Animated Clone Wars Series 1
Obi-Wan, Anakin, Mace, Asajj

Here's another one of those guest reviews that I'm way behind on - the first wave of animated Clone Wars figures by Sean Teeter.  If you haven't heard, wave 2 is already hitting Target, so head's up!

Now that Hasbro’s released three waves of figures inspired by the animated Clone Wars serials, it’s about time to turn out figures directly based on the animated versions of these Star Wars characters. Of course if you want to look at it dollars and cents-wise, Lucas & Hasbro have some time to kill before the next ten episodes air in March, so why not make a few bucks while we’re all waiting?

Of course this is also a chance for Hasbro to do something different with their Star Wars line and change can be a good thing. Sometimes . . . 

The fist wave includes Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, Anakin Skywalker, and Asajj Ventress. There is a second wave due out later on with Yoda, Count Dooku, Durge, and a really cool looking Clone Trooper.

Packaging - ***1/2
I have to say that this is probably the best looking packaging that I’ve seen in any Star Wars line for a long time. The big, black lettering really leaps out at you, and the cartoon explosion looks cool against the white background. Each blister has a large cutout of the character as opposed to the small photo-art images found in the standard lines. The back has a large clear picture of the animated character, a small generic write-up, and a column of pencil art from the series. Not exactly collector friendly, but it looks excellent for those who like to keep their figures mint on card. I would have preferred the Cartoon Network on the back as opposed to being displayed on the front, but I’m not going to quibble over the advertising of a channel that carries The Power Puff Girls, Futurama, Space Ghost, and other classic shows.

Just a little note: the bubbles on these cards are pretty big and don’t fit well into standard Protech Star Cases. The Star Case 2 works better, but is still a little tight from side to side.

Sculpting - Obi-Wan Kenobi: *** ½; Mace Windu: ***; Asajj Ventress: ** ½; Anakin Skywalker: **
Talk about the full spectrum! 
Since none of these figures are articulated from the waist down and are basically poseable statues, I graded them on how well they hold their poses and look in general.

Obi-Wan is the hands-down winner in this category. Not only is he a dead ringer for his animated counterpart, but his action pose is the best looking out of the four. He looks great no matter which way his waist is turned, or which hand is holding his saber. Of course, he can also hold it with both hands –always a plus. The facial expression is also pretty killer –Obi-Wan looks like he’s either just conquered an army of rampaging droids with ease, or smoked a bowl of some killer ganja. You pick.

Mace’s streamlined robes look really cool on him. In fact, everything about him just screams “cartoon badass”. Well everything except his slight touch of pinhead syndrome. Especially in comparison to the length and thickness of his neck, Mace’s melon just seems a tad on the small side.
Ventress also looks pretty close to her cartoon self, but the expression on her face is pretty neutral as opposed to her usual pissed-off self. I would have also liked her arms to be a little thinker, especially at the wrists –they feel pretty fragile. Her hand sculpts are also a little weak when it comes to her light saber grips, so you’ll need to toy with positioning the weapons until you find the sweet spot. There are mold lines everywhere on her body as well: on her arms, robes, head –it’s hard to escape them and they hurt her look.

Anakin may be in line with the animated version, but something just doesn’t look right. His face looks pretty ugly, almost as if Ani got hit in the nose recently. His goofy bowed-in legs also hurt the final look, even though he can stand fine on them. His robotic hand looks pretty cool, but the separate plastic used for it is extremely flimsy and feels like it could twist in half. You have to be very careful when turning it at its articulation point.

Paint - Obi-Wan Kenobi: ***; Mace Windu & Asajj Ventress: ** ½; Anakin Skywalker: **
The paint schemes are pretty simple, but look quite presentable. Every figure, save Anakin, has perfectly painted faces. Ani’s hairline has some sever bleeding, but looks nice otherwise. Obi-Wan has a little bleeding where his robes meet his legs, but other than that he’s dead perfect. Mace has some problems where his wristbands meet his hands, as well as around the shoulders. He’s close to a three-star figure, but the bleeding is a problem. Ventress’s belt around the back is a mess. Grey paint just seems to have dripped in and dried on the inside of her belt. There’s also some bleeding around the hands as well, but her front sash patterns are clean.

Anakin is the problem child again. There’s bleeding with his left hand, on his legs, on his head, and an ugly splotch on his neck. 

Articulation - **
First thing’s first: these are more along the lines of articulated statues as opposed to true action figures. In fact, their look and posing seems slightly reminiscent of the inaction figures produced for the View Askew characters (Jay, Dante, Randal, Silent Bob, etc.).

That being said, each figure has a paltry four points of articulation except for Anakin who’s graced with a fifth. 
Each figure has cuts at the shoulders and neck, except for Ventress who has a ball-joint head. Ventress, Kenobi, and Anakin all have waist cuts. Mace and Anakin have cuts at their right forearms. 
While not the greatest, you can at least vary their poses, especially with Ventress and Obi-Wan. Despite having the most points, Anakin gets the least help due to his sculpt.

The real shame here is that I found several places on these figures where articulation could have easily been added without compromising their looks. Except for Anakin’s left arm, each figure could have had left and right forearms cuts, Mace could have easily had a waist cut, and they all could have had various leg cuts, even though they stand perfectly they way they are. 

Accessories - **
I know that most Jedi and Sith don’t require much besides their lightsabers, but that’s usually not true for us consumers. Each of these figures comes with a stand and their lightsaber (2 in Ventress’s case). The stands themselves are black slabs of plastic with the Star Wars logo and Clone Wars subtitle underneath. There is a single peg for each figure to use. Of course, each figure stands just fine on its own, and Ventress doesn’t even have a peg hole in either of her feet.

The saber designs look pretty cool and retain the animated look and individuality of each weapon as opposed to looking generic. Obi-Wan probably has the best looking hilt, whereas Mace’s is kind of plain. The paint ops on the handles are a little hit and miss and there’s some bleeding to be found where the hilt meets the blade. 

Durability/Quality - Mace Windu & Obi-Wan Kenobi: ***; Anakin Skywalker & Asajj Ventress: **
Mace and Obi-Wan are pretty solid, but Asajj and Anakin have some pretty fragile elements to their arms. 

Value - *3/4
These figures are Target exclusives, just like the regular Clone Wars line. Of course, that didn’t keep that line from popping up at K.B. Toys and $6.99 is a ridiculous price when they sell the regular line for four and a half –now three and a half in some places! Personally due to the lack of accessories and articulation, I’d feel much more comfortable paying about $4 for these at most. 

Online prices are a tad insane, as usual. 
Action-HQ has the set of four for $76.95 (roughly $19.24 apiece).  But at these ridiculous prices, it might be best to comb Ebay if you can’t make it to a Target.

Overall - Obi-Wan Kenobi & Mace Windu: ***; Asajj Ventress: ** ½; Anakin Skywalker: **
To be honest, Obi-Wan is the best figure of the bunch, but Mace was close enough in my opinion to be bumped up alongside him. (That and I didn’t feel like throwing in a ** ¾ into the final ratings anyway. Lazy me.) 

These figures are defiantly not toys as there’s very little play value. They don’t interact with any other figures in the Star Wars line and are not built with playsets and vehicles in mind. I think Hasbro knows damn well that collectors are the prime target group for this series, especially when you look at the beautiful packaging made for us MOC displayers. 

Loose, they’re statues with some room for pose variations. For the most part they look pretty cool: Obi-Wan’s pose is great, Mace’s outfit is pretty cool, and Asajj Ventress is a female Sith with two lightsabers –does she really need to have anything else? Anakin just isn’t up to par with the rest of the bunch. With the combination of his flimsy right arm, Pug face, and wacky legs, he just fails to look as neat and unique as his counterparts.

The $6.99 price tag really sours this bunch –especially for those of us who tend to buy two of each figure (one to open, one to display on the wall). There is no reason Target should be charging this much for these figures, especially when they’re being sold alongside brand new Saga figures that are at the regular four and a half bucks. I did go a little easy on value in the final score –if I hadn’t, no figure would be out of the 2 star range. However, I’m sure that if you wait a while, the prices should drop. Can’t say the same about the crazy online listings though.

I really do like the look of these figures –the series itself shares a lot in common with the design work of Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory, and the Power Puff Girls (as well as some of their senior staff and voice artists), and I think it translates really well into these sculpts. I’m looking forward to the next wave, but I’m not planning on paying as much next time around. 

Figures from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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