Sideshow 12" Obi-Wan Kenobi (A New Hope)

Ewan McGregor did a terrific job as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episodes I - III, but for most folks there's still only one Obi-Wan...Old Ben from A New Hope.  Sir Alec Guinness made dozens of movies, but I can honestly say his only performance to stick with me is as the aged Jedi, trying to keep an eye on young Luke.

Sideshow has been focusing a bit more on the older films with their latest releases.  Now you can add Old Ben to your shelf alongside Han, Leia, and Luke, at the price of $60.  There are two versions of course, the regular (a limited edition of 5000) plus an exclusive (limited edition of 1977. Cute, eh?) that includes an extra accessory: a small holographic Princess Leia.

This guy appears to be very popular, so this is one you'll want to snag now rather than waiting.  Sideshow has long been sold out, and it looks like other online retailers are selling out quickly now that he's shipping as well.


Packaging - ****
Sideshow again hits one out of the park with this box.  It has all the usual exceptional points - magnetic closures, lots of excellent text on the film and character, completely collector friendly - plus it adds a new dimension.  In the past, the top and bottom interior plastic trays were held together with tape, a minor annoyance.  Now they snap together with molded 'buttons', and it works great.

Sculpting - ****
While you can debate whether this version or the Premium Format version is the better sculpt, there's no arguing that this version is outstanding.

This version is a tad harsher in style, with deeper wrinkles and sharper cuts than either the PF or the recent Gentle Giant mini-bust.  As much as I like those two - and I really do - I have to say that I think this one is the best to date.

The harsher aspects of the sculpt only become apparent on close viewing.  At a normal distance, in this particular scale, the sharper lines soften and give a more realistic look.

All the hand sculpts work well and as intended, although the hands are tough to swap.  More on that in the Articulation section.

Paint - ***1/2
Much of the key paint work is on the head sculpt of course, but there's quite a bit on several of the accessories too.

The work on the lightsaber hilts is outstanding, as is the Jedi Training remote.  The boots look terrific, and the skin tone on the hands matches up with the face fairly well.

The work on the head is also extremely good.  The eyes are straight and clear with just a touch of gloss, the lips have a very natural looking variation and no sign of lipstick, and the skin tone is accurate and even.

To approximate the gray hair, they went with several different colors, and added a much whiter look near the hair line.  This wasn't blended quite as much as I'd like, looking more like a distinct cut between colors rather than hair that flows smoothly together.  That's a relatively minor nit though, and the darker colors in the hair do a marvelous job of matching up with his on screen version.

While he lost a little in this category, if every Sideshow figure turned out this well in the Paint department, nobody would be complaining.

Articulation - ***
The body remains an issue for Sideshow, particularly with most folks having access and exposure to the much better Medicom and Hot Toys base body.

While the figure has all the joints you would want, it doesn't have the natural hang and feel.  The ball jointed neck doesn't tilt forward or back very well, the wrists make changing the hands a real effort, and the shoulders (which are the newer type that allow the arms to shift forward on the torso) were loose and floppy on mine.

I was able to get some reasonable poses out of him, but that's largely due to the rather stiff appearance Old Alec had as Obi-wan.  If you are trying to get extremely dynamic poses, or extremely relaxed, realistic poses, it's going to take some work.

The hands were perhaps the most annoying feature, since I thought I was going to snap one of the pegs every time I pulled a hand off, and putting one back on took far more effort and force than it should.

The neck joint was the other major disappointment.  I couldn't get it to hold the kind of natural poses I was hoping for, and certainly not like the neck joints on the competition.

Outfit - ****
While the outfit is rather basic, it's executed extremely well.

At the base is a brown turtle neck with full sleeves.  Other lesser companies might have just gone for a dickie, but Sideshow went with the full shirt including long sleeves!

There's also the light tan pants of course, and a nicely sculpted pair of boots.  Sideshow has done a fairly consistent job on the boots across this line, and these are another good addition.

Over the turtle neck and pants is the long robes, complete with cloth belt.  Over this cloth belt goes the leather belt, which includes a sculpted pouch and a couple hooks, including the one for the lightsaber.

Out of the package, poor Ben has a bit of that old man thing going on, with the belts up around his chest.  You can remove them and replace them down around his waist to greatly improve the appearance.

The final piece of the outfit is is old Jedi robe.  As with the quarter scale version, they went with an unhemmed robe, to give the impression of wear and tear.  Unfortunately, this doesn't do much for me.  Since the rest of the robe (or any other part of the outfit for that matter) doesn't look worn, it seems out of place, and over time the fraying and loose threads are just going to get worse.  I would have preferred going with a hemmed version, screen accurate or not.  Still, this one minor glitch certainly wasn't enough to take away from the overall perfection of the costume.

Oh, and yes - his hood has the usual wire in it to allow for posing.  It works quite well too, and is a great touch.

Accessories - ***1/2
Occasionally, a Sideshow figure comes up short in this category.  Not so this time around, and even the non-exclusive version has plenty of goodies.

There are three additional gesturing hands to go along with his normal clenching versions.  One of these is in a blaster holding pose, one is in a force gesturing pose, and one is in a very unique 'thoughtful' pose, as though he was resting his chin on his hand.

The sculpts are great, but these hands exhibit the problem mentioned earlier - getting them on and off is a real exercise.  I've already dinged the Articulation section for that though, so there's no deductions here.

There are also two versions of his lightsaber, one lit and one not.  The amount of detail on the hilts is amazing, and these might be the best Sideshow has done so far.  Each also has a small metal clip, which allows the unlit version to be attached to his belt.  The hilts fit nicely in his hands, are very well scaled, and look terrific in any pose.

He also has the usual display stand, in the traditional black with the film logo on the base.  The best news is that you won't need it.

There is also the Jedi training remote, the small electronic ball that Luke chased around the Falcon blindfolded.  The remote 'hovers' above the ground with the assistance of a small black metal rod attached to a black plastic base.  These pieces fit together well, and the ball will remain aloft indefinitely, with no bend in the metal rod.  I'm not a big fan of this accessory - it would be better served with a young Luke - but it's well done with a great sculpt and solid paint work.

The final accessory is specific to the exclusive - the holo transmission Leia.  She's posed as though turning off the R2 recording device.  This item is amusing if fairly useless at this point. Perhaps if we get an R2 at some point it will be more useful, or if you picked up one of the old Hasbro R2's.

Fun Factor - ***
This is a sixty dollar 'collectible', but it remembers that it was really just a toy.  There's some things that would break five minutes after giving it to a kid, so they aren't the audience, but for adults looking for a little nostalgia, this is the perfect item.

Value - ***
I'm not keen on the new $60 price tag, but if every figure coming out has this quality of head sculpt, paint, and accessories, it will still be a bargain.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Those damn hands.  Pulling them off can break the wrist peg, and putting them on can break your will.  Using some hot water on the hands will go a long way to saving your frustration and wrist pegs.

Overall - ****
I waffled around a bit on this final score.  I wasn't quite sure he was a four star figure, but I pulled him out and posed him a bit more...and yes, he really does deserve this for an overall.

While I like both the ANH Leia and the Bespin and Jedi Lukes, they had enough minor issues to hold them back from perfection.  Let's not even talk about the first Han...I'm giving Sideshow an allowance for just getting started with the line at that point.  The best for me, pre-Obi, is Boush Leia, a figure I never reviewed.

But with the release of Obi-wan, he takes the place as the best of the OT figures we've gotten so far, and he rejuvenates those hopes that we'll see exceptional versions of Han, Luke and yes, even Chewie in the coming year.  C'mon, Chewie!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***
Outfit - ****
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
Online is the best bet, and they are disappearing fast:

- both the exclusive and the regular version are sold out at Sideshow, but you can get on the wait list.

- Fireside Collectibles still have him listed as a pre-order at $51.

- Amazing Toyz has a few left in stock at just $56.

- Or you can take a shot at finding a deal on Ebay using

- Related Links -
With all the Medicom and Sideshow releases, I have plenty of reviews for sixth scale Star Wars items:

- the last was Leia and Bespin Luke, the Holo-chess set and Sideshow's Asajj, a terrific figure.

- in the premium format line, I've reviewed Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Han Solo.

- in the sixth scale line, I've also reviewed Yavin Luke, the Endor Troops, Jabba the Hutt and his throne, Bib Fortuna, Jedi Luke, Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, Bespin Han Solo, regular Anakin Skywalker and Kit Fisto.

- I also have guest reviews of the SDCC Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, and Qui-Gon Jinn.

And if you'd like to check out some of the 12" Star Wars offerings from Medicom, hit these links:

- my review of Jango Fett, the Sandtrooper and  Boba Fett.

- guest reviews of the VCD Yoda and Boba Fett.

- guest reviews of the ROTS Vader, Jedi Luke, and this very Trooper.

- and my review of their first release Darth Vader, the regular Stormtrooper, and Clonetrooper and Blackhole Trooper.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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