October 14, 2017 – The Rancor Rumble Hot Wheels playset hit store shelves over a year ago on Force Friday (Sept. 30, 2016).
The original MSRP of $25.00 to $30.00 USD (depending on the vendor) may have struck some consumers as a tad high. But for those willing to wait a year, discount prices are now here: Amazon once priced the set at $10.00 but now it’s at $20.32, Ross Dress for Less $12.00, and Tuesday Morning $14.99, among others.
The Rancor Rumble playset will likely appeal most strongly to collectors of Star Wars character cars (this set has the exclusive Gamorrean Guard vehicle); or to a subset of collectors who focus on all things related to Jabba the Hutt and his lair; or to kids who enjoy a well-designed playset.
Rancor Rumble is an engineering and design marvel. The playset’s 12 pieces (or 13, if you include the car) are easy to assemble. The marvel and mystery relate to Mattel’s packaging team and design engineers: How were they able to cram all the oddly shaped pieces into an oblong box which is only 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) high?
Box dimensions are 18″ L x 10″ W x 2.5″ H (45.7 cm L x 25.4 cm W x 6.4 cm H). Once assembled, the playset stands about 10.5″ tall, 15″ wide and 9.5″ deep (38 cm L x 26.7 cm W x 24 cm H).
Unboxing and Assembling the Pieces
Perforations at the back of the box are the first clue as to how to open the box. Don’t try to open the left or right box flaps, as they are super-glued shut. Use the hinged opening at the back of the box to remove the playset pieces and the Gamorrean Guard vehicle.
Perforations at the back of the box offer a hinged opening and a much easier way to access all the pieces inside.
The playset is easy to assemble (under 10 minutes) and disassemble. If you wish to deconstruct the playset in the future and store it back in the box, you should note how the pieces are carefully stored in three layers.
Like a jigsaw puzzle: Note how the 12 pieces are stored, in case you wish to disassemble and rebox the playset in the future.
The first or top layer consists of these three pieces, removed from the box:
Top layer of playset pieces (3)
After you have removed the top layer of pieces, the box and remaining pieces will look like this:
Two more layers to go.
Here is the second or middle layer of pieces removed from the box:
Middle layer of playset pieces (4)
Your box will now look like this with the third or bottom layer of pieces:
The Gamorrean Guard vehicle is tucked inside the cardboard shell (upper left). Use a knife to “unglue” the right and bottom shell flaps, and the car will be easy to remove.
The third and final set of pieces, removed from the box, look like this:
Bottom layer of playset pieces (5)
The twelve playset pieces are easy to assemble. Even a caveman or Gamorrean could do it.
Unlike most Star Wars vehicles with pieces that often snap together permanently, this playset has interlocking tabs and pieces that are easy to disassemble.
The instructions are easy to comprehend.
Main Play Features
The sand-colored tracks, earthy brown rock work, and mix of gray and tan, are reminiscent of 1979’s Land of the Jawas playset. No coincidence here as both sets are centered on characters who hail from the desert planet, Tatooine.
Rancor Rumble has a sliding guide lever along an ascending ramp. After you park your Gamorrean Guard vehicle or other Hot Wheels car at the base of the ramp, you can slide the lever uphill to position your vehicle near the top of the curve.
The gray ramp guide helps to position your Hot Wheels car in place.
Is the sliding guide necessary? Yes and No: “Yes” because it guides your vehicle to the top of the ramp, and then gravity takes over to gently move the vehicle to a staging area in front of Jabba’s castle. “No” because if you already know where the sweet spot is, you can park your vehicle on your own.
Plastic ridges (gray trap-door area) prevent your vehicle from rolling away until you are ready to push it.
Curiously, a small R2-D2 sticker has been applied to the guiding lever, as if a lazy after-thought.
Jabba’s castle sits prominently at the top of the curved ramp. A sliding door allows you to unveil Jabba and his court. Sadly, they are reduced to a mere sticker behind the sliding door.
With a toothy maw and spring-loaded swinging arm, the Rancor monster is the star of the show, even if he is hidden beneath Jabba’s castle above. The left arm of Jabba’s Rancor is tension-mounted, so that it can be positioned facing forward, ready to swing back trespassing vehicles into its plaque-covered mouth. The arm’s sensitive catch-spring and swinging arm are sprung when the car hits a small lever by the Rancor’s mouth.
There are two track options: With a gentle push, your Hot Wheels car will race down the outer track and beneath the Rancor’s claw, toward safety. Alternatively, a trap door in front of Jabba’s Castle collapses the car onto an inner ramp, which feeds directly into the mouth of the beast and out the back of the playset. To activate the trap door, turn a knob hidden at the top of Jabba’s castle.
● The Rancor monster’s head is spring-loaded. By pressing a lever attached to the ridged edges of a descending cage door, the beast’s jaws will snap half-way down – but not completely enough to stop your vehicle.
Knock the Rancor out!
● A chain and manacle allow you to shackle a Hot Wheels vehicle at the base of the set.
● Moulded into the base are a small skull and bones, likely the remnants of a previous meal.
● Additional Hot Wheels tracks (sold separately) can be connected at the bottom of either tracks one or two.
Gamorrean Guard Character Car
Exclusive to the Rancor Rumble playset, the Gamorrean Guard character car is a well-done work of art in its own right.
The front profile shows a grill with an overbite, a snouty nose, and a cartop with two horns and a silver helmet.
The rear profile shows hints of a black belt with studs.
The truck is awash in matte brown, drab olive-green and rust-red splotches all over.
A great finishing touch are the shiny copper-colored rims, which accentuate the wheels. Rivets stud the rear wheel hubs, and a vibro-lance (a spear-like weapon) is painted on the left side.
Gammie’s truck is not perfect. We wish it had hinged doors or that the hood popped open or that the tailgate swung down. But, alas, we can’t have everything, can we?
The vehicle is not sold separately. Predictably, secondary market prices for Gammie’s truck alone are approaching $30.00 and higher.