February 27, 2014 – For avid Star Wars collectors like myself, one of the most vexing mysteries is why Hasbro has never manufactured and sold a vintage model of Jabba’s Sail Barge. This vehicle is one of the most iconic in the Star Wars universe, and legions of fans have been waiting decades for it. They’ve even created a website (www.bringonthebarge.com) to petition Hasbro. But to no avail. No sail barge. No hope.
Part of the problem is poor timing. When Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) was released, it took Kenner another two years to file a patent on the design. But by February, 1985 (the date of the patent), the vintage toy line was already suffering from weakening sales and interest in Star Wars was waning. Kenner (official name: Kenner Products) never got around to issuing any version of Jabba’s sail barge, and the company became defunct in 2000. Kenner’s remnants were folded into Hasbro in 2000.
The hopes of the collecting community spiked in 2008, with the approaching 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back (released 1980). At that time, Hasbro produced the BMF (Big Millenium Falcon, retail $159.99) to the rave review of fans. And in 2010, Hasbro also released a very large version of the AT-AT (All-Terrain Armored Transport walker, a/k/a Imperial Walker). So it seemed logical that after DECADES of hoping, praying and waiting, that Hasbro would finally roll out Jabba’s Sail Barge in honor of the 30th anniversary of Return of the Jedi (1983). But then – nothing.
Rather than wait any longer (lest we all be dead), some custom modelers have built their own reproductions from scratch:
But if you’re like me, you don’t have the talent, time or inclination to build a complex model vehicle from cardboard, toothpicks and popsicle sticks. Much easier to save up your money, sign a petition and pray to the skiff gods.
So along comes LEGO, the Danish toy company and maker of the popular interlocking plastic toy bricks since 1949. In the summer of 2013, LEGO officially released for sale its version of Jabba’s Sail Barge (MSRP $120.00). I have never, ever purchased any LEGO Star Wars items because: (A) they are rather expensive, (B) they are targeted to younger children (ages 9-14) for the sail barge, (C) while “cute”, the LEGO sets still have that plasticky, overly-shiny, not-that-realistic look, (D) there are hundreds of tiny pieces to assemble, and (E) I don’t want to start collecting a whole new line of Star Wars products.
But after watching the following January 2014 video review from SithLord229 (Steve from the U.K.) and his glowing reviews, and after waiting over 30 years, I think it’s time to take the plunge and add the LEGO version to my collection.
ADDED BONUS: For a limited time, Amazon has dropped the price from $119.99 to $88.41 plus FREE shipping. This is for the “Lego Star Wars 75020 Jabba’s Sail Barge”. Once I have assembled the 850 pieces (pure madness!), I hope to show it off in a future posting. Wish me luck!