Obi-Wan Kenobi (Tatooine Encounter)
Released December, 2003
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on January 30, 2003
As readers of these reviews know, I'm not a big fan of Hasbro's frequent cheapening-out of a figure. I dislike big shortcuts in my toys, and I displike inferior materials. As such, I dislike Obi-Wan Kenobi (Tatooine Encounter), mainly because that on the whole, it's a step down from the original Kenobi from 1996.
The figure includes a removable cloak and a lightsaber. Oh, and he has no pants.
It's a familliar 12" body, and there are some familliar parts. The hands have articulated fingers, which is good.
There's a lot I can say about this figure, but most of the things I could say are bordering on profane and frankly, I don't want my columns to be blocked by some indecency filter due to language. The figure has a removable outer cloak, and underneath is a new head and a new, much cheaper outfit.
The head has a great sculpt... but. "But what?" you ask. Good question. This is another head that seems to have been given a great new sculpt, but the paint and lighting make it look a little crappy. The thumbnail you see on this page for his head looks much, much better than the face that sits not eighteen inches from my eyes right now. There are some great wrinkles, and a good, normal expression on his badly painted, super-pale face. Obi-Wan came from years in the desert, as you may recall. As such, it's not unrealistic to expect him to have a little color. As it stands now, he's got about the same amount of color as the "movie" version of Clone Wars Asajj Ventress. The eyes are a little eerie as they have a black outline under the top eyelid, and frankly, this doesn't sit well with me. The product as-is isn't pleasing, but the good thing is that a customizer (i.e., anyone with more skill than me, i.e., anyone) could paint him up to look really great. Despite the overwhelming feelings of this being a piece of lesser-quality, there's no mistaking him for anybody but Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is a good thing.
When I first opened him up, I said "oh, this is the same costume they used for the 1996 version." Well, I was wrong. The old version was a lot better.
The material used for the outer cloak lokos nicer, but is a lot stiffer. There's elastic in the back to give it a bunched-up look, which I like, but the piece feels a little stiff, and that's a little troubling when it feels cloth had some liquid dry on it, giving it this stiff feeling. The numerous layers of the undergarments are now gone, what you see is what you get. The beige robes have naught but a brown undershirt beneath them. If you look under old Ben's skirt, he has brown legs and no pants. There's some clever sewing here and there to keep you from being able to see this, but anybody who opens this toy can see this and frankly, I don't like saying that my $25 figures feel "cheap."
The belt is the same as the 1996 version, and the boots are merely recolored black boots that we saw on the Imperial Officer, AT-ST Driver, and Garindan. And others. In short, the plastic parts of his outfit are not impressive in the slightest.
The set includes a lightsaber.
Does this ring a bell? This is the same unpainted handle you saw back in 1996, complete with the ring to hang it on the belt. Later issues of the 1996 12" Obi-Wan Kenobi came with a lightsaber that had silver painted highlights to give it a much nicer look and feel, but for whatever reason, Hasbro opted to take a big step back here. Thankfully, unlike the original release, the blade isn't glued into the handle.
Also, I should note the black portion of the weapon seems cheaper, with the top of the weapon (where the blade meets the metal) feeling flimsy and the sample I opened being misshapen. All Hasbro had to do to impress me here was to keep it the same quality we were given with the revised 1996 lightsaber, and they couldn't even do that. And for that, a pox on you, Hasbro.
The late 2003 styling that I hate but seems to now be the norm for Star Wars. The dark blue window boxes with a gold stripe are OK, but frankly just keep reminding me how much I loved the 1996-1997 packaging that had a nice big flap on the front.
You might have noticed that it's worth a whopping 40 Jedi Master Points. You can stash these with your Saddam Dinars and maybe, just maybe, they'll be worth something again some day.
I have yet to see this guy in stores, but I hear he'll be $19.99-$24.99. If you can get it online for that, you should.
Well, this feels like a cheaper version of the first Obi-Wan figure in this size. Heck, even the vintage one is nicer than this. I do appreciate the new posable body with the posable fingers, but the overall package isn't exactly impressive. The hair is a little clumpy, the eyes are a little off, and the outfit isn't all there. I don't ask for much out of my aged Jedi heroes, but there's one thing I do demand. And that, my friends, is pants.
If you're going to leave it in the box, this isn't a terrible figure. For my money, though, there are finer things to populate my shelves.
Our sample was obtained from Entertainment Earth in December 2003.