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Jabba the Hutt Hot Wheels Character Car (Two Variants + Original Artwork)

January 22, 2017

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I first picked up this Jabba the Hutt Hot Wheels car quite some time ago, and while I made a video about it at the time, it seems that I never posted anything about it on the site. So allow me to rectify that now. First of all let me say that this car is quite difficult to find. Every time I go to a store that carries the Star Wars Hot Wheels cars, I check to see if they have a Jabba, and I’ve never found one ever, even after months of looking. I think maybe they just never made it to my neck of the woods. So I had to get mine online, but even on places like eBay these go for a lot more than the typical car. And yes, there are two different versions of the packaging, but more on that in a minute.

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The car itself is not bad as these things go. It portrays him as a garbage truck with an exhaust pipe taking the place of Jabba’s hookah pipe.

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It’s also got his clan symbol on the bottom.

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Back to the packaging. The version on the right above is the more common one, at least at this point. I’ve only seen a handful of sellers with the version on the left.

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The back of the package is also somewhat different. Most notably, the cars listed under “Collect Them All!” are different. But they didn’t just redesign the package. The artwork on the front is actually completely different between the two versions. The faces in particular are pretty different, and if you look closely Jabba’s tail is facing different directions as well.

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I was Googling around trying to figure out why they did this, when I stumbled upon the Facebook page of Ken Christiansen, who did the artwork for many of the cars in this line. When I asked him about the other version, he said that it was an alternative version that he did, but he didn’t even realize it had been used for anything until I showed him a photo. He also said that he originally did the artwork for a single pack version before being told he would have to redo it with Jabba facing the other way because it was going to be used on a two-pack instead. (I actually saw a listing for a two-pack with the Jabba car and Han Solo on the Toys R Us website a while back, but then it disappeared and I can’t find the image now. It think it’s been canceled.) So that explains why there are two versions, but not why they decided to actually release two very similar versions like this. My guess is that they decided the other version fit better on the package when they changed the design.

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It turned out that Ken had the original pencil drawing he used for this artwork for sale, so I bought it from him. It had been virtually “inked” and colored using Photoshop, and that is the version you see below. (Ken also gave me a print of this colored version and I think I may frame them one on top of the other.)

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It was also apparently reworked a fair amount by Lucasfilm Licensing — apparently without Ken’s involvement. The face on the final artwork is noticeably different. Anyway, I was excited to get this because I don’t really have any packaging artwork. Even though the final version is heavily processed and digitally altered compared to the original sketch, the sketch is still where it got its start, and the hands, arms and body are almost unchanged.

Jabba’s Realm Expansion and Jabba the Hutt Villain Pack for Star Wars Imperial Assault by Fantasy Flight Games

January 16, 2017

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I should preface this by saying that I don’t have the main Imperial Assault game yet, so I can’t actually play this or make any intelligent observations about the rules. I do intend to get it at some point when I find a good deal, but I don’t have the time to actually play right now, and in any case as a Jabba collector I am most interested in the models. The “Jabba’s Realm” expansion is a full expansion for the game, and includes quite a number of cards for the additional characters, skills and so forth that are introduced, plus cardboard floor maps that you play the game on. The “Jabba the Hutt Villain Pack” includes a Jabba figure and some cards/rules for using him. I’m going to be focusing mostly on the miniatures here, but here is a photo from the Fantasy Flight Games site that shows some of the cards, etc.

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On to the miniatures… First we’ll take a look at Jabba.

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It seems kind of odd that the “Jabba’s Realm” expansion leaves out Jabba himself, but in any case in the Villain Pack you get this plastic miniature that comes in 3 pieces (head/arms, body/tail and base). They fit together pretty tightly without the need for glue. I would say the sculpt is pretty good, but not fantastic.

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The larger “Jabba’s Realm” expansion comes with 16 miniatures: 4 Gamorrean Guards, 4 Weequay, 4 stormtroopers and 3 character minis, plus the very large rancor. First I need to address some issues I had with these. 3 out of the 4 Gamorreans had broken force pikes (and the Weequays’ weapons were also pretty bent). Onar Koma’s blaster was broken. And perhaps most disturbing of all, one of the stormtroopers was missing the entire upper portion of his body! I understand that you can use this online form to request replacements for broken pieces, and I intend to do that, but this didn’t leave a good first impression. The miniatures are all just thrown into a plastic bag, and when you have such thin pieces on the weapons I think breakage is almost inevitable.

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The rancor was undamaged, thankfully, and is quite large and impressive. The teeth seem a bit too long somehow, but that’s quibbling. He comes in several parts, plus the base, all of which friction-fit together. He seems to be about the right size relative to the humanoid figures, but I think maybe Jabba is a bit small.

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I had been looking forward to getting these, but the breakage (and the flimsy thin plastic on some of the figures that caused it) kind of took a bit of the shine off of it for me. I’d say these are pretty good figures though, and I do look forward to being able to actually play the game at some point.

Jabba the Hutt Tsum Tsum Car by Takara Tomy Star Cars (Japan)

January 11, 2017

Before I write this entry, let me first apologize for the lack of updates recently. While I’ve been adding new content to the YouTube channel fairly regularly, for various reasons I kept putting off adding new items to the site. I am going to try and fix that over the next few weeks as I go through my backlog. Now then…

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Takara Tomy has a rather large line of Tomica die-cast character cars, which are cars that are designed like a particular character, whether it be from Star Wars, Disney or elsewhere. This particular one is part of a sort of sub-category of Tsum Tsum character cars, which are meant to resemble not just particular characters, but the Disney Tsum Tsum plush version of that character. So this one is a car version of the Jabba the Hutt Tsum Tsum plush. Kind of a weird concept, frankly, but it seems to work.

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It’s surprisingly cute in person. Photos don’t convey quite how round and pudgy the car looks. He’s got a nice heft to him as well.

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I neglected to take a photo of his rear (ahem!) but you can see it in the video I made below. He’s got a tail and even a “Jabba the Hutt” license plate. These are only available in Japan or through importers, although I would think they would actually do pretty well in normal American toy stores if they would be released here.

Jabba the Hutt Candy Dish by Hallmark

November 8, 2016

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A reader of the site sent me an email to say that he had spotted this item at his local Hallmark store, and sure enough they had one at mine as well. It retails for $24.95. If the Jabba sculpt looks a little familiar, it’s because they’ve reused the Jabba from their 2013 “At Jabba’s Mercy” Christmas ornament. The tail is different — presumably to make room for the candy in the dish — but the rest is basically identical. I assume it was done digitally and then just resized for this product. I do quite like the “candy dish as throne” concept, complete with peppermint candy gargoyles.

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New Jabba items are fairly rare — particularly ones that I can just go to a local store and buy in person. So I was quite excited to be able to pick this one up. Check out the video below for a bit of a closer look.

“World Collectible Figures Vol. 5” Jabba’s Palace Crane Game Figures by Banpresto (Japan)

October 28, 2016

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Crane games (aka UFO Catchers or claw machines) are a big business in Japan. They seem to make up the majority of the machines in Japanese arcades, and there is an entire industry that basically exists to make prizes for people to win in those machines. While most of the claw machines you see in the US have pretty crappy prizes, these prizes are generally very high quality. These figures are a good example of that. While you can sometimes buy them outright, as I did, on Yahoo Auctions Japan or maybe from a seller on Amazon Japan, generally speaking they aren’t available at retail. Instead you need to win them. As you might imagine, this makes them kind of expensive when you are able to find them for sale.

The figures themselves would probably fall under the “super deformed” category, since they have very large heads. They remind me a lot of the “Monstar Shop” garage kit I got last year, which was also from Japan. They are very well sculpted and painted. The humanoid figures are around 3″ tall and they’re made of plastic with no articulation. They each come with a black plastic base, but they don’t really need them to stand up, and the bases are so large that you can’t really display them very well together, so I’m not using them.

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Although I bought this set, I was also able to win one of the Jabba figures in a crane machine on the site Toreba.net. It’s a site that lets you play crane games located in Japan over the internet. If you win something, they’ll send it to you. You have to pay for each try, and playing over the internet is definitely not easy, so it can get expensive. In the end it probably cost me more than it would have to buy the figure outright, but I thought it was fun and very cool to actually win one of these in the intended manner.

I made a video showing me unboxing these figures, and it even shows video footage of me winning the Jabba figure from Toreba, so check it out below if you’re interested.

Jabba the Hutt Change Purse by SEGA Prize (Japan)

October 3, 2016

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I picked up a few items with this stylized Jabba on them when I was in Japan a couple of years ago, but I recently discovered that they also made this change purse/pouch. It was made by SEGA Prize, which also made the plush crane game prize I posted about earlier, so I imagine that this was actually some sort of arcade prize. It’s a bit of an odd choice since I have a little trouble imagining Japanese girls choosing this design, and it seems too young for older people. They made 5 different designs, and even as a Jabba fan I feel like the Jabba is the weakest of the lot.

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It has a clasp on the back, along with the Star Wars logo.

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It’s actually a mini-purse, complete with a strap that allows you to wear it over your shoulder. Not that I plan to do that anytime soon.

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Vote for Jabba! Election 2016 Campaign Ads and Poster Design

September 24, 2016

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I couldn’t help making a couple of mock campaign ads as if Jabba were running for president.  I’m not sure I’ll make any more, but I might if the right idea strikes me. I’m kind of proud of the logo above, which I made from scratch in Photoshop.

Ad #1: The Hole

Ad #2: What Is Luke Skywalker Hiding?