Monday, November 3, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 884: Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi

Power of the Jedi Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84115 No. 84158
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, hilt, Force File
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: July 2000
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Many settlers on Tatooine regard old Ben Kenobi as a crazy wizard. In fact, he is General Obi-Wan Kenobi, a veteran of the Clone Wars, and one of the last surviving Jedi Knights. For years, he lived as a hermit in the remote Jundland Wastes, secretly monitoring the safety and progress of Luke Skywalker, whose father had been Kenobi's apprentice. However, fate soon required that Kenobi himself train the boy in the ways of the Force. (Taken from the toy's packaging.)

Image: Adam's toy room floor.

Commentary: Released during a transitional period in which Hasbro was given a mandate to boost the line to be more than 50% original trilogy product, this Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi figure manages to be neat in some respects and in others... not so much. Based on some new tooling as well as the 1995 figure's head (or something close to it), this standing-only release was designed after the few scenes in the original movie. Sadly, no training remote was included. Surprisingly after over 31 years, Hasbro and Kenner have never made an accurate replica of the training remote that wasn't a crappy grey orb on a string in a Millennium Falcon vehicle. But I digress. This figure was designed after the scene in which Ben gives Luke his lightsaber, but here's the weird thing-- the figure comes with an Obi-Wan saber in the "on" position and a Luke saber in the "off" position. The scene only had Luke's weapon ignited, so yeah... this is kind of a bummer. However, the good thing was that was this was the first-ever trilogy figure to include a lightsaber hilt that can plug into his belt. The bad news? It isn't Obi-Wan's saber that can plug in to his belt. Oh well.

Articulated at the neck, waist, shoulders, and elbows, this figure isn't much of a toy. It looks fantastic, as the robes are sculpted nicely and the likeness is certainly good, but all he can do is just stand there. Thankfully he holds together nicely, but there's no way you're going to get him to sit in a ship. As such, I'd only suggest collectors, packaged fans, or diorama builders pick this one up. It's really no fun to play with.

Collector's Notes: Not a supremely strong seller, this figure would end up being the last new "trilogy" Obi-Wan figure sold until 2004. And the ones in 2004 would be the last new ones until 2009. If you want to get a really cool collectible, the 2004 Orignal Trilogy Collection version of this figure comes in awesome packaging sporting a background of Mos Eisley. It also has a display stand. I don't normally keep figures in the packaging but this one was so cool, I had to. (Did I mention how much I loved the 2004 Original Trilogy Collection packaging? It's gorgeous. Even better than the vintage line.)

--Adam Pawlus

Day 884: November 3, 2008


Sinkchicken said...

I'm with you on the packaging. This was one of the modern figures that got me back into collecting. I have three open, one OTC packaging. And one of the loose has a borrowed cloak that really improves the look and makes him quite at home in any Death Star diorama.

This might also be an appropriate place to bring something up I'd been thinking of which you then got into a bit in the Q&A this week: The Jedi robe controversy. In the OT there is very little to give us the impression that all Jedi Knights were required to wear robes like Kenobi's Tatooine outfit. In fact, there is more there indicating that it is, as you hint, just common clothing that he may be using to hide his true identity and affiliation. So the Wioslea figure is not necessarily wearing Jedi robes but rather common cloaks. I mean, who else in the OT do we see in such garb or similar? Civies, Uncle Owen to some extent. Even Jedi Luke is wearing something much more military, black and the cloak is quickly discarded. Yoda is in rags but he is also in hiding. Ghost Seb Shaw Anakin does show up wearing something like Kenobi, so that could be where this myth really gets its fuel but who's to say his ghost just didn't want to fit into the photo op at the end of the ROTJ? Yes, the Jedi cloaks-thing looks cool and ultimately works but there is nothing to indicate Lucas was originally thinking that ALL Jedi wore these robes. And then there's Marvel's Kenobi-as-Knight flashback cloaks there! In fact his sleek black outfit and silver boots is so tight fitting he could have used one to cover up a bit!

Ben Carthage said...

Actually this is one of those older figures I still have on display. I don't recall seeing a better one (I might have missed something) and I didn't get a BMF, so if there's one there, I missed it. But this fig still looks reasonably good even compared to fairly recent releases. A definite winner.