The new S.H. Figuarts Figuarts Ben Kenobi from Episode IV A New Hope (man, that is cumbersome to say out loud) has arrived. I almost missed out on this figure. I remember seeing early solicits. Then next I heard people were waiting for the release a month away. Fortunately, my buddy over at Xavier Cal Customs still had some in stock and I pulled the trigger. Still, I wonder how someone who keeps his ear to the ground about action figures missed most of the presale?
Regardless, the Figuarts Ben Kenobi is now mine. Actually, I have all three of their efforts. I’m hoping I don’t miss out on the Episode III version, because (and I am already prepared for the @ mentions because of this) I prefer Ewan McGregor. As someone who saw Episode IV in theaters during its first run, I think there is some kind of law that states I HAVE to love Sir Alec Guinness. Lord knows I know people who will gleefully tell you how much they hate the prequels and how The Last Jedi is the greatest Star Wars anything ever made. That they’re sick of the Skywalkers and thinks Star Wars would be (not exaggerating) so much better without the stupid Jedi crap. If only there were sci-fi franchises that didn’t have Jedi in them, right?
The same people also go out of their way to eschew everything that in any way represents childhood. As if, in their mind, there is a clearly delineated line between “this was my childhood, this is my adulthood.” They constantly hate modern comics, etc while at the same time maintaining that the comics they see as formative in their life mosaic were the exceptions but everything else is just indulgences to preoccupy children. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me,” I suppose.
I’m really in no danger of those people reading this since they constantly tell me how my collecting action figures is diagnosable and all comes back to some Freudian desire to sleep with my mom. I made up the part about my mom.
While I won’t go too in-depth on this matter, it is a phenomenon that I genuinely do not understand… the hatred of an activity/hobby/intellectual property so much but you still participate in those things so you can “own” people because they suck. It’s very odd to me, and I was a moderator on the world’s largest musician forum for about a decade. It’s frustrating to be constantly insulted by a people simply for still enjoying the things we all enjoyed as children.
Where was I? Oh, that’s right, Sir Alec Guinness is a dick. There, I said it. Apologies to any family of his. He was probably a swell guy personally. However, his interactions with Star Wars fans do a pretty good job of painting him as a dick. I’m sure you’ve all heard the story of how a young fan once told him he’d seen Star Wars a hundred times and would like an autograph, only to have his hero, Obi-Wan, tell him he would only sign it if he agreed to never watch Star Wars again.
You’re right, it’s probably not fair to judge him from that one interaction. It’s quite possibly an example of the same “toxic fandom” I mentioned earlier, which itself is a smaller case study in the larger issue the Star Wars fanbase seems to have at the moment. However, I am not sure the man understood what Star Wars, and by extension, his character, meant to all of us. I mean, I even sat through the entirety of The Bridge On the River Kwai at 8 years old, simply because he was in it.
He probably wasn’t a dick in general. I should take that back. Just because he didn’t care for the pop culture entity that brought him back to the forefront of a new generation of movie fan’s minds doesn’t mean he’s a jerk. I imagine it was just a gig for him. Regardless, I prefer Ewan. He’s just my Obi-Wan. He played Obi-Wan in all the prequels. When we read about him in novels it’s usually this version of the Jedi master we see. In both Clone Wars cartoons (which was a lot of source material), Ewan is the version we see. Sure, it’s obvious that Ewan leaned on Guinness’ interpretation. Yet that iteration of the character was only a dominant force in A New Hope. The next two films he was relegated to “Force Ghost” for what were essentially cameo appearances. Word up.
Regardless of my own preference, Sir Alec Gunness is the Prime Kenobi. The Kenobi from which all Kenobis flow. Such is the way of the universe. It is because of this, that today we look at the new Figuarts Ben Kenobi.
What’s in the Figuarts Ben Kenobi Kenobi box?
This is a thick box. That sounded dirty. I stand by my statement. It’s a thick box. You get the figure, an alternate face, a set of lightsaber holdin’ hands, fist hands (because Obi-Wan routinely was seen engaging in fisticuffs), a set of neutral hands and finally, exactly ONE “these are not the droids you’re looking for” hand. In addition, there is a lightsaber hilt to attach to the belt and an ignited lightsaber for him to hold.
Finally, he comes with a very unique piece. He has a rubbery, detailed version of his robe after Vader struck him down and he became more powerful than anyone could possibly imagine. It was a welcomed addition to the figure and as a plus, you can put it on the carpet and your significant other/roommate will think an animal defecated on the floor. That is a solid win in my book. Let’s look at some pics.
What doesn’t work with the Figuarts Ben Kenobi?
I’m not sure where to start. I am not a fan of the hood. Mine tends to fall off a lot. Speaking of falling off, the arms on my Figuarts Ben Kenobi fall off. They fall off so much that it makes the Figma Hulk look like a feat of engineering by comparison. Let me be more specific. The right arm falls off if you attempt to lift his arms. The LEFT arm, however, is spectacular in just how poorly it’s designed. Like the right, when you left it, it falls off. It then falls apart. Then it won’t go back in without a frightening amount of force. Do you know when else it falls apart? When you attempt to swap out hands. Or place things in his hands. Like a lightsaber.
None of this is an exaggeration. I should state for the record, there is every chance mine is an exception and this isn’t happening to anyone else. Unfortunately, I could only afford one, and I try to avoid reviews of figures I’m going to review. At least until I write mine. In a nutshell, this is only my experience.
Additionally, the head choice is odd. We get a stoic head, and an eyes shut face. Both of those make sense. The eyes shut was a pretty pivotal scene, I’ll admit. However, and this is just me being selfish, but I’d have liked to have seen a smiling face. If we are trying to create pivotal scenes, those three faces would cover about every scene.
The robes look good, in a static, standing position. However, you can forget about him sitting. Or kneeling. Or almost any action pose where he isn’t just standing. He also has the tiny wrist pegs you have to chase and worry about breaking. While you’re trying to keep his arms from falling off. It’s like a puzzle for masochists. His hood looks decent, but much like the TLJ Luke, the hood often times looks like a cone. It just doesn’t lay as a hood should. Especially Obi-Wan’s.
The uselessness of his leg articulation will make you hate him. The molded robes hinder every bit of leg articulation the figure has. Combine that with soft ankle joints and he’s a challenge just to stand up. In the original trilogy, it was a mandated rule by Lucas that the lightsaber must be held in both hands. You can barely get his saber in one hand without it falling apart, let alone both hands. And by “it falling apart” I mean his lightsaber hilt. The robe sleeves are CONSTANTLY getting in the way. There was no aspect of posing him around that I enjoyed.
This brings to the forefront of my mind a bigger issue… we have many figures coming down the pike that, much like Obi-Wan here, will just be statues with MAYBE moving arms. Episode V Yoda, the Royal Guards, the Emperor, Episode I Padme. I can’t say I am a fan of this trend. I don’t collect inaction figures.
Both of his younger versions have Obi-Wan’s two-fingers up force hands. I know he never did that move in any of the original movies, but it would have been nice to toss fans of Rebels a bone, no?
Finally, I feel like his beard is too dark. I understand what they were trying to do. The real-life Sir Alec, when filming Star Wars, did indeed have some dark hair in his beard. The problem is when you’re dealing with scale, his face would have had to been covered in a LOT of dark hair for it to show at that scale. Maybe a personal anecdote could clear this up? I know people love my personal anecdotes. Back when I worked on scale models, I put together a resin 1:1400 NCC-1701 from Federation Models. I came across an article on the original model used for the filming of the original Trek series. In it, they detailed the exact color combos they used on the model. Jackpot, right?
No. You see, that model is HUGE. At 1:1400 (which is what I was working on), not so much. What you see on screen looks almost like a light grey. The model itself is painted an almost greenish color. So with my tiny model, that color looks, well, silly. It doesn’t look bad, and as a matter of fact, its one of my favorite models I’ve painted. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t look accurate to what we see on screen. Same thing here. I don’t think, at that scale, we’d be able to see the dark spots as, well, dark.
What works with the Figuarts Ben Kenobi?
The head sculpt on the Figuarts Ben Kenobi is nice. Much better than the Obi-Wan Adolf we saw in the early solicits. It’s also nice to be one step closer to getting the OG cast in Figuarts form. The details on his saber hilt are nice. He scales nicely with the other Figuarts Kenobis.
That was easy to write.
Should you get the Figuarts Ben Kenobi?
This is a tough one. If you want the original cast in Figuarts form than I’m not sure you have a choice. If the lack of options on the Black Series Obi-Wan (which I didn’t hate) bother you, then you don’t have a choice. Maybe the problems with my figure were just a one-off. Maybe not. However, I’m not sure I’d buy him again.
Ultimately, the choice is yours, I can only inform your decisions. If you’re interested in picking him up, you can still get him here:
As always, let’s wrap up with some more pics.