Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Miniatures for the Mos Eisley Cantina

 

Garindan and Mos Eisley Cantina miniatures

Luke Skywalker's entry into the cantina on Mos Eisley is the defining moment of the first Star Wars movie. The scene introduced a universe without definitions. It promised us that everything to come was an open-ended journey, in which every face in every crowd has a history if only you're lucky enough to hear what it is, or imaginative enough to invent it on your own. As the writer Patrick Cavanaugh said, "Even though we knew nothing of these ancillary characters, their appearances conjured all sorts of backstories in our minds, allowing us to flesh out countless adventures within this world in just a matter of moments."

So iconic was the Cantina scene that it created its own trope. Almost every other movie in the Star Wars franchise (and many other sci-fi films) has a scene echoing Mos Eisley. Although it's tempting to dismiss this as crass imitation, I see it in terms of epic poetry. An epic is defined by certain conventions: for example, there must be a scene in which the heroes partake in a counsel of war, and there must be a long, boring recitation of the order of battle (like Homer's "catalogue of ships" or Tolkien's description of the knights entering Minas Tirith). The cantina helped define the sci-fi genre by creating a new (and deeply satisfying) convention: the bar full of aliens.

Haven't we met before?


Here are my renditions of some of the more famous faces in Chalmun's Cantina, all of which are repainted versions of plastic WOTC miniatures...

First comes Ponda Baba, the club bore whose arm gets cut off. I will always have a soft-spot for this Aqualish alien, because one of the first Kenner Star Wars figures I owned as a child was "Walrus Man."

Ponda Baba 28mm painted miniature


Dr. Cornelius Evazan is Ponda Baba's companion. Evazan appeared in both A New Hope and in Rogue One after taking time off from his regular gig in the belltower of Notre Dame.

Dr. Evazan 28mm painted miniature


BoShek is the smuggler who introduced Obiwan to Chewbacca when the old Jedi was looking for a ride off of Tatooine. That black flight suit looks quite natty, if you ask me.

BoShek 28mm painted miniature



Takeel (also known as Snaggletooth) is a Snivvian mercenary and drug addict. He's another inmate of the Cantina who owes his fame less to the movie and more to his afterlife as a Kenner action figure. I hope you appreciate the disco-vibe of his leisure suit.

Snaggletooth Takeel 28mm painted miniature


Can you imagine going through life with a name like "Muftak the Talz"?

I can't.

Muftak the Talz 28mm painted miniature


And finally, we have my favourite: Garindan. He's the one who spotted the fugitive droids Threepio and Artoo outside the Cantina. He may be an Imperial spy and general cheese-eating tattletale, but he looks so good.

Garindan 28mm painted miniature


I hope no one is ratting on your droids, my friends. Be well!

Mos Eisley Miniatures 28mm


21 comments:

  1. Excellent additions Matthew, agree on it being such an iconic scene. You've done an excellent job on all these models, just a few more denizens to go ! LOL Must get back to doing the humans for the scene

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    Replies
    1. Dave, your work has been a real inspiration to me. I was looking at your scratch-made work the other day and it just blows me away.

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    2. Thank you Matthew, I feel the same about your passion and delivery on the subject

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  2. Fantastic! Waiting for your new minis is a big pleasure!

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  3. Come for the paint jobs, stay for the literary analysis.

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    Replies
    1. Wait until next week when we get to the queer coding embedded in the protocol droids of Star Wars.

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  4. A fine and shady bunch - they remind me of their larger cousins the Kenner / Palitoy Star Wars figures which I still have from childhood, alongside the Cantina cardboard playset.
    You are absolutely right about the suggested past histories - it's a very clever scene or trope - and as you say, such alien bars occur in The Mandalorion and countless other sci-fi films.
    I always thought squeaky Garindan was Gonzo moonlighting from the Muppets, even before Yoda arrived.

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    Replies
    1. There certainly was a Muppet vibe to the whole cantina. And I too had that set (with the cardboard back) when I was a kid.

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  5. Gawd damn, between you and Dave Stone you're really making me want to start painting some StarWars figs! These are excellent Matt, well done!

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    Replies
    1. As I said above, Dave's stuff is really out of this world.

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  6. This is so lovely! Oh, now I'm humming the Cantina Band theme, look what you've done! :D

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Suber!
      If none of you have seen Suber's work on Star Wars, you should check that out too.

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  7. Replies
    1. I've been enjoying your recent work, Mouse... I still think about those Tom Meier sculpts.

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  8. Those are so cool! I really like Garindan as well.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Barks! I'm just glad I could find a Garindan mini. I always thought he cut a cool figure, but he was not often portrayed either as a toy or a miniature.

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