Han Shot First in my New Custom Cantina Booth
May 31, 2011

So, I’m kinda into stuff related to the cantina scene from Star Wars Episode IV. A lot of that has to do with all the kooky aliens that populated the place. But, perhaps even more than the denizens, what makes that particular segment of the original Star Wars trilogy memorable is that really cool stuff went down there. We see a lightsaber deployed in battle for the first time. Luke meets Han and Chewie. After his surprise encounter with Greedo Han Solo defines awesome by quipping: “Sorry about the mess.” How fun is it to recreate some of that magic in 3 3/4" scale?

A couple months ago I was excited to see this post on Rebelscum about a custom cantina booth diorama made by Carl BouMansour:

I was so impressed by this custom playset that I immediately shot Carl a note saying how much I liked it. I also mentioned that I’d be interested if he were ever to make duplicates. He replied saying that, thus far, he had just built dioramas for his own collection but would consider a commission. Carl is super accommodating and, as were were settling on a price, he offered to modify to my specifications. For instance, I wanted to be sure that it would fit in my IKEA glass door cabinet. Turns out it did without modifications (18cm wide x 13cm deep x 13.5cm high) but Carl was willing to adjust sizes. He also offered to change colors of the walls, chairs, stools, floor, etc. He asked whether or not I’d like the table and Chewie’s cushion loose or glued in place. Once we worked out all those details I paid up and he had the thing finished and shipped within a week.

You can check out Carl’s web site here.

I have not bought too many custom figures/dioramas but I’ve seen plenty. With some, I notice the customizer doesn’t really have a good grasp of paint application and things of that nature and, as a result, the item is sometime sticky and paint rubs off. I asked Carl about his process and this was his reply:

“The majority of the build is done using modeling card & wood. Both of which are absorbent, so the paint adheres very well. All plastic parts are first coated with a plastic primer (the sort used on car bumpers, so very tough). I’m a professional figurative painter by trade, & used to do some art restoration work, so you can be sure paint apps are not an issue for me. I use top grade acrylic paints & eggshell varnish. The varnish is a precaution really, but I think it gives a nice finish that fits with the aesthetic of the plastic action figures.” 

True to his word, this custom is a quality piece of work and I’m stoked to add it to my display.


These are the kinds of mini playsets Hasbro should be doing, in my humble opinion. Small sets that we can use to pose our figures in and around. This is just a booth in the cantina but can be used to recreate a number of memorable scenes.


I had some fun today recreating a couple of those cantina encounters, thanks to Carl’s amazing custom booth playset!

It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. I’ve outrun Imperial starships. Not the local bulk cruisers mind you, I’m talking about the big Corellian ships now. She’s fast enough for you old man. What’s the cargo?

Even I get boarded sometimes. Do you think I had a choice?


Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann
Action figure anthropologist, Professor Cantina Dan Neumann has been a scholastic contributor to the online community studying the complex world of parumplasticus populus {little plastic people} since the turn of this millenium. His primary focus is the visual cataloging of species exhibits through photo-journalism.
Read other articles by Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann.





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