#2806: Jawa & “GONK” Droid

JAWA & “GONK” DROID

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“Jawas are small, foul smelling machine-scavengers of Tatooine’s deserts. Crafty traders and talented mechanics, they often use power ‘Gonk’ droids to provide energy for their scavenged goods.”

Though they only got one single release in the vintage line, and they’re only in one film of the original trilogy, when it came to Power of the Force II, Kenner was determined to give the Jawas some more proper coverage.  They got in early, with a pair of them joining the line’s second year.  There was also a follow-up in 1997 with one of the creatures.  Finally, we got one last one just as the line was on its way out, this time alongside possibly the best droid in the whole franchise, the “GONK” Droid!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Jawa and “GONK” Droid were added to Power of the Force in 1999, officially falling into Hasbro’s tenure in the last two years.  They were part of the second round of figures for the year, running concurrently with the Episode I figures.  The Jawa stands about 3 inches tall (placing him between the two from the two-pack in sizing) and has 6 points of articulation.  Hasbro was getting a little more experienced with robe construction, so this one’s actually got a separate robe piece for the bottom half, with actual legs sculpted beneath it.  It means more articulation, but also means less motion, since the robe only allows so much movement.  In terms of pure functionality, the prior design honestly worked a bit better, but I suppose the appearance is a little better on this one.  The depth of detail on this new figure was more involved, so he’s a bit more technically impressive, although the overall appearance is really the same as the larger Jawa from the two-pack.  The paint work on the Jawa is virtually identical to the prior releases, right down to the light-piping square on the top of his head.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess.  The GONK winds up as a bit more of an accessory.  He’s about 2 3/4 inches tall and he has moving legs, but not in a way that really counts as articulation.  There’s a button on the left side, which moves right leg backward, and the left leg forward.  Unfortunately, to facilitate this feature, that means the default set-up has the right leg forward and the left leg backward, with no way to lock them into place in a regular standing position.  And he’s not really stable in the default pose.  You have to rely on rubber bands or twisty ties if you want to keep his legs in a regular pose.  That’s not ideal.  On the plus side, it’s at least a fairly nice sculpt, far removed from the vintage design, and transitioning into something far more screen accurate.  These two are packed with two accessories: a blaster for the Jawa and a CommTech chip, which actually does play sounds for both figures.  That’s pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always liked the Jawas, and, of course, I have a fondness for the GONK due to my brother Christian’s attachment to the LEGO version, so this was a set that it’s kind of surprising how long it took me to acquire.  I actually had it for a while before reviewing, as I’d picked it up during one of my big splurges of Power of the Force buying from All Time.  But, it remained sealed hanging on my wall for a bit, until one in a ratty package came through, and I decided it was easier to swap them, since I was going to open mine eventually anyway.  Hey, at least it pushed me to finally open them.  These figures are overall pretty good, but they both suffer a little bit from some over-engineering.  Fortunately, it’s easy enough to work around, and, especially in the case of the GONK, it’s worth working around, because it’s a very nice looking figure.

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