Another in a series of hastily-written Star Wars toy impressions! This time, Wal-Mart's exclusive Jabba the Hutt! We reveal secrets, and you get to see Oola's shirt off. Read on!
For whatever reason, Hasbro has never really bothered to improve on its original 1983 Jabba the Hutt toy until now. The 1997 Jabba was based on the Special Edition, the 1999 versions were based on the prequels, and even the 2004 one was a heavily reworked Phantom Menace Hutt.
This one was created from the ground floor to be a perfect Return of the Jedi update... but how did it fare?
The Really Short Review
This is the best modern Return of the Jedi Jabba the Hutt money can buy. It includes his "throne," a series of throw pillows, Oola, Salacious Crumb, a pipe, a rail, and the bowl fixture. It is $34.97 at Wal-Mart stores, and exclusive to the retail giant. Also, I'm still getting used to the new interface (no HTML, all WYSIWYG) so have my complete image dump gallery on Flickr for 25 pictures of this set.
Success! (Mostly.) The figure has been given an updated sculpt and a number of improvements. Lots of attention was paid to facial detail, including giving him a slightly lazy eye, asymmetrical nostrils, and a broader skull. Other details like
scar on his tail and arm tattoo were also included, however it's worth noting that the tattoo is not the correct color. This is a shame, particularly since Kenner and Hasbro have completely ignored this detail in the modern line so far. His eyes are also significantly less detailed than one might expect in this era, particularly given how good Hasbro has been painting other items. There is a contrast between a red color and an orange color, but it's so subtle all you'll likely notice is that there's some black in a see of orange.
As far as articulation goes, this is about as good as you can reasonably hope for in a figure of this shape. His neck moves, and his arms have ball joints at the shoulders and elbows. Surprisingly this range allows him to smoke and not look awkward in the process, and there are no jointed wrists like on the animated Jabba from 2009.
Deco the Hutt
Bood, but could be better. The various shades of green make the figure look wonderful from the back. This is clearly a filthy individual inside and out, with grimy flab covered in wrinkles and warts just the way you like it. The front of the gangster could have been slightly better, and the brown doesn't transition well to the green, and the drool could look better. (Did I mention he's drooling? Well, he is.) There's a little bit of bloody flesh in the cut on his tail, which is pained slightly red and it looks like a reasonable wound.
As stated above, his eyes could use some work, and his tattoo could benefit from the correct color of paint. Aside from that, Hasbro did a great job in designing this beast-- the sculptor should be praised, and the paint person should be given lessons on doing the job right.
The 1983 Jabba the Hutt "throne" is something of a legendary toy-- Kenner added to it, making it a legit plaything with opening panels, a chain, and sculpted rats and skulls on the inside. It's really a beautiful item, and a fantastic example of how to take a design and go beyond the movie to make something even more fun when movie authenticity is not the order of the day. As to the 2010 edition? It's all about authenticity.
The base itself has little rings coming out of the heads on the side, with 6 in all. There's a lot of great dirt detail, and this looks like a giant slab of concrete or stone or something big and strong enough to hold a Hutt. On the bottom are rolling wheels, a particularly nice touch given that we actually see Jabba's throne move in the movie to get a better look at a Rancor feeding. Aside from this, though, the "throne" is just one big chunk of plastic-- Hasbro of 2010 didn't have the foresight to open it up to store figures or accessories like Kenner of 1983 did. It's a shame to see the toymaking part of the process start to ebb a bit in favor of collector-perfect authenticity, as it really does feel like it would be nice to have a place to store the extra throw pillows or dead dancing girls. So it looks good, perfect even, but it's no fun and for the price it would be nice if it were actually fun.
Salacious Crumb and Oola
Salacious Crumb is a redeco of the 2007 release which came with C-3PO-- which is a good figure. So basically, this is just yet another one to add to your collection. By my count, this is the fourth modern figure of the character, and arguably the best overall. If you don't have any of the others, you'll be fine sticking with this one.
Oola, on the other hand, is a completely brand-new sculpt covered in soft goods. The 1998 original figure had cloth leggings, but this figure seems to just go all-out. There is indeed a pair of breasts under that garment, but there is no visible nipple. I suppose the line between kid-safe and titillating involves mutilation, which I would argue is even more disturbing, but well, I guess we can't have kids having THAT much fun with these toys, can we?
Throw pillows and railing! The pillows are all new, and can be strewn over the seat as you see fit. The railing is slightly warped, and the bowl/pipe appears to be newly sculpted. It no longer opens up, and the frog creatures are not included.
If you figure Jabba is worth $12-$15, Salacious Crumb at about $3, and Oola at $8, $9 or so doesn't seem like a stretch for the pillows and the throne. Were this set $25, I would give it my strongest-possible rating, but as it is you may not find it more exciting than the just-released Snowspeeder in terms of toy power. I'd still suggest buying it simply because this is probably going to be the best Jabba we ever see out of Hasbro.
For those interested in such historical nonsense, the Kenner Jabba the Hutt playset cost $11.99 in 1984 at Sears in their catalog. Given inflation and all the extra stuff in the box, the 2010 model is probably more than a fair deal. (Although I do remember seeing the 1983 one on closeout for years, so maybe not.)
--Adam Pawlus, August 1 2010