Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 940: Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi

BEN (OBI-WAN) KENOBI 1995 Edition!
Power of the Force Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 69570 No. 69576
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, cloak
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: August 1995
Appearances: Star Wars

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Bio: Trained by the Jedi Master Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi learned the ways of the Force and became a Jedi Knight. He successfully defended teh Old Republic in the Clone Wars and was hailed as a hero. He took on his own apprentice, the young Anakin Skywalker. (Taken from the figure's cardback. It goes on like this for a paragraph and change.)

Commentary: Back in 1995 fans were elated to have new Star Wars figures for the first time in nearly 10 years. As such, as a group we gobbled up figures like this Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi action figure like nobody's business. The likeness was very good, and continues to be above average even in 2008. A few attempts to redo the character's head haven't improved his look much, although it's possible the one due out any day now will be superior. This version has a hard, clamshell plastic robe covering his body which, sadly, doesn't stand too well. He tends to topple over unless posed with a base or leaning against something, so be careful here. He has only six points of articulation, and his pose is fairly benign. He won't be doing any cool action poses, but at least he doesn't look like he's dancing. Of the first seven figures to hit stores (you'll recall Leia and C-3PO were delayed), I'd argue Obi-Wan's sculpting and likeness have stood the test of time better than any of the others. He isn't overly muscular, his face doesn't have a strange expression on it, and there isn't anything really missing in his costume like Vader's "skirt" or Leia's second X chromosome. While versions with greater articulation have been released, few are truly greater than this figure-- as such, I'd say get one if you can do so cheaply, as we'll continue to get newer versions over time and, eventually, one of them should be unquestionably better than this one-- but I haven't seen it yet.

Collector's Notes: Several variants exist. You can get him with a short lightsaber, or a long one. He comes on an orange or a green cardback, and the green cardback could have a sticker, a photo, or a Freeze Frame on it. And there's more variants on top of that-- which is why nobody cares for them these days. The figure can be had for basically free. If you know a collector with one and ask nicely, he may be sick of it and give it to you. Or you can get it on eBay for about a dollar.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 940: January 20, 2009

1 comment:

JGS said...

I agree the head sculpt is pretty timeless, but if a figure can't sit then I can't stand it. I can't think of any modern era Episode 4 Kenobi who can fit in the landspeeder.

It looks like they got the cloth robes just right on the newest one coming out (not too puffy), so I think I'll go for the upgrade.