HIC Side Panel Discovery

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Sr Member
I'm delighted to announce that after looking off and on for years for the part used for side panels on the Han in Carbonite, the search is complete. Timing couldn't be better with the dramatic upswing in builder interest in carbonites seen both here and in the Yahoo HICBuilders Group.
The Han In Carbonite Side Panel found part is in fact a dash panel from a Volvo, installed back side out.

Here's the Volvo


This is a photo of one of the prop's side panels.


This is the Volvo Dash Panel, cell phone photo, but this is the one that provided the identity of the panel.


This is a photo of the actual complete dash removed from the car.


This is a photo of the disassembled panel, flipped around backwards to match how it was mounted on the carbonite.


As many will know, it's always been thought the side panels were a car dash. I've spent plenty of time working on that assumption but never had any luck, at least until a couple of amazing coincidences happened.

The first happened earlier this year after I joined the Tardis Builders Group to gather plans to build a Doctor Who New Series Tardis.
One day a new member joined and stated he planned to build a half-sized Tardis for his daughter's birthday. His introduction post peeked my interest because he mentioned he works on old car electrics as a specialty, and like many members of the group, he lives in England. When I read this I immediately sent him a PM and, making no assumptions, asked if he was aware of Star Wars and if so, was he aware of the carbonite prop and if it would be possible for him to please look at some photos I included of the panels to see if he recognized them from an old car. He is aware of the prop but doesn't recognize the panel, but he starts posting on car forums in England and very quickly sends me a photo of a possible car dash panel. It's not the one, but he's convinced it is in fact a dash panel. The search continues and soon he sends me a bad photo of another panel. Though the panel is placed inside out on the carbonite, and photos of the dash are from the front side, I can tell immediately as well it's a match. Way to go Wayne!

Next up, Wayne began trying to acquire me a panel. Unfortunately, though he was trying pretty hard, he was not having any luck. He did source one, but when it arrived, it wasn't the correct version. We even decided to buy a car if necessary, swap the dash for the incorrect one, and sell it off again. But even that was proving to be difficult to make happen.

Then came Star Wars Celebration 5 and the second coincidence. As some may know here, my friend Ben Stevens and I have produced the autograph program at Celebration 2 - 5 and Celebration Japan. While walking back to the autograph area from the R2 Builders' room at the show Saturday, I happened into a gathering of 5 - 6 guys from the Belgium 1:1 prop builders that had brought their amazing work to the show. They had just sorted out a deal with Ben to help them get autographs with the limited time they had available during show hours. I had tried to visit with the builders at Celebration Japan but the show was so never happened. I was very happy to meet so many of the builders at once.

Conversation turned immediately to their props and my Holochess table that was set up in the R2 Builders' room and somehow we got into conversation about the Carbonite. It turns out Jeroen Swanborn from the group was intensely interested in the Carbonite panels as well and has also been looking for a long time. Though till then I had only told some trusted friends of the find, I hadn't actually told anybody what car it came out of as without a panel in my hands I couldn't say 100% it was correct and I really didn't want to be mistaken about it. I decide these guys could be trusted and I knew I needed their help. Little did I know the car was in fact much more common near where Jeoren lived than in England.

Once back home, he attacked the search like a maniac. Not only would he find a panel soon, he'd have luck getting a number of them. Enough that we elected to bring them over the the U.S. so they could be offered to those who wish to have a real panel for their builds. We did this for a couple reasons, flooding the European market with mass searches for the panels will likely drive up the price and by doing it a bit under the radar and combining purchases and shipping, I believe we have saved quite a bit of money for everybody.

Some details on the panel:
It's from a Volvo 343 345 (1979-1981 era). So far as I know it was not imported to the U.S.
It can be either a right hand or left hand drive car, as the same panel was used in both.
It is all plastic.
It is placed face down on the sides of the carbonite so what we see is the back side of it.

The size is almost precisely matched to Glenn's side panels he's been selling. (Darth Chromer - GCAR). That means if you want to update yours with real parts or castings of them you can probably do so without worrying about them fitting. More on this below.

Jeroen checked with the original manufacturer of the panels, who is still in business. These were some comments about them:
They have no inventory of these, nor can they make more.
They do not have any pictures of the production or moldings, nor do they have any of the molds.
This part was not used in other brands of vehicles.
While they cannot make new panels they do have parts to repair / overhaul the panels. I assume this means the instrumentation, not the part used on the carbonite.

Collecting the panels outside car use is frowned on a bit by car collecting enthusiasts, much like photo flash tubes and TI calculator bubble strips for lightsabers are by collectors of those original pieces. But in fact, this isn't much of a desirable collector car like a classic Jaguar is.

Because Glenn does such a nice job of making parts for side panels, I contacted him after I had panels in-hand to let him know it would be great if he could hold up sending out panels to customers long enough for me to send him real panels to mold. He was delighted to do this, and those who haven't received his panels yet, will be happy too I expect.

In addition to his many side panel greeblie parts and electronics, Glenn is offering both 8 panel and 7 panel sets of castings.

Until I run out, I'm offering individual real part Volvo panels in the junkyard, with the thinking that builders may wish to use a real part for the hero panel, and castings for the rest.

Check the Junkyard for Glenn's parts as well as my real parts thread.

Here's more information on carbonites:

HICBuilders : Han In Carbonite Builders Club

Here's more photos the part and car.

Here's an older photo gallery of the actual prop on display.

And for even more, here's a couple of PDFs of the actual Volvo brochure for the car that Jeroen acquired.


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Well-Known Member
Excellent job Philip! This for me, being so involved in this prop, was like a kid at Christmas to finally be able to hold this part in my hand. Awesome sleuthing my friend.:thumbsup
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Master Member
People honestly think there is nothing left to discover. Excellent work Phil and crew! I was all set to head to the scrap yards til you said they were not imported here.*sighs*

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Sr Member
Great work, Philip! I think we've been researching this part here on the board for almost 10 years and no one could find nor identify it. :)


Master Member
HIC isn't among my interests but even so I felt a little rush of that old 'new part find thrill', reading this. Well done!


Sr Member
A super find, never wanted a HIC, but like Martyn, this is one of those landmark occasions where perserverance paid off and delivered.

Wonder what else may have been pryed from this model for other props :lol


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Sr Member
Stories like this are amazing, and the more time that passes since the original props were created, the more amazing the discovery! It's nice to see all the hard work and dedication pay off!


yes Amazing that after all this time new discoveries are still being made

awesome job! i would love to have a carbonite Han in my collection one day

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Well-Known Member
I knew it was a car dash, but what no one was able to identify is to pinpoint the SPECIFIC model.... until NOW.

AWESOME FIND and great job guys! :):thumbsup

Art Andrews

Community Owner
Community Staff
Philip, congrats on the epic find! Just as important as the find is your willingness to share all the info with us! It is just awesome to see things like this still being discovered!


Master Member
This is so awesome, you deserve a round of applause for all the work you put into this. Id-ing some of these pieces is like finding a needle in a stack of needles, but this goes to show that there is no challenge big enough for the RPF!

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