A regularly updated blog about my vintage Kenner Star Wars toy collection. Some stuff that I've recently acquired; some stuff that I've had since I was a kid. Some rare, some common, but all sharing the warmth, charm and character of the "first generation" of Star Wars toys - the ones we played with as kids in the late '70s and early '80s.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Radio-Controlled Jawa Sandcrawler (ESB Kenner Canada Version)

The Radio-Controlled Jawa Sandcrawler was the toy that the Land of the Jawas playset should have been. There - I said it. Every kid who got the LoJ playset secretly wished it was this. Setting aside for a moment the cool radio-controlled action, this vehicle is just plain cool - super-detailed and looking like a scaled-down scratch-built prop model straight from the movie.

But it was expensive... according to rebelscum.com, it retailed for $29.99. That's the same as the Millennium Falcon for Pete's sake! And the Falcon has a lot more perceived play value than the Sandcrawler, which appears in only a small part of one movie.

Needless to say, I didn't have this toy when I was a kid. And try finding one today for reasonable money! It's tough. This loose version was acquired on eBay last year. It's in decent shape and complete but for one small part, but let's take a closer look...

The cockpit section is revealed by raising a hinged panel. Note decals.

Interior showing the elevator piece in raised position. It's an open cylinder that slides out the bottom of the vehicle.

Another interior shot (sorry about the dust, the Jawas are filthy aren't they?)  The interior detail is remarkable considering that the top doesn't open on the main body of the toy - you have to reach in through the main side door.

Here's the interior with elevator lowered.

And here it is lowered, from the outside.

Underside lip of the elevator locks in upright position on the small tab at centre.

The ladder detaches from the door panel (below) and is therefore easily lost. One thing I noticed when staging the shot with the figures is that the ladder in my production toy attaches on the opposite side of the door, when compared with the door on the toy used for box art shots:

Note ladder on front/leading edge of door panel...

But attached on rear/trailing edge of panel on production toy. Also note the ridiculously cheap bent plastic "hinges" on the door panel. So many 'crawlers have broken-off doors, just as a result of normal play. The plastic hinges can only take so many bends before they break right off... a shame as this damage is irreparable. Uncharacteristic of Kenner toys too, as they're usually well designed for sturdiness.

Bottom of toy showing copyright info.

Back of 'crawler has amazing film-accurate detail.

What was I alluding to on Rebelscum when I referred to "a rare Canada-only item"...? Bingo! Remote control with French decal. This is a bit strange, isn't it. Apparently the ESB-branded version of the Sandcrawler was only marketed by Kenner Canada - there was no US version of the ESB Sandcrawler.

If you click on the picture above you can just see that the decal has been applied over top of another one... which I would bet money is a Star Wars-branded sticker. Not that I'm going to peel it off to confirm, though.

Top view of remote showing button. You can barely see the sticker overlap here, as well.
Bottom of remote controller showing the clear decal and manufacture date of January, 1980.

Close up shot of the end of the antenna on the remote. Don't poke your eye out, kid!

The only part that's missing from my Sandcrawler is the often-lost battery cover on the remote, but fortunately it displays well even without that. I feel pretty fortunate as a Canadian collector to have obtained an example of the Canada-only ESB variant remote - especially since eBay vendor was in Texas and appeared to have no idea that this Sandcrawler was unusual in any way. Collecting is funny like that sometimes!


  1. I just got the Canadian version of this sandcrawler so happy I got it.. just missing the one long sticker in the cockpit . And it actually works 👍🏻