Premium Format Obi-Wan Kenobi

Every great adventure story requires a young adventurer who is brash, headstrong, and wild. But to counter the stupidity inherent in youth, there has to be a worldly, wise, mentor, someone to guide him in his early struggles. In the Star Wars universe, this role of crusty old fart went to Obi-Wan Kenobi.

It's interesting to see that Obi-wan was always a crusty old fart, or COF, even when he was young. I can imagine him in Kindergarten at Jedi school, extolling the virtues of coloring inside the lines to the other less pragmatic students. Had you known Obi-wan personally as a young man, you would have told him to his face that he was an 'old soul'. This is the nice way of saying he's a real buzz kill.

However, youthful idiots that listen to COF's, and COF's themselves, tend to live a hell of a lot longer than youthful idiots that ignore their wise, if boring, advice. And so it's probably no suprise that one of the few Jedi to survive the slaughter of their kind was Obi-wan, and his colleague, the intergalactic poster child of COF's, Yoda.

It's this elder version of Obi-wan that Sideshow elected to release in quarter scale, facing off against the previously released Premium Format Darth Vader. He has just started shipping, and has been sold out for ages now. However, you can still get on the waitlist, and with this just now shipping, there will be cancellations and bad CC's.

Packaging -  ***
If you've bought PF figures before, especially the Vader, then you'll not be surprised. This is a return to the older outer slips, with photos on the exterior but no plastic cover. Also, they've used the plastic cover again over the high gloss base, and I'm not a huge fan, since it appears that this plastic can actually scratch the base. Mine wasn't bad, but there were a couple small areas where the gloss was damaged.

Sculpting - ****
You're going to hear this many times over the next week or so as more and more of the PF Ben's hit the hands of collectors, but this is THE best Obi-wan Kenobi sculpt to date from anyone, on any piece, hands down, take it to the bank. Sculpted by Mat Falls, this is some of his nicest work.

Is it still possible to nit pick? Yes, it's always possible to nit pick. But I'm not going to be doing it. This sculpt looked amazing at all the shows when it was just a prototype, and it translated into resin beautifully. The expressions is perfect, scale is great, detailing in the skin and hair survived the production process, and it's definitely work that the Sideshow team can be mighty proud of.

The hands and boots are the only other sculpted areas. The boots are serviceable, but nothing exciting (then again, they were just boots), and the hands are better proportioned than some we've seen, like the PF Han.

The scale between figures is also quite good, and Obi-wan is about the right height compared with Vader, the most likely pairing on your shelf.

Paint - ****
A fantastic sculpt deserves a fantastic paint application, and when it doesn't happen, it's truly a crime. Here we get high quality, detailed paint ops, bringing out the nuances, detail and highlights of the impressive head sculpt.

Everything is clean and well cut, with properly aligned eyes, correct coloring of the skin, lips and hair, and a nice consistency across colors. If you're looking for slop, look elsewhere.

Articulation - Bupkis
Obviously this has no effect on the overall score, since these aren't intended to be posable, but it's worth noting since some of the past figures have had limited articulation. That is not the case here, and the arms and legs are in one pose, not to be adjusted. Because of the light up feature, don't go trying to move his arms around.

Outfit - ***
I'm betting that up to this point, you and I have been in pretty much agreement. And now I'm betting that we've taken a bit of a divergence.

I've read a lot of comments commending this costume, but I still found enough issues with it that I couldn't give it the score that Vader's received.

I'm going to count the boots as part of the outfit here, although they are sculpted. Most importantly, I'm counting the weird, awkward pose of the front foot, which is turned inward, and not facing the direction of the rest of his stance. Now, it's very possible that Sir Alec stood that way in that final, fateful scene. But it's still awkward looking, and is one of those things that should have been corrected for looks, rather than accuracy. Keep the robes flowing down around it though, and most folks won't notice.

The cloth outfit consists of the tan pants, tan shirt, black undershirt, and dark brown Jedi robe. All are well tailored, and fit him quite nicely. The quality of the material is also top notch, and both of the lower layer shirts have full sleeves.

There is also a leather belt, with metal buckle.  It's actual leather, not pleather. This attaches around Ben's waist, but unlike previous PF figures, it comes loose in the box and must be attached by you. It looks excellent, and is of very high quality.

I have two issues with the outer Jedi robe though, that in combo with the awkward boot pose, pull this score down. First, there is no hem on the cloak. Okay, I heard you groan about that. Yes, I know that the robe in the film was old and worn, with a tattered and rough edge. Sideshow went for that look, and if they didn't, people would be complaining as well. But when material starts to fray at the edge, especially in this scale, it tends to keep fraying. I'm concerned about how well the robe will hold up over time to even basic handling, and frayed threads could become an issue down the line.

My other issue is with the size of the hood. It lacks the wire that Jedi Luke had (since there's no seam to hide it in), and is far less poseable. It's also attached to the shoulders in such a way as to make it difficult to keep it forward over the face. It wants to drift back on the head, exposing the whole face, and looking slightly odd. I can get it into a position that looks good for a few minutes, but over time it settles back again, because of it's smaller size and close attachment on the body. In the end, the figure is going to look far better long term with the hood folded down, and it really does appear that it was designed with this in mind.

Other than those nits though, the costume is great. While I'm not as impressed with it as I was Vader's or Han's, it's certainly quality work.

BTW, you'll want to steam this outfit. I haven't tried that before, since any clothes I wanted to iron could be removed. But with this PF figure, that's not possible, and yet he comes mighty wrinkled right out of the box. Set your iron on steam, or get the old tea pot out, and you'll be able to remove most of the wrinkles, especially in the robe, pretty easily.

Accessories - regular ***; exclusive ***1/2
The regular edition includes his heavy, high gloss black display base, and his light saber. These two work in concert to give you the light up feature. The base matches Vaders, and in fact, is identical. Mine had a few scuffs, but wasn't in too bad of shape.

The lightsaber is the OT version, but I had some trouble getting it to lock all the way in place. Other folks have noted that it looks bent in his hands. You can try adjusting the pin, but be very careful! Remember that the hilt is merely polystone, and can easily chip or break.

I was unsure about the tapered end on the lightsaber at first, but I think that lit up, it looks much better. The saber itself looks terrific, and the sculpt and weathering are extremely well done.

The exclusive version comes with the training remote, suspended over a piece of the Falcon deck. The rod is black metal rather than clear plastic, probably to hold the weight over time, be less prone to breakage, and so it could be very thin.  However, I would have preferred a clear one if possible.  The black is a tad too obvious in the display, unless you have him in front of a black wall.

Light Up Feature - ***
Like the PF Vader, Obi-wan features a light up saber. This is powered either by using the included batteries in the base, or by plugging the included adaptor into the wall. The inclusion of both these options is a very nice touch, and adds some value to the feature overall.

Vader's red saber had some trouble with the light up feature, since it didn't light very evenly. It was quite bright at the two ends, but much less bright through the length of plastic. Ben's saber, which is blue, is much brighter the entire length of the blade, and much more film accurate in a darkened room.  I took two identical photos for you to compare - first, one with the lights on, and then one in a slightly darkened environment.  And no, that photo was not touched up in any way.

Now, I suspect the differences in the brightness of the saber's is due to the long wave lengths of red light versus the short wave lengths of blue light, but it's been way too long since I had a physics class to be sure. I don't think it actually has anything to do with differences in the manufacture or electronics between the two figures.

Of course, there could be some differences in the circuitry that makes Ben's brighter, since Vader also had to light all those buttons on his chest. But I doubt it - I'm voting for physics.

I did have a lot of trouble getting mine to connect, however.  I was never able to get it to completely fit tight to the hilt in his hand, and it had to be in just the right spot to even remain lit.  I may try to bend the pin a bit, but be very careful - the hilt is just resin and could easily be broken.  This brought the light up feature down for me, and had I not had the issues with the connection, it would have been four stars this time around.

Fun Factor - *1/2
These aren't toys, so this category is fairly irrelevant. Of course, if you're Donald Trump and can afford $275 'toys' for your ten year old, then go for it!

Value - **1/2
Obi-wan is not an outstanding value - let's not forget you're paying almost three bills for him. And yes, I'm assuming you are paying full retail, although you might get lucky and get him cheaper. If that's the case, then by all means up the score here.

He is a beautiful statue that you'll love, but you won't feel like you got a steal. You got what you paid for, and that's always nice.

Things to watch out for - 
Ben is definitely sturdy, but you'll still want to be careful in two places. Attaching the saber to his hands can be tricky, and should be done with great care. Likewise, the metal post in his foot could damage the base if you insert it on an angle or attempt to force it. Just keep in mind how much you paid for this baby, and you'll find yourself slowing down.

You'll want to follow my steam tips above too, because there's no way Ben is going to come out of the box not looking like a Shar-pei.  Some of the photos were done unsteamed - some were steamed.  You should be able to tell the difference.  In person, it was a big improvement.

Overall -  ***1/2
I was expecting this to be a four star figure, but unfortunately I had enough issues with the saber attachment and the costume to knock it down overall a half star.  There's absolutely no doubt this is a four star sculpt, but I've head others make comments about the saber hilt attachment as well, so I know it's not just me being too picky.

Of the 4 released PF Star Wars figures, Vader remains my favorite, but Obi-wan is a close second.  Displayed together they look amazing, and make a fantastic centerpiece to even the biggest and best Star Wars collection.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - Bupkis
Outfit - ***
Light Up Feature - ***
Accessories - regular ***; exclusive ***1/2
Fun Factor - *1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall -  ***1/2

Where to Buy -
The exclusive was only available through Sideshow, and you can still get on the waitlist. They also have a waitlist up for the regular version, but there are other options as well:

- CornerStoreComics has started carrying Sideshow product (look under Sideshow, not Star Wars) and have Been for $275, but shipping is free in the U.S.!

- Dark Shadow Collectibles has Ben up at $250. They also have the pre-order for Leia up, along with a few Vaders still available.

- Fireside Collectibles don't have Ben listed, but they have some of the PF Lukes at $200, and a few Vaders left as well.

- Alter Ego doesn't have Ben, but they do have the PF Leia available for pre-order at $212.

Related Links:
Since I have a ton of Star Wars links, let's stick with the combination of Star Wars and Sideshow:

- I've reviewed the earlier PF Vader and Han Solo.

- in the 12" Star Wars line, Sideshow has released the first figure, Jedi Luke.

- and if you like the PF format, check out of the Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Frankenstein, Jason, and Vampyre (Nosferatu).

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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