The official site has updated its ongoing series of Protos and Premiums, with Gus Lopez writing about the Land of the Jawas Playset.
This early prototype of Kenner’s “Land of the Jawas” playset differs significantly from the 1979 toy ultimately sold by Kenner in the United States and Canada, and the alternate version sold by Palitoy the United Kingdom. The prototype playset base does not have the small cave from the finished product where R2-D2 can hide, and the lever on this early design is flat like a popsicle stick and blended to the terrain unlike the knob on the production toy.
While the cardboard backdrop has the same general shape and multi-layered cardboard construction, the paint scheme is completely different from the Kenner and Palitoy backdrops. This is noticeable in places such as the illuminated lights that only appear on the production toys. Many of the original features of the concept were retained such as the sandcrawler treads on the right side of the plastic base.
This original Sandcrawler prototype is not known to have surfaced in collecting circles today as few prototypes from this early era have survived. The early design of the Land of the Jawas is known by collectors from its prominent shots on Kenner’s 20-back action figure cards and early toy catalogs.