Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Land of the Jawas Action Playset (SW) (playset of the week)

While the Land of the Jawas Action Playset was fairly routine for that time (cardboard background, plastic base), what it actually did was leave an enduring legacy. The same plastic base was used again – only changing its color – in not one, but two subsequent playsets: Hoth Ice Planet Adventure Set and Rebel Command Center Adventure Set.

The set came with a sandcrawler cardboard background with a manual figure elevator, a plastic base, and the droids’ escape pod. Molded into the base was a depression to put the pod in, sandcrawler tracks, and a little cave for a Jawa to hide in. You could put the Jawa on a rotating platform on the base and make him “shoot” R2, who fell down because of a little moving panel beneath him. You could put a figure in the elevator, and fit at least two figures in the escape pod. Oddly, enough, the European version of this set released through Palitoy did not include the escape pod. Many a British child went podless. The set only came out in a Star Wars logo box.

Now, while I admire Kenner’s moxie in re-using the base, they couldn’t modify it at all later? Like AT-AT tracks instead of sandcrawler tracks? A cave large enough to hold a wampa? Who knows? The playset itself was good, even though it replicated the elevator in a slightly worse way than the remote-control sandcrawler out at the same time. You could always own both and just use the base with the sandcrawler if you were so disposed. Or anal retentive. You decide.

Why should you own this set? Five reasons:

1. It was actually a neat, cheap little Tatooine playset.
2. Your parents wouldn’t pony up the cash for the remote control sandcrawler. You’ll show them!
3. You can market it to your parents as sister-friendly. “Land of the Jawas” evokes more of a Smurf-feel.
4. Recreate the scene where Stormtroopers stuff Jawa bodies in the cave, until they run out of room and leave them wherever.
5. Recreate the real scene where R2 gets a cap in his ass by a Jawa. Yes, a Jawa. This is the same droid that takes on multiple Mark II Battle Droids in Revenge of the Sith. Man, you’ve gone downhill.


Not much of a backstory, really. You can recreate the scene where R2 gets shot by a Jawa. You can put the droids in the martini-shaker escape pod. You can even set fire to the background as Stromtroopers kill the Jawas (no, don’t really do that). It’s just a playset to enact some Tatooine scenes on. I suppose you could even later use it to have a teenage Anakin ask a Jawa where his mom is…before he then kills a bunch of Tatooine natives.

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