Celebration reveals: Multi-group Rancor patch set

by Bill Cable
on 2022-05-11, 09:18:42

This week I'm going to give you a play-by-play, behind-the-scenes story on the design and production of the Celebration Anaheim 2022 Rancor patch!

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Back in 2020 I put a ton of time into designing a Celebration patch. I think it turned out great. Might even use it some time in the future. But it was themed on the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, which wasn't a great fit for 2022. So I brainstormed a bit, and decided I'd give another idea a try. That's when this hit me:

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When I came up with the idea, I didn't even own a Vintage Rancor. But I thought I really had something, so I went ahead and bought one BIN off eBay. I've always loved the toy, so it wasn't a bad thing to finally buy one. It was just one of those pieces that's always available so I didn't feel compelled to pick one up.

I presented my pitch photo to the presidents of the clubs who'd be involved, and they were all in favor. So I set out to take some better photos for the design. I had to use string to get the Rancor to hold the Gamorrean Guard, which otherwise won't fit in its hand at all. I took maybe a dozen different photos before I got the pair I liked.

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As you can see, I had to take a pair, one with the foreground in focus, and one with the background. With a patch design, you can't really do "out-of-focus" art, so I had to combine the two photos to get everything in focus.

I did the art on the figures first.

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Next I needed a background. I don't like doing backgrounds. So I did the next best thing - I stole one! I Googled for set photos of the Rancor cave, and struck gold:

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It was a simple matter of positioning it correctly on the design:

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And then I just followed the highlights and shadows. I'm really happy with how it turned out:

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For the outer ring, each of the club presidents chose a character from Jabba's denizens. For the longer names I encouraged narrower characters. And I had to suggest to Kentucky that Bossk wasn't a character most people associate with Jabba's Palace even though he was there. Then I just used photos off of RebelScum to add those heads to the outer ring.

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On my first pass, I figured all the clubs would want their names right-side-up. But, to my surprise, that was overruled. They all wanted all the heads to look inward towards the Rancor. So I flipped them.

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We were all ready to go! I sent the design to LFL for preliminary approval, with the caveat that we understood the clubs might change if any of the participants didn't get a booth. Then came the bad news - Indiana was among a large group of clubs that didn't get a booth. I checked the list of who did, and I reached out to California Vintage group to take their place.

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With that, everything was ready to submit. I broke out the ring into individual patches (I'm particularly happy with how I used the right side of numbers 1 through 7 to make each fit in order), and then submitted all 9 designs to TheStudio.com. I've worked with them for the past few patches, and usually it goes smoothly. But this time... not so much.

The first issue I had to deal with was they decided to scale all the right pieces to 5 inches wide...

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The problem there was that each of these ring pieces wasn't 5 inches wide. They varied quite a bit from patch to patch.

  • 01-EMBPAT385619C: 4.858 inches
  • 01-EMBPAT385619D: 4.629 inches
  • 01-EMBPAT385619E: 4.802 inches
  • 01-EMBPAT385619F: 4.724 inches
  • 01-EMBPAT385619G: 4.483 inches
  • 01-EMBPAT385619H: 4.306 inches
  • 01-EMBPAT385619I: 4.703 inches
  • 01-EMBPAT385619J: 4.685 inches

Can you imagine what a cluster it would have been had I not noticed that? The ring wouldn't have fit together at all, and would have been significantly larger than the center. Thankfully I did and they fixed it.

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The next problem... an even bigger one... was when they came back with the artist's rendering of the center piece.

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What kind of MS-Paint garbage is that??!! It's like a child drew over my original design in crayon. All I can think is the artist looked at all the excruciating detail I put into the design, threw up their hands and was like "screw this!" (but more likely Signrney Weaver's original and laughably overdubbed original line from Galaxy Quest)

It took several days of pushback before they delivered a design that nearly approached the quality of my original.

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I wasn't 100% happy with that, but I accepted that I wasn't going to get anything better and have them in-hand by Celebration so I told them to move ahead with production.

And then I noticed they misspelled "ANAHEIM"...

In the end, they arrived in plenty of time and everything looks great. This was a harrowing adventure, though. More work and aggravation than I've gone through for any previous multi-group patch. But I gotta say I love doing these things. I hope I get the chance to do another for Celebration 2023 or 2024 or Europe or Tokyo or wherever.





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