Qui-Gon Jinn mini-bust

There are many toy companies out there (although fewer than in the past, and fewer every day). Some companies consistently produce works of art. Some consistently foist hunks of crap upon us. In both cases, it's the consistency that counts. When certain companies get a license, I have a very good feeling that what we'll end up with will look terrific. When other companies get a license, well, let's just say that when it turns out bad, I'm not shocked.

But then there are those companies that drive me crazy. One minute they can produce the most amazing figure, bust or statue you've ever seen, and the next they produce something that looks like Johnny Depp after he's been embalmed. And then thrown off a train. And eaten by wolves. Gentle Giant is one such company.

There are times when they produce figures or busts that truly take your breathe away. Just look at the Snape or Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series of busts, and you'll see what I mean. Other times, most often when hired by other companies to do sculpts, the work is less than stellar. Look no further than the mass market Charlie and the Chocolate Factory figures. So when I hear GG is working on something, I never know if it's going to be A game, or C game.

Since I just raved about the latest Harry Potter busts earlier this week, it seems only fair to point out that one of the recent Star Wars releases, Qui-Gon Jinn, isn't quite at the same level. You can find this guy at many online retailers, and expect to pay around $40 - $45, depending on the retailer.

Packaging - ***
Gentle Giant is going with the window here - it seems to vary from bust to bust and line to line these days. I like the window, but you have to admit that the box itself couldn't get much plainer. It does protect the Jedi extremely well, though, and there is the usual COA inside. And yes, it's itty bitty, but at least it's still there.

Sculpting - ***
The sculpt itself isn't too bad, and they have managed to pull of an extremely good Jinn likeness, ignoring the pose, hair and beard. You can definitely see Jinn - and Neesom - in this sculpt, even if you live with a seeing eye dog.

I won't get into everything I hate about the pose til the design section, so let's stick with the technical details here. There's good work on the cloak and clothes, with a nice texturing and good flow to the wrinkles and folds. While the hand looks a touch small, proportions are generally good.

The two biggest issues are the hair and the beard. The hair itself lacks some of the detail you'd generally expect, particularly where it lays over the shoulder and looks more like poured clay instead of hair. It's much less defined than even many action figures these days.

Ah, but that's nothing compared to the beard. The hash mark approach to the scraggily facial hair didn't look too bad in the prototype, but it didn't quite translate so well to production piece. This technique can work when done well - and when painted well - but it didn't meet either criteria here.

Paint - **1/2
The sculpt is good though, if not fantastic. The paint lets the sculpt down though, taking away from it rather than improving on it.

The facial tone is a tad pasty, and you really don't want to shine any bright lights on this guy. It will wash him out right away in color, and the face is also a tad shiny. Most early photos I saw of production pieces were using a flash, and that really, really makes him appear awful.

Cut some of the bright light out and he looks better, but that doesn't mean he isn't too pasty or too shiny. It just helps hide the issue a little more. The beard paint work doesn't help the appearance, looking very unrealistic and fake.

The detail work on the costume is good, and the color selection works every where except for the cloak. Here, they've gone with a brown cloak with very black wash to fill in the lower folds and appear like shadows. However, many of these folds aren't all that deep, and the difference between the black and brown is so distinct, that it doesn't look like shadows or even dirt - it just looks like black paint.

And finally, while the face and cloak are a tad shiny, the eyes aren't. They seem almost flat in finish, which makes little sense.

Design - **
So let's talk about Jesus...uh, I mean Jinn. Now, I fully realize that Qui-Gon is designed to appear as though he is doing the mind trick, waving his hand at someone he wishes to confuse. But there isn't anyone who doesn't also recognize that this is two thirds of the standard Sacred Heart pose that we've seen Jesus in many, many times.

There's no heart, and there's no left hand pointing to it (thankfully), but that doesn't make the obvious imagery any less of a match for most folks. And ignoring any religious implications or other nonsense, choosing a design that so closely mirrors a common, well known pose is just plain distracting. When I look at a statue or bust of Qui-Gon, I want to see a dynamic, impressive Jedi who was often a little too quick to temper. I don't want to see it and be reminded of somebody else. It was simply a bad design choice.

Value - **1/2
Qui-Gon runs the same price as most other Star Wars GG busts - $40 - $45. But unlike someone like, say, the Emperor, who rose quickly in value upon release, I suspect this poor Jedi is going to hang around awhile. The large run size (5000) doesn't help any, but that may mean you'll get a good deal with a little patience.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much. Since there's a window, you can look for the best paint possible. Since you'll have to buy this online, that's really a moot point.

Overall - **1/2
If you're like me and you're a completist on this line of busts, than picking up Qui-Gon is a no brainer. Is he a great bust? No, but if you suffer from my sickness, then that matters not.

For those of you with more sanity, this is one that could easily be a pass. I don't know if we'll ever get another Qui-Gon bust from GG though, since it's not like he had a lot of variant possibilities.

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

Where to Buy - 
Online options include:

- Fireside Collectibles has a great price at just $40, in stock now.

- Dark Shadow Collectibles his him in stock for $41.

- Alter Ego has the bust available for $42.50.

- Amazing Toyz has him available now for $44.

- CornerStoreComics has him in stock for $45.

- YouBuyNow has him at $47.50.

Related Links - 
I've reviewed a couple of the recent GG Star Wars releases:

- like Palpatine, Lando in his skiff disguise, and there was a recent guest review of the Darth Vader statue.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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