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Custom Expanded LEGO Jabba’s Palace and Rancor Pit

September 23, 2013

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As you can probably guess, the recent LEGO Jabba’s Palace playset (set # 9516) is probably my favorite LEGO set (that’s one reason I recently bought a store display for the set). I love the designs of the characters, and how they were able to recreate both the appearance of the outside of the palace and the most important features of the inside, and also have it link up with the rancor pit underneath. There are only a couple of complaints I might have about it. One is that it’s a little on the expensive side given the number of bricks. The other is that it’s pretty darned small when you really look at it. There’s barely enough room for the Rancor to even fit in the pit, and Jabba’s throne room is tiny! That’s why I decided fairly soon after it came out to try and make an expanded version that would give you plenty of room for play.

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This will probably be obvious from looking at my photos, but I’m far from being an expert LEGO builder. I’ve put together a lot of sets, but when it comes to designing my own creations (MOCs), I’m still a novice. So building this wasn’t easy. I based a lot of the basic design on the official sets, but did a lot of improvising as well. I’m pretty happy with how the throne turned out.

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I actually built the bottom Rancor pit section about 6 months ago, but ran into trouble with the top floor, since it kept falling apart and certainly wouldn’t have been good enough to support everything I wanted to build on top of it. The issue was simply I just didn’t have the right parts to do what I wanted. I got frustrated and shelved it for a while.

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In the end, I think I ended up buying 3 Jabba’s Palace sets and 3 Rancor sets (although many of them didn’t include the minifigures, which allowed me to get the parts I needed cheaper). Even after that, I still needed to visit a LEGO Store and get a bucket of bricks from their “pick a brick” wall in order to finish properly.

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This isn’t really the best way to go about it, but I find it very difficult to plan something out and then buy the individual parts I need — I really need to have a selection of parts in my hands so I can see how they fit together. After finishing, I still have quite a few parts left over that I can use for other sets.

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I wanted to keep it as open as possible while still suggesting some of the architecture of the palace, so I used a lot of archways. I also added the rotisserie with meat that should be behind Jabba’s throne (below). It’s a detail that gets left out of most toys, although the official Jabba’s Palace set did include it in one form.

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Of course, I had to use the Max Rebo figure from the recent Jabba’s Sail Barge (set #75020). Since the piano in that set was pretty small, I built one from scratch. It’s far from perfect, but size-wise I think it’s about right. I’ll probably revisit this at a later date, since the keys don’t quite do it for me.

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One feature that really I like about the official set is that you can lift off the entire top floor to get at the Rancor pit below. I used the same idea for my version, including the triangular posts that stick up into holes in the bottom of the upper level to ensure that it can’t move around. The only thing that keeps it in place is gravity, but it works very well.

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It’s much nicer to have room for the Rancor to run around. As you may have noticed, I don’t yet have a working trapdoor in place, although I do have a grating where it would be. I had so much trouble just getting a stable foundation for the upper floor that I decided I would forgo the trapdoor for the moment. I may come back and try to add one later on. For now, it’s just good to have it “finished” instead of lying in pieces in the corner of our bedroom…

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2013 8:32 am

    I think you’ve done a very good job, I really like it.

  2. Joe permalink
    September 27, 2013 6:15 pm

    You blew away the original design this is great! Love the Max Rebo keyboard!

  3. October 15, 2013 3:29 am

    id really love to see more pictures, i used two rancor pits and the palace to do my own version but i really like yours and am considering a rebuild. I do like the originals outer look which id like to not loose so im considering a modified version of your model. If you wouldnt mind please post more pictures from all angles including the outer portions.

    • icruise permalink*
      October 15, 2013 9:27 am

      Thanks for the comment. I also would like to incorporate the roof of the palace into my design somehow and also finish the trapdoor, so I’ll be working on a redesign sometime later.

  4. UnicornxSwag permalink
    July 15, 2014 6:46 am

    I am also building a Jabba’s Palace MOC with the Rancor Pit beneath it. I have installed a working trapdoor and my MOC will be bustling with the Hutt’s cohorts when I finish it. Yours looks amazing 🙂

  5. erik permalink
    December 7, 2014 1:41 pm

    I must ask you, could you by any chance post instructions to making it, if not I get it, because to do so you must take the entire thing apart. p.s. I think its the coolest lego set of all time, and I mean that.

    • icruise permalink*
      December 7, 2014 2:17 pm

      Thanks for the compliment. I don’t think I can do that though, since it would be very difficult

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