hope" because Director George Lucas believed that the use of an organic means of transport instead of mechanical means, such as a landspeeder would give the desert search scene an "element of surprise." However, the dewback that was eventually produced for the movie was not created with movement in mind so it was relegated to the background.

In 1995, additional footage for the scene of the Imperial Sandtroopers searching for the droids was filmed in Yuma, Arizona for the 1997 Special Edition of "A New Hope". Computer-generated imagery was used to add dewbacks to the scene.

This Dewback and Sandtrooper figure / creature set was released in July 1997 and is one of those STAR WARS sets that I bought then as I haven't really focused on 1/6 figures at that time. That's mainly because in 1997, the 1/6 market and industry wasn't exactly thriving as there just wasn't that many 1/6 manufacturers nor 1/6 scale figures made available then.

That's part of the beauty of the scale of Star Wars figures. With these 3-3/4 inches tall action figures, manufacturers can produce the larger size vehicles or creatures without worrying about the vast size or shipping costs when produced. What I like about these figures was knowing that the accompanying vehicles wouldn't be far behind.

Click on this picture for a bigger and better view :)

I think the new generation in Asia is a generation that grew up with these 3-3/4 inch action figures and most of them have never had the chance to play with 12-inch articulated action figures unlike those that grew up in England, Europe and the United States. As such, there is a lack of 1/6 scale collectors as compared to 3-3/4 inch collectors. On the other hand, the 12-inch figure market is much more niche and the figures released are much lower in quantity but higher in quality and value. With the high-end collectible figures released by Hot Toys, that trend is changing and we are seeing more and more adult collectors today who buy 12-inch figures.

But in the end, all toys are meant to be FUN and played with, even the 12-inch figures. What is the point of spending all that money only to keep the toy mint in the box; to be stared at and admired through the plastic covering that stands between toy and boy (no disrespect to all the female collectors out there but the sentence just reads better haha)? Most times, if you don't OPEN the TOY, you won't even know how the back of the figure looks like or how complete it is with all its accessories. So my stand is, if I cannot wait to open the toy, then that toy is not worth getting.

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