Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi
Released July 2004
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on July 16, 2004
Cloth is not always a good thing. In fact, it can be a very horrible thing, as you can see with Obi-Wan Kenobi from the new Hasbro Vintage Original Trilogy Collection. Of course, there's a lot of other things I don't like about it, but best to leave that for the review.
This figure is packaged with a lightsaber and a cloak.
While Han Solo set a high mark for Hasbro to meet in the future, Obi-Wan Kenobi reminds us that it is still very easy to fail, horribly, when selling fans a $10 action figure that should have been $5.
To be the most forgiving, let's start under the cloak. Here, there's no bulky cloak to muss the figure up, but amazingly, the figure still manages to disappoint with really hideous elbow joints, a questionable head sculpt, and fewer joints than any other VOTC figure to date.
His joints work, thankfully, and you can find a few of them. A sort of G.I. Joe-style ball joint is used for the neck, and ball shoulders are joined by wrist, elbow, waist, and hip articulation. Here, there's no knee or boot articulation like we're seeing on other figures. So while he can sit, he can't sit as well as the other figures he's joined by in this assortment. The head's motion is quite limited compared to how Han or Leia turned out and, correct or not, it seems oddly shapen.
The face is OK, it looks like an upgraded version of the vintage 1978 figure. From the side, though, it seems somewhat distorted, even though it's painted well the end result is just questionable. In the right light, a lot of wrinkles and facial ticks show through that you wouldn't ordinarily notice, but the thing is it just isn't that great to look at. Maybe the head is too small, or the lightsaber is too big, but I can't get past the fact that it just doesn't look right.
The figure is OK if you pose him in a couple of ways, but while Hasbro makes most joints to look good no matter how the figure is posed, this one has jagged edges if you try to straighten out his arms. Of course, you can hide this with his cloak... his oversized, enormous, horrible cloak.
The cloth is too thick, the sleeves are too big, and it's very hard to get poses out of the figure with this giant gargantuan accessory. I think it might have been possible to get a better cloak out of a different, possibly thinner material, but the ideal solution for me would be to just plain drop this figure from the line and replace it with Vader, and then stick another character into a later assortment. While details like Obi-Wan's wrinkly hands are cool, the whole package is not.
This set includes the lightsaber, and the cloak.
Since the cloak was mentioned above, it's time to talk about his elegant weapon, from a more civilized age. It's the same one used in the POTJ/OTC Obi-Wan Kenobi, and is painted and sculpted well, however it's nothing new. No complaints, but it would be nice to have something for his belt.
This should look familliar.
The front of the cardback is, basically, just the same as the 1978 cardbacks. I don't much feel like combing over the part numbers and such to check for differences, but it's certainly close enough to be acceptable.
The back of the card is somewhat lame, using similar graphics to those used on other OTC products. It would be nice to have a vintage-esque lineup of the new VOTC figures instead of just the four from that movie. It's OK, but nothing too special.
The clamshell is nice, and it's taped shut to avoid people... I guess buying it and returning a 1978 figure in its place. There's an embossed Star Wars logo on the back, and you could probably cram any old vintage figure in here if you open your VOTC figures and happen to have other real vintage figures in need of star case type storage. The case is too shallow for anything but vintage figures, or perhaps thinner, early POTF2 and POTJ figures.
I especially like the embossed Imperial and Rebel logos on the top of the clamshell. All in all, it's good packaging, but the regular OTC style impressed me a little bit more.
As of today, this figure is just becoming available in the USA, but looking at future assortments he should be really easy to get and shipping for a good long time.
The best modern era Obi-Wan Kenobi figures are more like chess pieces than action figures. There's limited articulation, but at least they looked good. Here, we see Hasbro really forcing a concept on a figure that doesn't need it. The figure receives no benefit from the added cloth cloak, although the cloth skirt was nice but ultimately not so useful. The lack of knee joints is inexcusable, as are the horrible looking elbow joints. If they can make Leia so good, what went wrong here?
There's really no need to buy the figure if you've bought all the Kenobis so far, but odds are if you did that then you'll want this one too. Of the initial three figures, this is the worst. The cloak is too baggy to really be good for posing, and I'm just not happy with it at all. For a line targeted squarely at collectors, I'm not exactly seeing why they would do things that kids would probably look at and go "wow, this sucks." If the cloak was better, like with a better hood and less bulky fabric, I think it could have been salvaged-- I mean, if you can't see the back of his head, or the odd elbow joints, then they aren't a problem. Of course, this isn't what happened, so the end result is a bit of a disappointment. Were the figure $5, it'd be easier to be forgiving, but it isn't so there's really not a lot positive to be said here. If you ever wondered what elementary school teachers meant by wasting potential, you can find many examples in this figure.
Our sample was obtained from some guy in July 2004.