Today is the day we review the newest edition of Jabba’s Sail Barge LEGO set, just in time for the 31st anniversary of the original release of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Today is also the anniversary of the release of the first film in the Star Wars series: A New Hope. With Jabba's Sail Barge, today we return to the sand planet Tatooine in style, just as we’re meant to.
LEGO set 75020, Jabba's Sail Barge, comes with a whopping 850 pieces. Inside the box, Jabba’s Sail Barge includes several unique minifigs. If Jabba the Hutt himself weren’t enough to entice you, you’ve also got the three-eye’d Ree-Yees, a Weequay Skiff Guard, and the short/stout keyboard player Max Rebo - not to mention Princess Leia in slave garb.
Jabba is one of the largest LEGO figures to have been released in the Star Wars universe. Eclipsed only by the Rancor, this slimy fellow consists of five pieces. Jabba’s arms are connected immediately, while you’ll connect his upper and lower halves with a single blue stick brick.
Max Rebo is clearly the cutest of the bunch, coming with half-legs and a rubbery head that maintains his true space-piano-playing form. Here you’re seeing him jamming out near the tail end of the barge.
Ree-Yees has a rubbery head as well, while the Weequay here has a gruff flat-face up front, flat braids of hair behind. LEGO keeps the good hair for Leia.
R2-D2 is the standard LEGO droid, coming with two-peg feet and a head which accommodates a plain brick platter. The platter comes with two different kinds of glasses as well as a bottle brick, all of them transparent.
Princess Leia is nearly nude here, coming with as accurate a costume as LEGO dared to apply while still being appropriate for ages 9-14. Special care was taken here to provide Leia with two faces: happy for her escape and mad enough to choke a Hutt.
Leia and Jabba’s chain here works with the same piece used to connect Emmet’s Piece of Resistance in the toy transformations of the LEGO Movie sets - so just in case you want Leia to help topple Lord Business, she can do that too.
Jabba’s Sail Barge
When we first finished the front 1/3 of the Barge, I couldn’t help but to share just that portion of the final build with the internet. It contains a massive amount of triangular bricks and has a sliding "hidden compartment" for a cannon. This "big piece of cake," as we’ve seen it called, is a microcosm of the whole set - robust, smartly constructed, and clearly designed by a master.
Under the Barge you’ll find a number of tire rims, these allowing the craft to "float" along the surface of your floor or LEGO building surface. These wheels are hidden from view for the most part, but add a feature we didn’t even consider we’d want until we wanted it.
The top deck of the Barge is removable. It also has a relatively robust build so that you might attach and remove it with ease - it has just enough connectivity to the rest of the craft so that you don’t have to worry about it sliding off, while it remains easy to remove when you want.
Up front of the top deck you’ve got a rare set of claw pieces that hold down a front railing piece - of which you get two in the box, one extra for odd use.
Along the back on the top deck you’ve got a single personnel cannon, the same as you’d see in Return of the Jedi. This cannon can be plucked off the deck and placed on the opposite side, both sides equipped with a hook for easy placement.
In the center of the top deck you’ve got that fabulous double-barreled cannon Luke had Leia destroy the Barge with in the film. While you’ll have to find your own Jedi Luke for this, Leia will be more than willing to blow the craft to smithereens for your full ROTJ reenactment requirements.
Also up top are two sails. These sails are made of semi-rigid plastic, and are prone to semi-unsightly folds. If you want this set for display purposes, you’ll want to be careful with these - apply them last.
Several window flaps pull out and up along both sides of the Barge, while two massive flaps on each side and three flaps along the back are able to pull down for interior play. There you’ll find Max Rebo on the keys, Jabba with Leia on his chain, a tiny jail cell - with opening door - and a kitchen.
The kitchen has several relatively rare pieces including a fish, a chicken leg, a pan, and a pot. Inside the pot you’ve got some bubbly blue goo (a single peg piece) and atop the cooker you’ve got a control piece that we’ve never encountered elsewhere.
The final construct here measures a bit above 8-inches (with sails), 16-inches long, and 8-inches wide (with sails). The sails along the left and right of the Barge are made of bricks, so you’ll be steering this craft with great ease and no fear of folds.
While there are quite a few stickers in this set - mostly for window slats - they’re all easy to apply. This set looks accurate to the movie even as it scales the whole craft down significantly.
Construction with a 3-year-old
This set suggests ages 9-14 on its side, but as it is with most sets, as The Man Upstairs says, "that’s just a suggestion." I built this set with the help of my 3-year-old daughter.
LEGO is an awesome tool for helping kids of all ages master several sets of skills. At this point, a 3-year-old isn’t necessarily going to be building a LEGO set like Jabba’s Sail Barge on her own. Instead we used this opportunity to grow matching skills, basic motor function skills, and - perhaps most important of all - concentration.
Starting construction on one section means we’ll have to grab one of several bags of LEGO bricks. First we need to grab bag 1 - it has a massive number "1" on it, so this bit is easy. From there we have to find "the brown flat brick" or "the smooth brick" or "the long gray pole."
While patience can be tested here for the child, it’s also (and perhaps more so) tested for the parent. If you’re a parent in this situation, it’s always important to remember that, in the end, your goal is to have fun - not necessarily to finish the model.
Though it might seem fragile while you’re constructing Jabba’s Sail Barge, the final model can withstand a 3-year-old’s relatively gentle play. Jabba’s Sail Barge is not the heartiest model in the LEGO universe, of course, but it is more resistant to busting apart than even some "Friends" models we’ve played with, believe it or not.
Be sure to have a peek at our recent article LEGO Grows Up: Ages 6-11 and Unlimited Potential for more on the expanding world of LEGO for all ages.
Jabba’s Sail Barge is a masterpiece of a LEGO construct. It’s nice to look at and display, if that’s your intent, but it’s also a very, very valuable toy and tool for entertainment and learning. The minifigs are unique and great for use in other sets, there’s a handful of pieces in this set that don’t come anywhere else (at the moment), and the set itself is fun enough to keep together for an extended time.
While we’ve taken apart City Set after Friends set over the past year, aiming to create new buildings and oddities immediately after finishing the base build, Jabba’s Sail Barge is a keeper.