Gentle Giant Star Wars
Obi-Wan mini-bust

There's been no shortage of Obi-wan Kenobi collectibles over the years - figures, statues, busts, etc. - but in the last few they have tended to be focused on his younger Ewan Macgregor self. The old version that many fans grew up with has almost seemed retired.

But that's changing with a couple new releases from the big collectibles companies. First out is Gentle Giant's new Obi-Wan mini-bust, to be followed later this year by Sideshow's sixth scale Obi-Wan. Sideshow already produced the exceptional Premium Format version, so with these two additions, collectors will have a trifecta of excellent product.

Tonight I'm reviewing the GG mini-bust, which was a limited edition of 6000. He runs around $45 at most stores, although you might find a bargain.

Packaging - ***
You've seen this box more than once. It's got to be pretty easy to crank these out, since you just swap out the graphic and throw on the new name. Still, having the front window is a huge plus for me, and the box and interior shell is well designed when it comes to keeping the bust safe.

There's also the nifty baseball card style COA, which has become a sort of collectible in itself.

Sculpting - ****
This is not the BEST Obi-wan sculpt we've gotten - I still give that honor to the Sideshow PF version. But it's damn close. From most angles, he looks dead on, but he does look a smidge young. By that I mean that while there are some of the tell tale age wrinkles in the critical spots (around the eyes, a couple on the forehead, etc), there other skin is entirely smooth. Aging doesn't produce a couple big wrinkles and everything else stays smooth. It effects the entire face, which isn't quite translated here.

But don't get me wrong, because that's a very minor complaint and not enough to hold this guy back from a four star score. The hair is properly detailed, and the style looks great. It's also apparent that GG is listening to fans, at least in terms of the detail on the clothing. One complaint many collectors have had is the lack of any sort of texturing on the clothing, making them appear less realistic. They've corrected that to some degree here, using a combination of paint and sculpt to add some interesting detail. It's particularly noticeable along the edges of the cloak, where there is an irregular pattern of wear and tear. It's an effect that works pretty well in this scale, and is a nice addition.

Paint - ***1/2
The quality of the paint ops themselves is top notch this time around, with clean lines between the hair and face, the eyes and iris', and the various pieces of clothing. There's almost zero slop, and no bleed, with clean cuts all around. Colors are also quite consistent and even, with good coverage. Even the dry brushing done on the hair to add some depth and differentiation to the gray color works great.

My two nits in this category that take it down a half star revolve around the face. First, he's a tad too pale. Now, Sir Alec wasn't exactly George Hamilton, but he wasn't Lestat either. The face is too pale for my tastes, but not by too much.

The other issue is with the lack of gloss coat on the eyes. We all know how important it is to NOT have gloss on the skin or hair. I think that particular topic has been beaten into the ground over the last several years (and yet companies still seem to have trouble understanding it), but just as important is HAVING a gloss coat on the eyes. If you use the same matte finish on the eyes that is on the hair and face (which saves money of course), then you get that mannequin/zombie look. The eyes lack life with a dull coat, because real eyes have that sparkly wet appearance. Now, adding that finish to the eyes means another paint op, which means more money, and I suspect that companies figure they can get by. But if they want their product to stand out, they need to consider it.

Design - ****
Obi-wan is in a traditional pose, sort of looking thoughtful but not angry, with his left hand up, hiding the fact that his right hand has retrieved his light saber and is ready to strike. I love this pose because it speaks to the wisdom and cunning of the Jedi Master, preparing for the battle without telegraphing his immediate intentions. It's a subtle idea, but one that makes this design rise above mere craft to art.

Value -**1/2
At $45, he runs pretty much the same as the rest of the mini-busts out there. It is interesting (at least to me) to note that in the last 6 years, the average price of a mini-bust has pretty much stayed the same, while the average price of an action figure has doubled in many cases. You could argue that it's because the mini-bust makers always had a bigger margin to play with in the first place, but it still makes me go hmmmm...

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not a thing. Of course you always want to check the paint ops if you can, but I feel pretty confident from what I've heard that there is some solid consistency here with the quality.

Overall - ****
Although the edition size on this guy is fairly high, some online stores are already selling out. That tends to happen with the really, really well done busts, particularly those that revolve around OT characters. A lot of folks are going to want to add the old Ben to their display, so if you're one of them, I'd pick him up sooner rather than later.

Oh, there's a couple minor paint issues for me, but put this guy on the shelf and back up a foot and you'll be amazed at how good he looks.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt -  ****
Paint - ***1/2
Design - ****
Value -  **1/2
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
Sponsors that have this available include:

- Hero Hunt has an excellent price of $40, and he's in stock.

- Andrew's Toyz has him at just $41.

- Amazing Toyz has him listed at $44, but still on pre-order.

- likewise for Cornerstorecomics, where the pre-order is up at $44.

Related Links -
Other reviews:

- other Star Wars mini-busts Iíve covered include Jango Fett, Zuckuss, Chewbacca and Darth Maul, Jedi Luke, Qui-Gon Jinn, Palpatine and Skiff Lando.

- and if you're looking for another great version of Old Ben, check out Sideshow's Premium Format version

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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