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Ultimate Quarter Scale Star Wars
Old Ben Kenobi

Obi-wan Kenobi Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys

I'm a fan of the new Ultimate Quarter Scale figures from Diamond Select, although the line certainly isn't without its issues. It helps that I'm a big fan of the 18" scale to begin with, and own plenty of big boys (and an occasional girl) produced in this format from NECA, McFarlane and NECA.

But the UQS line has taken a slightly different approach to the format - these are not rotocast, slightly articulated statues. They are truly big action figures, with solid bodies and similar articulation to their sixth scale cousins. Hey, and they all wear doll clothes too!

I've looked at their first three releases so far: Indy, who was so-so; Darth Maul who is still my favorite of the line; and Han Solo in Hoth Gear, who had an above average head sculpt and cool outfit. Tonight I'm looking at the latest release, Ben Kenobi.

DST is really looking to expand this line in 2009, with releases under multiple licenses (Terminator, Indy, Star Wars, Star Trek) and multiple characters. In the Star Wars universe, they are planning both Luke and Anakin Skywalker (prototypes looking pretty iffy) as well as Mace Windu and the Emperor (prototypes looking much better).

Over the course of the first three releases, the general quality improved, and it appears the general collector consensus has been warming up as well. Old Ben here is a bit of an early release, as he hasn't *quite* shipped yet to retailers, but should very, very soon. You can expect to pay in that $65 range, depending on the retailers.

BTW, the very last photo is for fans of Kids on the Hall.
Obi-wan Kenobi Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Obi-wan Kenobi Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Obi-wan Kenobi Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Obi-wan Kenobi Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Obi-wan Kenobi Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Obi-wan Kenobi Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Obi-wan Kenobi Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Obi-wan Kenobi Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Obi-wan Kenobi Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys

Packaging - ***
The box is sturdy, but they don't do all they probably could to sell the figures. The 'try me' button works well enough, and there's no wasted material or space. I didn't include a photo this time - check out the review of the Han Solo in Hoth Gear if you have a burning desire.

Sculpting - ***
One of the key aspects for these figures is the portrait sculpts. So far, they've been all over the place, with some turning out far better than others.

Obi-wan is my least favorite of the bunch so far, but when I did a side by side comparison with a front photo of old Ben, I found that it wasn't as far off as my mine was telling me.

In fact, the nose, beard, hair and wrinkles are all very well done. He's even got the big honkin' ears. So what's pulling it down?

For me, it's two areas. First, there's something about the facial structure itself - the length of the head, the shape of the jaw...something - that's making him look too elongated. It doesn't help that the body has the elongated look as well, and perhaps part of this is them just trying to get the head to look right on the body. Either way, there's something about the head sculpt that appears long and skinny to me.

The second one is something that has become more of an issue in recent years, as the bar for portraits goes up. This Obi-wan looks too much like a wax statue, rather than the real deal. Companies like Hot Toys, Sideshow, NECA, Mcfarlane, and Mezco have reached a point with some of their sculpts where they just don't look accurate, they look real. To get top marks from me in this category, companies have to be able to reach that new standard, certainly for actual human characters like this.

There are four extra hands, sculpted in various poses. The most useful are the force gesturing left hand, and the saber holding right hand. There's also a open relaxed right hand, and a nose picking left hand. More on that when we get to the Accessories section.

While this head sculpt has issues, I like it in person more than I expected I would from the early prototype photos. With four releases so far, this one comes in third for me, behind Maul and Hoth Han, but in front of Indy.

Paint - **1/2
The quality of the paint isn't poor - but like the sculpt, it's not quite up the the level of the current market, or of the Maul and Han releases.

The cut lines are clean, as are the eyes and eyebrows. At this scale though, it's important to import life into the appearance. The paint here does not do that, and it also does not elevate what is possible a better sculpt. The eyes are dead, and very Hasbro-ish, and while the light and dark colors of the beard and hair look pretty good in photos, I thought they ended up too toy-like in person.

Articulation - **
This has been the category that has caused me to give these figures the most abuse, and that remains the case. The long, lanky, oddly proportioned torso isn't quite as much of an issue with heavily clothed figures, but Ben still seems like a retired white Harlem Globetrotter to me. He even manages to be a little taller than Maul, which will screen accurate, further accentuates his lankiness.

I didn't have any sort of weak joints or breakage, and I didn't have any trouble getting him to stand. The ball jointed neck worked quite well, but I took another half star off for the wrists this time. These joints, like most of the rest, are the 'clicky' kind, designed to click into positions to make them more sturdy. However, I couldn't get the wrists to click at all - both of mine are very, very stuck. Because the square wrist pegs are the only leverage you have, I couldn't break them free with basic force without risking damage. I'm going to try the freezer trick at some point, but you have to get your freezer emptied out to fit this guy in there!

Accessories - ***
I was a little disappointed by Hoth Han's lack of extras - Obi-wan gets back to where these figures should be in terms of quantity.

Obviously, he has a light saber. The blue blade can pop in and out of the hilt, allowing him to carry it lit or unlit. This was also true with Maul, but I failed to notice it back then.

The saber fits pretty well in his right gripping hand, and it's also relatively accurate from what I can tell. It's a little soft at the thinnest point of the hilt though, so take a little care putting it in and out of his hand, to avoid breakage.

There's the extra set of hands, which I've mentioned a couple times now. The right is a relaxed open hand, but the left is a very specific design, pinching something between the first finger and thumb. I'm sure I'm being a complete dumb ass and forgetting some key scene where this hand gesture was done by Ben (picking a tick off Chewie, perhaps?) but for the life of me I can't remember it. EDIT - sure enough it took readers about ten seconds to prove it's the very brief (VERY BRIEF!) pose his hand is in as he waves off the troopers when he says "These are not the droids you're looking for" Cool!

The hands go on and off the square wrist pegs easily enough, but don't fall off on their own. They can also fit on either way - the peg is actually square, not rectangular - which aids in posing.

Old Ben comes with the practice droid too, which Luke goofed around with briefly on the Falcon. It's diameter seems about right, and the sculpt and paint are reasonably good, but the clear plastic stand that holds it up seems too short to me. I would have liked it brought up another inch or maybe even two, closer to chest height on this guy.

The final extra is the re-used display stand, which is plain black plastic with the usual metal pincher arm.

Outfit - ***
The photos tend to give the outer robe a bit of a reddish tinge - that's not there in reality. The robe is a dark brown, just like you'd expect.

DST has taken a note from Sideshow's book on the outer cape, putting a wire through the edge of the hood. This makes it much easier to get the hood into a reasonable position, and Ben is probably the only character (other than Maul) who looks right with the hood up.

There is only one closure on the outer robe, a metal hook at the very top.

The inner robes, cloth belt and thinner 'scarves' are all included as part of his interior outfit, as are the dark brown pants. The quality of the material and stitching is what you'd expect, and they are tailored to the lanky body. 

There's also a thin leather belt which goes around the cloth belt/sash. This actually has two connectors on the left side - a hook and a loop. These connectors are made from metal, and riveted to the belt for extra strength...but I have no idea what I should hang from them. There's no rings on the saber hilt, only the small round connector that normally fits int the specialized hook on the belt. That type of hook isn't present, so I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get the hilt to hang off the belt, or what these other two more standard hooks are for.

This thinner belt is a bit too skinny for the scale, particularly when you see it against the wide tan cloth belt.

Talking Feature - ***1/2
The talking feature on these figures has been well done, with an easy to reach switch on the left side (his left side) to go between 'try me' mode and regular mode, a well placed speaker, and clear, loud lines.

Of course, since the voice box is part of the reason for the elongated torso, I suspect folks would be willing to give this up to get a better proportioned body.

There's plenty of lines here, and all of them are key Ben moments:

"Mos Eisley space port - you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."

"You don't need to see his identification."

"These aren't the droids you're looking for."

"That's no moon - it's a space station."

"You can't win Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."

"The force will be with you, always."

Fun Factor - **1/2
Old Ben just doesn't quite have the appeal of the younger, sexier Jedi, it's true. I think most kid's would enjoy the upcoming Anakin, or the Hoth Han, to this release, but he's certainly sturdy enough to handle the abuse they can throw at him. I had no problems with joints or breakage that would lead me to believe he wouldn't make a great toy for the kid with the right bent.

Value - **1/2
I haven't seen this guy any where for less than $60 or so, and that's not cheap. While I'm not quite as thrilled with this figure as the last couple, I still have to admit that what you're getting for the price is better than a lot of folks are admitting. With 7" statuesque figures going for almost $20, getting what amounts to a true 18" scale action figure for $60 ain't that bad a deal. You won't feel like you got a buy this time, but I certainly didn't feel ripped off either.

Things To Watch Out For
Nothing in particular.

Overall - **1/2
Of the four figures released so far in this scale, Ben is my least favorite. He's not atrocious, but he's hurt a bit by the tremendous quality of many of the previous Old Ben figures, busts and quarter scale figures we've gotten. Unlike Hoth Han - and even Darth Maul - Ben Kenobi collectibles from Sideshow and Gentle Giant have set a pretty high standard, and this figure doesn't quite live up to it.

They did select extremely good lines for the talking feature, and it does work quite well. However, I place less weight on this category than something like Sculpt, Paint or Articulation, which are key for me in this scale.

If you're looking for something big for the movie room, and the Sideshow Premium Format figure is simply out of your price range (no surprise there!), then this is a reasonable alternative. It's not the best Obi-wan we've ever seen, but it's a reasonable facsimile.

I'm really looking forward to the releases of Mace Windu, Darth Vader and Palpatine. Those three look like any of them could rival Maul for the top spot!

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

Where to Buy -
While Toys R Us did carry the Maul, it was at a price premium over the online shops. I also suspect that Kenobi won't be one they'll be carrying, so online is your best bet:

- Things From Another World has their pre-order at just $64.

- Andew's Toyz has him on pre-order at $65.

- Corner Store Comics has him still on pre-order for $65.

- Urban Collector also has him on pre-order for $65.

- Alter Ego Comics has him listed at $68.

- Clark Toys has their pre-order at $70.

- Entertainment Earth has the pre-order price at $80.

- or you can search ebay using sponsor MyAuctionLinks.

Related Links -
Other UQS reviews include Indy, Maul and Hoth Han. There have also been plenty of versions of Old Ben, including the excellent Sideshow version, the Gentle Giant mini-bust, and the terrific Premium Format statue. Young Ben has also been done many times, including the cool Clone Wars armored version from Sideshow, and the regular version from Sideshow.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!
Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 3.4

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Obi-wan Kenobi Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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