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Star Wars Episode 3
Count Dooku, Plo Koon, Agen Kolar, 
Jedi Kick Obi-Wan Kenobis, and Slashing Attack Obi-Wan Kenobi

 

Sean Teeter might be a college bum, but he's fast on the draw with the Episode 3 figures!  Up tonight he has a guest review of a whole passle of them - take it away, Sean!

Have I got a treat for you tonight boys and girls! I managed to snag not just one, but five brand-spanking-new Revenge of the Sith figures before they officially hit the stores! I know many of us have been dreaming of a nice, dark entry in the prequel trilogy and it looks like weíll finally get it. 

Some of us have been dreaming of something else as well: better Star Wars figures. The Vintage-Style Original Trilogy figures showed us what Hasbro could really do in regards to articulation and figure-sculpt (with the exception of that freakiní awful C-3PO). Star Wars fans and collectors everywhere have been questioning if this was a one-time episode, or if Hasbro will continue to step up to the plate. Tonight, I hope to offer a brief preview of the answer.

Up for perusal are Count Dooku, Plo Koon, Agen Kolar, and two different Obi-Wan Kenobis (Jedi Kick and Slashing Attack). Because of the design on some of these guys, there will be a movie spoiler or two, Iíll warn you beforehand.










Packaging - ***
Iíve got a love/hate thing going on with the new packaging. While I absolutely dig the design of the card and bubble, as well as the excellent backer-card art, I find the taped blister edges a bit sloppy. You still have to rip the blister off of the card to open them, so why not just stamp the entire thing on like all previous carded figures, as opposed to just the top? The die-cut design while visually striking also seems to attract stress damage more, compared to the rectangular cards. For those of us who collect carded figures this is going to be a pain in the butt. No to mention the card design doesnít fit any of the current Protech Star Cases out there. (Please feel free to correct me if Iím wrong on this one, provided you tell me which case they fit in).

Sculpting - Dooku: ****; Plo Koon: *** Ĺ; Kolar: ***; Both Kenobiís: ** Ĺ
What is it about Obi-Wan? Both of these figures have some issues. First off, the head-sculpt appears to be the same on both, with some minor adjustments. The Slashing Kenobiís head is compressed a bit, with a slightly fatter face, rounder beard, and a different hairline on the back of the neck. Kickní Kenobiís is thinner, with a definite edge to his beard, as well as a longer neck. The sculpts themselves are decent enough though, and do bear a passing resemblance to Ewan McGregor. Football-punting Obi-Wanís body sculpt is okay, but itís just the standard Jedi robes weíve seen again and again. The skirt is flared out to accommodate the kicking leg. The leg in question is thicker than, and not as detailed as, the right leg. Needless to say it looks awkward. The hand sculpts are serviceable, but the angle of the open left hand only works well in a few positions. Slashing Obi-Wanís shoulders look a bit wide. His robes are generic as well, but look okay.
Agen Kolar seems to have a bit of a girlish form in comparison to the actor seen portraying him. The face in nicely detailed with all his horns and bumps, but the expression is pretty flat. His torso also looks a little thin, especially in the shoulders, but Iím sure this is related to the removable cloak. The lower robes are a very fragile-feeling cloth. While it looks okay, I would have liked some more room for leg movement.

Plo Koon has always been one really cool looking Jedi. The unique head and hand sculpts really make this figure. The right hand could have had a tighter grip, but in the end thereís not much to complain about.

And yes, I saved the best for last. I took one look at this guy and said, ďHot damn,Ē out loud. This is certainly the Dooku to end all Dooku figures out there in the looks department. The head sculpt has some excellent detailing and is certainly one of the best likenesses of Christopher Lee out there. Every little wrinkle and crease Hasbro could fit in is there. The expression may be a little plain but it still works well enough. The hands are also nicely done and show off those long Lee fingers, complete with a wrinkle or two on the backs. The costume is simple, but sculpted very well, especially the boots and pant legs. The only thing off here scale-wise, is Dookuís shoulders Ėtheyíre a bit too big, but thatís because of the ball-joints. 

Paint - Dooku, Plo Koon: *** Ĺ; Kolar, Kickiní Kenobi: ***; Slashiní Kenobi: ** Ĺ
Across the board again . . .
Dooku doesnít have much to paint, but his face ops are clean and accurate. Plo Koonís skin wash is excellent, but thereís a spot or two of bleeding to be found here and there.

Agen Kolarís horns are a little uneven, and heís got some really tiny eyes that just come off a bit odd. Thereís a decent dirty wash on Jedi Kick Obi-Wanís robes. The paint on his left leg doesnít look as good as the other one Ėthereís some streaking to be found on the boot. The hair color has raised some questions with collectors. While itís cleanly done, Kenobiís hair looks way too reddish here. In fact, the shots of him in the trailer show him with darker hair and a hint of gray.

Jump to the Slashing Obi-Wan, and thatís what we got: dark brown hair and little streaks of gray. Unfortunately the face ops are a bit sloppy and thereís bleeding in the hair and eyes. The rest of the body is flat, with no wash over the molded robes. 

Articulation - Dooku: ****; Kolar, Plo Koon: *** Ĺ; Slashing Obi-Wan: ***; Kicking Obi-Wan: **
Articulation seems to be Hasbroís biggest bane in the Star Wars line. Sometimes theyíre good, sometimes theyíre bad, and a lot of the times figures are a mix of both: usually good upper-body articulation, with some less-than-par stuff below the beltline. These five cover a wide spectrum. 

Dooku outdoes the rest here again with fourteen points of articulation, including cuts at the head, wrists, waist, hips, ball-jointed shoulders and elbows, as well as swivel and pivot knees. The wrist cuts are different from all other figures due to (SPOILER INFORMATION) the fact that Anakin severs both his hands at the end of the opening duel. You can pop both off to simulate the damage, as well as the head for the final blow, even though itís also imperative for the capeís removal. (END SPOILER INFORMATION) The arms are excellent for lightsaber poses of all kinds and the legs accommodate many action poses as well.

Plo Koon and Agen Kolar also have fourteen points each: cuts at the neck, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, ball-jointed shoulders, and swivel and pivot knees. The angled elbow cuts work better for Koon, since he can affect a two-handed grip and Kolar cannot. Koonís knees are also a little different in design. The right one is just like Dookuís and Kolars, with the swivel directly on top of the pivot. The left one is reversed. The pivot is underneath the swivel (on the boot top). This allows for a little different variation in his action posing.

Here we go . . . Revenge of the Action Feature. For the most part, I hate action features Ėespecially when they screw up a potentially good figureís looks or articulation. In this case we have two different ones to compare.

Slashing Action Obi-Wan has twelve points of articulation: cuts at the neck, waist, hips, wrists, ball-jointed shoulders, as well as swivel and pivot elbows. The waist and right leg are compromised the most here. The leg is basically immobile, except for the squeezing action needed to activate the waist. The ratchet in the waist is similar to previous versions, and can be set to a couple different positions. Because of the arm design, they look the best when Obi-Wanís got a good double-grip on his saber. The joints on the right arm are loose to allow for a one-handed swing with the mechanism, but not lose enough that he canít hold a few different one-handed poses. Because of the angled cuts on the arm sculpts in conjunction with the multiple points of articulation, Obi-Wan can hold some really decent lightsaber poses Ėbut even better, he can slash away in these poses. Believe it or not, Iíve finally found an action feature that not only works pretty well, but thatís pretty fun to mess with. I lined this guy up with my Final Battle Jango Fett and took his head clean off with one swipe. Hell, that little magnetic helmet went flying a good three feet! The solid molding of the saber/hand really helps; too bad it doesnít have a better sculpt to it.

Jedi Kick Kenobi is a different story. He also has twelve points of articulation: ball jointed shoulders, cuts at the neck, elbows, wrists, hips, left boot top, and a swivel right knee. The ball joints are nice as always, but the elbow cuts have no angle to them. The leg articulation is all screwed up. The right hip joint barely moves and the swivel knee is loose as hell. The left legís hip joint is made for the sole purpose of the kick feature. Grab his left leg and rotate it towards himself completely around until you here the second clicking noise. The release is in his footís peg hole. The moment you stick him on the display standís peg, he unwinds and kicks whateverís in front of him Ėusually the hand youíre using to hold him. While this idea certainly works better and is more powerful than the lame AOTC Jedi Kick Anakin, the release device is klutzy. A button in his ass would have been preferable. Plus the action is really too quick to have any fun with it. In case youíre wondering, he canít stand on his own too well either.

Accessories - Kolar: *** Ĺ; Dooku, Plo Koon: ***; Both Kenobis: ** Ĺ
Over-all the accessories arenít bad, but there some misfires here and there.

Both of the Obi-Wan figures have their problems. Slashing Kenobi comes with his ANH lightsaber hilt, his prequel saber molded to a removable right hand, and an empty right hand to replace it. The hilt is the best accessory and appears to be a decent movie-accurate sculpt, except for the large peg used to attach it to Kenobiís belt. The secondary right hand looks okay, but appears a tad undersized. The right hand with the molded saber is the downer in this batch. While I applaud the concept in conjunction with the action feature (no more searching in the rug for little lightsabers that were thrown across the room), the execution looks cheesy. The entire piece was molded in translucent blue, so the paint-over job on the hand is off and looks glossy. The saber hilt is also deformed and even bent a bit at the bottom. Oh yeah, itís the prequel hilt. I tried to find out if Obi-Wan starts off with one hilt then switches to another in ROTS, but I havenít been able to get an answer. So weíll wait until May before I declare this a mistake or not.

The other Kenobi comes with a base, his saber, and a post to kick. The post looks okay and just sits on the base. It falls over pretty easily on its own Ėquite often I might add. The base appears to be a wider version of the bases found with Dooku, Koon, and Kolar, but without the paint-ops or raised back ridge. Thereís also a sliding section where the foot peg is that doesnít seem to add anything or make sense as to why itís there. The saber is has the ANH hilt sculpt and looks pretty good.

Dooku comes with his saber, a cloth cape, and base. The cloth cape is something Iíve harped on with each version of Dooku, and Iím glad we get one here. Itís nicely tailored, accurate enough, and removable Ėjust pop off Dookuís head and snap it back on when youíre done. The saber appears to be the same one found with the first Dooku release from AOTC, but with a lighter blade color and slightly different paint-ops. The one thing I really wanted was a separate hilt in addition to the solid one. Some force lightning would have been alright as well.

Plo Koon comes with his two-part saber and a base. The saber hilt is a bit generic and weíve seen it on other figures, but at least Koon can either display his saber on or off. I canít think of anything else I would have liked here, other than a cloak.

Agen Kolar comes with his removable cloak, two-part saber, and a stand. The saber hilt is another generic one weíve seen before. The blade color also appears to be wrong, since this guy can clearly be seen in the trailer wielding a blue blade. The cloak is interesting to say the least. Instead of going with a removable cloth one or a permanently sculpted one, Hasbro gives us a removable sculpted robe. The robe pulls apart at the shoulders and has long slits up the sleeves. Pop the arms off at the elbows to easily remove the main body of the cloak. While this doesnít work as smoothly as it could, or look perfect, this appears to be an interesting new step for Hasbro in the accessories department. Even better, this cloak can be used on a few other figures for all you customizers out there, provided they have a similar body to Kolar.

Durability/Quality: Plo Koon: **; The Rest: ***
While most of these guys are pretty solid all around, my Plo Koon figure has some serious quality control issues on his torso. The plastic molding seems malformed, and thereís even a broken chunk near the back on the waistline. I doubt this is the standard for this figure, but Iím kind of ticked off about this. 

Value - Jedi Kick Obi-Wan: ** Ĺ; The Rest: ***
Well, these guys will start showing up in stores on April 2nd. Depending on where you shop they will retail in the $5.99 to $7.99 range. For $5.99, these guys are pretty good. For $7.99 only Dooku, Agen Kolar, and Plo Koon are worth taking a look at. The only thing going for the kicking Obi-Wan sales-wise is the solid ANH lightsaber he comes with. Check Toys R Us, Target, Kay Bee, and others this weekend. Shop around. 

Theyíll be a tad higher online, especially at the beginning of their run.
OMGCNFO.com has the most reasonable preorder prices, quite a few at $7.50 each.
Amazon.com will have these guys in sometime this weekend (and theyíll probably sell out quickly). The starting price will probably be $7.99.

Overall - Dooku: *** ĺ; Plo Koon, Agen Kolar: *** Ĺ; Slashing Obi-Wan: ***; Jedi Kick Kenobi: ** Ĺ
For the most part Iím pretty happy with these guys.

I was sorely tempted to give Dooku a perfect four star rating, but held off. Heís close though. Excellent articulation and sculpt go and awful long way and heís got both of those covered. A lose hilt or some force lightning would have pushed him up a notch more.

Plo Koon and Agen Kolar are excellent Jedi figures. While Koon has Kolar beat on looks, Kolar gains the edge in the accessories category. Plo Koon still poses better overall, but both of these guys are worthy additions to any display you come up with.

The Slashing Obi-Wan figure can actually get kind of addicting after a while. I think Hasbroís finally done a decent job on creating a fun action feature and Iím sure kids will dig this one. I just wish the sculpt and paint ops were better, but I still like this guy quite a bit.

Jedi Kick Kenobi is just klutzy. He doesnít even look all that bad, but the wind-up kick just isnít anything to get wound up about (yes, itís a clumsy pun Ėdeal with it). Heís on the back of my shelf at the moment, but his lightsaberís out front with another Obi-Wan figure.

Despite the lower scores on the Kenobi twins, Iím really looking forward to the Revenge of the Sith line. I know weíre going to get a few more figures with action features, but thereís also going to be ones along the lines of Dooku, Kolar, and Koon with good sculpt jobs and great articulation. Hasbro looks like they might finally be heading in the right direction and toy lovers everywhere can breathe a cautious sigh of relief. 

Still waiting for that Amidala figure with Jedi-Birthing action though . . .

Things to watch for: 
Be careful with Dookuís neck chain on his cape, itís not too strong. It also seems that the pegs on the removable lightsaber blades are all going to be small, so be careful in general.


Figure from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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