I personally love seeing figures from POTF2 get a make-over. It's like some make-over reality TV show for Star Wars action figures, where Hasbro decides to take a sculpt that we thought wasn't all that shabby to begin with, and turn it around and make it look like a completely different character. Sometimes their efforts can fall a bit flat, but not to worry with ol' Dengar here, because he comes out smelling like a rose in the end! Dare I say, one of the better figures of 2004?
And this from a reviewer who can safely say that he truly dislikes the character of Dengar in general. I disliked Durge as well, ‘til I got the deluxe version of him, but this new Dengar figure's a must-have just for lovers of Star Wars action figures. Even if you think a guy in bandages was a stupid looking fellow in The Empire Strikes Back, like I did, this is a worthy purchase. So read on, and I'll tell you why…
Sculpt: Hands down, this sculpt, when compared with its previous one, makes the original sculpt look simply laughable. You'd think the POTF2 figure was actually a bootleg, it's THAT bad in comparison. Of course, we as Star Wars Geeks to the extremist of extremes already knew this, but really, you have to see these two side-by-side to truly grasp how severely lacking the POTF2 sculpt was.
Beyond that though, Hasbro nailed tons of detail on this figure - from sharp creases and wrinkles in Dengar's fabric, to VERY nicely sculpted detail on the armor, and a face sculpt that not even a mother would love… Dengar's certainly ample in the detail department.
One of the details I personally found to stand out on Dengar was the great way Hasbro sculpted his cobbled together armor (it's actually created mostly of Snowtrooper armor if you look at it closely). The pieces stand out on the figure so much that you'd think they were actually removable. They're not, but they do look great! Good work to whoever made this bad-boy look amazingly realistic!
A little detail I noticed too, that a lot of folks haven't really mentioned around the net, was Dengar's shoes. The sculptor noticed Dengar was sporting some lovely loafers in the film. You know, those stitched moccasin loafers that Yuppies wear with shorts and no socks…? Anyway, Dengar has them too.
The face sculpt also shows tons of detail. While the downward looking sculpt might seem a little odd, it's acceptable and not too awkward/scene specific that Dengar can't look “neutral” in a number of other poses. He just looks extremely PO 'd. Guess he probably wouldn't work in any Boba Fett wedding dioramas (*Gag!*). Dengar's ugliness and angry look fit him well though, and it's all accurate. Compared to the chubby fat boy sculpt of the last Dengar, this one's a work of art, even if it's ugly!
Another neat little detail on Dengar is his back, which I'd personally never seen done with much accuracy before. This figure's actually got straps to hold his armor on, that also appear to double as backpack straps. This is a nice, yet subtle, touch that makes Dengar look ok without his backpack on, but look great with it on as well, like it's actually part of his armor. Good work to make Dengar more versatile.
Accessories: Dengar sports some nice stuff I think… Not a lot, but it's all new at least, and it's all nicely done, and these accessory sculpts impressively rival the figure itself.
Dengar has a backpack that's REALLY nicely sculpted. Tons of detail on this accessory, including a small bedroll or poncho or something, and what appears to be some kind of generator gadget. Small wires, straps, and other details enhance this sculpt to an accessory most people would've thought would've been passed over in some way. The original POTF2 figure actually didn't even sport a backpack at all. (A point of interest: Dengar is in Jabba's Palace, and does NOT have the backpack on there, but on the Executor in ESB he does. But as I already mentioned, this figure looks good either way, so you can just buy two of him for two separate dioramas).
Dengar's rifle is a surprise actually, as Hasbro has now made 3 sculpts of this rifle over the years, since the modern line's inception, and each has been a steady improvement. The original came with the Dewback trooper, and the later version with the Commtech Stormtrooper. Neither sported the best detail, but I think Hasbro's finally perfected it with Dengar's latest rifle!
The rifle itself is actually a German MG-34, a common infantry support machinegun from World War II. In my on-going attempt to bring you a little history lesson with your reviews (when a new weapon can be identified clearly anyway), enjoy this actual image of the real weapon below:
As you can see, the actual weapon pictured above and Dengar's weapon are virtually identical. Lucas really didn't make a ton of modifications to a lot of the guns they used in filming, so they can often be clearly pegged for their Earthly counterparts.
Hasbro's efforts in this blaster rifle's sculpt are admirable as well, with details like the holes along the barrel, the bi-pod, and lots of little raised details to give the impression of working mechanisms. Simply a nicely done accessory in sculpt as well as paint applications (a brown stock and gun-metal wash on the barrel… Very nice!).
Lastly, Dengar's got the basic rectangular “Star Wars” Stand that interlocks with others. The Star Destroy wave's stands were altered to link together with their little tabs better than previous figures, so you'll notice his stand is a little different than other figure's stands. It's a nice extra, but nothing I'm overly excited about.
Articulation: Dengar is a pretty poseable guy, which is a nice change from a lot of Hasbro's modern figures, which are often found lacking in the articulation department. Dengar can achieve a number of neutral, or action poses, including a nice 2-handed shooting pose.
Dengar sports articulation at:
-2 ball-socket shoulder joints
-2 standard hip joints
-1 standard neck joint
-1 standard waist joint
-1 angled left elbow joint (at the forearm armor, so it's well hidden)
-1 left wrist
-1 right bicep swivel joint (again, hidden at the armor on his right shoulder)
With a total of 9 points of articulation, Dengar doesn't look as good on paper as some figures, but surprisingly, he's actually more poseable than some figures with more total articulation that have recently been released. That's a pretty sad testament to those figures, and it really illustrates the versatility of the ball-socket joint.
I personally like to pose Dengar in a bit of an EU “gunning” pose, but you'll find a few other good ways to pose this guy, I'm sure, including his traditional pose from ESB, so no worries.
I was slightly disappointed to see his articulation not balanced on the right with the left, but that's for later.
Decoration: For a rather drab looking character, Dengar's paint applications are rather varied and he does manage to stand out a bit more than I thought he would - certainly more than his original figure with the spotty splatters of dirt and grime, at least.
The figure's armor is a nice bronze-ish color, with a very metallic look to it - far superior to the original figure's armor. This armor has some nice silver highlights in areas that show wear and tear to it, which brings out some of the detail on the chest-plate as well.
Details like the armor straps are painted a nice grey color to help them stand out, though my example has overspray which somewhat detracts from the particular enhancement. The character's belt also has lots of detail, and is painted a unique color (a lighter “cream” color than his greyer jumpsuit), making it stand out well. Another stand-out detail is the padding on his back. It's the same “cream” color as the belt, which separates it from the jumpsuit's color enough to make it really catch your eye when examining the figure.
Dengar's face is also decorated nicely, with the scar being prominently painted, and his teeth showing ever so slightly. My figure's eyes were very nicely painted, and very small. These were tiny details that really had a life-like quality to them, with the whites not being too pronounced and the pupils nicely centered.
Overall, this is simply a real nice paintjob on this figure, and one to make him stand out against some of the older POTF2 figures.
Unbalanced Articulation: As with a lot of recent figures, Hasbro has decided to not balance their articulation evenly, and omitted wrist articulation on Dengar's right arm here. This is a disappointing little “cut” they made. The other arm's so nicely done, that balancing it with the left would've made the figure only slightly more poseable, but I believe it would've been worth it in the end. The unbalanced articulation's a frustrating problem with Hasbro's product, and one I wish they'd cease doing.
As it stands though, Dengar's still pretty poseable though, due to his ball-socket shoulders, so the wrist on the right arm's not a terrible flaw, just more of an annoying little habit Hasbro has that I wish they'd work on. You can still get some great neutral or action poses out of this Dengar, so he's pretty good regardless.
Some Sloppy Paint: Not much, but I figure'd I'd mention it here since I did comment on it above. My sample, and several others I have seen at stores, had some overspray with the grey paint used to bring out the armor strap sculpts. It's a minor gripe, but because it contrasts on the bronze-ish armor, it really can stand out at times. It's really nothing too major though, and if you have a few Dengars to choose from at your local store, you should still be able to find a decent one.
Rubbery Weapons : Probably the biggest problem with this figure, as with oh-so-many Star Wars action figures and accessories these days, is that Hasbro chose to use the overly flexible plastic on Dengar's accessories that they're apparently so fond of, and it came out all wrong. My Dengar's gun has a bend in it that I've been able to fix somewhat, but then it easily flexes again when I'm trying to pose Dengar holding his gun with both hands, and it just looks goofy.
I truly wish Hasbro would get their collective crap together over there and STOP using this overly rubbery plastic on Star Wars figure accessories. Other toy lines don't use it and it's NOT a safety issue. Hell, Hasbro's own G.I. Joe weapons are equally detailed, and yet not a single one of them is ever this rubbery. They're actually quite firm and nicely done!
Please Hasbro, if there's one area after articulation that you need to work on, it's this cheap, crappy plastic you keep using. Gotta get this stuff fixed folks because it really can detract from some great looking accessories packed in with an otherwise great figure. Bad Hasbro… Bad!
In short, I was really pleased with Dengar.
The weapon's ability to fold in half with ease is this figure's main detracting point, with the unbalanced articulation close behind. But neither is a major enough issue for me to give this figure a “don't bother buying it” rating. I suggest you maybe even nab two of them if you're a diorama hound. You'll want one for Jabba's Palace and the Executor meeting he's titled after.
One thing I really want to emphasize here, and to Hasbro should this see their eyes, is the outstanding versatility of the ball-socket joint. They really did an excellent job with this, and they are true masters of using the ball-socket joint on their action figures. They can hide it, even on unclothed shoulders (Aalya Secura for example), and the ball-socket joint is, to me, the future of Star Wars articulation. I'd love to see this joint used more and more often... at least at the shoulders, elbows, and knees. It really should be a standard for the line for any character with the slightest hint of “action” - like army builders, Jedi, Bounty Hunters, and of course the main heroes and villains.
Kudos on a great resculpt overall Hasbro, and I hope that Dengar's a sign of some outstanding resculpts to come. I'd personally not mind seeing almost every POTF2 figure redone at some point, because the more I look through the original modern figures of POTF2, the more I see that a lot of them are just as deserving of brilliant resculpts as Dengar's gotten here!