#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.

#2743: Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi

BEN (OBI-WAN) KENOBI

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

In last week’s review of Kenner’s Power of the Force Power F/X Darth Vader, I brought up the figure’s compatibility not only with the previously reviewed Luke Skywalker, but also with Obi-Wan Kenobi, a figure I had not yet reviewed.  Can you really say you’re surprised that I’m reviewing that figure now?  I mean…I don’t think you can, but I’ve been wrong before.  Anyway, let’s just get onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi (as the line was very insistent on in reference to him) was another 1997 release, the fourth of the five figure Power F/X sub-line of Power of the Force.  In contrast to Vader’s cross-film set-up, Ben is, unsurprisingly, based on his A New Hope appearance, specifically his final duel with Vader, which is sensible, since it was, at this point, his only real lightsaber battle.  That being said, it’s low key kind of a shame that they didn’t use the Power F/X set-up for some shimmering force ghosts.  I guess that’s not as inherently toyetic.  Ben stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Just like the last two, his right arm is restricted in order to facilitate the light-up feature, and the rest of his articulation’s more for just tweaking the exact nature of his stance.  His sculpt is quite similar to all of the other Kenobi’s from the line, being especially cut from the same cloth as his first figure and the one from the Cantina Cinema Scene boxed set.  He’s even got the same headsculpt as those releases, and his still removable cloak piece is almost identical to the one from the boxed version.  Beyond that, he really just follows the lead of Luke, being a somewhat awkward sculpt, including still having the hunch on his back for the batteries.  The robe does it’s best to hide this, but it doesn’t work quite as well as Luke’s cape did.  He does at least add a little more detailing to the lightsaber hilt than Luke did, but it’s still somewhat removed from the film product.  Ben’s paint work is pretty much the same as the other versions of the character, apart from one rather notable mistake: his lightsaber is the wrong color, being green, rather than the appropriate blue.  Supposedly, this change occurred because blue LEDs were more expensive than green, and Kenner couldn’t justify the cost.  Seems like a weird choice to me, but here we are.  Ben was packed with the same hallway stand piece that was included with Luke, allowing him, like Luke, to be connected with the Vader figure for a more interactive set-up.  And, while Luke came with an entire cardboard backdrop for him and Vader, Ben and Vader each got half of an A New Hope-inspired backdrop, which shows off the Millennium Falcon in the Death Star‘s hangar bay.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke was the only one of these I had as a kid, but I came very close to buying Obi-Wan a few times, mostly because I no longer had my original release, and I wasn’t yet at the point of going for exact replacements for my toys.  I never really could muster the excitement to grab this one, though.  He’s alright, but admittedly a bit redundant for me, since the Luke/Vader pairing is the one that holds more nostalgia.  Perhaps I’ll snag a second Vader some day, so that I can justify having Vader face off against each of them.

#2694: Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi

BEN (OBI-WAN) KENOBI

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (HASBRO)

“Legendary among the heroes of the Rebel Alliance, Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi is regarded as one of the greatest Jedi Knights ever to have lived. As a young Jedi who had just completed his own training, Obi-Wan made a solemn pledge to train young Anakin Skywalker in the ways of the Force. Anakin became a Jedi but then turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader. Many years later, destiny would have an older and wiser Obi-Wan guiding Anakin’s own son, Luke Skywalker, in the ways of the Force, and ultimately, in turning Vader back to the light side.”

Last week, I took my first dive into the Power of the Force Flashback Photo subset of figures, and rather poked fun at the concept and how far of a reach some of those figures were for the idea.  Well, in their defense, some of them did make at least some bit of sense.  Given that it was to tie-in with the first of the prequels, and there were actually some crossover characters, showing those characters from the original trilogy, and offering the flashback there?  Not the worst idea.  Among the cross over characters was Obi-Wan Kenobi, who I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi, as he is so specifically named on the box, was part of the first set of “Flashback Photo” Power of the Force figures, hitting towards the end of 1998, just as we were getting prepped for the new movie.  He was our fourth Obi-Wan from the line, and only the second to be part of the regular line.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  This would mark the first real move to improve the articulation on these figures, as Obi-Wan wound up with a whopping three joints in each of his arms.  Sure, they were all cut joints, and sure, the rest of his movement was majorly restricted by the robes, but it certainly was a step up.  Also of note was the fact that this was the first Obi-Wan not to be based on the first PotF figure’s molds, making him generally less oddly bulked up and weird looking.  He’s still a little more bulked up than Sir Alec Guinness actually was in the movie, but it’s not quite as insane.  Preposing is a bit more involved this time, with the figure being designed to directly interact with the “Flashback” Vader figure, in an effort to recreate their duel from A New Hope.  With the extra articulation, there’s a little more variety as to what you can do, though it’s still not a ton.  Honestly, the screen accurate thing wasn’t the worst concept, and it does at least make him a little more unique compared to others in the line.  It’s not a bad looking sculpt, either, and they were really starting to get the hang of making the clothes look fairly natural on the bodies.  The hood in particular doesn’t look too bad, and hoods are usually pretty darn tricky.  The only downside is that the hands have some difficulty holding the lightsaber, which does somewhat hinder his purpose.  In terms of paint work, Obi-Wan is about on par with the rest of the line, so he’s basic, but generally pretty well handled.  All of the important details are there, and they’re pretty cleanly applied.  Obi-Wan is packed with his lightsaber, which is about all he really needs.  Of course, he’s also got the Flashback Photo, which is about as intriguing here as it was with Beru.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

All of the Flashback Photo figures passed me by as a kid, just because there wasn’t actually much new coverage there.  This one in particular proved frustrating for me as a kid, because I just wanted a prequel Obi-Wan figure, and I kept finding this one, and he wasn’t really what I wanted.  Admittedly not really the figure’s fault, I suppose.  I wound up getting him this past fall when he was traded into All Time.  He’s not a bad little figure, and is probably this line’s best version of Obi-Wan.

#2522: Obi-Wan Kenobi – Jedi Knight

OBI-WAN KENOBI — JEDI KNIGHT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Obi-Wan Kenobi became a general in the Army of the Republic as the Clone Wars continued, having many adventures with Anakin Skywalker.”

Obi-Wan’s definitely been the best treated of the Prequel characters when it comes to The Black Series.  It’s fair, because he’s probably the best of the core prequel characters, anyway, so I can’t argue with it.  But it’s certainly still noteworthy, because he’s so far the only character to get his primary look from all three of the films, as well as getting one from Clone Wars.  That’s certainly something of an accomplishment, don’t you think?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obi-Wan is figure 111 in the Black Series line-up.  He’s the penultimate figure in the final red-box assortment, and unlike yesterday’s figure, he’s unquestionably Attack of the Clones based.  Yes, we finally have a Black Series release that can confuse your very religious Grandmother!  Unexpected bonus!  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The vast majority of this figure’s sculpt is shared with the Phantom Menace version of the character.  I was a pretty big fan of the sculpt the first time around, and I think it’s honestly one of the best Jedi sculpts the line’s put out.  I know others have issues with how the hip joints work, but I personally think they have a solid range, and in general, the figure’s posability is top-not.  He gets an all-new head sculpt to adjust him to his Episode 2 appearance, and it sports another really strong McGreggor likeness, matching both the Ep 1 and Clone Wars versions in terms of quality.  The only slight nit to the quality is the somewhat obvious join between the hair piece and the head.  It’s not terrible, and it’s better on some figures than others.  Ultimately, it’s just the price of doing business this way.  It’s probably better than a solid head would have turned out.  Overall, definitely a strong offering.  In terms of paint work, Obi-Wan is about what you’d expect from the line at this point.  He’s got the face print, the base color work on the robes, and a little bit of accent work on the hair to bring out the details.  Not a bad set-up.  Obi-Wan’s only accessory this time around is his lightsaber.  It’s not a bad piece, but it’s a shame they couldn’t also give him a robe, or maybe an alternate soaked head from Kamino, possibly even his pilot head gear.  It does feel rather light as-is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t initially on-board for any Obi-Wan apart from the Episode 1 version, but the unexpected Clone Wars variant kind of broke that dam down.  While I didn’t outright want this figure, after snagging the rest of the assortment, I wasn’t exactly going to pass on him.  While he’s maybe not my favorite Obi-Wan design, he’s the best Obi-Wan figure to come out of The Black Series so far.  I wouldn’t mind seeing the RotS version get a re-do using this set-up as well.

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.

#2330: Clone Commander Obi-Wan Kenobi

CLONE COMMANDER OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A legendary Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi was a noble man and gifted in the ways of the Force. He trained Anakin Skywalker, served as a general in the Republic Army during the Clone Wars, and guided Luke Skywalker as a mentor.”

Between Episodes II and III of the prequel trilogy, the Clone Wars got their first cartoon treatment in a 2D series led by animator Genndy Tartakovsky.  While it’s place in the cannon proper has been taken by the later 3D series, the broad strokes from it do still crop up from time to time.  One of the most recurring elements for re-appearance is the show’s distinctive design for Obi-Wan, which placed the Jedi in a suit of clone armor so that he could do battle with the bounty hunter Durge.  It’s a really cool look, and its gotten surprisingly little toy love.   Fortunately, though, it’s gotten a spot in The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Commander Obi-Wan is a late 2019 Walgreens-exclusive Black Series release (and, fun fact, Walgreens’ second time getting Obi-Wan as an exclusive).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Obi-Wan’s largely made from re-used parts, as pretty much everyone was expecting when this figure was announced.  He’s built on the standard Clone Trooper that Hasbro’s been using since early in the line, and I’m sort of mixed emotions about that.  It’s a nice looking body, and it was one of the best in terms of poseability when it was new, but it’s got some definite issues compared to more recent stuff, most notably those really restricted shoulders.  Hasbro created a totally new clone body for Captain Rex, but as of yet haven’t used for anyone but him.  This feels like it would have been a good place to start, but maybe Hasbro’s got a specific reason for sticking with the old mold for now.  Obi-Wan gets a new head, belt, clasps for his cape, and a slightly retooled upper torso to work with the clasps.  The head’s really the star piece here, with a really strong McGreggor likeness.  Technically, for true accuracy to the source he should still have his Attack of the Clones hair, in contrast to this one’s Revenge of the Sith appearance, but given that the 3D show seems to have firmly decided that Obi-Wan had the short hair for the Clone Wars, and the fact that I honestly think it looks better this way, I can’t really complain.  He’s also got a cloth goods robe, which isn’t terribly impressive, but also isn’t terribly terrible (which some of the Black Series cloth stuff really has), so I again can’t complain.  Obi-Wan’s is largely pretty basic, apart from the head, which gets the nice printed face technique, which looks really nice on this particular figure.  Obi-Wan is packed with his lightsaber (which an be stashed on his brand new belt) and one of the stands they’ve been packing in with the exclusives.  It’s a shame he didn’t also get the standard clone helmet, since he wore it with the armor, but he’s at least got the bare minimum.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy is probably the most excited I’ve been for a Walgreens-exclusive Black Series, which is honestly a little funny given my prior “no prequels” rule, but I’ve always really liked this design, and this is the first time The Black Series has done anything 2D Clone Wars-related.  I lucked into this guy at the Walgreens between two of my day job’s sites, which made for a nice mid-day pick-me-up.  While the older body does hold him back a little in terms of posing, he’s still a really, really awesome figure, and I’m glad I was able to track one down.  Here’s hoping for a Durge to face off against him!

#2191: Cantina Showdown

OBI-WAN KENOBI, DR. EVAZAN, & PONDA BABA

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“On the run from Imperial stormtroopers, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker enter the seedy Mos Eisley Cantina in hopes of finding swift passage to the planet Alderaan. Inside, among the gallery of criminals are the murderous Dr. Evazan and the brutal Ponda Baba–both of whom are thirsty for a fight with Skywalker. Reaching for their blasters, the villains are suddenly cut off from Luke by the pulsating blaze of Obi-Wan’s lightsaber! Will Obi-Wan triumph and save the Rebellion’s only hope?”

So, believe it or not, the original purpose of the Cinema Scenes sub-line of Power of the Force II was to, you know, recreate scenes directly from the movies.  By the end of the line, it had transitioned into “let’s throw three figures into a set”, but there was far more focus with the early stuff, where it was a merging of previously released figures with new in order to create a specific scene.  This was the case for today’s set, the “Cantina Showdown”, which showcased Obi-Wan in his brief face-off with Mos Eisley Cantina denizens Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cantina Showdown was one of the four sets released in 1997, the first year of Cinema Scenes.  This set was a Walmart-exclusive upon release, and would prove to be a less than stellar performer at retailer, for a few likely reasons I’ll touch on as I review the figures proper.

OBI-WAN KENOBI

Patterned on his single-carded release from ’95, this figure aimed to inject a little more dynamism into the previous figure.  Like that one, he stands roughly 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  It feels sort of odd and recursive for a figure to add more pre-posing to one of the ’95 releases, but this was far from the only time the line did it, so I guess it was a bit of a thing.  To be fair, Obi-Wan was one of the least stylized of the earliest figures, so I suppose Kenner just wanted him to get in on the ’90s pre-posed, super-roided fun.  So, here he is, I guess?  Despite looking similar, the only parts actually shared with the single are the head and torso, with everything else, including the robe, being retooled for his sick action pose.  I’m…I’m not entirely what the pose is going for, if I’m honest.  It’s not like Alec Guinness was breaking out the kung-fu moves when he whips out the saber at the bar, and even with the dramatically bent elbows, he still doesn’t have the ability to hold his saber two-handed, making the non-holding hand look even more awkward than the single-release, if I’m honest.  The paint on this figure is pretty much the same as the standard, and he’s also got his lightsaber, albeit the shortened version.   Shrinkage!

PONDA BABA

Like Obi-Wan, Ponda Baba also had a single carded release, which this one draws much of its stylistic inspiration from.  Unlike Obi-Wan, Ponda’s prior figure hit shelves just months before this one, making him feel a little bit more redundant.  Again, it’s the pose that really differentiates them, and again, the only real overlap is the head and torso.  Even the jacket gets re-sculpted in the name of dynamics.  It’s admittedly not a bad sculpt; all of the creatures stood out as the best of the earlier figures in this line.  That said, this version, due to the preposing, has a lot of troubles staying standing, which can get more than a little bit annoying.  For me, the most criminal piece of this release is that he doesn’t take advantage of the newly-sculpted parts to add the one important feature that the sing-card lacked: a removable arm!  It’s kind of key to the scene, so for it to be left out of this supposedly scene-specific release is just odd.  Also, this figure cuts the original’s accessory count from two to one, only including the smaller blaster pistol.

DR. EVAZAN

As the set’s one truly unique piece, Dr. Evazan seems like the natural fit for the set’s star, doesn’t he?  I mean, the character had never gotten a toy release before, so this one had to be a big deal, right?  Well, in a word, no.  The thing about Evazan is that he’s got the far less distinctive of the two creature looks here, which is why Ponda was always first for toys.  The thing about this particular Evazan figure is that it doesn’t even really capture that already less distinctive look, making him look even more average than he does in the film.  Removed from the other two figures in this set, it’s a little hard to place him, and that’s probably why his value also drops pretty drastically when it’s just him.  Kenner was right to think this guy couldn’t move as a single-carded figure, but that’s at least in part because he’s the worst of three figures included, made worse by there not being another option to get him.  I will say, they did at least try on the paint, giving him some more subdued work than we saw a lot of his contemporaries, especially on his vest.  He also included a unique blaster pistol, which I suppose would be cool if I had it, but I don’t.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When you go completist on a line, there are the items that really test you.  This is one of those for me with Power of the Force II.  I mostly have them because All Time Toys had all three of them loose, with only the one missing piece between them, and they were super cheap, and I was already buying a bunch of other PotF figures.  It’s not hard to pin-point why this set performed so poorly.  Obi-Wan and Ponda Baba had a lot of work to do to prove their worth, and they don’t succeed.  Evazan didn’t, and yet somehow he also doesn’t succeed.  How does one manage that?

#2110: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

So, since the last time I discussed The Phantom Menace on this here site (just shy of 1800 reviews ago), public perceptions of the film have slightly shifted.  To be fair, last time around, the film’s 3D re-release had reinvigorated the fanbase’s hatred.  Now, it’s cool to like it, since the hate has shifted either to the new films, or to the portion of the fanbase who hates the new films.  Whatever the case, I’ve always liked Phantom Menace the most of the prequels, and that’s not changed.  As a kid, my favorite part of the movie was Ewan McGreggor as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi.  The Black Series has placed the majority of its focus on the original trilogy and the new trilogy, so the prequels have been sort of pushed to the side, and Obi-Wan’s “debut” appearance had a little bit of a wait.  Fortunately, it’s finally here, and now I’m gonna review it!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obi-Wan is figure 85 in the Black Series line-up.  He arrived in stores in a mostly non-movie assortment, making him the a bit of an odd-man out.  It’s our fourth version of Obi-Wan in the line, and he’s the final of the three main Phantom Menace Jedi to be added to the line.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Obi-Wan’s sculpt is all-new, and it’s another strong piece.  It’s another step forward in working the articulation into the sculpt without things looking too weird.  The arms are a touch long and seem to bend a little too far down, but beyond that the joints are well-implemented and he has an impressive range of mobility.  The head is sporting a solid likeness of Ewan McGreggor, certainly an improvement over the head from the Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan.  The torso is constructed via layering, which has done a nice job of creating depth on the figure, as well as preserving the articulation.  His robes are nicely textured, and do a suitable job of looking lifelike.  Obi-Wan’s paintwork is pretty solid.  He’s the first of the Phantom Menace figures to released post-face-printing, and it does him a lot of favors.  He’s definitely a really lively looking guy, and it does the sculpt all sorts of favors.  The more basic paintwork isn’t quite as strong, with some noticeable slop on the edges of the boots in particular.  That said, it’s not as bad as some of the others we’ve seen in this line.  Obi-Wan’s only accessory is his lightsaber, which, following the trend of others in the line, has a removable blade and can be hung from his belt.  It’s a shame they couldn’t throw anything else in with him; even a cloth robe would have been nice.  As it stands, he does feel a tad light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Black Series first launched, I had one firm rule: no prequel figures.  Even before I broke it to get in on some Clone Trooper goodness, this guy was the one exception to that self-imposed rule.  I was definitely playing a mean waiting game with both Maul and Qui-Gon out already, so I was very excited when this guy was finally shown off.  He was at the top of my list for this assortment, and I gotta say, he’s a really satisfying figure.

I picked up Obi-Wan from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

 

#1948: Spirit of Obi-Wan

SPIRIT OF OBI-WAN

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

You know something I really miss? Mail-away figures.  They were quite popular during the ’80s and ’90s, and even made their way into the early ’00s, and were particularly common amongst the Star Wars lines, and they even netted me my very first Han Solo action figure.  To say I have a soft-spot for them is something of an understatement.  In their hey-day, they permeated all manner of merchandising.  Perhaps one of the most infamous is today’s focus, the Spirit of Obi-Wan.  One of the first offerings of the re-launched Star Wars line, he was born out of a partnership between Kenner and Frito Lay.  If you sent in a certain number of proofs of purchase from Frito Lay’s then-new pizza flavored potato chips, they’d send you this fancy exclusive figure.  Obviously, thought the smart toy collectors out there, this figure was going to be super rare and hard to find, so they had to order as many of them as possible, so that they could retire on them in the future.  Little economics lesson here: if you create false demand for an item, then the supply will rise to meet it, and then *nobody* gets to retire.  But enough about senseless speculation, how’s the actual figure?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Spirit of Obi-Wan was shipped out to fans in 1997, as the second mail-away offer in the Power of the Force II line.  He was the line’s second Obi-Wan figure, following his standard release in ’95.  It was also our first time getting Obi-Wan in his force ghost form, which is somewhat surprising given how much of the original trilogy he spends as a ghost.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 0 points of articulation.  Yes, you read that articulation count right; this figure has no articulation, at least not right out of the box.  There are clearly joints at his neck and shoulders, and you can get them moving without *too* much trouble, but they are affixed in place when new, on every sample of this figure.  Why is anyone’s guess.  It’s entirely possible it wasn’t even fully intentional, but there it is.  Obi-Wan’s sculpt is, understandably, rather similar to his standard release figure.  The only parts actually shared between the two are the head and I believe the right arm, since the translucent nature of the figure makes a solid construction on the torso more sensible than the removable robe of the prior figure.  It actually looks pretty decent, and possibly one of the most surprising things about this figure’s sculpt is that it wasn’t ever repainted into a regular Obi-Wan.  I do have to say, while not spot-on, the head actually seems to have more of a resemblance to Alec Guinness when unpainted.  Speaking of unpainted, that’s the nature of this whole figure.  While later force ghost figures would experiment with variations in coloration, this one is just a straight translucent blue.  I myself like this look a little more, if I’m honest; it makes him more identifiably different.  The Spirit of Obi-Wan was packed with no accessories, unless of course you count the assortment of coupons he came with, but that seems like a stretch to me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had enough trouble holding onto my regular Obi-Wan back in the day, so I did not have this one growing up.  Instead, I added him to my collection thanks to my friends at All Time Toys, who got in not one, but two *sealed* copies of this figure, one of them still in its cardboard mailer.  Since they aren’t actually worth much of anything, All Time was more than happy to pass along one of the pair to me.  He’s not a super playable figure, but he’s a nifty sort of set dressing, and a great example of how badly speculators can screw up a market.  Don’t buy your toys as investments kids; it never really pays off.

#1476: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (HASBRO)

Obi-Wan Kenobi…now that’s a name I haven’t heard in quite some time…  Or at  least not for about 11 months, since that’s the last time I reviewed an Obi-Wan figure.  A year’s “quite some time,” right?  That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.  Anyway, even 50 years after his demise at the hands of Darth Vader, Kenobi’s still getting new action figures, which seems like a pretty sweet deal if you can get it.  Today, I’m looking at the newest of those figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obi-Wan is one of two refresher case figures in Hasbro’s first series of The Last Jedi figures.  He and Yoda (the other refresher figure) are shipping in refreshment cases of the Teal Wave of Series 1, and they started showing up most places last month.  This Kenobi figure represents the Alec Guinness version of the character from A New Hope, which is certainly my favorite.  The figure is about 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He’s got an all-new sculpt, though parts of it, the head at the very least, appear to come from the same files as the Black Series figure.  In the case of the head, that’s definitely a good thing, since it means he’s on par with the earlier figure in terms of the likeness.  It’s a spot-on Guinness, no doubt.  The rest of the sculpt is pretty solid as well; the robes on the body are pretty similar in design to those of the Jedi Master Luke, right down to the way the articulation cuts through them.  The arms go with a slightly different style than most of the figures in this line.  They’re bent at the elbows and the articulation at the shoulders is cut at a slight angle.  The end result is that if you get the posing right, he can actually hold his lightsaber two-handed, which is a first for a basic series figure, at least for a good long while.  I dig it.  Kenobi’s robe is a separate, soft plastic piece.  The hood’s sculpted to be permanently up, but you can fold it inside out for an approximation of his hood down look.  I don’t mind the hood up, but I certainly won’t be surprised if this mold shows back up with a tweaked robe piece down the line.  The paint work on Obi-Wan is fairly basic, but certainly passable.  The application is all pretty clean, and the colors all match up pretty well with the on-screen look.  Obi-Wan was packed with his lightsaber, and also features the Force Link feature.  When placed up to the reader, you hear him say: “Obi-Wan Kenobi…,” “Run, Luke, Run!,” and there are a bunch of lightsaber sounds.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obi-Wan was a fairly recent purchase.  I got him from Toys R Us, at the same time as the Dark Phoenix two-pack, in fact.  I don’t have a ton of Guinness Kenobis, and I rather liked the look of this one, so I grabbed him.  He’s actually pretty solid, and another fantastic addition to an already awesome line.

#1165: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

obiwan1

When Star Wars: The Black Series first starting to hit, I made up a list of figures I really wanted to see released, entirely made up of Original Trilogy characters.  As the line progressed, a lot of those figures found their way into release.  In series three, I hit my first real breaking point with the announcement of Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Rather than the OT, Alec Guinness version that most fans were hoping for, we got the Episode III version of the character.  The fact that it wasn’t the version most people wanted, coupled with the general weak quality of the final product made him one of the line’s longest lasting peg warmers (the fact that he was subsequently re-packed just a few series after his initial release didn’t help matters).  Without much effort, you can probably still find him in some retail stores, almost four years after his release.  That doesn’t really make a good case for releasing another version of the character, no matter how fan demanded it may be.  Fortunately, Hasbro wasn’t too deterred, and we’ve finally gotten a proper Alec Guinness Kenobi, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

obiwan2Obi-Wan was released in the fifth series of the Rogue One-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures.  He’s figure 32 in the line, which places him around the middle of this six-figure series numerically.  Obi-Wan was also one of the three summer convention exclusive Black Series figures for 2016, where he included an extra holographic Princess Leia accessory, but apart from that, the two releases are pretty much the same.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Like a lot of figures in this particular line, Obi-Wan is a mix of sculpted and tailored elements.  He’s mostly sculpted, with just the robe being cloth.  Cloth robes are nothing new, and Obi-Wan’s works pretty well, actually.  The rest of the figure is an all-new sculpt, which is probably one of Hasbro’s strongest Black Series sculpts to date.  In particular, the head sculpt is a very good recreation of Guinness’ likeness.  There have been some decent likenesses in this line before, but I think this is the best one they’ve ever done.  Heck, it’s just one of Hasbro’s best head sculpts period.  I really like it.  The rest of the sculpt, while not being quite as “wow” as the head, is still quite solid, and definitely translates his movie design into action figure form quite nicely.  Even the paintwork on this guy is pretty solid.  Everything is nice and clean, and the head has a lot of nice variance in the shading (it’s still a bit too blonde, but seems less off than Han and Krennic).  I wouldn’t have minded a bit of weathering on the robes, but they don’t look awful.  My one complaint about this figure has to do with the included extra.  He just includes his lightsaber, which is a perfectly fine extra, and is even quite nicely done.  The problem I ran into is that my Kenobi’s saber blade broke off, which is quite annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was anticipating finding this guy would be difficult, but it actually wasn’t.  I found him at the Gamestop outside of Super Awesome Girlfriend’s hometown, just mixed in with the Force Awakens and Rogue One figures.  I actually wasn’t going to get him (it was right before Christmas and my budget was a bit tight), but Super Awesome Girlfriend refused to let me leave him there and ended up buying him for me.  I’m really happy to have this guy, and he’s easily one of my favorite entries in this line.  After being rather letdown by the Tatooine Luke, this guy was a nice pick-me-up.  Here’s to more like him!