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Vintage Jabba the Hutt Pajamas by Wilker Bros. (Yellow)

March 2, 2015

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I like character pajamas, since they remind me of a time in my life when things were a bit simpler and I might have worn something like this to bed. I like the ones with Jabba on them in particular because of the mismatch between the character and his place on a child’s pajamas (which one might assume would normally be reserved for the likes of superheroes, rather than bloated intergalactic gangsters). So I’ve been trying to get my hands on these for years.

In the 5+ years I’ve been running this site, I’ve been searching eBay for Jabba items daily, and have automated searches for Jabba pajamas set up. I’ve posted multiple requests on Star Wars forums and asked around to people “in the know.” And yet the only things I was able to find during that entire time were one used pajama top (no bottoms) and one used robe. Finding anything in the package seemed like a pipe dream. There don’t seem to be all that many people who actually want to collect the Return of the Jedi pajamas, so they’re not particularly valuable, but if my own experience is any indication, these are actually more rare than even the rarest of production Star Wars toys.

That’s why I was so excited to see these pop up on eBay recently. Luckily, I was able to negotiate a direct sale with the seller. Interestingly, I can actually trace the chain of ownership of this particular item, because someone I knew contacted me to tell me that they originally sold it to the person I bought it from! That person acquired it from an auction that Lucasfilm ran when they were purging their archives of licensing samples. That means that this was apparently one of a group originally supplied by Wilker Bros. to Lucasfilm as examples of their product. That’s kind of cool, and would explain how it remained in the package all this time, as it was sitting in a Lucasfilm vault until a few years ago.

This set is white and yellow, and has Lando in his skiff guard disguise standing next to Jabba. (There are two “Return of the Jedi” logos, but the lower one is on the plastic of the packaging and not the pajamas themselves.) The pajama top I linked to above just has Jabba on his own, and also has a white and blue color scheme, so there are actually two variations of Jabba pajamas out there. I’d love to get an example of that in the package as well — I guess the search continues! I also wonder if there was a yellow version of the robe made.

1/6 Scale R2-D2 Figure by Sideshow Collectibles

February 15, 2015

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Sideshow’s 1/6 scale Star Wars figures were one of the things that got me started collecting a few years ago. When I was just starting out, I was able to pick up a fair number of them second hand for very reasonable prices — $40 in many cases, and as cheap as $19.77 for Bib Fortuna. Things in the 1/6 scale figure market have changed quite a bit since then, with many companies shifting to the higher end of the market, and the price of the average figure exceeding $200. As the prices skyrocketed, my interest in 1/6 scale figures dwindled. I did buy some of the earlier (non-Star Wars) Hot Toys releases, but in the end it became impossible to justify the prices, even if the quality was considerably better. Now the only 1/6 scale figures I buy are things that will work with my 1/6 scale Jabba’s Palace display.

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Of course one reason that Sideshow was able to put out so many inexpensive figures years ago was that they concentrated mostly on humanoid characters like Jedi that they could make using their standard action figure body. They stuck with that tried-and-true formula for a long time, which is one reason why we’re only getting an R2-D2 — arguably one of the most important characters in the films and certainly a fan favorite — nearly 10 years since Sideshow started making Star Wars figures. They needed to engineer his body from scratch, and that’s no mean feat — especially if you want to include a lot of features like opening hatches, etc.

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They definitely didn’t skimp on the features or accessories with this little guy. R2 has a retractible third leg and quite a number of opening panels on his body and his dome, plus he has LED lights that are activated with a touch-sensitive panel on his dome. (This is a cool idea, but you’ll find yourself accidentally activating the lights a lot as you handle the figure.)

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He has a couple of sensors that pop up from the dome, and I have to give Sideshow credit for making them actually pop up and go back in, rather than being a separate piece that you attach.

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You get also Luke’s lightsaber, which fits into a space on the dome, and has a magnet in the end that you can use to open some of the panels. You also get a tiny restraining bolt. It attaches via a magnet, so you can put it several places on the body.

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You get a number of different arms that can attach various places. This is the exclusive version, so apparently you get two or three additional arms than the regular release, although I’m not positive which those are.

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When I was opening up the figure, I accidentally dropped the contents of the accessory tray on the floor on top of some open cardboard boxes filled with random junk, and it took me at least 15 minutes to locate the restraining bolt…

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You also get his Jabba’s Sail Barge drink-serving tray and arm. The individual drinks are removable and the arm is articulated and includes some clear hoses. It’s really pretty impressive. I probably wouldn’t have bought the figure without it.

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Finally, you also get the table from Obi-wan’s house on Tatooine, and a little hologram of Leia. It slots into the table and lights up with a press of a button, but I don’t have any shots of it because I forgot.

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Above, you can see a comparison of the Sideshow figure on the right with the Hasbro FAO Schwartz-exlusive figure on the left. As you can see, even though they are both ostensively 1/6 scale, there’s quite a difference in size. I believe Sideshow’s is closer to being accurate. Lots of companies have had trouble correctly sizing R2-D2 for some reason. I used the Hasbro figure in my Jabba’s Palace display up until now, but will be swapping it out for the Sideshow version.

Overall, I’m a lot more impressed with this figure than I thought I would be. At $150, he’s not cheap but with all the accessories he seems like a decent value. There are a few problems, though. The thin hatches and doors make the figure feel sort of brittle and fragile. On my figure, the two long vertical doors on the left and right of his body won’t open using the magnetic lightsaber, so you have to pry them open with a fingernail. Sometimes they pop off. Speaking of the lightsaber, it’s supposed to fit inside his dome and pop up, but it just doesn’t work well at all. Still, these are relatively minor issues and not deal-breakers by any means.

Video: Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth – Life Inside Jabba the Hutt

February 11, 2015

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Apologies for the lack of updates recently — literally every single member of my family has been sick in the last week or two and I personally feel like Jabba’s underside right about now. But I thought I should share this wonderful mini-documentary about the what it was like for the people inside in the Jabba the Hutt puppet in Return of the Jedi. It features friend of the site Toby Philpott very prominently and is a lot of fun to watch. There was some footage I don’t think I had ever seen before. Check it out below, and click here for more info.

“Jabba in Adidas” Canvas Print by Duncan Mattocks

February 2, 2015

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I first posted about the artist Duncan Mattocks way back in 2011, when he released a version of this painting to commemorate the release of the Star Wars-themed Adidas shoes (such as these Jabba the Hutt shoes) in Australia. That painting was sold, but later in 2014 he painted the same theme again, this time adding a lot more detail. The second version is just fantastic, and one of the best paintings of Jabba I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately I couldn’t afford the original, but he told me that it would eventually be offered as a print, and that finally came true recently. You can buy art prints, canvas prints, and even things like tote bags and iPhone cases with this image on it through the Society6 website.

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It turned out that the larger art prints weren’t that much cheaper than the larger stretched canvases, and when you consider that you don’t need a frame for a stretched canvas, it seemed like the better deal. I went with the largest one available: 24″ x 18″. It’s quite nice looking — even my wife was impressed!

Salacious Crumb Figure by Me

February 2, 2015

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My adventures with sculpting continue, this time with a Salacious Crumb figure. My original intent was for this to be a companion to the Jabba the Hutt statue I sculpted recently, but I think size-wise this turned out to be too large (he’s about 3 inches tall).

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Since Crumb is so spindly, I needed to first make a wire armature over which I could sculpt with Super Sculpey. While I’ve used wire on a very limited basis in the past, this is the first time I’ve made a full figure this way, so it was a learning experience, but it actually worked exactly as I had hoped. I assembled the armature using blobs of epoxy putty to keep it together. Here’s a quick shot of it with some clay applied. I baked it a couple of times during the process, since it was really hard to handle the sculpture without accidentally destroying some of the work I had already done. (I should really have attached it to some sort of a base, but I was able to use his tail as a kind of handle).

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The green bits below are epoxy putty that I added toward the end for some details since I had concerns about being able to add small amounts of clay and having them stick to the figure. I used a paperclip for the armature in the ears, since the normal armature wire is much too thick.

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The hands and feet look fairly good, but I had actually wanted them to be thinner and more spindly looking. I’ll have to work on that.

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Here he is with Jabba. As I said, he’s probably too big to fit alongside him, but he does go nicely on this base I found (it’s the separate base from the Attakus Slave Leia figure).

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Jabba the Hutt Statue by Me

January 27, 2015

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I’m quite new to sculpting, but I got a little experience under my belt making a custom throne for the Black Series Jabba the Hutt figure, and then tried my hand at sculpting a small cartoony Jabba figure from scratch. But this is the first time I’ve tried making a full-on realistic Jabba sculpture. It’s about 6 inches tall and could probably fit in with 3 3/4″ action figures. It’s made from Super Sculpey over a core of balled-up aluminum foil. I’ve been extremely impressed with Super Sculpey. It’s easy to use and retains detail very well.

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The tail/body is not as long as it should be, strictly speaking, and if I try again I think I will make it bigger, but I think a more compact Jabba can work as well. The arms and hands were tricky and I’m not totally happy with them, but I think it came out fairly well overall.

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For the back in particular, I had to take some cues from the Sideshow 12″ Jabba figure, since there aren’t really many good photos of this angle. Sculpting this gave me a new appreciation for how awesome that figure is. They did an incredible job.

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I think I will be painting this at some point and will also be adding some more characters like Salacious Crumb. I think a humanoid figure like Leia or Oola would be beyond me at the moment, but the aliens are a bit more forgiving so I think I will tackle some of them.

Star Wars Force Grab Game by Wonder Forge

January 23, 2015

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I stumbled upon this game in Toys R Us a while ago, having never heard of it before. I was of course delighted to see that it included a little Jabba figure and bought it right away. I finally got a chance to try it out with my son a few days ago. It comes with 15 Star Wars-themed objects like the Millennium Falcon, Darth Vader, R2-D2 and of course Jabba the Hutt.

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The idea behind the game is that you roll the objects out on the table like dice and then compare how they fall to the pictures on the card you draw (each card shows 4 objects in various orientations). If you see one that matches, you grab the light saber token of that color. If you see 3, you grab the “3” token and if you see none you grab the “0” (there’s an optional rule that lets you grab two sabers if you see two items, but generally there is no option for just two — presumably to make it more likely for multiple players to score during any given turn). You get points for grabbing correctly, and that’s pretty much the whole game.

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It might not sound like much, but it can get kind of heated trying to quickly decide which of the objects match the cards. You don’t want to grab too quickly, since if you’re wrong you’ll lose a point. I could see it growing a bit contentious if you had two or three kids playing.

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There’s also an optional “combo call-outs” rule where you check if certain pairs of objects land face up. If they do, the first person to say a particular quote from the movies gets to collect those objects. This was a fun addition, but my son and I found that certain objects would never ever land face up (we even tried tossing them over and over just to see if it would ever happen). Maybe ours are a little deformed or something, but that detracted from the experience a tad. Overall, it’s a fun game to play if you have kids, although I can see it getting old quickly.

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