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Jabba's Throne

SWVI: Return of the Jedi
by Monkey Boy

Considering how important Jabba the Hutt is to the original Star Wars trilogy, he hasn't received much love from Hasbro in their beloved 3¾" scale. He is a major player in the Star Wars universe from the outset, and while he originally wasn't seen until the third film, he serves as a driving force behind the motivations of several characters. Of course, now that George Lucas alters his classic masterpiece every couple of weeks or so, Jabba actually gets screen time in A New Hope, though his main function is serving as the first major antagonist in Return of the Jedi. The entire first act focuses on rescuing Han Solo from Jabba's clutches, and takes place almost entirely in Jabba's Palace and Sail Barge.

Despite his importance, it wasn't until 2004 that Jabba got a figure in the modern line in all his RotJ glory, and that figure was merely a repaint of the 1999 "Jabba Glob" (part of a slime-themed children's playset that was only tangentially tied to the actual action figure line from The Phantom Menace). The only other modern Jabba figures released prior to that were a 1997 ANH version and a 1999 TPM Jabba with a spring-loaded mouth hole that fired a projectile shaped like one of the Hutt's favorite snacks at a gong, meant to recreate the starting of the Boonta Eve podrace. Few people found that set, and even fewer people actually bought it and enjoyed it.

Other than those, the only time Jabba has shown up in the modern action figure line was a deluxe figure based on his animated appearance the the CGI Star Wars: The Clone Wars. That's only four figures in the 15 years of the modern line's existence, and only one of those figures was based on his most iconic and influential appearance in Return of the Jedi. Now Hasbro has finally rectified this, with an actual newly sculpted Jabba the Hutt figure in the Original Trilogy style.

Jabba the Hutt and Salacious Crumb sit on a throne as Oola dances for the crime lord. The loathsome Hutt is mometarily entertained by the Twi'lek dancer's graceful performance. His monkey-lizard cackles with glee, knowing that Jabba will soon turn to some other amusement, such as throwing another victim to the hungry Rancor.

The set is a Wal*Mart exclusive, and despite the ubiquitous nature of Wal*Mart, it has as of this writing only shipped to a very limited number of stores in very low numbers. The best bet is to keep checking online for them to be restocked, and oh yeah, you'll have to search for "jabbas" because searching for "jabba" or "jabba's" yields no results. You've got to hand it to Hasbro and Wal*Mart, they've really tried to guarantee you'll have a horrible time attempting to buy this set. It's not quite Mattel-level douchebaggery, but it's darn near close.

Some collectors are still clinging to a small silver lining of hope that the set will eventually find its way to stores in larger numbers, despite the fact that many Wal*Marts have already removed the info tag for Jabba's Throne from their store shelves. The glimmer of hope stems from an initial Hasbro presentation slide that showed the set having an October 2010 release date, although all subsequent presentations have featured an August 2010 release date label, and Hasbro admitted that their initial presentation slides had some incorrect dates on it. And the sets started showing up in late July with warnings on the box that stated the street date was August 1st. So basically, if you want this set, I wouldn't hesitate to pounce on it if you're given the opportunity.

Despite this, if you manage to actually track down the set, it has a lot going for it. It's the first time we get Jabba's throne/dais in plastic since the vintage '80s version, and it's also the first Jabba to feature the scar on his tail and the clan tattoo on his right arm. The throne is actually advertised as the main attraction on the package, which is technically called "Jabba's Throne with Oola."

The dais itself if a nice piece, with a decent stone texture and a paint wash. Six sculpted heads stick out around the edge, four on the front and one on each side, and each creature's head has a ring in its mouth. The throne has wheels on the bottom so it can be rolled forward, for a better view of the Rancor pit, one would gather.

The throne can be decorated with eight included pillows of various sizes that are just begging to get lost, as well as a raggedy blanket that's sculpted to hang off of the throne's edge. There is also a hookah pipe that fits into an ornately sculpted railing that is meant to be positioned on the right hand back corner of the throne, although it just sits there as there are no pegs or anything to attach the two pieces together.

While Jabba's Twi'lek dancing girl Oola is the most advertised figure to come with Jabba's throne, there are actually three figures in the set: Oola, Jabba himself, and his annoying pet Salacious B. Crumb. Oola is an all-new sculpt, and the actual figure is mostly sculpted as a nude body, with the clothing composed of actual fabric netting. It's hit-or-miss in appearance, and I find myself alternately liking and hating it. Mostly I shudder to think of the nude Twi'lek girl customizations fans are no doubt already creating.

Most of Oola's paint apps are on her face and head, with its red lips, black headdress with silver accents, and elaborate eye make-up, and since she's the only figure you can actually inspect without opening the box, it's worth noting that her eyes can be somewhat wonky. However, since most people will probably only have one or two sets at the store to choose from, or will resort to ordering blindly online, it's probably moot, as you may not have many Oolas to pick between.

This is the second Oola figure released in this scale, and it's much more articulated than the first. Oola has a balljointed neck, pegged and hinged shoulders, pegged and hinged elbows, pegged wrists, t-crotch hips, pegged and hinged knees, and pegged and hinged elbows. She also has a diagonally cut peg joint around her waist, but it's frozen stuck on mine, and the plastic is weak enough that I'm hesitant to force it. Lord knows when I'll have another chance to get a replacement.

Salacious Crumb is a repaint from the 30th Anniversary Collection version that came packaged with a C-3P0 figure. He has a balljointed head, peg shoulders, and peg and hinge hips.

But what is a throne, pet and slave without the owner of all three? Jabba is the real attraction in this set, and he's 100% new.

The sculpt is good, full of wrinkles and folds and flab detailing. It's composed mainly of two halves: a hard plastic, traditionally articulated upper body, and a hollow, soft and rubbery lower body that features a bendy wire in the tail. Because the lower portion is hollow, some fans have noted that Jabba appears a bit deflated. A homemade solution is to pop the articulated upper half off and stuff paper into the body portion to "fill him out," but I haven't resorted to this as the deflation isn't bad enough to bother me.

Jabba is painted well, mostly with green on his back and a mustardy yellow-brown on his front. His eyes are orange red with darker red irises and black pupils. There's a little bit of slop in the eyework, but since Jabba isn't able to be seen until you open the box, you can't pick and choose to find the Jabba with the best paint. Some fans have noted paint scraping off of the rubbery portion of Jabba's body, but so far this seems to be isolated and not a flaw in the way the rubber takes the paint, and hopefully it will hold up in the long run.

This is the most articulated live-action styled Jabba released so far. He gets peg and hinge joints in his shoulders and elbows, as well as a peg joint where the two body halves meet, and a thick bendy wire in his tail. While the wire feels like it can hold up well to serious bending, it's still hard to curl the tail enough for all of Jabba to fit on the throne, unless you remove the hookah stand.

This is, for the most part, the Jabba fans have been waiting quite a long time for. Hasbro has finally released a worthwhile Jabba, complete with a nice looking throne and some cool pack-ins. Finally all those henchmen Hasbro has released have a master, and a worthy centerpiece to any display.

-- 11/25/10

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