Rancor Pit Diorama

The rancor action figure is just...big.  And when you consider that the scene it’s involved in from Return of the Jedi involves only 2-3 characters at the most, it’s not an ideal figure or scene to recreate in a Star Wars room that’s always lacking in free space.  You want to be able to fill a shelf with a lot of figures and with the rancor pit you’re left with the beast itself, Luke Skywalker or Oola and a Gammorean Guard or two.  

However, and I can’t really explain how, I found myself with enough free space in my Star Wars room  to actually do a diorama of Jabba’s favourite pet. And THEN....I even added a second diorama(more on that in my next article).  The material I used for the walls is a paper packaging material that was used to wrap merchandise on a recent trip to Walt Disney World. It’s fairly sturdy and it’s possible to make bumps and ridges with it to simulate rock walls. The small holes or perforations in the paper give it some texture. The photos don’t do the colour of the material justice though, it’s a much darker brown than the camera sometimes shot.

At some point I might add a large door to one of the walls, as seen in Return of the Jedi.

Jabba's Throne Room Diorama

For years I have had a Jabba’s palace diorama on one of my shelves.  Using the awesome Power of the Force-era Hasbro Jabba’s Palace 3-D Display Diorama I’ve done what so many Star Wars collectors have done and crammed as many “Jabba-related” figures as possible into the diorama: whether they belong in his throne room, his barge, his droid torture room….

Now, granted the Haslab Sail Barge project solves a big part of this problem but I didn’t back the barge so I have to make do with what I have.  

Although it’s a great way to display figures, there are a few short comings with Hasbro’s pop-up cardboard display. It’s much smaller than the dimensions of a standard bookcase shelf.  The right side of the diorama doesn’t have a wall so the final display always looks unfinished. Also, the detailed graphic of the Rancor staring up from his pit through the floor grating is in technically in the wrong spot and is too close to Jabba’s dias.  With these minor issues in mind, I decided to expand the display to make it fit better on my bookshelf. I also decided to add two new displays to go along with the throne room: A Rancor pit which up until now I had never found space to do and a droid torture room.  This room was actually my first idea before starting since I had always had a small cluster of droids from that scene stuck in a corner of Jabba’s palace and a dedicated room would help free up some real estate in the throne room.

I basically built boxes for these displays that I could easily slide in and out of the bookcases they would be housed in.  I planned on using strings of LED lights and different types of building material so I thought it would make more sense to house all of this in an enclosed, removable box.  I built the boxes out of foam core board. 



REBEL BASE

January 2019

During the 2018 Christmas break I finally spent some time with a glue gun, various pieces of junk, craft foam bricks and a bunch of Star Wars figures and took my Rebel Base display to the next level (for me anyway). Last September I did my first diorama that involved creating walls and more of a realistic environment by creating a docking bay for my Legacy Collection Millennium Falcon.  The plan this time was to make a walled in rebel Command Centre and a pilot ready room. 

I’m pretty happy with the results as I was able to create adjoining rooms, separated by a window. I also incorporated battery operated LED light strings for some ambient lighting.  I think the final product turned out pretty good, although I learned a lot along the way so when I start another project I may revisit this one.  My main concern is that the ready room is a little difficult to see behind the command centre but I set up the rooms in a way that would let me have more space for the Force Awakens X-wing that I weathered and other displays.  

One thing I didn’t count on at this point was to expand the rebel base display into another shelf but I was pretty psyched after finishing the two rooms so I have (for now) a rough idea of my next project: a display based on  the rebels hideout on Hoth: Echo Base.  

-Mac

R2-BBQ ACTION FIGURE from Solo: A Star Wars Story

Ever since Ron Howard showed us a short video of one of the sets on Solo: A Star Wars Story, people were enamoured with that one astromech droid that had been repurposed as a fire barrel.  When I saw it I just wanted to know when we would get the action figure for it.  Well, it’s been almost a year since Solo: A Star Wars Story hit theatres and with no sign of “R2-BBQ” in the toy aisle I went ahead and tried to build a figure myself.

I used a Disney Droid Factory astromech body and legs. With the head removed I had to remove the part that is normally hidden by the dome.  It’s a cool little piece of plastic that shows the innards of an astromech. It also houses the dome peg needed to attach a dome to the body.  

I held the astromech in place with a vice and after removing the middle leg, tapped up through the body with a screwdriver and hammer. The dome peg popped out fairly easily, although the screwdriver and hammer did break the bracket that holds the legs and dome peg inside the body.  Not a big deal since I was repurposing the droid anyway.  I took the body apart, added legs and then hot glued the legs into the body. The glue also helped in holding the two parts of the body together.  

Next was to try to cut holes into the front “arms” of the droid as seen on screen.  It was suggested that a heated blade could probably cut the small, straight indents on the body but I didn’t have anything on hand to do that so I took the smallest drill bit I had and drilled a hole into it.  My plan was to slowly work across the front detail until it was removed, like a dremel.  Unfortunately that didn’t work and the drill ended up cracking the plastic and making a hole much bigger than I intended.  I made one other hole on the front bottom since the screen version has a few different holes.   The end result still looks pretty cool, although not as screen accurate.  

Finished “R2-BBQ”

I painted a black wash over it to give it a used and beat up look.  Using a string of battery operated LED lights, I strung two bulbs into the droid and then using the rest of the string for the remainder of a diorama I was working on.  Then I glued the droid into place in the diorama. For flames I found some plastic versions from an old LEGO castle set that belonged to my son.  Those are just poked in to the top.  The lights are small enough but still bright enough to light up the inside of the body and the flames as well.  

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MILLENIUM FALCON DIORAMA

Summer 2018. The Legacy Collection Millennium Falcon, also known as The Big Millennium Falcon or “BMF” is probably the best vehicle or play set that has ever taken action figure form. It has a great paint job, fun play features including light up engines, high quality sound effects and (my favourite) a ramp that lowers at the touch of a button, accompanied by light. It’s huge, it’s a monster. And it takes up a ton of space in any collection. In Episode 56: Star Wars Summertime I talk about giving this beast a worthy home in my collection as I take my first steps in building a diorama with lights and walls. Now, in my large Rebel base display, the Falcon has it’s own hanger, surround by walls with inset lighting. I wish I could have gone even bigger with the diorama as it would have been cool to be able to turn the Falcon around on a turntable in order to see all sides of the ship but as we all know, there’s only so much space in a Star Wars Room. In an upcoming post I’ll have more photos of this diorama, “in action” with Star Wars figures interacting around and in the Millennium Falcon.

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MAC'S STAR WARS ROOM

January 2019

Star Wars-wise, the end of 2018 was a busy time for me as I spent a ton of time with my collection. I accomplished two things;  I did some real diorama work on my Rebel base display, which you can see and read about BELOW and second, I more or less “finalized” the big renovation that started back in September.  That was when I swapped out a bunch of mismatched, old bookcases for new white ones.  See that transformation below as well.  

Between that big move and the expansion of my Rebel base display, I spent the past few weeks basically finding a home for everything again.  And also coming up with plans for the future as I’m just about out of display space in my Star Wars room.  

One thing that is different from the “old” room and the “new” room is that for the most part I eliminated much of the background items I normally used on my various shelves.  So instead of artwork or prints or advertising, most of the shelves just feature action figures on a white background.  The main reason I did this was simply to get the figures back on display as quick as possible when I swapped out the old furniture for new.  What I found with this starker look is that I’ve come to appreciate the action figures themselves as they just stand out better against a white backdrop.  

I don’t intend on keeping things like this, however as I’m already getting the itch to create environments for the figures (I’m looking at you Rogue One Scarif display!)

I’ll be taking my time doing this though, I’m still enjoying the new bookcases and will revisit each display as I’m able to.  

It’s been a long journey getting my Star Wars room to this point, thanks for listening to Dan and I on the podcast as we talk about stuff like this and I hope you enjoy the photos.  Please share your Star Wars room with us!

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NEW CABINETS, NEW COLOURS IN THE STAR WARS ROOM

FALL 2018

On Episode 61: Changing How We Collect V2.0 we celebrate two years since starting The Sandcrawler. We take the opportunity to discuss how we have changed our collecting habits as Star Wars collectors. While Dan is sitting on a giant pile of purchases and isn’t sure where to move forward in his Star Wars room I took advantage of the Labour Day Weekend to replace my mismatched book cases with the help of friend of the show, Ryan Holman, with bright, shiny, white IKEA Billy bookcases. Here’s a look at that process as I moved my figures around, and began to re-appreciate much of my collection.

Click here for a thread of tweets thatI did one night as I was putting my figures back on display.

A SHORT HISTORY OF MAC'S STAR WARS ROOM

I’m an original trilogy era kid who saw Star Wars for the first time with my brother and aunt in the summer of 1977 <Listen to our origin stories here>. I was nine and a half at the time and like so many other kids I was all in when in came to Star Wars and all the merchandise that went along with it. By the time Empire Strikes Back hit theatres in 1980 i was almost 13 years old and although I loved the movie, I wasn’t playing with toys any more and had moved on to punk rock, Maple Leafs hockey and girls. It wasn’t until the Power of the Force launch in 1995 that Star Wars toys became a part of my life again. In 2001 I moved my small collection into a spare room in my house and the rest is history.  You can see how the room started out as a tv room where I was given explicit instructions by my wife and my mother in law that certain items had to remain.  Things like lamps, photo albums, a couch. Over the past 18 years those requirements were given up on as my collection grew. 

These photos are from 2001 to maybe 2012 are a good example of how my collecting slowly began to grow. To see my Star Wars room how it looks today, click here.

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