Modifying the Black Series Jabba the Hutt Figure (Closed Mouth)
Since I have a number of the Black Series Jabba the Hutt figures now, I thought I would try modifying one of them. The retail version of the Jabba figure has a mouth that is fairly wide open, and will open even wider when you use the action feature. But the original prototype we were shown had a mouth that was almost entirely closed. I kind of like that look, myself, so I decided to try and replicate it. It turned out to be not that difficult, but it is does involve some major Face Off-level surgery for Jabba.
First you need to remove the torso from the body, which is just a matter of pulling and twisting. I neglected to take a photo of this step, but there is a clear green plastic ring under his torso that you have to pry up (a small flathead screwdriver would work). That will allow you to peel off his skin. It’s glued in several places, but you can remove it without any damage as long as you’re careful. It fits over him like a sweater, with his arms going through the arm holes.
Here is what he looks like underneath. It’s the stuff of nightmares, really.
The head/torso is held together by three screws, indicated by the red arrows below.
It isn’t glued together, thankfully, so you can get it apart just by taking the screws out.
Now you can see the inner mechanism. There’s a lever on either side that is connected to the arms and presses on the mouth piece to make it open. There’s also a small spring inside that makes the mouth close up again.
This is a more complex figure than it might appear at first.
Enough already, Jabba! Anyway, the reason the mouth won’t close more is that there are two parts that stick up on the mouth piece (see below).
I used a rotary tool (aka a dremel) to grind these areas down, which lets the mouth close further.
However, I found that even after doing that, the mouth wouldn’t really stay tightly closed and didn’t look that different from the normal figure. So I decided to sacrifice the opening feature to achieve a more tightly closed mouth. I wedged some wadded-up paper and a rubber eraser inside under the jaw to help keep it closed. When you’re done, you can just slip the skin back on, and you don’t really have to glue it again except around the mouth to make sure it stays in position there. You can see a before and after below (well, they’re actually different figures, but you get the idea).
I’m not sure if the closed-mouth look is necessarily superior, but I do think that the open-mouth version makes Jabba look like he’s smiling. So this is a bit more serious look.