Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 2,993: NED-B (The Black Series)

Load Lifter

The Black Series 2020 Line Look Blue Obi-Wan Kenobi Packaging
Item No.:
No. F6156
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #10 - Obi-Wan Kenobi
Includes: Hammer, blaster, backpack
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $33.99
Availability: December 2022
Appearances: Obi-Wan Kenobi

Bio: Obi-Wan Kenobi is set years after the dramatic events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith where Kenobi faced the corruption of his friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker turned Sith Lord Darth Vader. (Taken from the packaging. About 1/6 of the back of the box is devoted to this stunningly worthless copy instead of showing other figures or features of this product. What a waste of space.)

Image: Adam's photo lab.

Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!

Click here to buy it at Amazon now!

NED-B is a pretty good figure in the sense that Hasbro most likely made this from early concept images. The show started filming in May 2021 and we've got NED-B in-hand in December 2022. That's pretty good! Not as good as on-shelf when the show has its "Force Friday" but "same year" is the new "impressive" these days. As a show, Obi-Wan Kenobi felt like it was willed by the merchandising and marketing departments as opposed to Andor which strived to be as not-a-toy as possible... and it shows. With this yellow robot you get a figure that, in and of itself, is pretty good - but it's not $9 better than a standard figure, nor is it 100% true-to-the-screen.

The sculpting is, without reservation, excellent. If you get in close on the unpainted plasteel panels, you can see tons of teeny tiny sculpted scrapes and scuffs. Someone spent hours making sure the costume was represented in three dimensions just right, with excellent proportions, tons of joints, and everything seemingly going where it needs to be. He has around 33 points of articulation, with construction similar to K-2SO - who was a basic (read: $20) figure and the Battle Droid, the latter of which also came with three accessories. I'm not crazy about the clear circles in the ankles, knees, and elbows, but the overall look and feel of the figure is good and it seems like something you may have seen spit out by a post-Return of the Jedi Creature Shop. Tanks to the many moving parts, you can get him to emote nicely and he's free to express himself in a body language thanks to the sizable feet. He's not going to topple over. To the sculptor and whoever engineered the articulation - you did A+ work here.

Deco is pretty good. The figure is molded in yellow and gray, with some of the yellow elements having been painted. I would have preferred it be all molded yellow or all painted yellow, because there is a bit of a visual clash. The eyes pop nicely, the blue details match the costume well, and the gray bits are mostly as they should be. It even features Aurebesh lettering on the front and back, and that's great. But his butt is painted yellow when the rest of his body is molded yellow, and I don't care for that. Comparing this figure to on-set candid photos of the costume, you can see Hasbro skipped painting the chest lights their proper colors and missed a world of scuffing on his body and limbs. They did an acceptable job for a $25 figure - but this is a $34 figure. I don't think it's unreasonable to start to expect near-perfection as the prices arbitrarily go up, unless Hasbro was working from an incomplete picture of how the final costume should look. If Hasbro was working from artwork or early renders they did a magnificent job and deserve props for getting it so close to the mark. If they had pictures of the final costume and on-set reference... I would have liked them to spring a few pennies to make this figure blow me away for the price.

Accessories are good. The hammer is awesome and fits in either hand easily. The Battle Droid blaster is an awkward fit in either hand, and wasn't shown in the press photos. His backpack has to be plugged in to a hole and then two cables are plugged in to the sides - other NED-B figures just mold it to the back. Given the price, Hasbro didn't leave anything out and I appreciate that.

With basic 6-inch  Black Series figures at $25 and this one $34, I am not convinced there's $9 of value in this box. Other figures have more accessories and probably about as much painted detail for less money. He's a big figure, but Hasbro also sold K-2SO and Chewbacca at basic price points. (Hasbro can also sell a $10 12-inch action figure, so there's probably some calculus that is not available to us mere mortals.) Cool robots are cool robots, and this is a cool robot that's accurate enough for me to say that I like it. I hope Hasbro doesn't release it with improved deco hits and faux scuffing paint later at an even higher price, because that would just make everybody feel like a chump. I assume this one may get marked down in the future, but if it doesn't, it's a decent figure that I would strongly recommend at $20-$25 and recommend at $34 if you really liked NED. And you probably really did like NED - but I've been real happy with the faux Kenner one.

Packaging Notes: I went from being pretty lukewarm on the Plastic-Free Packaging to somewhat detesting it once I got this in hand. Reducing plastic and waste is important - NED-B is so narrow he could easily fit in the standard box footprint. There's so much empty room in there! Hasbro has mentioned PFP being less of an issue to fans (which I don't buy) since fans are doing most of their shopping online (which I totally buy.) If you're not going to make a box that presents your product in the most gorgeous possible light, it should be efficient and reduced in size to keep costs to all parties lower. This box is almost twice as big as necessary, and every bit of ink and cardboard and weight gets added to the bill. Hasbro really ought to shrink the box and/or consider returning to the plastic window. I didn't even know a blaster was included until I opened the box - it's a nice surprise, but things like combining robot features in Transformers or accessories in Star Wars need to be specified clearly. The box says "two accessories" and you get three, plus the little diagram on the side puts the blaster under the figure where it's extremely easy to miss at first glance. A white background or outline of the blaster, combined with showing the backpack, would have been welcome. The top of the box is completely black and is wasted space.

Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 2,993: January 10, 2023

No comments: