Sideshow Obi-Wan Kenobi

There were hundreds of characters, dozens of them important, across the span of the six Star Wars films. And yet, only four characters were in all six films - C-3PO, R2-D2, Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Of all the Jedi Masters (well, of those that don't go all dark side on us), he's the man, and yet he never seems to get his due. It's always the quiet ones that get forgotten.

Fortunately, Sideshow hasn't forgotten him. We already got the quarter scale Premium Format of old Ben, and now they've released the sixth scale version of Obi-wan in his younger Ewan McGregor days.

There is a regular version, and not surprisingly, an exclusive version. The exclusive, reviewed here, includes the additional blaster taken from General Grievous, and used to defeat him in a rather un-Jedi like way. There were a whopping 7500 produced of the regular version, with only 1750 of the exclusive.

Packaging - ****
I've raved about the Star Wars packaging every review, and yet it's worth mentioning again. Terrific graphics, including a head shot of the character right from the film, are scattered across the outside, while the interior contains lots of info on the franchise along with Ob-Wan himself.

The magnetic closures were a brilliant idea, and the work extremely well. The entire package is completely collector friendly, with no real damage necessary to get the figure out and put him back, if you feel so inclined. They added a plastic brace around the head to better hold it in place in the tray, and to keep it from touching the top lid of the tray. That's probably there now to avoid paint rubs, which occurred on some of the past releases.

The Lord of the Rings releases will have a slightly different style box, but I suspect it was be as nice - or even nicer - than these. It's going to be tough to top this design though for it's compactness and quality.

Sculpting - ***1/2; 
This was an extremely difficult category for me on this figure. I had to stare at him a long time, compare him to a lot of photos, and still I kept waffling around between *** and ***1/2.

From the tip of the nose up, this is an excellent sculpt. The hair is almost perfect, and even the beard sculpt is one of the best we've seen. The eyebrows are a little heavy, but even the mole on his forehead is the right size and placement. And speaking of size, the scale on this head is about right, and young Ben has no worries about being compared to a bobble head.

From the nose down is where we hit some issues, and once again it's really with the shape of the jaw line. Han was too pudgy, and now Obi-wan is too gaunt. His jaw comes in sharply, making a had V, while the character (and actor) have a softer, rounder jaw line.

Still, Obi-wan (and Ewan) is a harder character to pull off, because his face has less 'personality'. There isn't as much for the sculptor to work with or exploit in his appearance that makes him immediately recognizable, and I suspect that if I ran into McGregor on the street, I'd know I knew him from someplace...but not exactly where. Those types of faces are always harder to capture, and the effort here is better than 80% there.

I also want to thank Sideshow for going with a stern yet normal expression. While it was noble of them to go with a more 'moment in time' expression for Luke and Kit, I'm glad they stuck with something a little more timeless with Obi-wan.

Paint - ***
When I first saw photos of this figure, I thought I'd be grading it low in the paint category (or at least lower than I'd hoped) due to all the brown, with no apparant highlighting or shadowing. I'm happy to say, that once I had mine in hand, that was not the case.

In fact, there is enough highlighting and shadowing on the hair, moustache and beard to make it look quite realistic. The hairline is extremely clean as well, and the paint work on the eyes and mouth looks terrific. There's just enough gloss to make them appear wet, and they are so realistic that in one photo you'll notice two catchlights in the eyes - one they painted in, and one actually produced by the gloss paint in the light!

So why the lower paint score? Because mine came with an issue that is hopefully not consistent. Obi has a much darker area of skin in the center of his forehead, that spreads down onto the bridge of his nose and the top half of his cheeks. It appears that they were air brushing on a darker skin tone, and rested a tad too long right between the eyes. Now, when I selected the photos for the review, I used the ones with the most light on the face, which tended to hide the issue. However, the final photo in the review shows how it looks in person, and it is that noticeable. Hopefully the person painting yours has a smoothly hand. Had my figure NOT had this one particular issue, this would have been a four star paint job.

Articulation - ***
Obi-wan is on the standard sized Sideshow body, which on the plus side means no monkey arms. On the minus side, Sideshow needs to move forward with their body designs.

I remember being at Toy Fair many years ago, maybe 8 or 9 at this point, when I first saw Dragon's new sixth scale body. They were a brand new company, and so small that they themselves weren't actually at Toy Fair. Instead, a small importer had them on display in their even smaller booth, off to one side. And while they weren't a big presence, I remember thinking that the world of sixth scale was about to radically change, with double jointed shoulders and knees, cut biceps and thighs, and improved proportions.

Once everyone caught up in terms of the number of joints, what was next? In the world of men's razors, they just keep adding more blades...was that the answer? More and more articulation, no matter how useless? Nope. The answer was to design those same joints and bodies in ways that allowed for more natural posing and more relaxed, realistic stances. Companies like Hot Toys and Medicom, and other small outfits, like Triad Toys, have made great strides in producing more realistic sixth scale bodies, It's time for Sideshow to look at their bodies and do the same.

Obi-Wan has all the articulation you could want, including a ball jointed neck. The joints are all tight, and I had no trouble getting him to hold deep stances or stand indefinitely on his own. Even the arms were tight enough to hold the Greivous blaster up high, which is a bit of a trick since it's quite heavy. But the poses and stances are simply not as natural and realistic as we get from other bodies currently on the market.

One issue that's been a problem with some of the releases is corrected here. I had no trouble with the hands popping off too easily, and yet they go on and off easily enough as to not be frustrating. That's a big improvement and well worth noting.

Outfit - ***1/2
I had a couple minor nits with Obi-wan's clothing, but minor is the best way to describe them.

He has a dark brown under shirt, with full sleeves. Although you're unlikely to ever display him in only this shirt, it still sports all the quality of materials and stitching that the rest of the outfit has. It shows through the lighter, thinner material of the tunic.

The tunic and 'vest' (there's some Jedi word to describe this thing, but I'm not quite enough of a geek to remember it) are both made from a lighter, gauzy material, that would breathe in hot climates. Not that a 12" plastic doll cares one way or another, but it approximates reality that much better.

Over this is his pleather belt, with some items glued on - like the food capsules - while others are separate accessories. The belt is removable (as is the entire outfit), but you should take some care. The belt fits tightly without being impossible to get on and off, and the tailoring on the shirts and vest is excellent.

Then there's his pants. This is one of the areas I have a minor issue with. These are tailored in a way that's probably accurate to the movie, but still looks somewhat dopey. They are like riding pants, with larger, more billowy thighs and tight ankles. It's already the natural inclination of pants to ride up the thigh when you put on tight boots, but in this case, with the poofy thighs, they *really* ride up. In fact, this is a pair of pants that really needed the stocking feet that the Bespin Han had, to keep them in place.

Right out of the package they looked atrocious, but I pulled off the boots, and used a couple of those little clear rubber bands to affix the pant leg to the ankle. While it didn't completely solve the problem, it went a long way to keep them tucked in deeper when I put the boots back on.

And speaking of the boots, they rock. Almost all the boot sculpts on the Sideshow Star Wars figures have been exceptional, and these are another pair to add to that list. The lighter brown color also goes a long way to breaking up some of the monotony of the Jedi display.

Finally, he has his Jedi robe. Like previous versions, there's a wire in the edge of the hood, allowing you to better position it both over his head and hanging down his back. There is no snap or hook at the neck however (I was spoiled by Jedi Luke), and the bottom edge has been left unhemmed to appear ragged. Even young Obi-wan couldn't afford the expensive cloaks. Because of the light color of Anakin's vest and tunic, he's the first of the Jedi that I actually prefer wearing the heavy outer robe all the time. I suspect Qui-Gon will be the second for the same reason.

Accessories - ***1/2
Sideshow is taking advantage of the string of Jedi they've produced, reusing plenty of accessories across the board. Obi-wan has the rebreather, the itty bitty holo projector (once again with sticky stuff on the back), and the communicator we've seen before. He also has several removable pouches on his belt, 3 or 4, that open and can be used to hold various accessories. Be careful when you're carrying him around though, as they can fall off without you noticing and end up as cat toys pretty easily.

He also has two extra hands. In the package, he had a light saber gripping left hand and a blaster gripping right hand. Packed as accessories were a light saber gripping right hand, and a force left hand. As I mentioned earlier, these go on an off smoothly without falling off too easily.

The sculpted blaster hand might seem silly if you didn't get the exclusive - which includes a blaster - but it actually works quite well with the electro-binoculars. These bad boys look terrific, and can be held neatly by the blaster hand, right up to his eyes.

As with all Jedi, Obi-wan has his light saber. There's two versions, lit and unlit. Had they gone with one saber with a removable blade, that blade would have had to be much thicker. I'm glad they went with the two versions option instead, and both sabers look great. The unlit version also fits on his belt in the clip fairly well.

Finally, the exclusive version comes with Greivous' blaster. Obi-wan turned this blaster on him to defeat him in a very non-Jedi fashion. This blaster is one of the better exclusive accessories, not because it's particularly crucial to the storyline, but because it was extremely well done. There's a ton of detail to the sculpt, and the blaster was made from a very solid, heavy material.

Fun Factor - ***
While these aren't being produced for kids to play with, they still could be, especially of those kids were old enough to appreciate the fragility of some of the accessories. I wouldn't give one of these to my 5 year old son, but if he was 10 - 12, and a huge fan of the movies, these figures would be great for them to put on their shelf, and repose on a regular basis. I would recommend though that they avoid undressing and redressing them though, as kids that age tend to have less patience than your average adult.

Value - **1/2
There's plenty of re-use in the accessories, and Obi-wan's costume is not the most complex. At around $50, he's an average value. However, if you picked up the exclusive (which sold for the same price), or you picked up Obi-wan through an online retailer for closer to $40, you can add another half star here.

Things to Watch Out For - 
The leather belts on the Jedi tend to be a tad fragile. If you are goint to undress and redress him - a common solution to cleaning up his appearance - take care and time in working with the belt.

Overall - ***1/2
I had high hopes that Obi-wan would be the first four star 12" Sideshow Star Wars figure. They've came close with a couple of their past attempts, but have been thwarted by unexpected issues. Again, Obi-wan is close, but both there are enough minor issues - especially the weird paint on the face I received - to hold him back from the ultimate goal.

From what I've seen, neither Mace or Qui-Gon will make it either, although Qui-Gon has perhaps the best head sculpt in terms of accuracy of the line so far. Will it be Maul? I'm hopeful, but he's on the short body so worries of the dreaded monkey arms abound. And what about the Lord of the Rings line? With the huge onslaught of Star Wars figures now shipping, perhaps Sideshow will be able to focus their efforts on getting those out, and perhaps they'll pull a four star first. Hey, it might not be as important as a Middle East peace plan, but it's a hell of a lot more fun!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ***1/2; 
Paint - ***
Outfit - ***1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Value -  **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy - 
It should be no surprise that your best bet is online. However, because Obi-Wan was so early in the pre-order process, very few retailers have him available at this point.

- Sideshow has the wait list for the regular () and the exclusive () versions.

Related Links - 
Lots of Sideshow 12" Star Wars so far: 

- there's my reviews of the Bespin Han, regular Anakin, Kit Fisto, and Jedi Luke

- and there's a guest review of Qui-Gon, and the SDCC exclusive Anakin.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour