Saturday, July 24, 2010

Star Wars 3.75" Legacy Collection: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ep IV)

This is the story of how Obi-Wan Kenobi became my favorite Star Wars character...

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Ok, so maybe not that long ago, and not very far away at all, I was young, and I liked Luke Skywalker.  Who didn't?  After all, he was the saga's protagonist and the "boy done good," who comes into his own, confronts his fears, and in the process saves his father and the known galaxy.

But then came the Prequel Trilogy, which was to shed some light on the past and in particular, one young Obi-Wan Kenobi as he came into his own.  We all cheered when he cut down Darth Maul but by the time the second movie was done, the only thing I could think of was why the hell would any Jedi think wearing a mullet and a trimmed beard would look cool? It didn't help that young Anakin was annoying and Obi-Wan couldn't stop sounding like he was annoyed with him.  And how the heck was he defeated by an old human Sith Lord when he'd previously sliced up perhaps the fiercest villain in the Prequels (Maul)?

Ok I admit, I had a soft spot for him going into the movies because Obi-Wan was played by a dude named Ewan McGregor.   And by having the same name, I felt compelled, probably by the Force, to like him as a character. I sure didn't.  I liked none of them because they were all one (or less) dimensional.  But I did like the Original Trilogy Obi-Wan.  He was everything the old and supposedly wise Jedi in the prequels weren't.  Patient, using his power only when absolutely necessary, accepting of his fate and of course, heroic. Everything a favorite character should be. :)

So that's how I came to think of old Obi-Wan as the guy I wouldn't mind being in the Original Trilogy.  Except I'd try harder to kick Vader's ass.  Except I'd run when I realized I was defeated, only to come back for a rematch.  Except I'd take out the Death Star instead of just bringing down its shields.  Except I'd show that cocky Han Solo guy I can pilot his piece of junk spaceship. Yeah, I'd be more "excepting" of my power than "accepting" of my fate. Har.

Thus, I've had this figure in packaging since I got him when he was first released and the Rangelord, who is my advisor in all things from the galaxy far, far away, said that this was the ultimate Obi-Wan.  Those word were never spoken more true. So click on for the details!

Like: That he looks a spitting image of the late Sir Alec Guinness.  How cool is that?  A Jedi Knight/Master played by a real life knight.  I think the expression on his face captures the feeling of calm and yet inevitability that Obi-Wan exudes in A New Hope.  The sad eyes, the slight frown, and the hair.  Yup, they even got the hair down perfectly.

Like: The voluminous cloth Jedi cloak. It's a brilliantly rich brown and has got body when worn. And it matches the cloth of the inner robes perfectly to give ol' Ben a very real-life feel.  The cloaks even got a hood you can pull over his head.  Having him that way reminds me of his first appearance when he saves Luke from the Sand People.  We hear the strange cry of the krayt dragon and then a mysterious figure in a robe appears over the crest of the rise...

Like: His ball head and swivel neck.  I love it when they give us extra articulation.  I especially love it when it give the figure character--in this case, the neck is not entirely upright but attached at an angle that makes him look stooped over. It's perfect for an old hermit who lives out in the Jundland Wastes.

Like: His right hand.  It's sculpted in a Jedi mind-wipe pose that really adds character to all his other poses.  He really looks like he could kick ass with that lightsaber, even if it's in his left hand.

Dislike: That he can only hold stuff in his left hand.  A minor issue, but interchangeable hands would've been awesome though probably not need.  At least Obi-Wan here can claim he was "using his left hand" while fighting Vader, that's why the Sith Lord won.  Yeah right, old geezer! :P

Like: His articulation.  It's pretty standard Star Wars, but I'm beginning to appreciate this line's great swivel hinge knees and hinged hips.  These never really became loose (especially the knees) and keep the figure stable when put in poses.

I also like how this figure is so well articulated that it seemingly has better moves than the on-screen Obi-Wan.

Dislike: That his grip on the 'saber is a little loose.  I think this is down to the little rubber bands they use to tie the weapon to his hand in the package.  Somehow the band can be so tight as to warp the shape of the hand. It's not even a major warp, but a slight one is all that's needed to wreck a tight grip.

Like: The attention to detail to the inner robe sleeves and the pants beneath his robes.  The sleeves are nice and wide with folds and wrinkles just like in the movies.  His pants are cast brown, which is a nice touch considering they never show his pant in the movie (I don't think), but you've gotta appreciate the effort in making it a different color from the off white torso.


Aesthetics: 9/10 - It's simply beautiful how movie accurate this figure is.  I imagine Sir Alec himself would be proud if he were still alive to see it.  From the sharply painted eyes to the salt and pepper hair and beard, to the sculpt of the robes and boots, to the voluminous robes and his personalized lightsaber, I can't imagine there ever being a better 3.75" old Obi-Wan.

Poseability: 8/10 - Just look at the guy go! He looks very taichi, which a form of martial arts that focuses on slow but fluid and balance movements.  Old people in Singapore practice that a lot in the mornings.  I suspect in China too.  But it's by no means a pushover "oldie" discipline. Someone who is a master can probably do some serious damage.  It's kinda like old Ben Kenobi in the movies using the Force in a passive but powerful manner.

It's the little things that make him so fun to pose, like the pointed hand, the kickass robes both sculpted (like his sleeves) and cloth (robe skirts and cloak).  And despite looking old and feeble and swaddled in cloth, none of his joints are obstructed by sculpt problems.

Fun: 10/10 - It's hard to put Old Ben down once you've got him in your hands.  Whether it's a scene from within his hermit hut, a meditative pose, or an action stance, Obi-Wan can do it all.  The figures I have the most fun with are the ones that I can finish shooting and still want to play around with.  They're the ones I like to put on display, so that when I see them again after coming home from work, I'll have easy access to 'em! ;)

Value: 9/10 - Obi-Wan comes with his lightsaber, his robes, a table (complete with glued-on tea set), and a mini Princess Leia hologram.  He also comes with the orange left leg of R2-L3, which I didn't photo but I'll review in a special way soon, hopefully.  Though i can't remember what I paid for him, I did remember getting him at retail.  So going by today's retail prices here in Singapore, he'd be the equivalent of US$10.  That's quite a steal considering all the stuff he comes with and also the quality of the figure itself.

Overall: 9/10 - Yes, I may be biased towards Obi-Wan as a character since he's one of my favorites.  But this figure of him is really up to scratch.  Sometimes when you're partial to a certain character, the toys end up being more disappointing because they don't measure up to how you see them. In this case, he not only matches up to my expectations but also exceeds them.  So I can very safely say that if you were to want an ultimate Obi-Wan Kenobi, this would be it, with re-releases of the same sculpt dependent on the "extras" they come with.


  1. Hear! Hear!

    I think my estimation of this figure went up by a few notches after your review. Old Obi-Wan isn't always what you'd think of when you say "action" figure, but the poses you managed to capture with him sure suggest that he might have gone on more than a few adventures during his time on Tatooine before young Luke turned up to drag him to his doom.

    Your take on the original trilogy also reminds me that they had a much better narrative thread than the prequel moneygrab.

    Ahh. You have learned well, young one.

    The RangerLord

  2. great review as usual! Enjoyed checking out your pix.

  3. Help me, Obi Wan, you're my only hope! Great review Ewan

  4. Thanks for the kind words, guys! :)

    @Jedi Master Rangerlord - No my master, I have you to credit for rediscovering my love of the OT via the action figures. This is one of the toys that best brings the old Tatooine sunset tune to mind and makes it stick there for the better part of the day.

    I also think that until maybe LOTR came along, Star Wars was the best trilogy out there bar none. Even now it still is one of the best. =)

    ...And yes, I was once the student, but now I AM THE MASTER... :P


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