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“Your Mind Powers Will Not Work On Me Boy” T-Shirt With Jabba the Hutt

September 28, 2014

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I resisted getting this shirt for two reasons. The main one was that instead of using a picture of the actual Jabba from Return of the Jedi or some original artwork, they just used a stock photo of the Sideshow Jabba the Hutt figure that’s easily found on something like a Google image search.

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All it takes is a few minutes in Photoshop to turn it into the design they went with, and frankly it seems lazy. I even wrote an entire blog post about people making products using images of the Sideshow Jabba, but this an officially licensed shirt. It’s not unusual to see artists and others use collectibles like statues or figures as the basis for their work, and on the one hand I understand it since it’s often actually easier to get photos of these things than good reference photos from the movies. But it kind of ruins it for me when I can tell right away that this has been done.

The other reason I didn’t get it is that it’s rather expensive — $22 from 80stees.com. But I eventually got one very cheaply on eBay so I decided to get it. It’s not a bad design, but it just seems odd for them to use the Sideshow Jabba as the basis for it.

Jabba the Hutt Sculpture by Me

September 21, 2014

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Doing my custom throne for the Black Series Jabba figure involved a fair amount of sculpting and it went fairly well, so I decided to try my hand at sculpting a complete figure instead of just accessories. I sculpted this small figure out of Super Sculpey clay using a toothpick as my main tool. I started with the Jabba and thought it turned out well, so I made a throne for him as well. Including the throne, it’s about 4 inches wide and 3 inches tall.

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I did it in several pieces/stages, which were fired in the oven and then assembled, although Jabba himself was done all as one piece over a core of aluminum foil. The metal rings are from the jewelry section at Michael’s, and the hose for his hooka is actually a piece of an old earphone cable. The green pieces above are epoxy putty, which I used for things that seemed like they would be too weak or difficult to do in clay. I’m pretty happy with how the sculpt itself turned out. I was impressed with how easy Super Sculpey was to use compared to the clay I’ve tried in the past. And I’ll have to admit that I was surprised how well it all worked out. It’s a good feeling to create something like this out of nothing, and I learned a lot just from doing this one piece.

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The paint job, I’m not totally sure about. I’m using a new kind of paints that have a bit of a learning curve, and I’ve also never painted something that I sculpted myself. In any case, I hope to continue to develop my sculpting abilities in the future. I found it quite enjoyable. I think maybe working in a bigger size next time might make things a bit easier, although that may also necessitate adding more detail.

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Jabba the Hutt Soap (Based On Vintage Kenner Jabba the Hutt Figure)

September 20, 2014

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I have some vintage Gamorrean Guard soap, but I’ve always wanted Jabba-shaped soap of some kind. I never expected it would be like this, though! I got these from Etsy seller NerdySoap, who has a variety of soaps in the shape of characters from Star Wars and other properties. Many of them were made with the silicone molds that Kotobukiya put out, but some are based on toys. In this case, they obviously made a mold from the vintage Jabba the Hutt figure. One very cool thing about these soaps is that you can choose the color and scent you want, and there are a LOT of choices! It was rather hard to choose, but in the end I went with one pink with cherry scent, one white with coconut scent, and one green with jasmine scent. They come nicely wrapped as you can see below, and each of them also included a small Han in Carbonite soap, as well as some bonus soaps like a Millennium Falcon. Nice!

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The detail on these is really pretty impressive, considering that they’re soap. Pretty much all of the detail from the vintage figure is there although of course it’s all one solid piece and the bottom is completely flat. These are shipped from Poland and two of the Jabbas’ tails ended up breaking on the trip to me. However, they sent replacements free of charge, which I was grateful for. I wasn’t planning to use these as actual soap — they’re more for display — so having them intact was important to me. They probably weigh about three times as much as the actual vintage figure, since they’re solid blocks of soap.

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I used one of the broken Jabbas to see what it would be like to use these as soap. It’s huge for a bar of soap, but it actually works pretty well. The coloring in the soap gives the water and foam a slight green tinge, and the detail actually seems to stay for quite a while after you start using it.

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I also got a couple of small soaps based on a small unlicensed Jabba toy from Episode One.

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Mexican Rubber Bootlegs of the Vintage Kenner Jabba the Hutt and Gamorrean Guard Figures

September 18, 2014

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I’ve posted about Mexican bootlegs of Kenner figures before. These kinds of bootlegs are a whole subset of vintage Star Wars collecting, and are usually extremely crappy — but that’s their appeal. Finding the worst paint jobs and color combinations is kind of the point. Most of the Mexican bootlegs I’ve seen are of this variety — made of plastic with limited or no articulation and sloppy paint jobs. But there’s another type that I talked about when I posted about my rubber Max Rebo bootleg. I suppose they’re another rung down the ladder in terms of quality since they’re just made of rubber (more like silicone, actually) and typically have no paint on them at all.

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I’ve seen a fair number of these made of regular Kenner figures, but I had never seen a Jabba before. I had always figured that this was because the vintage Jabba figure was both too big and too common to make bootlegging worthwhile. But three of these cropped up on eBay a while ago. There were three colors: green, red and black. (For informational purposes, I’m posting photos of the colors I don’t have, taken from the eBay listing.) These weren’t cheap, actually (significantly more than an actual vintage Jabba, although not terrible) so I didn’t try to get all three colors. Instead, I went for the black one since it’s rather unusual.

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Unlike the others, which are just blocks of solid rubber, this Jabba is squishy and filled partially with air. It looks like it was actually made in pieces and glued together, similar to the way the actual vintage Jabba was assembled. Despite its rather rough appearance, such as the very visible mold line right down the middle of the face, this must have taken some time and effort to produce.

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The Gamorrean is like the Max Rebo figure I mentioned earlier, in that it’s just solid rubber, but it is different in that they used a separate color for the head. I’m not sure how they achieved this, since it looks like there’s red rubber under the black. They’re not separate pieces as far as I can tell.

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With this kind of thing it’s always difficult to tell when they were made. I am assuming that these are modern bootlegs — perhaps even made for the express purpose of selling on eBay — rather than vintage era toys that kids might have actually played with. But it’s impossible to know for sure. I find them rather fascinating. Especially the Jabba, since it’s relatively intricate.

Custom Throne for Black Series Jabba the Hutt Figure

September 13, 2014

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I’ve mentioned before how Hasbro released the regular version of the Black Series Jabba the Hutt figure with no accessories whatsoever. And even the SDCC-exclusive version that came with the hooka/railing and Salacious Crumb seems rather incomplete without a throne. That’s why a lot of people are trying their hands at making their own thrones. I’ve seen people make them out of florist’s foam, insulation foam (version 2 here), and styrofoam (also here). But I wanted something a bit closer to the Sideshow Jabba’s throne — completely sculpted. I’ve dabbled a little bit with sculpting for various customization projects, but I’m still very much a beginner, so this was a major project.

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I sculpted the throne from Sculpey on top of a wooden base that I put together out of wood scraps, with a number of nails pounded in it to give the Sculpey something to grab onto. I knew that sculpting the throne out of a solid block of modeling clay would not be a good idea, and I experimented a bit using things like aluminum foil as the base without any luck. So this was my solution. It did end up working pretty well, although it’s rather heavy.

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First I spread the Sculpey over the wooden base. It was pretty difficult to get it even. This was the best I could do, but I noticed afterward that the edges were more rounded than they probably should be.

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Then I added the cracks. I guess the real throne was supposed to be made of a number of blocks joined together?

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Then I pressed some coarse sandpaper up against the surface of the clay to give it some stone-like texture (although you can’t really see it here). I also punched out holes for the gargoyles with the neck of a water bottle, which happened to be the right size. At first I thought I might have to sculpt new gargoyles, which would have been a lot of work, but after seeing some others use the heads from the vintage Kenner playset, it became pretty obvious that they would work even in this larger scale. (I believe the gargoyles are actually a bit oversized for the smaller figures.) I drilled holes in the heads, added metal rings and filled in some of the existing holes in their mouths with epoxy putty before painting them.

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I sculpted some accessories like pillows, an animal skin, a piece of cloth (not pictured), a food plate and cup, and finally a little rat-slug creature. I’m not sure what this one’s called, but he was included in Sideshow’s Salacious Crumb Creature Pack. The ones in green were made from epoxy putty, while the tan pillow and piece of cloth were made using Super Sculpey.

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Here’s the finished throne by itself. I repainted the Habsro throne and hooka, since they were just bare plastic and didn’t really fit in with the throne. The Leia figure above has also been partially repainted — mostly just to add real metallic looking gold to her bikini, but also retouch her face a bit. This was all quite a bit of work, but I’m pretty happy with the results. Have you tried your hand at making a throne? What did you use, and how did it turn out? Feel free to link to pictures in the comments.

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Jabba the Hutt Huaco Pottery (Pre-Columbian Style Pottery From Peru)

September 8, 2014

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Huaco pottery is a type of pottery associated with the Incas and other pre-Columbian cultures. They were apparently ceremonial in nature and were often made in the shapes of people or animals. These are part of a series of “Original Huaco” made by “nanonavarrete” and sold on eBay. They come in a variety of Star Wars designs (plus one Iron Man for some reason). Some of the designs, like this one, come in both color and B&W designs. (There’s also an R2-D2 that’s not pictured.)

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I couldn’t really decide on just one so of course I had to get both. The B&W version looks more like something that could plausibly be a real ancient artifact, while the color version is more obviously Jabba. But then again, the actual Huaco pottery was apparently painted, so maybe the colored one is actually closer to the real thing.

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They’re about 6 inches tall and have handles on the back. The handles are typical of this kind of pottery, but I think they would normally be found on something that was used as a vessel for holding liquid. On these, they don’t really serve a purpose aside from being decorative.

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I love unusual and quirky collectibles like these, but they’re a little on the expensive side and when you add in the high cost of shipping from Peru, they’re probably a little bit of a hard sell to most people. I’m glad to have them, though.

Disney Return of the Jedi Figurine Playset

September 6, 2014

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I first posted about these figures back in April, and it had been reported that they were going to be made available for May the Fourth (aka Star Wars Day). But they never showed up. I kept watching the Disneystore.com site, but it wasn’t until a few days ago that the Return of the Jedi and A New Hope sets were added. Strangely, the Empire Strikes Back set is still nowhere to be found. These sets come in somewhat flimsy plastic containers, with the figures attached to the paper base with twist ties. I ordered two of these, and in one of my sets the Bib Fortuna figure had come loose in the package. In the other, Bib’s head had scraped up against the top of the package, leaving a number of paint marks on the inside. If you want to get a mint set (and also check that you get good paint jobs), I would recommend trying to find these at a Disney store, or at a Disney park.

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Disney makes sets like these for most of their major properties, but I had thought that they were rather small — maybe 2-3 inches tall. That’s why I was surprised when I got these in hand. These figures actually are around 4″ tall, or roughly the same size as Kenner/Hasbro figures. They might be just a hair smaller, but they would easily fit in with a display of action figures. Here is the Gammorean next to the Hasbro Vintage Collection Gamorrean Guard figure. As you can see, the paint on the Disney figure is not great. The face and eyes look weird and there’s a lot of slop around the hands. The one in my sealed set is somewhat better, though, and some of the other figures like Leia seem to have almost perfect paint.

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The one exception with regard to size is the Jabba figure, which is clearly a lot smaller than Hasbro’s Jabbas. The head is a bit smaller, and the tail in particular is tiny. I’m pretty sure that the head on this figure is actually a scaled-down version of the Hasbro Jabba Glob figure. It’s difficult to say for sure, and the different colors and materials used do make them appear rather different. But there are a number of telltale wrinkles and the like that make me think that this is based on the same sculpt.

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Speaking of which, several of these figures are clearly scaled down versions of Attakus statues. This wasn’t obvious to me when I first saw photos of the set, but after having them in hand there is no doubt in my mind that these are literally copies of the Attakus statues. It’s now possible to use a 3D scanner to copy something and shrink it, and I’m assuming that’s what they did here. The Gamorrean Guard is the same as the Attakus Gamorrean Guard Statue, and the same goes for Bib Fortuna and Jedi Luke. I’m not positive about C-3PO but I think it may be a mirrored copy of the Attakus C-3PO statue. Of course, a lot of the fine detail is lost when you shrink something so much, but in terms of the stances and major details, they’re identical. (The Slave Leia figure also bears a striking resemblance to the Sideshow PF, at least in terms of the stance, but maybe I’m just reading too much into that.)

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There’s a small difference in size, however…

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The Attakus statues are all pretty good sculpts, so I can’t complain about them using them as the basis for these figures, but I did think it was interesting. The best part about these sets is that they cost just $12.95 for 6 figures. That’s an incredible bargain for figures of this size and quality. The occasional bad paint job aside, they’re really not that much worse in appearance than the average Hasbro figure costing 5 times as much. Of course, it should be noted that these aren’t articulated in any way. They’re plastic statues rather than real action figures, but I’d be willing to wager that a lot of kids wouldn’t really care.

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