#StarWars #Custom Of The Week: 3 3/4" Bespin Cloud City Playset By Star Wars Plastic Playsets

Bespin refugee - June 24, 2018
This week's custom is a 3 3/4" "Bespin Cloud City Action Playset" by Star Wars Custom Plastic Playsets

'It's done! Completely 3-D printed Bespin playset. Features working lights, raising/lowering lift pad, and pivoting ramp. Hoping to post some video later on today - and plan to post the 3D files tomorrow.

Commentary: One of the most-desired playsets of my youth was a Bespin. No, the cardboard Sears thing wasn't good enough. I was fascinated by the Micro-Collection Bespin World, but I was bummed it wasn't scaled for my figures. Never-the-less, I had to have a carbon freeze chamber. I whined about it so much that my god mother told me should would buy it for me if I rode my bike around a dead-end street 10 times (my parents were trying to teach me how to ride a bike at the time). I did - and within minutes we were at the mall at K&K Toys. I lived a lot of SW fun on that micro playset.

But, one clearly is needed for real size figures! The Hasbro one in the 90s was interesting, but it lacked so much. When I started making playsets with Instamorph, I created a Bespin (look in the photo galleries for Bespin 1.0) - but because of the material, it was very difficult to create man-made type walls and shapes. Once I figured out how to 3-D print I knew I'd revisit Bespin.

Creating a plan was very difficult. There were so many "scenes" I wanted to include. In addition, I wanted thing arranged so a kid could basically play out the last third of ESB moving from spot to spot.

The dining area contains a table and will have 4 chairs (still printing a few of them). A big chunk of Bespin hallway features 2 staircases (staircases were always fun on the old Kenner playsets). Moving around the other side you have the interior of the freeze chamber, where you can swap out Han for a Carbonite block. There's also the Ugnaught boiler room with a conveyor belt. I hope to revisit the conveyor belt one day and include moving rollers on the top - or a crank or something so it has more play features.

Upstairs of course is the big carbon freeze chamber. The lift pad permits you to lower or raise a figure. I'm no engineer, so it doesn't work all that smoothly and usually requires both hands. Some wall decorations double as pivoting clips to keep the platform in place when it's lifted.

LED lights run under the floor gratings, with some tin foil in there to hopefully reflect more light. A second set of lights illuminates the staircase. A door can be raised on the backside of the staircase to access the batteries and on/off switches. The orange material is made of very simple stuff. I used translucent trick-or-treat bags from Wal-Mart (25 cents on clearance after Halloween) with a layer of orange tissue paper. I cut the strips and then used lamination sheets to gel them together. They were very, very difficult to cut and attach to the plastic because of their small size.

The ramp is attached to the security tower and can be raised or lowered. When raised, it attaches to the staircase piece with magnets. It's not a terribly reliable join and will fall easily. But, the rebels can be "walked" up from the security tower, just like in the film. I had great fun with the ramp in the Micro-Collection set and very much wanted to have that pivoting action in my playset.

The security tower has a cell on the bottom floor - with a detachable bench. I had hoped to figure out a way to make one slide out - but it proved to be too bulky and too much trouble for now. The second floor makes a great torture chamber.

The control room area has a tunnel of lights (labels). A piece of equipment on the wall can be removed so you can attack Luke with the force. The window is held in place by magnets (again, not strong enough and will fall off if you look at it wrong) - but allows for Luke to go flying through the window. The gantry I designed several years ago and it's nice to finally be able to incorporate that into the bigger playset. The pipe piece from one of the early 2000s figures attaches to the gantry.

A couple of the labels were enlarged from old Kenner playsets for a bit of an homage.

I have thought of expanding it already. I'd like another tower structure (since Bespin seems to have so many). Perhaps that could house a version of the apartment - and maybe some type of opening door that simulates Leia and Lando's escape at the end of the film.

One of my regrets is the decision to use adhesive on this one to join parts. I'd much prefer it snap together. But, it would have probably taken me twice as long to design - and likely cost a lot more money due to having to re-print parts that wouldn't fit without re-design. I tried caulk and model glue - but I seem to have the best luck with DAP Rapid Fuse. It creates a very strong chemical bond between parts. However, it usually dis-colors the plastic. So, I had to be very careful with where I used it.

I have no doubt Hasbro could crank out something that's better - but as I have to constantly remind myself - I'm not Hasbro. I'm a dude with a $500 3-D printer and no engineering background. Regardless, it will be a great home for my Bespin figures in my toy collection.

I'd guesstimate it cost about $200 in materials, mostly the PLA plastic. I started work in November 2017 and ended June 18, 2018.
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