Galactic Village Collection Jabba’s Palace by Hawthorne Village
Hawthorne Village is a part of the Bradford Exchange and seems to specialize in little sculptures of fantasy buildings. They have a number of licenses for popular TV shows and movies, including Star Trek and Star Wars. If you read any of the fan magazines, you’ve probably seen an ad or two for their products. Their Star Wars line is called the Galactic Village Collection, but they seem to cater more to the casual collector rather than the hardcore fan, and in fact their reputation with most Star Wars collectors doesn’t seem to be very good. This is partially because they use heavily Photoshopped images to make their stuff look better than it actually is (see this thread on Rebelscum.com for some examples).
But another reason some people dislike them is that they only sell their products via a subscription model. This means that you can’t just buy a particular item. You have to sign up to buy every item in their Star Wars line (this page on Sandtroopers.com has a list of the ones they’ve announced so far). While it’s true that you can send items back if you don’t like them and you can cancel at any time, most collectors don’t really like being forced to buy everything in a line. They cost $59.99 plus $9.99 shipping and handling, and one item is sent “every month or two” (pending availability). Jabba’s Palace is the fifth item in the line, so even if you signed up today, it would take a minimum of 5 months, and likely longer, before you would receive this particular piece. I don’t like any of the other pieces in the line, so I never signed up. Instead I waited for this one to appear on eBay. I had to pay a bit over retail, but it was certainly worth it to avoid the hassle of the subscription.
As far as I know, there has never been a statue of Jabba’s Palace. Some have shown parts of the inside (usually just his throne) but never the entire palace. In fact, the only other collectible that I can think of that shows the exterior of the palace is the Micromachines Planet Tatooine Playset (and that only bears a passing resemblance to the actual design). That certainly makes this piece unique. It’s about 5″ tall by 7″ wide, and quite lightweight, making me think that it’s cast in some kind of plastic rather than polystone or an equivalent. The paint is actually pretty well done. The flash makes some of the brushstrokes more obvious, but in person it looks good.
Like all of the pieces in this series, the palace lights up (with the help of two AAA batteries), but the light-up effect is very anemic. The only place where you can see light are under the main door in front, in one door in the main tower, and another door on the back.
Jabba himself isn’t quite as good as the palace, but he’s not bad either. My main complaint (aside from the “I’ve got a question!” pose and the extra finger on his hands) is that the throne looks a little odd. It’s too squared off and smooth, and the gargoyle heads shouldn’t be colored gold. He’s around 2.5″ tall by 3.5″ wide.
Overall, I think it’s a reasonably nice piece, and in any case it’s your only choice if you want a statue of Jabba’s Palace. Unfortunately, unless you want to subscribe to the whole line, you’re going to have to wait for someone to sell one on eBay before you can get one.
EDIT: I got the Galactic Village Sail Barge later on.
I also found the original concept art for this piece by Christopher Lauria on Deviantart.