Monday, August 20, 2012

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,874: Qui-Gon Jinn

QUI-GON JINN  Duel on Naboo
Discover the Force Battle Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 37822 No.  37855
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, game stuff, additional figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $22.99
Availability: April 2012
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi battle Darth Maul during the invasion of Naboo.  The two Jedi encounter the Sith Lord in the palace hangar and fight a fierce lightsaber duel that ends in the Theed Generator Complex.   Obi-Wan becomes separated from Quik-Gon by the complex's security shield, and can only watch as his Master continues the battle alone. But when the shield lowers once more, Obi-Wan attacks Maul with grief-stricken determination. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's photo hole.

Commentary: More than anything else right now, I seek novelty.  I've written about more 3 3/4-inch Star Wars figures than I can shake a stick at, so when Qui-Gon Jinn came out as part of a small batch of Battle Packs I was initially annoyed, delighted, and befuddled, but ultimately I think it's a good figure.  While the Liam Neeson likeness isn't perfect, it's one of Hasbro's better efforts and certainly one of the better ones you can (in theory) buy right now.  Has has five points of articulation, with split legs rather than the increasingly obnoxious "skirt" which hinders leg movement.  He can stand, he can sit fairly well, the sculpt has detail the likes of which we rarely see.   While not as crisp and stunning as Darth Maul or Obi-Wan Kenobi from this set, he's still quite good and posed in a way which implies action and display-freindly excellence. I don't think this is what fans were asking for when they brought up "vintage style figures," but it works for me.  Mostly.

My main quibble is one I've had for years, and that's Hasbro's cheap, cheap, cheap and frankly depressing decision to not resculpt the lightsaber.  With one exception, we've had basically the same weapon sculpt since 1999, and the exception has a removable blade and doesn't count since it's fragile and, thankfully, Hasbro won't reuse it.  The non-flared blade base isn't acceptable in 2012.  We need a new one, please, soon?  C'mon.  Give it to Obi-Wan or something as a bonus weapon, this is a fantastic Qui-Gon figure and he deserves a better weapon than the one we deemed iffy upon receipt over a decade ago.  This figure set is ideal for desks-- the figures are simple and stand fairly well, and don't require too much futzing to enjoy.  They feel like real toys, not collectibles masquerading as toys, and I enjoy that.  (Not to knock collectibles.  I got in this hobby to buy toys aimed at my 5-year-old self.)

Collector's Notes:  These new Battle Packs aren't very popular and can be found online and at some Target stores, especially lately.  I vastly prefer "Bespin Battle" to "Duel on Naboo," but I would gladly buy more sets just like this if they were based on Geonosis or Jabba's Palace or whatever other scenario Hasbro decided.   Other than the Movie Heroes version with a light-up lightsaber, the was the only new sculpt Qui-Gon Jinn figure this year.  This follows a roughly five-year gap since the last new Qui-Gon sculpt.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,874: August 20, 2012

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