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Obi-Wan Kenobi: Acklay Battle

Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of those characters in Star Wars that just gets the shaft sometimes. Sure, he has quite a few figures of himself at various points in his life, or even his after life which has 2 of its own figures, but in the grand scheme of things Obi-Wan just doesn’t see greatness too often. Sadly, that hasn’t changed in his Saga offerings either though. Force Flipping, Coruscant Chase, and now the Ackley Battle version…

Three swings, and three misses… I don’t even like baseball particularly, but that analogy still tells me that Hasbro struck out big time with one of my personal favorite characters from the new films (Come on! MacGregor has the Obi-Wan role down to a tee!).

Pros:

Sculpt: Hasbro makes marks once again in this department. I think that the “Big H” is one of the better companies as far as sculpting goes, and I’ve praised them before on figures I truly despise almost every OTHER aspect of. This Obi-Wan figure isn’t an exception… for the most part.

Two areas did bother me, and unfortunately. First is an area where a bad sculpt can hinder the figure overall. Of course I speak of the bulbous melon which rests between the shoulders of the figure. Obi-Wan’s head-sculpt on this figure is lacking I think. Not as crisp as some sculpts, and I just don’t think it resembles the actor particularly.

The second area of some poor quality was the right shoulder joint, which is horribly distorted due to the figure’s (big surprise) unnecessary action feature. I don’t know which report they read that said action features will draw in the masses but I don’t believe it for a second, and it’s unfortunate that so many possibly great figures had to be maimed by this disturbing trend in our beloved hobby.

In short, I think that a little more time spent on the head could’ve been an improvement, but not the only improvement needed to make this figure a winner in my eyes.

Pose: Of course, pre-posed figures aren’t my bag as friends and readers of my reviews already know, but this figure’s pose is semi-neutral at least. Also, what it does lack in neutrality it does make up for in accuracy for 2 moments in the film though as well… In a way.

The first, and the figure’s namesake, is the daring battle Obi-Wan had with the Ackley beast after he’d handily gotten himself free of his bindings. This figure is posed very well for that moment to say the least.

The second moment is when Obi-Wan is fighting 2 Battledroids, and they run when the Ackley approaches Kenobi from behind. The figure comes with the weapons needed for either moment as well (A lightsabre for the 2nd moment and a Geonosian spear for the 1st moment).

That’s worthy of some mention for those who want to simply have an Obi-Wan that’ll go with their Ackley, and look just as the two did on screen in Attack of the Clones.

Accessories: Obi comes with what you’d expect this figure to have, which is definitely a good thing, and listed below.

Metal Lightsabre with removeable blue blade (and the handle is nicely decorated).

Geonosian spear with metal but-end so it interacts with Obi’s left hand magnet

2-piece Geonosian Arena pillar… Basically if you get Obi Ackley, Arena Padme, and the Arena Playset, then you have a complete set of the 3 execution pillars.

Binder Handcuffs (And nicely sculpted ones might I add).

Unfortunately, all these pro’s are hard to counterweigh the con’s involved that do make this figure less than ideal in this reviewer’s personal opinion. You may decide differently though, and consider Obi to be a fine addition to your collection if the above is what’s most important to you. I however found the following to bring the figure down many important notches.

CONS

Deco/Paint Application: This Obi-Wan figure is up there for one of the weaker decoration jobs I’ve seen on a Star Wars figure within a year’s time. Maybe I just got a bad one, but there were several hanging in my local K-mart where I picked him up at, and they all seemed just as bad as the next.

My figure’s most notable paint flaws are the flesh paint over his hands that got onto his undershirt’s cuff, which is hanging from underneath his Jedi Robes. It’s very noticeable and sloppy looking. That definitely caught my eye immediately.

The figure’s hair is an odd and unnatural color as well, and doesn’t really seem to match Kenobi’s hair in the film. This is difficult for Hasbro to master, and Anakin figures have been the worst since Saga started back last year, but Obi-Wan’s boofant is now a closer runner up. Some kind of highlighting technique like a dry brush would do wonders. On mass produced toys that’s a little much to ask, but I’m sure there’s something Hasbro could be doing better here that wouldn’t sink their budget for the figure.

Oddly, the boots Kenobi sports do have a nice “wash” on them which gives them a leather look and highlights the detail of the sculpt on them. It’s simple looking, but effective as an improvement. Why not apply this technique to Kenobi’s hair then as well?

Articulation: A biggie with me in every figure is the articulation count, and Obi-Wan falls victim to Hasbro’s lack of interest in making TRUE action figures as opposed to little statues. The figure sports a-thoroughly-pathetic 5 points of articulation total, and one of which is barely of any use.

For a character who had a lot of action moments in the film, not to mention this intended “moment” was pretty action packed, Obi-Wan really deserved some extra articulation points so he’s not a one-pose-wonder. Unfortunately Hasbro saw fit to give him barely any at all, and the end result isn’t one of glee when you spot the figure on the pegs.

The Pillar: Sure, sure, sure… We’ve seen it before so why list it again as a con if we don’t like it? Well redundancy is of hammering home a point, and in that case I think it bares repeating… The point in this case being that this little pillar is just an ugly accessory.

I liked the accessories for the most part… The sabre handle is great and looks accurate (Man I love those metal hilts), and the binders were a nice surprise even if you couldn’t pose the Obi-Wan to use them really, but the pillar just is a joke next to the figure.

I simply dislike the pillar because it’s so noticeably undersized that it looks funny. I’d honestly rather they didn’t include the pillar at all, and save a buck or two in the process that they could put into the figure itself to maybe improve it. I’d make my own pillar gladly… I may anyway since a to-scale one isn’t likely to be cranked out and sold by anyone.

Action Feature: Can you review a figure and NOT list the action feature as one of the negative aspects to it? Well, sure you can but rarely.

Obi’s feature this go-round is a “stabbing” action, which is activated by a pouch on his belt. Kudos to Hasbro for trying to hide the button at all, and actually hiding it well. In theory it’s not bad, but it makes the figure’s shoulder look hideously ugly and it barely works at all. It also caused the waist articulation on the figure to be omitted to accommodate the mechanism.

The feature is a major flaw in the figure unfortunately. The good news is that the figure’s “look” is not hampered by an obtrusive button. The carded collectors should rejoice in that news at least.

OVERALL

There’s a part of me that does want to say that you should pick this up. It’s the same part of me that likes the Luke that came with the Rancor back several years ago. The Luke looks pretty spiffy standing there with the bone, ready for the Rancor to pick him up, intensely staring at the beast.

Ackley Obi-Wan can serve a similar purpose… Stick the spear in his hands, place him in front of the Ackley (If you can find an Ackley, and the if you can get IT to stand on its own), and you have a moment from Attack of the Clones right there. Does that make a fun toy though?

No… And that’s why I have to give this a less than stellar review. I maybe would’ve forgiven this figure its shortcomings had we gotten a straight-up vanilla Obi-Wan Kenobi from Attack of the Clones who was articulated well, had no action feature, and no dramatic action pose. Something like the upcoming Clone Wars Obi-Wan perhaps, but in his movie duds? Unfortunately since we still have yet to get a truly impressive Kenobi from the latest film, I have to be a little negative on the review for this figure.

There’s some nice Kenobi’s coming out (including the aforementioned Clone Wars version), so we’ll maybe at least be getting improvements where this figure failed.

I say pass, or nab it on clearance… Unless you really just want a Kenobi to be set up with your Ackley, and never do much else with him. In which case, this guy will fill the void well enough to suit you I believe.

JJ

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