OBI-WAN KENOBI and Naboo Royal Fighter
The Clone Wars Class I Vehicles
Item No.: Asst. 36576 No. 37746
Includes: Lightsaber, headset, Naboo Royal Fighter, stand, game card
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: January 2012
Bio: Obi-Wan Kenobi pilots a Naboo royal fighter, which is used by the Royal House of Naboo for passenger transport. The Jedi borrows the chromium-sheathed vessel during a mission to Naboo. Obi-Wan is grateful for the fighter’s laser cannons, which have been added to the vehicle because of the turbulent times threatening the peaceful world. (Taken from the figure's packaging. Or Hasbro.com. OK, I got lazy.)
Image: Adam's photo area.
Commentary: A recurring question in this column is "is it different?" In the case of this Obi-Wan Kenobi, I'm going to say "sorta." It's a revised version of a 2009 release which, as far as I can tell, is the same sculpt but has slightly different deco (not different enough for a human to notice) with improved paint applications-- particularly around the eyes-- and a a halo-like headset replaces the cloth cloak, which sucked anyway. The halo is recycled from the 2005 Revenge of the Sith Kenobi, and the lightsaber has been used a few times. It's nice, though, and the sum of his parts are pretty decent when you break down the dollars in 2012.
This Obi-Wan has 14 points of articulation and I was surprised to realize he was indeed designed to fit well inside a vehicle. The plastic in front of his crotch bends forward if you sit him down as is, but the design lets you swivel around the crotchial region-- twist him at the waist, and again at the knees, and presto-- he'll sit in the ship just fine without bending the codpiece up to look like he's happy to see you. I appreciate that the design can do this, even though it surely wasn't intended and just shows how stupid I am about not wanting to bend the plastic in some weird way.
As the figure is available on an individual card right now in three flavors (Walmart 3D package, Movie Heroes package, and Vintage package) this means you have four opportunities to buy the same figure with different accessories all at once. This either showcases Hasbro's genius in making the most out of its tooling, or shows their ability to waste development slots. I have no idea how they view it internally, but I think it overall means they're aiming to make fans happy: the super-articulated release is now the common one, so that's the one most collectors would tend to ask for, and I assume that's a good thing. The figure, vehicle, and accessories aren't significantly different enough from other releases to justify buying all of them, but this figure mold is a good one and you should pick up one of 'em. This is as good as any, so see what's priced right for your needs and remember the Naboo Royal Fighter is a good vehicle if you didn't get the Clone Wars release.
Collector's Notes: I expect this one to be really cheap later. But even at $17, compared to just the figure for $10 or so, it's a nice deal for the whole package. The Naboo Royal Fighter is a favorite, this is a good figure, but I can't say the 2009 Kenobi head sculpt is as good as the 2012 Battle Pack (5-joint) version which looks way, way more like Ewan McGregor. Oh, and the Naboo Royal Fighter is fundamentally the same as the previous releases except for a date stamp printed on the ship.