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SWV: Empire Strikes Back
by yo go re

"Imagine the fun and majesty of a Black Series Dengar. The ultimate Dengar! The last Dengar you'd ever need to own! But that's a dream for another day."

Wake up, past-me, the day is here!

Crude and slovenly, Dengar was nonetheless an effective bounty hunter. While some hunters prided themselves on finesse and style, Dengar preferred firepower and destruction.

In the old Expanded Universe continuity, Dnegar had a whole stupid backstory about how he hated Han Solo because they'd been involved in an illegal bike race, and Han was responsible for all Dengar's injuries; Disney had the perfect opportunity to come up with something better when all that old stuff was jettisoned, so now he's an ex-gladiator who just dresses like a slob. Hey, when the only actual canonical thing the character did was stand in one spot and turn slightly to the side as Vader walked away, you've got to find a way to fill up the novels and comics and cartoons somehow. At least The Clone Wars gave him some interesting things to do.

Live-action Dengar was played by British actor Morrie Bush, who had also (allegedly) briefly played Darth Vader in the first movie; David Prowse has said that it was Bush who kicked Obi-Wan's empty robes around after he ghosted. The figure's likeness is good, though the scars on the right side of his face look fresher than they should. The head and turban/ hood thing are separate pieces, so the sculpt has a real sense of depth.

Dengar is not a robot or a lizard, he's a squishy little human - which is why he has to protect his body with sturdy armor plates. For the movie costume, the pieces were reused Imperial armor: Stormtrooper armor for the shoulders, forearms, thighs, and butt; Snowtrooper armor for the chestplate; and Sandtrooper armor for the stomach/codpiece and the shins. It really does feel like something he cobbled together himself from what was available, especially since the gauntlets and greaves have had to be cut open to fit his larger body. That's all worn over a white flight suit, similar to what Snowtroopers wear. It's really just the hood and head-wraps that are weird.

Denglie-doo is prepared for long-term bounty hunts thanks to the complicated backpack he wears. It's got a shelf frame, like fancy exploratory backpacks do, though it hangs surprisingly low on his back. The basic construction is three "boxes" stacked on the frame, with a bedroll on the top, a metal vent strapped across the upper two boxes, and a coiled of rope and a canteen strapped to the bottom one. The item plugs into the toy's back, and there are straps sticking off the sides that can be tucked behind his chest armor to look like they're helping support the weight. Since the backpack is removable, Hasbro could have been really smart and included an alternate back piece (made from a Stormtrooper's breastplate) to allow us to create Dengar's RotJ appearance, too.

In his heyday as a bounty hunter during the Clone Wars, Dengar was a pretty slim little guy, but he bulked up by the Empire era. In fighter terms, he went from striker to brawler - this is a guy who was known to charge at his opponents and then kill them with his gun. Notice we didn't say "shoot" them, he would use his rifle to beat them to death. The figure has enough articulation to go HAM on anyone you want: balljointed head and neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows, and wrists, balljointed chest, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles.

In addition to the backpack described above, Dengar also comes with his BlasTech DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle (based on the German MG 34) and his BlasTech DL-21 blaster pistol (an AR-7 body with an L2A3 handle and a "muzzle" made from the tailfins of a British mortar shell). Neither of them have paint apps, which is a bit disappointing in the pistol's case: its muzzle should be silver. But since it will probably spend most of its time in his thigh holster, that's a corner we don't mind being cut.

Dengar is widely known as "the 'toilet paper' bounty hunter," and would certainly never be popular on his own. A Black Series figure is so much better than this charcter deserves. But he finishes the "team" of Emipire Strikes Back bounty hunters, so you've gotta have him.

-- 01/04/20

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