Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner previewed the near future for Hasbro licenses and products at New York Toy Fair 2018 this weekend, including the creation of a new initiative called HasLab. According to the company, HasLab will be an avenue to bring “dream projects” to fans. In essence HasLab is a financing vehicle whereby fans willing to prepay for an item can do so via Hasbro’s new online crowdfunding. As with other Kickstarter or Indiegogo platforms, if the presales don’t meet the demand target, buyers won’t be billed for the product. But if the target is met, buyers will be charged and the production will proceed. First up? Apparently Star Wars fans have been clamoring for a classic Kenner 3 3/4 scale version of Jabba’s Sail Barge from Return of the Jedi.
Although diehard fans have been building scale versions for their action figures for years, including most recently via 3D printing, Hasbro displayed its mock-up at the show this weekend. On the design side, to create the Sail Barge (called The Khetanna in the books), Hasbro tapped Mark Boudreaux, principal designer on Star Wars for Hasbro and one of the creators of the original Kenner Millennium Falcon, and designer on other toy vehicles from the Star Wars line including the AT-AT, X-Wing fighter, and Boba Fett’s Slave 1. Modeled using Lucasfilm digital archives and set photos, the final toy is expected to be a little more than four feet long. It will feature classic Kenner style packaging, a 3 3/4 scale Jabba the Hutt figure, and lots of features. The required target to proceed is 5,000 units, and the base purchase price is $499.99. As of this morning 611 backers have contributed, with 44 days left before the program is closed. Check out the details at the new HasLab website here.
The mock-up of the ship definitely has echoes of the original Star Wars Death Star playset. And it has the historical feel of an early clipper ship, including a brig in the lower deck. Here is a video preview of the Sail Barge playset:
If the final version looks like the mock-up, buyers will get some real play value for their dollars, if any of them actually open the package.
A Jabba the Hutt figure has been available for literally decades, in the original line and since the 1990s in retooled editions, but only as part of his “throne room” setting, a deluxe palace edition, and a special edition version. The desert skiff that accompanies the larger barge was one of the later original playsets released (most of the action happened on the skiff). And Kenner even released a single figure “mini-rig” version.
For the first HasLab project to proceed, the 5,000 target must be met by April 3, 2018.