2018 saw the release of the 4th and 5th Vehicle/Creature packs in the Star Wars Black Series 3rd phase packaging. The 4th release was the long awaited Dewback and Sandtrooper set, adding another creature to the collection and a further Sandtrooper variant with the grey pauldron.
The Dewback comes packed in large rectangular box with a small window on the bottom left through which the figure can be seen. The creature itself is secured in the box and that allows Hasbro to deliver it part assembled to save packaging space. Instead of seeing the actual creature, the front of the box is dominated by a large Gregory Titus illustration with a small cut in at the top left showing the Dewback and Sandtrooper.
To keep in theme with the other 3rd phase boxes, the Dewback's left hand spine is coloured a deep red and is numbered as #04 in the series - following on directly from the original Tie Fighter and last years Speeders (Luke & Rey).The opposite spine has a different Titus illustration focusing this time on the Sandtrooper.
Like the other releases, the box also carries some blueprint type images woven into the black backing colour. These sit predominantly on the top of the box and look OK but don't work as well as say the schematics of an actual vehicle rather than a creature.
Round the back are a group of image panels showing off the Dewback and the Sandtrooper. To the side of these sits the bio text for both rider and creature.
Stormtroopers dispatched to desert worlds wear specialized gear and are nicknamed sandtroopers. Sandtroopers wear standard stormtrooper armor augmented with cooling units, a helmet filter, and a survival backpack with extra rations and water. While hunting for the Death Star plans on Tatooine, sandtroopers used native dewbacks as mounts."
Rugged reptiles with thick hides, dewbacks are plodding but reliable mounts. When prodded by their riders, they are capable of brief bursts of surprising speed."
Dewback Paint & Sculpt 4/5
Out of the box the Dewback saddle has to be assembled to the creature by means of a shaped socket in its back and two plugs either side.
Once done you can see the beauty of this creature and the execution by Hasbro. The skin is textured like a lizard and the body shape and proportions of the Dewback creature are captured extremely well - most likely using the Special Edition digitally added version rather than the original prop from 1977.
The Dewback is cast in a green plastic, but has paint apps across its body to bring out the shading as well as the straps of its saddle. The only place this doesn't work is on the "fur" ridge running from the neck to the tail. This is left base green and would have been nicer painted or at least dry brushed in a darker colouring.
The Dewback has been criticised as being undersized, but I don't see that and the rider and creature look well proportioned to me.
Sandtrooper Paint & Sculpt 3/5
The Sandtrooper sculpt was first released in 2013 and is as old as the Black Series itself. The original trooper was a triumph and was only flawed by a bow legged look - and ironically this flaw allows it to act as a rider for the Dewback with only a couple of small tweaks to the original design.
The body is cast in white gloss plastic with the joints in black and weathering is added on top to dirty up the armour. This is patchy and focused heavily on the head and torso with only a little on the legs and none on the arms which look clean in comparison. The pauldron, now grey on this release, is also weathered.
While the majority of the Sandtrooper body remains identical to the 2013 release there has been a couple of minor tweaks to aid the figure sitting on the Dewback. The crotch area is cut higher to allow the ball joint hips more movement. The stomach section has also been tweaked with less pronounced detail - possibly allowing for a touch more movement in a seated position.
The accessories included are obviously for the Sandtrooper only. First is the electro pole that the Dewback riders use. This is cast in a dark grey gloss plastic with no other paint apps. Details are also limited to the shaped ends. The pole fits in either hand on the Trooper.
Our trooper is also armed with a DLT-19 Heavy Blaster Rifle, another piece dating back to the 2013 launch of the line. This is cast in the same dark grey plastic and unlike previous versions gets no gunmetal dry brushing. It is designed to fit in the Trooper's right hand, with a flexible trigger finger slotting into the trigger.
And to finish off our trooper has his survival backpack, the finishing touch to any Sandtrooper. Like all previous releases the backpack slots into place in a socket on the Troopers rear. The sculpt of the backpack remains unchanged with a softer plastic strap an pouch that wraps over the shoulder and hangs on the Troopers left hand shoulder and chest. Colouring on the pack is identical to previous releases - with no weathering, leaving it looking a little clean.
Sandtrooper Articulation 4/5
Our Sandtrooper comes in at 18 points of articulation, coming from a time where both knees and elbows got double joints.
Head - ball joint with pivot
Body - ball jointed torso
Arms - ball joint shoulders, bicep swivel, double jointed elbows, pivot wrist
Legs - ball joint hips, thigh swivel, single joint knee, ankle rocker
The arm articulation allows for some nice double handed weapon poses, but also to grip the reigns on the Dewback. The legs, with the shallower crotch piece, straddle the saddle well and he sits as comfortably on the Dewback as an Armoured Trooper can.
Dewback Articulation 5/5
Putting the Trooper to shame, our Dewback rolls in with 23 points of articulation with some neat tricks like articulated claws front and back on each foot to allow it to be planted flat to the floor.
Head : ball joint neck, pivot jaw and pivot tongue
Body : ball joint tail
Legs : front toe joint, rear toe joint, ankle joint, mid leg joint and hip joint
The jaw is also articulated to give either an open or closed mouth look, and even the tongue inside the mouth is jointed to move with the jaw and be posed either sticking out in the middle or flat to the lower gum.
The movement of the legs allows the Dewback a number of options such as raising the front legs to stand him up or lowering them to bow the head. All four feet however will need to be on the floor for him to stand on display.
The Dewback and Sandtrooper creature set is an awesome release with very few flaws. While you can argue both rider and mount might benefit from a few more paint apps - the sheet detail in the sculpt and the articulation are enough to offset this.
As an expansion to your imperial forces, this figure and creature set is a must and I score it a solid 4 out of 5.