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Original Rotocast Head Mold for Vintage Kenner Jabba the Hutt Figure

July 29, 2013

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Kenner’s vintage Jabba the Hutt figure is my favorite figure for a variety of reasons. It came with a cool playset that had a lot of play possibilities. It’s quite large compared to most Star Wars figures. It’s got an action feature in the form of a moving tail that actually adds to the figure rather than taking away from it (Spitting Jabba, I’m looking at you…) And it’s very well sculpted, managing to evoke the creature from the movie while still remaining a bit stylized and — dare I say it? — cute in the manner of the other vintage figures. So being able to own one of the original molds that produced that figure is pretty special for me.

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The vintage Jabba figure was made using two kinds of molds and two kinds of materials. They used hard plastic in traditional two-part molds for his body and tail, while his arms and head were made of a more rubbery material. However, while the arms were also made using a two-part mold, the head was made using rotocasting — a technique where liquid plastic or rubber is poured into a mold, which is then spun at high speed so that the material evenly coats the inside. The finished product is hollow and completely free of mold lines.

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The inside of the mold — these rods were there to leave holes for the plastic eyes to be inserted

As I mentioned in my post about the mold for the Jabba Glob figure (where you can find some more details about how these molds are made and used), rotocast molds are interesting because they more or less maintain the original shape of the original sculpture on the outside, making them look almost like metal sculptures themselves. This makes them a lot more interesting to me than traditional two-part molds, which generally just resemble blocks of metal or silicone. With this one, you can make out almost all of the key details found on the head of the vintage Jabba figure. This is nice, since it’s hard to see much on the inside of the mold.

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Above, you can see the mold next to a first shot prototype of the vintage Jabba’s head, which is pretty much what the head would’ve looked like when it had been freshly removed from the mold. I don’t know if there are molds for the other parts of Jabba floating around in people’s collections or not — I haven’t seen any. It might be that the original Kenner molds for his body and arms were eventually destroyed, as was the case with many of the molds for the vintage Star Wars stuff (or so I have heard). I’d certainly love to get my hands on some more preproduction items for my favorite figure, but this was a real “holy grail” item for me and I’m very glad to have it in my collection.

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