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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.

Vintage Return of the Jedi Hanging Store Display (With Imperial Shuttle & Jabba’s Palace Characters)

January 21, 2015

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I first saw one of these displays on eBay a year or two ago, but the one up for auction was almost totally destroyed and the seller wanted a lot for it, so I passed. But I did look into it at the time and found that it was apparently used during the release of Return of the Jedi on VHS, which would match the 1986 copyright date found on it. My hunch is that the display was geared more toward video stores. VHS versions of movies were quite expensive just after their release, so the number of people actually buying them for themselves would probably be relatively small.

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The display is made of cardboard and comes in several pieces. There’s the imperial shuttle, which is completely flat if viewed from the front, and the centerpiece with the ROTJ movie artwork on it, which attaches to the bottom through various slots and tabs. Then there are three hangers: Jabba the Hutt, a Gamorrean Guard and Salacious Crumb. These attach to the corners of the triangular centerpiece, but I’m not sure if there’s a particular place each character was supposed to go. So naturally, I put Jabba in front.

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The artwork used for the hanging characters looks kind of familiar, but it might just be because it’s based on the usual publicity stills. Jabba is a bit wrinkled, unfortunately.

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These displays are relatively hard to find — especially in good condition — but they aren’t nearly as valuable as the displays that were used for the vintage toys. Those can go for thousands in some cases, but this is closer to the $75-$100 range, depending on condition. That makes it a nice display piece for someone who wants a vintage-looking display but may not want to sink such a large amount into it.

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Bootleg Jabba the Hutt Costume (Copy of Rubies Jabba the Hutt)

January 13, 2015

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I posted about the Rubies Jabba the Hutt costume all the way back in 2009, and it’s still available as the only commercial Jabba costume. But just before Halloween, I was interested to see a different kind of Jabba costume pop up on eBay from a seller in China. It was similar to the Rubies costume, but… Different. Clearly, it was some kind of Chinese knockoff. (Just in case it’s not obvious, the knockoff is on the left below…)

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At first I ordered from a seller who said they had a child-sized version available. I thought it would be funny for both my son and I to dress up as hutts, but after many weeks of waiting I eventually had to get a refund. But luckily I did find the adult size from another seller. It was quite cheap — less than $20 shipped from China. Compare the two costumes and you’ll see quite a few similarities, and a number of differences.

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The art on the knockoff is a lot simpler, with less detail. There are just horizontal lines going across the stomach, for example, and the face is a lot simpler as well. Somehow it reminds me of characters in some Chinese artwork I’ve seen, but maybe it’s my imagination.  The actual Rubies costume has mesh in both the nostrils and the entire mouth, which give you a bit of visibility. The knockoff only has a small square cut out of the mouth area that’s covered in mesh, making it very difficult to see. They both use nearly identical little orange fans connected to battery boxes by a wire to help inflate the suit, and the knockoff actually seemed to inflate a lot better. Maybe it’s because the fit is tighter at your wrists and ankles. In fact the entire suit on the knockoff is noticeably smaller. It’s still big enough for a relatively big guy like me to wear it, but more difficult to put on and walk around in. Certainly the actual Rubies costume is nicer, but neither one is a great costume by any means.

I wish there was a better quality costume available — one that was more like the Jabba from Return of the Jedi — but of course it is a rather challenging character to make a costume for. In any case, I thought it was pretty cool to find a knockoff item like this.

“Jabba’s Bounty” Part from Data East Star Wars Pinball Machine

January 6, 2015

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I did a study abroad program in England for a few months in 1992-1993, and I distinctly remember that they had Data East’s Star Wars pinball machine in the student union, right next to the pool table. While I wasn’t a collector back then (and barely had enough money to eat) I was still a Star Wars fan, so the lights and sounds of the machine attracted me right away. From time to time, I managed to scrounge some coins so I could play it, and remember it being quite a bit of fun. There’s something about the physical nature of pinball that’s hard to replicate with a video game. I don’t have this machine or any pinball machine for that matter, but when I saw just the “Jabba’s Bounty” part pop up on eBay, I thought it might be nice to have. (The photos here of the pinball machine itself are just for your reference and are provided courtesy of Videogame Obsession. You can also view more info about the machine on the Internet Pinball Machine Database.)

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The part can be seen above.  Here’s a video of some gameplay (I’ve linked directly to a shot of the Jabba’s Bounty part, but the rest is worth looking at as well.)

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The part itself is basically a piece of clear acrylic that covers the artwork (note that they apparently left the apostrophe out of “Jabba’s” for some reason). It’s got a picture of Jabba and his palace, as well as the twin moons of Tatooine. In the center is a light and behind it is actually just a piece of wood.

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Kind of low-tech looking in a way, isn’t it? Anyway, while I can’t have the actual machine and I’m not sure I’ll ever get a chance to play it again, it’s nice to have a piece of it at least.

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Jabba the Hutt Steel Box by The Tin Box Co.

December 29, 2014

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This steel box is not exactly a lunch box, but could certainly be used as one, although it wouldn’t fit a thermos. Despite being made by The Tin Box Co., it is made of steel, and seems pretty sturdy. I’ve had metal boxes in the past that would deform with very little effort, but this seems like it would stand up to some use. On the front (the lid) there’s an embossed design of Jabba, while the back has the same design but without the embossing. (The font they used must have confused the eBay seller I got this from, as they listed it as “Jabba the Futt.” :)) On the side, they put his tattoo design.

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While it might have been nice to have this be a proper lunchbox, since those are a collectible genre all their own, this is an excellent metal box. The colors are very vibrant and I like the embossed metal lid.

Disney Jabba the Hutt Head Pin

December 27, 2014

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Disney pins are a hobby unto themselves. And even before Disney acquired Star Wars, they had released quite a few Star Wars pins, such as a Jabba & Leia pin from 2006, a “Slime Magazine” pin from 2011 and a Jabba & Leia pivot pin from 2013. The pivot pin may be my favorite, but this is a close second. It’s about an inch and a half wide and made of thick metal. Really well done, and not the CGI version of Jabba, either. :)

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