The Most Comprehensive Khetanna Review on the Internet!

by Beedo Sookcool
on 2019-04-01, 10:52:57

Wa tetu dat uta, gang! To celebrate now being old enough to vote, we’re going BIG. How big? By posting what appears to be the biggest review of the biggest Hasbro Star Wars toy yet made!

Okay, so HasLab 2018, yadda yadda yadda, crowd-sourcing fundraiser for $500, blah blah blah, needed five thousand orders to go through, got almost nine thousand, and the barges started arriving in early March 2019, yakkety-schmakkety. Now that all that stuff you’ve heard a bazillion times online already is out of the way, let’s dive right in, shall we? But, fair warning: I keep saying how I don’t use the adjective “awesome” or its derivatives often or lightly, but you’ll be seeing a lot of that word if you keep reading. (Also, I’m using a new photo-editing program on a new computer, so I’m not sure how well these pictures are going to turn out.)

Moving on . . . !




Jabba’s Sail Barge (The Khetanna): Behind the Workbench Booklet:

Yeah, I don’t have this. It shipped while Greeata and I were still in England, trying to get my finacé visa sorted out, and her business partner — who was supposed to have been taking care of the mail while we were out of the country — lost it. We have no idea where it got to. Damn it.

Moving on . . . !





Here’s the outer shipping box. I got the version with the additional purple stripe on it. I don’t know if that’s significant or not. It’s just how things turned out. Image

Just one major breach in the outer shipping box which didn’t even touch the inner shipping box, and just a few minor dings elsewhere: Image

That isn’t anywhere near as bad as some of the horror stories I’ve seen pictures of online. What gets me is the number of people who blame Hasbro (or Mattel, or Super7, or whoever, depending on the product) for these mauled packages, and not the delivery services themselves. Baffling.

I’m not bothering to show a picture of the inner shipping box, because it’s just a big, boring, brown cardboard box with nothing printed on it. But one thing that is nice about it is that they included a sheet of clear plastic covered by an extra strip of cardboard down the middle, right where you’d normally be cutting the tape with a hobby-knife or box-cutter, so you won’t accidentally mar your precious The Vintage Collection Jabba’s Sail Barge (The Khetanna) box. And they did it on both sides, so you could open the box from either side without worry. Image

That was a delightfully thoughtful inclusion, and greatly appreciated. One thing they didn’t have in the packaging, however, was reinforced corner protectors. I could’ve sworn they were supposed to be in the boxes, and it’s mentioned on the HasLab site for Update #6 on 2/21/19. Turns out I’m not the only one lamenting this omission, as this article details. Collectors of a sensitive nature may not want to see the picture reply Darth Curmudgeon posted underneath.

And here we have the mandatory picture of the front of the barge’s box, done in perfect Vintage stylings. Man, that gets me right in the nostalgia! Image

Here’s the bottom of the box, showing the barge both closed and opened up: Image

And here we have a close-up on the text: Image

Both ends of the box are identical to each other and look like this: Image

Note the “E2596” in the upper right corner, there. (It can also be found in the same corner on the front and back of the box, too.) That will come into play later. What really gets me about these end-panels is the legalese that says: “Additional figures shown not included and not available for sale.” The “not included” part I get, but the “not available for sale” just sounds spiteful. As in: “You want a display this cool? TOUGH! You can’t ever have these figures! Nyah nyah-nyah nyah nyaaaaah!” Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it. Also amusing is how it says this set includes “Vintage Yak Face figure with Power of the Force coin!” I think perhaps they could have worded that just a little more specifically, considering how that could be misconstrued.

Anywho, to further the 1980s stylings, the back of the box shows a black-and-white line-art rendering of the photograph on the front. Image

The top of the box has a slew of images that show off the features of this playset . . . Image

. . . and some close-ups of the panels thereof: Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

The upper right corner on the front of the box features a nifty embossed foil HasLab sticker, and a fake sticker (as in, it’s actually printed on the box) touting the included Yak Face with POTF coin. Image

Just to the right of the HasLab sticker, it says this set is for “Ages 14+”.

The barge’s box took a bit of a bash on one of the corners, but came out pretty much pristine, otherwise. Image





As soon as you open the tabs and unfold the beautiful box panels, you are greeted with a STOP! READ BEFORE UNPACKING! notice, packed in with the instruction book. The instruction book gives instructions for the best way to unpack and assemble the barge in the right order. It recommends you have someone else on hand to help you with it, but it’s not strictly necessary, if you’re very careful. Image Image Image Image Image Image

Three things stand out about the instructions.

Firstly, the main deck cannon is described as “a one-time snap” assembly. This seems a bit short-sighted to me, for two reasons. Wouldn’t it be better to have it easily removable in case you wanted to repack the barge in case you’re moving? And why not have an adapter piece for the sail barge cannon that came with the 2001 POTJ Deluxe Princess Leia? Missed opportunity, right there, especially how they make a big deal about the interactivity of the clip-on deck guns that came with the figures of Nysad (who was sold as “Nikto Gunner” in the 2008 - 2009 Legacy Collection Series) and Vizam (from 2014’s 3.75” The Black Series).

Secondly, it is easy to misassemble the sails (I’ve seen a couple of YouTube videos mentioning this), so some clearer instructions on this step would’ve been helpful. You have to remember while assembling that the longitudinal spars on the masts should slope downwards towards the bow of the ship, with the narrow V-spars lower and to the fore and the wider V-spars higher and to the aft.

Finally, the instructions mention that the “sails can be attached and detached at leisure . . . for open-deck play,” but it doesn’t say how easy the sails are to dismantle into their original components for storage, repacking, and transportation. I’ve seen a few YouTube videos where the reviewers get mighty antsy over how fragile and stressed the sail assemblies seem. And they are entirely correct. Putting the masts and spars together is a bit tense, but taking them apart again? Yikes! I tried to take one apart after assembling the whole rig, and I was afraid I’d shatter the thing in several places! Eventually, I managed to dismantle the rig with no apparent damage or stress-lines anywhere, but it was a nail-biter, let me tell you! More on that later.

The hull of the ship is wrapped in a baggie, contained in two styrofoam end-caps, with a styrofoam brace amidships for added protection. The fore end-cap contains the carded Yak Face, while the aft end-cap holds Jabba in his baggie. The hull also rests on a pull-out brown cardboard box containing all the parts you need for assembly. The removable hull panels are secured with thin straps of plastic sheeting tied in easy-to-undo knots. Image

The Parts Box packed underneath the hull contains everything you need to finish up your barge, packed into two layers. The upper layer holds the two masts, four sets of v-shaped “ropes,” two steering vanes, main deck cannon, two railing guns in baggies, four small curved spars, four transparent “legs,” and a small baggie which contains the two prisoner chains, three engine finials, and three sensory antennae. The lower layer contains the two main V-spar sections and the two sails. Notice how large the parts box is compared to the relatively teeny-tiny Saelt-Marae somewhere in the middle of the picture. Image

The biggest and most noticeable change, if you look at all the prototype images and internet build-up over the months we waited for the sail barge, is that we ended up with four transparent “legs” to hold up the barge, instead of the eight shown on the prototype. Hey, four looks better than eight to me, and so long as the legs hold the thing up properly, that’s all that really matters.

Now that we know what we’ve got, let’s get a better look at it all!





Now we're going to get into the stuff that’s easy to pull out of the packing foam. For starters, this is the Jabba that was included. He’s packed in a simple plastic baggie, and is based on the Jabba that came with the Toys ‘R’ Us Exclusive 3.75” Black Series Rancor Pit set (which I don’t own), with a couple of minor modifications to the paint. He’s darker than the Toys ‘R’ Us version, his eyes are more open, and he doesn’t have as much overt ooze coming out of his face-holes. The paint applications are much more accurate and “inside the lines,” compared to the earlier Toy ‘R’ Us release of this sculpt. It might’ve been nice to have a poseable tail on this guy, but considering how my 2010 Wal-Mart Jabba that has a bendy-wire tail seems to be melting into a gooey, sticky mess, perhaps it’s for the best the Sail Barge Jabba is much more solid. I will happily live with that compromise. Image

Where Jabba does have articulation, though, is a swivel . . . um . . . waist? Well, it’s below his arms and above his beer gut, so let’s call it a waist. He also has insert-moulded (swivel / hinge) shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but his bulk and sculpt tend to limit their range of motion. These joints are all very tight to start off with, but they free up a bit after you move them a little. Image

A close-up of Jabba’s clan tattoo: Image

I am not going to be the one to tell him it means “Stupid Green Slut” in Epicant.

They didn’t paint the scar on his tail. Pity. That was one of the nice little touches that stood out for me on the 2010 Wal-Mart Jabba. Image

I’ve heard talk online making a big deal about how this particular Jabba’s face has been augmented with Hasbro’s “Photo-Realism Face-Printing Technology” or whatever it’s called, but comparing him to movie footage of Jabba, they seem to have left off his ears, and also the saggy mantle at the back of his cephalothorax that they’ve never really put on any Jabba figures to this day (apart from the Sideshow Collectibles ones). Seriously. Take a really good, close look at footage of him from the side or behind in Return of the Jedi, and at the Sideshow Collectibles Jabba figures, and you’ll see what I mean. Image

For scale, here is Sail Barge Jabba next to Beedo, Jabba’s bartender droid (I love the fact that the individual glasses are removable from his tray), Vizam, Klaatu, and Saelt-Marae. Image

This is undoubtedly the best-looking Kenner / Hasbro Jabba the Hutt we’ve received to date, but it still falls a bit short of perfection. The somewhat inaccurate head sculpt and some of the distractingly-large paint smears on the arms certainly don’t help. The same goes for the unpainted tail scar. The amount of effort and money that went into this project, I was hoping for a bit better. Still, it is the best Hasbro / Kenner Jabba we’ve ever gotten. So, on the whole: he’s a great Jabba, but not a perfect Jabba.

For those of you who are worried about succumbing to internet sales fraud, there is a solid way to tell the Sail Barge Jabba and Yak Face apart from their more mass-market versions: look underneath. On Yak Face’s left boot, and Jabba’s underside, you can just about faintly make out a stamp that says “#E2596”. Yeah, that code that was printed in the corners of the box that I mentioned earlier. (There is also apparently a variation on Yak Face’s boot that leaves out the “#”.) Image

And now, we get to the more hotly anticipated of the two included figures. So, for comparison, here are the two The Vintage Collection “Yak Faces”: Image

As you can see, the Sail Barge version on the left uses hot pink for the backdrop and borderless nameplate that was seen in some of the 1985 Yak Face figures. A lot of the images I’ve seen online for that figure are maddeningly inconsistent on this matter. Some have a red backdrop & nameplate, the Tri-Logo ones appear to use red-orange, and a couple of them show a red backdrop and hot-pink nameplate. How much of this is due to local manufacturing variation, or fading, or bad photography, I can’t say. The standard The Vintage Collection Saelt-Marae on the right of the picture uses red for the backdrop and nameplate, and also has the silver border around the name that was used on all the vintage figures except the POTF ones. You can also see that the Sail Barge Yak Face has his force pike pointing upwards, while Saelt-Marae has it packed pointing downwards. And apart from the reproduction POTF coin, Sail Barge Yak Face comes with another additional accessory very few people seem to have pointed out in their YouTube reviews: he’s got a cocktail glass! Perfect for getting blotto and picking fights with Ree-Yees (sold separately)!

A closer look at the carded Yak Face: Image

You can’t see it in the shot above, but mine also came with the widely-reported curved groove, gouged across the “RS” in “WARS”: Image

So a couple of points off for that.

And here’s the back of Yak Face’s card (compared briefly with TVC Saelt-Marae’s cardback, as well), showing a still from the aforementioned deleted scene where he argues with Ree-Yees and gets a beat-down, a snippet of bio, and details of the POTF coin included. Note the VC000 designation in the upper right corner. Image

By the way, does anyone else remember that brawl scene from the ROTJ novelization? In the book, Ree-Yees was said to be arguing with Ephant Mon and Salacious Crumb on the sail barge, and the 8-page spread of movie stills in the middle of the book showed that exact deleted scene image from the cardback up there, so for the longest time, I thought Yak Face was called “Ephant Mon.” Also in the book, I think Ephant called Ree-Yees a wussy. No wonder he got a bop on the snoot. Image

Here’s a close-up of the bio text, in case you couldn’t read it on the above image:

? Image

Happily, there’s a close-up of the coin details on the back, so you don’t need to open this bugger’s package up to see both sides: Image

You can just about make out from the above picture that the copyright date on the coin has been changed to 2018.

Also, as you can see, mine came with the coin packed upside-down: Image

Bloody typical.

As with the Yak Face boot stamp, there appear to be reports of two variations on the coin itself: one has a more matte finish, the other variant is more shiny. I think I got the matte version of the coin, but I don’t have a basis for comparison. So, great, between the outer box with or without the purple stripe, the Yak Face with or without the "#" on his boot, and the shiny or matte coin, variation completists are going to have a HELL of a time with this set!

Below, we show the Vintage Collection Saelt-Marae (standard retail release, because I’m not opening the Sail Barge one, and they’re identical apart from the boot-stamp mentioned above) next to the POTF2 version of the character. (I modified my POTF2 version a little many years ago, and his crescent-bladed battle staff is currently in storage, somewhere.) You can see the height of the two figures is roughly the same, though the POTF2 version has a smaller head, larger hands, thicker limbs, and thinner body than the Vintage Collection update. Image

I do not own a 1985 POTF Yak Face to compare, alas.

Bonus Mind-Blowing Factoid: Between the releases of POTF Yak Face and POTF2 Saelt-Marae, twelve years passed (1985 - 1997). But between POTF2 Saelt-Marae and The Vintage Collection Saelt-Marae? Twenty-two years (1997 - 2019)! I find it terribly sobering that much less time passed between my childhood and the resurgence of Star Wars figures than I’ve spent collecting Star Wars toys since that 1995 POTF2 resurgence! (Also, that it took them this damn long to get around to updating Saelt-Marae decently.)

Yak Face shows off his martial arts prowess, courtesy of his pretty impressive articulation: Image

All his points of articulation are labelled in the photo below. The number of joints in the neck and head were surprising, but the sculpt tends to limit their range of motion somewhat. Image

As impressive as the scale of his articulation is, I have to say that I’m not a fan of the new leg articulation scheme on these latest TVC figures, specifically in the hips. I can see where they were trying to go with it, giving us more axes of movement at the hips, allowing for such splay-legged action stances as shown above. And the Star Wars Black Series 6” figures have a decent system for that, which they’ve tried to replicate in the smaller-scale The Vintage Collection figures. But the problem is, it doesn’t really work at that scale. The new 3.75” figure hip section has such a thin groin at the expense of keeping the thighs looking solid, that the swivel-pegs can’t be anchored there, as they have been for decades. They have to be anchored upwards into the hips, which means that if you want to swing the legs backwards or forwards instead of outwards, you have to rotate the whole dang leg, then re-adjust everything below the thigh-swivel to get the leg posed the way you want. It’s more than a bit awkward . . . Image

. . . and it looks kind of sloppy . . . Image

Not only does this then put the sculpt of the outside of the leg on top of (or underneath) the thigh and break up the flow of the sculpt, but the swivel-pegs that hold the thighs into the hips seem a bit brittle for my liking. For those of us who have had the same type of hip articulation in their Star Wars figures for over 40 years, this departure from the norm now means we have to have a serious think before attempting to pose a figure, or run the risk of snapping off a leg or two. And what’s more, it just plain makes the figures much more fiddly to stand up, if you can’t move the legs backwards and forwards as easily as before. Some sideways ankle tilt like the 6” Black Series figures have would also have been invaluable for posing and balance.

So, nice try, but I hope they drop this style of articulation in the near future for something more intuitive and / or sturdy and / or stable.

And do you know just how much kriffing restraint I had to exercise not to make a “Joe Camel-Toe” crack about that last picture up there? . . . . Damn.

If you want your standard Saelt-Marae to have a drinking vessel, but without opening the super-rare and valuable Sail Barge edition, you can use the removable glasses that come with the astromech serving trays, any of the glasses from previous Cantina-themed figure releases, commandeer some drinking vessels from a Lego or Playmobil stash, or even just use the clicker button from a busted retractable ballpoint pen, like so: Image

Final thoughts on Saelt-Marae before I finally get on with the sail barge: Hinky hip joints aside, it’s the best darned version of the character we’ve ever had, and that we’ll likely ever get. Up close, the paint on his forearms and hands looks a bit odd, like they didn’t put enough on and the blue plastic underneath is showing through, instead of looking like the “dirty” effect they were trying for. I bought a couple of these guys, with the notion of modifying one into the orange-robed, brown-collared, white-haired POTF2 style, simply because I’ve had over two decades to get used to the POTF2 look, and I’ve grown somewhat attached to it.

Moving on . . . !





A shot of the underside of the hull, because it’s not like you’ll get to see this very often: Image

While it’s nicely done, it still lacks some of the details seen in the movie, particularly the tubes and turbine-like projection seen when the barge flies over the camera, shown in these screen grabs from my ROTJ DVD: Image Image

Still, the fact that we got as much detail as we actually did seems like a win. This is not a dig at Hasbro, mind you. When given time and enough reference material, Kenner & Hasbro have really given us vehicles that are amazingly detailed all over, even on the undercarriage, such as the Imperial Shuttle. I can understand why the Sail Barge was done this simplified way, though. All that projecting undercarriage junk would be very vulnerable and prone to breakage on such a heavy vehicle. The original Kenner Jawa Sandcrawler, for example, is practically a straight-up prop replica, its outer details are so accurate. That is, until you look underneath it, because the underside was simplified for the motors and wheels and durability and such. I can live with compromises like that. It was a good call.

I tried to take pictures of the ship from all sides, but it’s tricky. The thing’s so damn big, you have to shoot from across the room it to get it all in from the sides. And from the ends, it looks drastically foreshortened, like you’re doing a dolly zoom, but without any actual motion. Image Image

Below are a couple shots of the antennae / sensors you have to put in. These are made of a softer plastic, so they shouldn’t be as prone to snapping as some people (myself included) might have feared.

I’ll say this, though: between the soft plastic they’re made of and the thick, goopy paint overlays, the antennae on either side of the cockpit did not want to go in. If you look inside the peg-holes for these things, there are a couple of thin ridges that are supposed to help you slot the antennae in properly. These should correspond to grooves moulded into the antennas’ pegs. But the paint layers on the antennae are so thick, they clog up the grooves. I had to take a hobby-knife and clear out the grooves so the side antennae would actually go in, and even then, it was slow going. Image

The bigger antenna on the underside went in just fine, though. Image

The starboard side of the barge is never seen in the film, so let’s not neglect it. Just look at those lovely clean, straight lines, the repeated geometric patterns, the graceful curves that contrast the stark, pointed angles, the streamlining on the steering vanes and above the main cabin section. A near-perfect fusion of from and function, where even the most utilitarian features (such as the vents and safety railings) are elevated beyond the mundane with the application of minimalist aesthetic design. It’s a work of Art, and it’s very, very Deco. I haven’t been able to figure out if I love Star Wars because it’s so jam-packed with Art Deco designs, or I love Art Deco because it’s used so heavily in Star Wars, or what. But I love Star Wars, I love Art Deco, and I love the look of this ship. Bonus Trivia: in the Star Wars universe, the “Mondeo Modernist” style is largely based on Art Deco, with a tinge of Space-Age Futurism from the 1950s & 1960s (think The Jetsons). Image

The port side is the angle that will get all the love. It’s the only side of the barge you ever really see in Return of the Jedi. Image

With all the panels off, you can see inside the entire length of the barge: Image

And here’s what the panels look like when they’re off: Image

You can see for the main cabin and the armoury / galley sections, they did the insides of the removable panels in a nice woodgrain finish, and even included the Ishi Tib sculpture in the main cabin section. The panels that go over the brig and cockpit, however, are done as just a rusted, bare-metal bulkhead.

Another Fun(ish) Factoid! — When you’ve got a beastly face sculpture sticking out of some architecture, it can come in three types: 1) gargoyles, which are only used on the outside of buildings as waterspouts for the gutters, 2) bosses, which are small knoblike protrusions, usually located at the vertices of arches and vaults, and can sometimes have beastly decorations on them, or 3) grotesques (also called chimaeras or chimerae), which can be stuck anywhere on the inside or outside of the structure, and are purely decorative. So the decorative bronze alien sculptures inside the barge are technically chimeras or grotesques.

A very welcome feature on the Khetanna is how nice and snug and tight the side panels fit. Even up close, the hull appears almost seamless. Heck, for the first week I had the barge, I didn’t even realise the last panel above the engines could come off! This secure fit is helped not only by locking tabs at the top and bottom of each panel, but also thanks to some thick tabs on the support pillars in the barge itself, that latch into corresponding slots on the insides of the removable panels when you press them into place: Image Image

These panels aren’t going to fall off if you just gently bump the table or cough slightly in the vicinity. They are going to stay put until you pry them off, and look damn’ fine doing so.

Here are the starboard shutters opened up. Notice that they don’t open very far. Image

And the same with the port shutters. Image

The “Weequay Hatch” that Luke tipped some poor bastard out of opens more widely than the other shutters, but, man, it’s another nail-biter. All the pictures I’ve seen online and on the box have shown it opening quite wide to pose figures leaning out of it, but it did not want to open. Eventually, with patience, great care, and gentle pressure, I was able to get it to open up without breaking. But at a couple of points, it seemed like a very close call. Image

The stern of the ship is just as detailed as the rest of the hull: Image

There’s a lot of fine sculpting on the sides of the engines . . . Image

. . . and even on the underside of the engines, too. Here you can see those three tiny little finial pegs you have to plug into the thrusters: Image

It seems to be an established convention for huge, rare, expensive playsets: you have to have a few ridiculously tiny little pieces that can easily get lost so that 1) it’s an absolute bugger to get a complete set years down the line, and 2) the value of your set will be dishearteningly much lower than you’d expect if you don’t have said minuscule, easily-lost pieces. Anyone who has tried to track down Castle Grayskull’s small beige laser gun from the weapons rack, or Hardtop’s microphone and pistol from the G.I. Joe Defiant set will commiserate.

Taking a look at the sails, here’s a shot of the barge from above, just because: Image

And from the underside, you can get an idea of the complexity of the rigging, as well as see the loudspeakers that are on the port side of the masts so Jabba’s prisoners can hear everything said to them: Image

Well, that’s the external features of the hull covered. Now, let’s get inside the barge . . . .





Starting at the bow of the ship, we have the cockpit section. Here’s the inside of the hatch you remove to gain access to the cockpit. It’s impressively detailed, but wouldn’t some viewscreens be more helpful? Kind of hard to “Gaze upon the desert sands of Tatooine from the cockpit,” otherwise. Just a thought. Image

Looking inside, all the screen stickers and details were already applied, no extra work needed here. Kinda makes me wish I could read Huttese glyphs.

The ones at the front look like radar and GPS screens: Image

The portside screens show a scan of the sarlacc and a barge readout: Image

The starboard screens show a different barge readout and what looks like security-cam footage of the exterior of Jabba’s Palace: Image

You will notice that there are a couple of Abyssin grotesques on the aft bulkhead of the cockpit. Those little bronze buggers are all over the place on this barge. Image

There’s enough room to place pilot and co-pilot figures into the seats and have their hands on the control yokes, but that’s about it: Image

A very nice feature indeed is that all the interior space of the barge is contiguous and accessible. That is to say, if you were to shrink yourself down to 1/18th scale, you could walk from the cockpit all the way to the back of the main passenger cabin, climb the stairs and ladders out onto the main deck, and access every area of the ship. This also means you can pose your figures in very realistic mingling or going-about-their-business ways. So, if you were to go out the cockpit hatch and head aft, you would find yourself in a portside corridor, which would first take you to the brig.

This is the brig with the sliding door closed. It slides open a little, then sticks, making it hard to get your big, grown-up hands inside to plug the prisoner chains into the bulkhead. It can be opened further for easier access, but doing so made me kind of nervous, I have to admit. Image

Here are some shots of the prisoner chains. There are two sets, one with a large cuff, and one with a small cuff. The cuffs can be popped open and snapped closed, which allows you to fit them on pretty much any figure you want to hold captive. Image Image

Both sets of chains have an anchor-ring that pegs into the back wall of the brig. Image Image

Here’s a shot of some wall detail, as well as the mummified Ithorian corpse. It’s very nicely detailed, with the bones, tunic, shorts, belt, and ankle-cuff all getting painted and the whole shebang getting a weathering wash. Image

As cool as this cadaver is, I have two qualms about it: 1) I hope this isn’t supposed to be Momaw Nadon, because I liked that guy, and 2) I wish this were removable, because it’s glued in place. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, but it might’ve been fun to have the option to take him out and add him to Amanaman’s collection of dead things. But then, I’m weird.

And here’s the brig ceiling. You can see the trap door feature, as well as the wood-grain detail around it that they didn’t have to put in, but they did, anyway. A charming little touch that most people would probably never see. Image

Aft of the brig is the galley. It’s got what looks like a sink with a garbage disposal on the side, a grill, some more rings on the walls, a rack of hanging gorgs (which are wonderfully detailed, both in sculpting and paint applications), some counter space for prep-work, and a vent in the floor. I believe the floor-vent is meant to simulate the cover to the live-food tanks that the DK cutaway diagram says is in the floor of the galley. Image

I find myself wondering if the hanging gorgs accessory that came with the Gragra figure could be dangled from one of those rings on the wall . . . ? Well, since mine are in storage, we’ll have to let someone else figure that one out. Again, note the marvelously detailed and varied wood-grain effect on the wall panels and cupboards (none of which have opening doors, though). Image

Moving further to the aft, you get the midship stairs. These lead to two hatches on the main deck with opening doors. (More on those later.) Again, great wood-grain effect, but the inner surfaces of the stringers tend to get missed out on the paint apps. I’ve seen a lot of images online where this happened, so it’s not just mine that’s like this. Image

Better still, the stairs have hand-rails . . . Image

. . . so you can pose your figures holding onto them so the figures don’t fall over. Image

By the way, “Do these stairs go up or down?” is seriously a question asked on cruise ships. By people who are ostensibly grown-ups. Yeesh.

Moving ever astern, just beyond the midship stairs is the armoury. It’s got several racks for weapon storage, a smuggling compartment for more contraband storage, and some stairs and a ladder leading up to the main hatch that opens up on the main deck of the ship. The Gamorrean axes on the bulkhead are non-removable, there are some nifty rancor-arm newel posts on the stairs, and you have two more of the Abyssin grotesques on the weapons-rack by the stairs. Image Image Image

Here’s a better look at the smuggling compartment, which makes up part of the deck of the portside “corridor” that runs the length of the ship: Image Image Image

Finally, we come to the main cabin. As you can see, they’ve gone and put in details like wood-grain, the bronze Ishi Tib grotesque, and . . . whatever that lumpy, golden elliptical shape is in the ceiling. They didn’t have to, but they did, anyway. Image

Here are all the starboard shutters open that can open: Image

Looking forward, you can see the two archways that lead to the armoury and rear stairs, a bronze Gamorrean grotesque, and a stunningly-rendered miniature of the famous “Jabba Frieze,” Ne Ganna Dateel Jabba beneath it. Image

Jabba’s mattress (it looks a bit too cushion-y and futon-ish to be a proper daïs) slides fore and aft about an inch and a half, presumably to make placing figures behind it easier: Image Image

The rear of the cabin features little conversation nooks of frosted “glass,” with rancor-arm finials on the frames. Also notable is the rancor grotesque. Image Image

And a couple of shots with some figures in there, so you get the idea: Image Image

The microphone on Jabba’s arm-rest that Jabba and C-3PO use to address the captive Rebels is removable from its holder, but the paintjob tends to weld it in there. You’ll have to be patient and work it around a bit, but it should pop loose and allow you to pull out the microphone and put it in the hand of Jabba . . . . Image

. . . or anyone else who wants to use it . . . Image

And here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: The texture on the microphone’s wires is fantastic, like they’re covered in braided fabric. They really paid a lot of attention to detail on this project.

Speaking of which, here’s a closer shot of the removable main cabin panel from earlier, with the shutters opened up. Again, notice the nice wood-panel detail, and the other bronze Ishi Tib grotesque. Image

Now that we’ve covered the inside of the barge, let’s get up on deck, shall we . . . ?





Up top, the railings keep people from falling overboard . . . . Image

. . . usually . . . Image

. . . because there’s a section that slides out so you can recreate the scene where R2-D2 pushes C-3PO overboard during the Rebels’ escape. Image Image

You can also push the two railing guns included with the barge into any of the six holes on top of the railings (three on each side, located forward, amidships, and on the poop deck). Image Image Image

There are also four locations (two on each side, forward and amidships) where you can clip on the railing guns that came with the Vizam and Nysad action figures. Image Image Image

When you compare the two types of railing guns, there are some differences. Image

The Sail Barge version is slightly more robust, and has a hinge-and-swivel joint where it attaches to the railings. The Action Figure version is lighter, and has a ball-and-socket joint at the breech. Each one has better details the other one doesn’t. For example, the wires coming out of the breech on the Action Figure version are distinctly separate, fully-sculpted “wires,” while the breech-wires on the Sail Barge version are flat on the inside and moulded onto the handles. On the other hand, the two parallel tubes on the top side of the gun are moulded onto the main cannon on the Action Figure version, but stand apart on struts for the Sail Barge version. Each iteration has something special to offer, and I can’t really say that either one is superior to the other.

Situated alongside the first set of railing-gun mounting points, right above the brig, is a trap door. This can be activated by the press of a button just below the railing on the port side: Image

Pressing the button will drop a hapless figure into the brig . . . Image Image Image

. . . except I had to make several attempts to take the photo of POTF2 Saelt-Marae just standing on the trap door, because that dang thing did not want to take his weight. It’s not like he’s even that heavy, either. I tried again with Bane Malar, who’s pretty lightweight, with the same results. Seriously, it has a hair-trigger. The trap door even dropped down once while I was just popping off the side panels for some photography. It helps if you keep the weight distributed near the hinge, but even then, that’s no guarantee it will hold. I popped out the trap door and had a look at the latch on it, and it does look a little scraped, or worn down, hence the inability to hold much weight. I don’t know if this is a problem with every barge, or most of them, or half of them, or some of them, or if it’s just mine, but it is something I noticed. The only real action feature on the vehicle, and it doesn’t work right? It’s enough to take some points off in the final evaluation.

Moving aft, to either side of where you plug in the foresail mast, there are two small hatches with opening doors that you can have Jabba’s goons popping out of: Image Image

These hatches are where both sets of midship stairs lead to, as you can see here: Image

Further long, we get to the main hatch, which has a sliding grate, opening doors, and a couple more of those Abyssin grotesques on the sides: Image Image Image Image

Bonus Fun Factoid(s)! Klaatu was played by two different people. In Jabba’s Palace, which was filmed in England, he was played by John Simpkin. On the sail barge scenes shot in Arizona, he was played by Corey Dee Williams — Billy Dee Williams’ son! Image

Still further aft is the attachment point for the main deck cannon. This is slightly smaller and slimmer than the one that came with the 2001 POTJ Deluxe Princess Leia figure, and does not shoot any projectiles. (Seriously, the lack of back-compatibility with the Deluxe Leia cannon is such a baffling and glaring oversight, I have to take a couple points off for it.) Image

It’s rather inconveniently-placed, as you can’t rotate it all the way around without it bashing against the mizzenmast: Image

With the mast out of the way, you get a decent range of motion out of the deck cannon (rotation and elevation). It seems to be the right size (I just checked ROTJ; it only comes up to Carrie Fisher’s waist, and she wasn’t that tall), but even then, it still seems a bit on the small side. It’s tough trying to get a figure onto that little operator’s platform on the side, even a super-articulated 2019 TVC figure like Klaatu. Image

In the instructions, it says that the deck cannon is a one-time snap assembly. This worried me, because I thought it might cause problems when repacking the barge for storage and / or moving. When I installed the cannon for this review, it didn’t feel like a one-time snap assembly, and I was able to pop it back off the peg again fairly easily. Unfortunately, this is because it looks like the locking tab was pre-stressed already on one side of the peg. Oh, well. Image

And finally, you have the spot where you plug in the mizzenmast, another (non-opening) grate, a small set of steps, two more Abyssin grotesques, and the poop deck. I dunno what that brassy thing that looks like part of a distillery is, but it’s an occupational safety hazard, I can tell you. I wonder how many Trip, Slip, & Fall Reports that thing was responsible for over the years? Image




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