Monday, January 26, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 944: Obi-Wan Kenobi

Episode I Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84085 No. 84244
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, comm unit, CommTech chip
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: January 2000
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: As the invasion of Naboo rages outside, Jedi apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi battles the evil Sith Lord, Darth Maul, in a fierce lightsaber duel. The outcome could change the galaxy forever! (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: In 1999, Hasbro decided its Jedi figures should have elbow and wrist joints. By 2000, they were eliminated as seen on this Obi-Wan Kenobi figure which was a sort of a mixed bag as progress goes. Hasbro wisely included what it referred to as "soft goods"-- that is, cloth and fake hair-- to distinguish the figure from other, similar releases. In the photo, you can see a rooted hair Jedi braid as well as a cloth skirt piece which allows for enhanced movement. Sadly, the figure only has six total joints, making it about on par with your average figure from 1995-1998. The likeness is really no better or worse than other figures from the era, although there's obviously room for improvement. You might also notice Obi-Wan Kenobi has a slightly more muscular build than other releases, leading one to wonder if this figure was developed earlier and just released after Hasbro put its best foot forward.

Accessory fans will no doubt enjoy the fact that this figure has a communicator which can be held in his hand (see picture) or attached to a peg on his belt for storage. This kind of little bonus feature goes a long way into making a figure more fun, giving you another way to play with it beyond "stand," "sit," and "fight." Sadly, this sort of interactivity was dropped from the action figures except for the occasional lightsaber hilt which could be pegged to a belt, leaving weapons to be the only extras you generally got to have to hang off your figures. Ah well. Still, it's neat and totally worth getting for this unique gimmick. As one of the figures from that transitional period where Hasbro started adding more and more articulation and long skirt pieces which hindered movement, this one stands out as a rare foray into making the figure function better as a plaything at the expense of making it more collector-friendly, and personally I think it worked out nicely.

Collector's Notes: While somewhat difficult to get at first, the figure eventually trickled out enough to be considered mostly widely available. As far as sitting in a vehicle goes, you will never find a better Obi-Wan figure from the first prequel. Or at least, you won't as far as the space-time continuum works in the whole unknown future thing. A new version of Obi-Wan from the first prequel is scheduled for 2009, if the rumor and information mill is accurate.

Day 944: January 26, 2009

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