Box Side (click to enlarge)
Collector Series Box (click to enlarge)
TATOOINE CREATURE RIDDEN BY THE IMPERIAL STORMTROOPER SEARCHING FOR C-3PO AND R2-D2!
A lifelike replica of the Patrol Lizard ridden by DARTH VADER'S IMPERIAL STORMTROOPERS searching for R2-D2 and C-3PO. The PATROL DEWBACK features independently movable legs for exciting action poses. Moving his tail left and right makes his head turn side to side! The IMPERIAL STORMTROOPER Action Figure fits into the saddle through a trap door in the lizard's back. Saddle can also accomodate other STAR WARS Action Figures (not included). Both saddle and reins are removable for added play. Ages 4 and up.
Source: 1984 Kenner Pre-Toy Fair Catalog
Although the Patrol Dewback had virtually no screen time in the original version of the first Star Wars film, Kenner's version of the stormtrooper mount was a popular toy amongst vintage-era Star Wars collectors. This was perhaps due in part to a photo of the creature being featured prominently in promotional material relating to the film, such as trading cards and movie programs. As the above quoted catalog description states, the toy came with a nifty trap door in its back, so that the rather poorly articulated Star Wars figures could be made to sit atop the plastic beast. It also was equipped with a simple action feature, which caused the tail to wag when the head was moved.
The Dewback proved popular enough for Kenner to re-issue it in 1984, as part of its Collector Series of older Star Wars-logo products. No change was made to the later toy, although its box was altered in slight ways. The most noticeable addition was that of a red starburst to the upper right corner of the package. But minor textual alterations were also made, including the addition of the word "figure" to the area just below the title of the toy. The earlier release is generally seen as being more desirable. Although the Dewback was never issued in the States in an ESB box, it was in Canada. Some versions of the Canadian ESB Dewback came packaged with a bonus stormtrooper figure.
Loose, the Dewback is relatively tough to find in pristine condition, largely because its rubber reins are extremely prone to splitting. It should also be noted that the toy has long been sought-after by European collectors, as it was never released in that part of the world. Hasbro released a revamped Dewback toy during the late '90s, but its appearance was completely different from that of the earlier piece, as it was based on the digitally-created Dewback featured in 1997's Star Wars: Special Edition.
First Issued: 1979 (SW packaging)
Re-issues: 1984 (Collector Series)
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