|Concept Model for Jabba Dungeon Playset|
|The Jabba the Hutt Dungeon Action Playset debuted in 1983 as a Sears exclusive. It allowed consumers to purchase three new figures -- 8D8, Nikto, and Klaatu in Skiff Guard Outfit -- along with a base-and-crane combo that was a rejigger of Kenner's earlier Droid Factory. But whereas the Droid Factory allowed kids to assemble and disassemble robots out of a host of oddball parts and pieces, the Dungeon offered no such fun. About the only thing you could do with it was stick an R2-D2 figure to the crane and swing him around like an angry cylindrical pinata
But that wasn't the original plan for the product.
What the concept material shown here proves is that, originally, Kenner planned for the Dungeon to include most of the Droid Factory's parts. This would have made the product more of a revamp of the earlier toy. That makes a lot of sense: The Droid Factory was pretty popular, having been available from '79 through '82, and Kenner is known to have flirted with releasing a second version of it during the ESB era.
One of the fascinating aspects of the above image is its inclusion of the Takara wind-up R2-D2. What's that doing in the photo? Is it possible that Kenner planned to pack the figure with the playset? Or would it have allowed you to build your own wind-up R2? The mock-up that exists of the second Droid Factory includes parts to assemble a wind-up R2, so the latter scenario is a real possibility.
Of course, the base of the playset shown in the photo is just a Droid Factory base that's been painted gray. You can see the orange color of the plastic peaking through around the foot pegs on the front of the base. The droid parts have been painted too.
This second image includes the conceptual painting on which the model of the playset was based. It clearly shows the three-legged R2-D2 that could be assembled out of the Droid Factory's parts. Unfortunately, there's no evidence of a wind-up toy.
The concept art is pretty cool. Note that it shows a Power Droid-style robot being tortured. The parts don't match up with those packaged with the Droid Factory. Maybe they were thinking of making some new parts? Also note that the renderings of Nikto and Klaatu Skiff are based on the images that were used on their respective blister cards.
These images come from slides used in an internal Kenner presentation. Thanks to a good anonymous buddy for allowing us to showcase them. And special thanks to Mike Ritter and his brother Pete for scanning them.
|Description by:||Ron Salvatore|
|Photo:||Pete Ritter, Mike Ritter|
|From the collection of:||Anonymous|
|Film:||Return of the Jedi|
|Category:||Prototypes / Product Concepts|