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Store Display for LEGO Jabba’s Palace, Desert Skiff and Droid Escape Sets

September 16, 2013

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If you spend any time in the LEGO sections of stores like Toys R Us or Target these days, you’re sure to see a few in-store displays. They’re encased in thick acrylic and usually have lights and some sort of action feature that encourages you to move something in the display. They’re sized so they fit perfectly on a shelf. They take up a fair amount of space that can’t then be used for product, so I guess they must be effective in getting people to buy or else the stores wouldn’t bother.

These are usually supposed to be destroyed after they are no longer needed in the store, and I understand the stores actually have industrial shredders in the back that they can use to destroy stuff like this. Sometimes employees manage to get ahold of them and sell or give them away, although I’ve heard that some stores are cracking down on this. Since these are usually destroyed and their size makes them difficult to ship, there aren’t too many of them around, but they’re not super expensive either since the demand isn’t really there. They’re hard to ship and it would be difficult to have too many of these in a collection due to the size. Also, some people don’t like the idea of having glued LEGO models. They’re kind of an obscure subset of LEGO collecting, but I quite like them.

I first saw this particular type of display at a Chicago area Toys R Us back in January and I snapped a picture of it at the time (see below). None of the TRU stores in our area got these, so they may have only gone to stores in larger cities. I already had the models from an old Jabba’s sail barge store display, so I knew I had to try and get my hands on this one of these as well. It is for the Jabba’s Palace (9516), Desert Skiff (9496) and Droid Escape (9490) sets. It’s a little odd for them to include the Droid Escape set, since that’s from A New Hope and the rest are from Return of the Jedi. Ideally, it would have had the Rancor Pit (75005) instead, but that set wasn’t released until later.

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I had been watching eBay for one of these to come up for months, and finally one appeared. (This is actually the second one I had seen on eBay. One came up a few months ago, but the seller wanted at least $2,500 for it because they were convinced that the set had been “banned.” Needless to say, it did not sell and the sets are still on store shelves today.) As luck would have it, the seller of this display was located in a Chicago suburb a little over 2 hours away from us by car, so we were able to go and pick it up.  I have major doubts about something this large surviving if you tried to send it by mail or UPS, and of course it would be very expensive.

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The display has 3 sets of LED lights on the top powered by an AC adapter, and a disc you can spin that allows you to turn Jabba’s palace around to see it from all sides. All of the figures have been painstakingly arranged and glued into place (although in most places you can’t see any glue at all). In some cases they have added brackets or other means of support. The B’omarr monk figure has a clear acrylic post attaching it to the base, for example (see below). I was a little worried that something might come loose on the way home, since it bounced around a few times in the back of our car, but it survived without any damage at all.

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It’s really quite impressive in person. It measures just under 4 feet wide by 1.5 feet tall — it only barely fit in the rear of our SUV. The floor and back of the display are made of thick card that has been custom made for this display. It features some Tatooine-themed artwork that ties in with the LEGOs in the display. For example, you can see R2 and C-3PO’s trails in the sand behind them (I love Threepio’s square footprints.)

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And you can see the sandy sarlacc pit under the LEGO piece. It’s these extra touches that made me really want to get ahold of the set.

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At the bottom of the display, they also show all of the minifigures from each of the sets. Here’s the Jabba’s Palace selection.

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By the way, while we were in Chicago, we stopped by a LEGO store and I snapped a picture of their display for the LEGO Jabba set. LEGO stores are different from other stores in that they don’t use the self-contained displays and instead build and display their models by hand. So basically this is just a normal LEGO set inside one of the store’s display cases. I can’t figure out why they put the sarlacc up on top of that big riser with the skiff down below, however.

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