Yodasnews Review: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Review and Photography by Jeffrey A. Gouse (SithLord0498)
Review Date: July 25, 2008
Consistency has never really been Hasbro’s strong point—especially between products in the same figure assortment. Typically, the largest inconsistencies are found in articulation and paint applications, and they aren’t always strong or deficient together. For example, Commander Gree (version 2) sets the standard for how a clonetrooper figure should be articulated. However, his articulation is not the template for other clones. A background character can have one of the best factory paint decos, but a hero figure in the same wave may look like the portrait was smashed in a bar room brawl. There is little consistency in quality.
The Clone Wars Collection thus far is no different. Over the past week, both the best and worst of the assortment have been examined. Today’s review treads the middle ground where Hasbro’s talents shine through in some areas but others will leave collectors scratching their hands in confusion, puzzled over why particular choices were made.
While it is certainly not the worst figure, the CGI Clone Wars version of Obi-Wan Kenobi is not the figure many expected. Read on to discover just what this means.
KENOBI PORTRAIT: Excellent
Hasbro’s sculptors nailed this portrait by accurately replicating the smaller nuanced details in addition to the broader major areas. The overall proportions are extremely accurate with Kenobi’s hair being larger than his head. That results in the front of his hair being sculpted extending away from his head. Combined with deep, evenly spaced grooves representing the layers of CGI hair, the result is a highly three-dimensional look that effectively simulates the layered appearance seen in the cartoon. The angular look of Kenobi’s beard has been translated with such precision that even the placement and number of sculpted lines matches the CGI model 100% (FYI, there are 17 lines that divide Obi-Wan’s beard). The eyes on this sample have been painted well enough where they don’t look sloppy or awkward. It would be better if they were facing straight ahead, but the “eyes rolled up” look works well too. The only areas where Hasbro could have improved would be in the size of the eyebrows and the shade of the figure’s hair color.
This is a stellar effort by Hasbro.
HELMET AND ARMOR (Sculpting): Excellent
Moving on from the interchangeable Kenobi portrait, Hasbro did a really good job with the armor and robes. Aside from a few small inaccuracies (mostly involving the width and depth of a few armored plates), it is a very close match to the CGI version. In fact, the robes are better than the animation. In the theatrical trailer, Kenobi’s robes are very flat and lacking any realistic folds and wrinkles. Hasbro includes those life-like touches on their figure, and the overall aesthetic quality benefits from it. The body proportions seem accurate as well—especially the angular and slender legs used on the human characters. The helmet looks just as good as the armor with very precise and clear angles and forms. Accuracy is an unknown element for now because neither trailer has shown Obi-Wan wearing the helmet.
HELMET AND ARMOR (Paint): Above Average
After standing Kenobi, Rex, and the generic clonetrooper side-by-side, it’s clear that Hasbro’s painters should tone down the “dirty deco” because it is a bit too heavy-handed. It’s not that it ends up looking bad. It’s just overdone. There is one particular sore spot on the body though—the tunic to be precise. Clearly, Hasbro intended it to represent a scorched part of the cloth, but instead, it looks like a coffee stain (or something smellier…). There is only the slightest bleeding beyond specified boundaries, and the overall battle-worn look is a success. Even the Jedi insignia on Obi-Wan’s shoulder is appropriately scraped and weathered.
The helmet is the area with the most noticeable blemish with regards to the overall paint deco. There are four small black lines painted on each side near the bottom, which are meant to represent vents in the helmet. They should be straight and crisp marks. Unfortunately, they are very uneven, wavy, and sloppy—even from a medium distance. In all honestly, that flaw isn’t even that bad in the grand scheme of things. However, it is distracting enough to keep this figure’s paint applications from rating at the top of the scale.
This is the part where collectors will scratch their heads in confusion. From the waist up, Obi-Wan has a very wide range of motion. While it’s disappointing that the hinged wrists and ball-jointed torso found on Captain Rex are absent, this is still a good level of articulation. The lower extremities are another story entirely. Aside from the standard swivel hips, there is zero articulation on the legs and feet. No ball-jointed knees. No ball-jointed ankles. This means Obi-Wan must stand in a fixed position, and the only variations are confined to upper body movement. Such deficiencies usually tend to make stability a touchy area as well. Thankfully, Kenobi’s center of gravity is distributed evenly enough that he can stand fairly well without a figure stand.
Overall, this is a very disappointing area, and its only saving grace is the excellent upper body poseability.
ACCESSORIES: Average (Bordering on Below Average)
Kenobi is pretty light in the accessories department: a missile-firing jetpack and ignited lightsaber. The lightsaber appears to be a re-use of that used for all previous versions of Episode III era Obi-Wan figures. As before, the sculpting and painting are both very impressive for the medium and scale in question. The jetpack looks good too with a fine paint deco and clean sculpting. The problem lies in the action feature. Out of ten trials, the missile stuck more than half of the time. When the missile did fire, it really fired!! This is likely a problem with this specific sample, but there is no other sample currently accessible against which this pack can be tested.
OVERALL RATING: Average
While it’s far from the worst figure in this introductory wave, it is certainly not the best. It looks good, but looks aren’t everything. Modern technology and Hasbro’s own standard-setting figures have proven that aesthetics and functionality can co-exist. The animated-style Obi-Wan Kenobi has a solid appearance, but its functionality, poseability, and playability all fall short of expectations—particularly when the MSRP keeps rising. At $6, this would be a good figure. At today’s MSRP range of $7 and higher, its stock falls, and it falls even more when compared against “assortment mates” R2-D2 and Captain Rex.
Of course, some collectors may overlook the articulation gaffes in favor of the overall appearance and/or because they like Obi-Wan figures. Just be aware that you may not be getting everything you expect. Or deserve.