Sideshow Star Wars
Obi-Wan in Clone Trooper Armor - Exclusive version

Sideshow Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi in Clone Trooper armor action figure
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi in Clone Trooper armor action figure

One of the most common gimmicks in marketing or product development is to take two different things that are popular or cool and combine them to form one. Hey, it worked with peanut butter and chocolate, why not everything else?

As you might imagine, most of the time this fails. These failures are usually even more epic because what they started with was cool, and they manage to screw it all up.  It seems like the poor Star Wars license has been particularly beset by these issues - let's combine Star Wars with motorcycles and kid's will love it! Oh, not so much. How about Star Wars and Transformers!  Uh, how about Rat Fink and Star Wars? Yea, that didn't work out so good either.

But it's not always a failure.  Whomever it is that came up with the idea to combine two great individual Star Wars designs - the cold military trooper armor with the softer, zen-like Jedi uniform - to create the look for Obi-wan during the Clone Wars deserves a big raise and a promotion.

We've gotten a few renditions of this appearance in the smaller scale toys, and even a couple statues and busts. Sideshow has just released their sixth scale version of the character, and it's important for more than one reason. First, it's their first foray into truly armored Star Wars figures.  Since they first announced this character, they've announced their Stormtroopers and armored Vader, but how well this figure turns out may be an early indication of the quality of these latest figures.

But perhaps even more important, this figure is the first using their new Armored body, jointly developed with Hot Toys. Collectors have been anticipating this release for months, hoping it will signal a major change for Sideshow's future product. This slimmer body is designed for figures wearing heavy armor (hence the name), while the Prometheus body will be first released with Indy, and be for most other normal sized figures. You can see photos of the various bodies here. Will it live up to the hype?  Let's find out!
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi in Clone Trooper armor action figure

Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure
Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure

Packaging - ****
Are you surprised?  It's Sideshow, and it's Star Wars.  Their box designs for this line has been some of the best ever produced, even with the relatively plain black and gray color scheme given to them by Lucas.

There's the usual magnetic closures on the fifth panel (which wraps around the box). The box has the usual background text, as well as photos of the figure.  And as usual, it's completely collector friendly. You can easily remove the figure from the box and put him back any time, no twisties, no damage.

There is a thin piece of plastic around the belt to protect it, but this is tied in back and can be put back on if you're that anal.

Sculpting - ****
The work here was done by the young and extremely talented Trevor Grove. Trevor hasn't been working with Sideshow that long, but every sculpt he does gets better than the previous. At this point, I don't know how he'll be able to top this one.

The detail work in the hair and beard is spooky good. THIS is how facial hair should be done. He's also captured the nuances of Obi-wan's face, from the arched eyebrow to the small moles. The detailing in the lips is subtle but noticable, and the eyes have the right amount of serious determination in the squint. Is it a perfect Ewan McGregor? I can certainly see him in there, although it's a younger Ewan than what you'd expect for Clone Wars.  Still, does it have to be an Ewan? We never say him in this armor, and to me this is more of a concept of how the realistic version of the cartoon design would look.

I'll get into greater detail on the armor in the Outfit section, but suffice to say that it's very well done.  The sculpted edges are sharp and even, with a very smooth feel to the plastic.  There's very few visible mold lines as well, a current pet peeve of mine.

The hands are all sculpted in proportion and scale, and they are designed to work nicely with the accessories and with a variety of poses.

Paint - ****
Out of all the categories, this is the only one that I waffled around a bit, because the final product is so damn good...and yet I have a couple fundamental issues.

The skin is not painted this time around, but rather the head has been cast in the skin tone color.  This is a technique that other companies use that can work extremely well, and as I've said in other cases, it doesn't matter to me whether something is painted or whether it's cast in the color - all that matters is how the final product looks.

The look here is a definite improvement over some of the past skin paint jobs we've seen from Sideshow.  That's not to say that they have this new technique down, however. It's close, but it still reminds me a little too much of my old Best of the West figures.  They've got to work on getting the skin tone a little more realistic, a little less rubbery looking. Like I said, it's close and it's a huge improvement over some of the awful skin paint jobs, but they've got a kink or two to work out.

The rest of the paint work is spot on. The hair and beard are as impressive from a paint aspect as they are from a sculpt aspect. The subtle shading of the beard, the clean eyebrows, and the nicely shaded lips all go a long way to highlighting the excellent sculpt.

The eyes are fairly even, although on mine one is slightly off center.  It's only a smidge, but I noticed. They have the catch lights painted in, something I know bugs some folks quite a bit, but fortunately they aren't too large.

Even with the issues I mentioned, I'm still giving this figure top marks in the category. This is easily the best paint work we've gotten to date on a Sideshow Star Wars non-alien character.

Articulation- ***1/2
This is the first figure to sport the new Armored body, and in some ways it's a little frustrating because of the armor. You can't strip this particular figure down to see what's under there, so much of it is still based on Sideshow's early prototype photos. You can check out a comparison of the old Buck with the new Armored and Prometheus versions here.

After just a few minutes working with this body, you can tell that it's a huge improvement over the Buck. While olcer bodies like the Buck had all the joints they really needed, those joints were not engineered and designed to flow and hang as realistically as they could. This new body makes a huge leap forward in that area.

I love the ball jointed neck, and while I bet it's pretty long looking stripped down, on a figure like this with a tall collar, it looks and works beautifully. All the other joints hae a tremendous range of movement, and provide a very human-like, relaxed look to any pose.

The hands AND feet are easily swapped. They use a post system similar to Medicom, but the posts go into the wrists in a specific way.  Line up the notches in the hole with the shape of the post, and you'll be fine. The feet also lay flat on the floor, even in deep stances, as long as you position the ball and peg properly.  I shot one photo with him in such a stance, with feet wide to the sides yet flat on the floor, to demonstrate.

The body is also quite light weight, but it does not feel cheap, or easily damaged. All the proportions are good, with no monkey arms or gangly legs, at least not in this outfit.

You will note however that they didn't get a perfect score in this category. That's because that the joints, particularly the knees and ankles, are too loose. I didn't find nearly the same level of trouble as the early days of Sideshow, where the Buck body would topple over in any stance after a few minutes, but the legs are still looser than they should be. Since this is the first use of the body, I'm not surprised there's still a few kinks to work out.

Obi-wan in armor stands about 12 1/4 inches tall, making him fit in just fine with the older Sideshow figures as well as the Medicom Clonetroopers.

Accessories - regular ***1/2; exclusive ****
Sideshow has done a nice job packing up the regular figure with some critical extras, and this is one of those rare exclusives where the extra accessory really is a great addition.

The regular figure has both the lit and unlit sabers, as well as two extra sets of hands.  The sabers look great, with thin blades and very detailed hilts. The hands are all sculpted to work with various accessories, both included and not.

I say 'not', because there are two pistol grip hands that work great with either the Trooper blasters included with the Medicom figures, or the blasters included with various past Sideshow figures. I posed him with a blaster in a couple of the shots, but I just wanted to point out explicitly that this is NOT an accessory he comes with.  However, with all the blasters you've gotten to this point, it's nice that the hands were included so he could be posed with any extra you might have.

The other pair of hands are closed fists, and these look good and are sized properlly. In fact all the hands, including the two he comes wearing (a saber holding right and a gesturing left) are properly scaled and look terrific.  The hands swap easily, stay in place when posing, and I never felt any risk of damaging the posts when removing or replacing them.

The exclusive has one additional accessory in the form of the holograpic Captain Rex.  When Sideshow first showed this extra, it was just a little clear blue figure, but the final version comes attached to a separate left gauntlet. This piece of armor can be swapped on to his right arm, and it looks fantastic. I suspect a lot of the exclusive owners will end up posing him in a similar way to my first photo above, and that kind of almost universal use of an exclusive accessory is pretty unusual. 

For those afraid he might fall over, there is the usual display stand, but you know me.  I'll be risking it, and I think that while the legs are loose, you can still get him to stay standing in most poses for sufficiently long periods.

Outfit - ***1/2
I started out this review espousing my appreciation for the coolness of the outfit design. Sideshow has done a fantastic job translating that outfit into a sixth scale version.

The outfit is made up of three main components. There's the underlying black body suit, the trooper armor, and the Jedi style robes.

The trooper armor is excellent, matching the source material well but having a distinct advantage over the Medicom troopers we've seen - the figure has far more posing ability.  Stances and arm poses that are not possible with the Medicon Clone Troopers are possible with Obi-Wan.

The armor is also much harder plastic on Obi-wan than the Medis too, but very light weight. Whether the harder or softer armor is better is probably something we won't know for years, because I suspect at some point in the distant future one of them will be more susceptible to yellowing and cracking.  Which won't be known for a very long time though, and isn't worth worrying about too much now.  With any of these figures in white armor, it's all the more important to keep them out of direct sun.

I do have a problem with the white belt, however. The belt has a brown wash over it, and it looks to me to be on purpose. I understand that in reality, it probably would be dirtier than the rest of the armor, because the belt has all those small grooves and corners to catch the dirt, whereas the larger armor pieces would easily wipe clean. Still, the look doesn't work for me, and I think I'll be trying what others have had some success with - a Q-Tip dipped in rubbing alcohol.

The outer robes look excellent as well, perfectly tailored and made from a similar material to the past robes. The cape flowing out in back has been pleated just right at the shoulders, allowing it to hang and flow naturally in just about any pose. A wire running through the edge of the cape would have been nice, but not having it doesn't bother me.

The only other issue I have with the outfit is on the underlying black body suit.  The suit does not have sewn 'pleats' in it, like the Medicom version, but rather printed ones. It's a minor nit for me though, because the suit is almost entirely hidden by the robes and armor, and had Medicom not done it properly with theirs, I never would have even noticed it was missing.

I know some folks have complained that the calf armor is too loose, but I didn't find that to be a major issue.  If you do think it needs to be tighter on his leg, you can always tuck a little tissue in there.

BTW, you'll notice that in most of the photos, I have the bicep armor technically backwards. The front of the bicep is supposed to be smooth, but in all the reference material I've found, the back is smooth as well.  While it might technically be backwards, I found that having it turned with the sculpted edge forward gave the elbow more mobility, and looked better to my eye. YMMV, and they are easy enough to turn either way.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
I doubt too many kids will ever get to play with this figure, but Obi-Wan is just as sturdy as any $20 Hasbro Star Wars figure. Could they break the lightsaber? Sure, but I've broken the Hasbro sabers just posing them. The underlying body construction feels able to take rough handling, and I didn't have any fears of breaking the wrist joints. This might be a 'collectible' action figure, but it hasn't forgotten that it's an action figure.

Value - ***
You can get the regular version of this figure for about $80.  The armor is better than Medicom's troop armor because it allows a greater range of mobility, the quality of the head sculpt and paint is very similar to Hot Toys, and the underlying body is a huge improvement over the old Buck.  Considering that you'll pay 50 - 100% more for Hot Toys and Medicom figures, you can't say you're not getting a solid value here. I'm not quite ready to go that extra half star with the slightly loose body, but if the Stormtrooper turns out this good (and he's selling about the same price with a tighter body) you'll see that extra half star in this category.

Things To Watch Out For
I've heard (and seen) some good results where folks used a q-tip and rubbing alcohol (I'd stay away from acetone) to clean up the belt. If you try it though and screw the pooch, don't come blaming me.

The hands go on and off nicely, but you do need to turn the post the right way to get them on. Pay attention to the alignment and you'll have no trouble.

Overall - ****
There's a few minor issues here, and Sideshow needs to get those joints tightened up a bit. But the new body is a huge improvement, the head sculpt is outstanding, the armor works far better than any we've gotten from other manufacturers, and overall this is one of (if not THE) nicest figure in their Star Wars line they've released so far.  I have HUGE hopes now for Vader and the Stormtroopers, and I can't wait to get my hands on their Indiana Jones.

Sideshow started out the year extremely strong with the Emperor/Senator two pack, as well as their Episode IV Obi-wan. They went in to a bit of a slump on the Star Wars license during the middle of the year though, but it looks like they'll finish it out strong, with a very bright outlook for all their sixth scale lines in '09.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2 
Overall -  ****

Where to Buy -
Obviously, Sideshow was the place, but you'll have to get on the waitlist for the exclusive or the regular version. You can check out one of these fine sponsors for the regular version:

- CornerStoreComics has him for $81.

- Alter Ego has the regular version for $81.

- Things From Another World has him for $90.

- Dark Shadow Collectibles actually has a few of the exclusive available at $125.

- in the UK, Forbidden Planet has him on sale for 50 GBP.

- you can search ebay using the sponsor

Related Links -
I've covered a ton of Star Wars sixth scale product, both from Sideshow and Medicom. From Sideshow:

- the recent Aayla Secura, Tatooine Luke and Han Solo.

- Sideshow has had a strong year so far with Commander Praji, the exceptional Palpatine/Sidous and ANH Obi-Wan, and the not quite so exceptional Ilum Padme.

- also in the sixth scale line, I've reviewed Leia and Bespin Luke, the Holo-chess set, Sideshow's Asajj, a terrific figure, Yavin Luke, the Endor Troops, Jabba the Hutt and his throne, Bib Fortuna, Jedi Luke, Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, Bespin Han Solo, regular Anakin Skywalker and Kit Fisto.

- I also have guest reviews of the SDCC Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, and Qui-Gon Jinn.

- in the premium format line, I've reviewed Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Han Solo.

From Medicom:

- there's a guest review of the Shocktrooper, as well as  ROTS Vader, Jedi Luke, VCD Yoda, Boba Fett, and the Trooper.

- I've looked at Wicket, Darth Maul, the 501st Clone Trooper, Jango Fett, the SandtrooperBoba FettDarth Vader, the regular Stormtrooper, and Clonetrooper and Blackhole Trooper.

Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  Averaging and Converting to a five star system for comparison is: 5.0

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Sideshow Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi in Clone Armor action figure

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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