#2876: Jedi Spirits

ANAKIN, YODA, & OBI-WAN

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda — three individuals with lives intricately intertwined. Before Obi-Wan Kenobi was forced into a life of hiding, before Anakin Skywalker gave in to the dark side and became Darth Vader, even before Yoda was known as the last Jedi Master, a young Anakin was presented to the Jedi Council for permission to train the boy in the ways of the Force. Many years later, the Galactic Republic crumbled and the evil Empire rose in its place. Only after the defeat of the Empire, at the hands of Anakin’s son Luke Skywalker, would the three great Jedi be reunited after death as spiritual guides for Luke and the New Republic.”

First hinted at during A New Hope’s climactic battle, when Luke hears the voice of the recently killed Obi-Wan during his run on the Death Star, the force ghost concept fully appears during Empire, when Obi-Wan fully manifests in spirit form.  He shows up again during Return of the Jedi, and is ultimately joined by both Yoda and Anakin in the film’s final moments.  They don’t really do much other than stand there, but it’s a distinctive visual, and one that stuck with fans.  So, toys, of course.  The first one we got was an Anakin, during the original Power of the Force run, though it was handled slightly differently than now.  A more conventional take on the concept in toy form hit the ’90s line as a mail-away figure, the Spirit of Obi-Wan.  Not content to let Obi-Wan have all the fun, Kenner put him out again, this time alongside the other two, as one of their Cinema Scenes, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Jedi Spirits set was part of the 1998 Cinema Scenes line-up for Power of the Force II.  They were one of two Jedi sets released that year, as the line began to be more focused on the final film.  They included a stand, based on the edge of one of the Ewok structures from Endor, where they are seen in the film.  Interestingly, they were all three screwed into the base in addition to the usual foot pegs.  Not entirely sure why that was the case; maybe there was some concern about potentially damaging them by twisty tying them in like the others?

ANAKIN

He’s been subsequently replaced by Hayden Christian in more recent editions of the film, but the original version of Jedi gave us a look at an Anakin from a potential version of events where he never fell to the dark side to become Darth Vader.  It’s honestly sort of sensible, since it also means he would, you know, look vaguely like the guy whose face Luke actually saw earlier that day, so he might be able to know it was his father, and all.  But that’s probably all very silly, I suppose.  The elder Anakin got a sort of force ghost-y figure in the vintage line, designed to sort of be the best of both worlds.  Power of the Force II split it into two figures, with this being the more overt ghost one.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches all and he has three points of articulation…technically.  The neck definitely moves…a little.  The arms also move, but as you can see from the photo, they tend to just fall out of the socket more often than not.  Not sure why, but that’s how it is.  He was an all new sculpt, based on Sebastian Shaw’s brief appearance as Anakin from the movie.  It’s distinctly different from Obi-Wan, so that’s certainly a nice touch.  There’s some nice texture work going on as well.  While the mail-away Obi-Wan was just translucent blue with no paint, they mixed things up a little bit for this set, adding some dry brushed white, to give him a little more depth.

YODA

Yoda was totally without any force ghost figures at this point, so him finally getting one was certainly an accomplishment.  While there were a few Yoda molds to chose from, this one was a new one entirely.  He stands about 2 1/4 inches tall.  You can sort of get some motion at the neck and shoulders, but nothing much, and it feels like it doesn’t want to really move.  Beyond that, it’s a nice enough sculpt.  It’s good for just standing there, which is all he really needs to do.  It’s more accurate than other molds from the same line, and the stance in particular is a little closer to the actual puppet, since he doesn’t have to contend with needing to move.  Also, the arms stay on him, so that’s a plus over Anakin.  Good for him.  His paint works pretty much the same way, although it’s not quite as intense in its application.

OBI-WAN

Obi-Wan is, of course, the figure in this set that was the least new, especially at the time of his release, with the prior version having hit just the previous year at the time.  That being said, Kenner did at least make him a little different, even if it was just for the sake of being different.  The figure is 3 3/4 inches tall.  He’s sort of got the same articulation as Yoda, where it’s *technically* there, but very limited and not really ideal for any proper use.  His sculpt is largely the same as the mail-away version, but he changes out the right arm for one with a different pose.  So there’s that, I guess.  It’s not a bad sculpt, so I can get behind it, especially without the one arm just kind of sticking out like on the prior version.  His paint matches the other two in the set, which looks a fair bit better than the unpainted version.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had none of the Cinema Scenes sets as a kid, so obviously that’s not where this one came from.  It is, however, one of the earlier ones I picked up once I actually started doing such things.  I snagged this one when it was traded into All Time, almost exactly two years ago, at this point.  I know, I’ve got quite a PotF2 backlog, don’t I?  It’s not a terribly playable set, but at the same time, it really seems to get the feel of Cinema Scenes down the best, because it’s a distinct visual, and these figures are always gonna be a tough sell by themselves.

#2493: Anakin Skywalker – Padawan

ANAKIN SKYWALKER — PADAWAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A hero of the Clone Wars, Anakin was caring and compassionate, but also had a fear of loss that would prove to be his downfall”

Okay, so we were looking at some figures from Empire, the second installment in the Original Trilogy, which everyone loves.  Now, let’s jump forward (or is it backward?) to Attack of the Clones, the second installment of the Prequel Trilogy that most people don’t love.  I’m with most people on this one.  Delving back into my archive of old reviews tells me that the only other Anakin Skywalker figure I’ve reviewed here was back in May of 2014, and was another version of him from Attack of the Clones.  So, let’s do more of that, I guess?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Anakin Skywalker (Padawan) is figure 110 in the Black Series line-up.  He’s from the latest assortment of the main line, which is an entirely AotC-based line-up.  It’s also the last line-up before the line ditches the overall numbering scheme and goes to more themed subsets starting in the fall.  Gotta say, ending the longest running incarnation of this line with an all Attack of the Clones assortment is a pretty baller move.  Go for it, Hasbro.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  A lot of this figure’s parts are shared with the Revenge of the Sith version of the character, released way back in Series 4 of the original Black Series incarnation.  Remember in my Luke review on Tuesday, when I mentioned how nice it was to get an all-new sculpt for the Snowspeeder gear, even though they might have been able to try for some re-use?  Well, that feels somewhat relevant here.  Anakin’s look in the two films isn’t terribly different, so on one hand, some re-use is sensible.  However, it has the side effect of putting this guy on a base body that’s from 2014, which, from both a sculpting and an articulation stand point, puts him rather behind the times.  The torso in particular is rather boxy, and the movement on the elbows, waist, and knees is quite limited, especially when compared to more recent offerings.  He does at least get a new head, right forearm, and belt, which help to change him up a bit from the prior release.  The head is probably the strongest piece, and manages to give us a solid rendition of Hayden Christiansen.  It’s certainly an amazing improvement over any of the prior versions of him we’ve gotten, especially when it comes to his AotC appearance.  They definitely got that broody facial expression down.  The only slight issue with mine is that he’s got a bit of flashing on the right side of his jaw.  The new forearm is really just meant to mirror the left side, since this is a pre-robo arm Anakin.  It’s a real shame they didn’t take the opportunity to make it more easily removed at the elbow, to simulate some battle damage.  Of course, they also left Bespin Luke without an easily removed hand, so maybe they’re just really banking for potential variants down the line.  In terms of paint, this figure tries, but has one major issue, which is that his neck and face just don’t match.  Sadly, this is the potential problem you face when you’re painting one and molding the other in the appropriate color.  More recent figures have been using the double ball joint set up so that the neck is separate from the torso, allowing it to also be molded in the appropriate color, but no such luck here with this older mold.  At least the face printing looks pretty good.  In terms of extras, Anakin’s pretty light.  He gets his lightsaber…and that’s it.  It’s not even a really great mold, since the hilt feels somewhat oversized.  I’d really liked to have seen an alternate arm with his robot hand, or a robe, or even his green loaner saber from the end of the movie, so that we could properly set up the duel with Dooku (I had to steal one from Grievous to set up the shot at the end of the review).  Given that the figure whose mold he’s using most of included an extra head in addition to the lightsaber, this feels like a real missed opportunity.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I feel the need at this point to say that not only has my “no prequels” rule with this line been broken, it’s been poisoned, shot, stabbed, clubbed and finally drowned.  Very Rasputinian, if I do say so myself.  I’m really just all in at this point, honestly.  It helps a little that I already had Dooku, and also that I’m becoming increasingly in touch with the nostalgic twinge I have for Attack of the Clones, especially when it comes to toys.  This guy’s got his flaws, and in some ways feels a touch phoned in, but as a whole, he’s still a very enjoyable figure, and I’m hoping I can manage to snag Obi-Wan to go with him soon.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#0203: Anakin Skywalker – Hanger Duel

ANAKIN SKYWALKER – HANGER DUEL

STAR WARS SAGA

Anakin

So, I kind of missed May the 4th, or Star Wars day as its come to be known. Yeah, I was busy over the weekend, and totally didn’t think of the date. Which meant my May 4th review was the T-1000, not something Star Wars related. For those of you that were offended by that, I am eternally sorry. I’ll try not to let it happen next year!

Today’s figure is Star Wars themed. I’d say that it was an apology, but it’s Anakin, so…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Anakin was released as part of one of the later assortments of Star Wars Saga, which was the line released around the time of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. This particular figure is the “hanger duel” version of the character, which is Anakin from his battle with Count Dooku at the end of the movie. He’s in his basic Jedi garb from the movie. The figure stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. The hips are rendered practically motionless by the skirt piece, plus his shoulders are on a weird diagonal, and the elbow joints are just straight cut joints, which means they do nothing. Essentially, his articulation is mostly pointless. The sculpt isn’t terrible, though he has some monkey arms, and he doesn’t look much like Hayden Christiansen. But the texture work is pretty nice. The paint is fairly basic, but is cleanly applied, with no slop or bleed over. The figure features two action features. The first is a wheel on his back that spins his left hand. The second is a removable right arm, attached via magnets (because Hasbro was obsessed with them at the time), which replicates Anakin’s injury from the duel. The figure included two lightsabers: one green, one blue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Anakin from a trip to my local Toys R Us with my Dad. I was obsessed with Star Wars toys at the time, and I thought Attack of the Clones was a lot better than it actually was. It was truly a blissful time. Anyway, I has been looking all over the place for this figure, after seeing it online. It’s not the greatest figure, but I do actually feel a bit of sentimental attachment to it.