Monday, November 20, 2006

Figure Of The Day: Day 198: Obi-Wan Kenobi (General)

OBI-WAN KENOBI with Stormtrooper* Armor
Revenge of the Sith Battle Packs Jedi vs. Sith
Item No.:
Asst. 85554 No. 85667
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, removable armor, lance
Action Feature: Squeeze legs together for lightsaber action!
Retail: $19.99, part of a gift set
Availability: Summer 2005
Appearances: Primarily The Clone Wars

Bio: Obi-Wan accompanies Qui-Gon Jinn on a mission to Naboo and encounters the deadly Sith for the first time. Later, Obi-Wan agrees to train young Anakin Skywalker and uncovers dangerous secrets that threaten the stability of the galaxy. (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam's Clone Wars shelves.

Commentary: I wanted to like this figure so bad, it hurts. Unfortunately, the distance of over a year since this Obi-Wan Kenobi came out proves that the truth is while it was a wonderful idea, applying "quick change Batman" style accessories to a figure this small doesn't work. The Obi-Wan Kenobi figure by itself is pretty cool-- with loads of articulation, a squeeze-legs-for-saber-slash action, and an entirely new sculpt, it's quite good. Were it released sans armor, I'd probably have a lot nice to say about it-- but it didn't, so I don't. The figure is covered in holes for the armor to plug on to and due to molding problems, in some pieces, it doesn't quite plug on properly. Also, the figure has some problems sitting, no doubt due to the mechanism gumming things up. (Anakin has the same problem.)

The snap-on armor is where the real problems start, because if you look at the show or Gentle Giant's statue, you can see that the figure is supposed to be basically just a regular Clone Trooper with some Jedi robes and a removable helmet. That's it. All Hasbro had to do to make it perfect was to take the 2003 Clone Trooper, retool the torso, slap on a new head, sculpt a removable helmet, and the figure would be perfect and hold together well. As Hasbro did design this for kids first, the play feature of snap-on armor was more important and as such, didn't please collectors. And as someone who opens these, I didn't much care for it because it looks sloppy and you can't get the armor to stay on, that and the sculpt of the helmet wasn't so hot either. Also annoying: the lance's plastic is so bendy that I don't think I've seen one out of its box that can remain straight. It's just so poorly made you may as well forget it came in this set, because, well, you'll probably toss it in a box somewhere.

In short: as of today, this is the best armored Obi-Wan you can get. However, I'm holding out hope Hasbro revisits this with an armored Obi-Wan that holds together well and maybe even throws in a Speeder Bike with a less bendy lance for good measure. I know I'm not the only person who'd buy one or two or three.

Collector's Notes: Sometimes the ideas work and sometimes they don't. This box set is an excellent value because you get 5 figures, one of which is excellent, two you likely have, and two that are just OK at best. There are no known plans for a rerelease or new versions as of today, but with the upcoming Clone Wars TV show I fully expect the concept to be revisited and hopefully actually work a little bit better. I'd rather be sold two separate figures than one that doesn't really do a good job of either mode, which is really how this one turned out.

* - Yes, I know it's wrong, that's what the box said.

Day 198: November 20, 2006

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