Power of the Force, 1998
Appears in: A New Hope
Card Back: Legendary among the heroes of the Rebel Alliance, Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi is regarded as one of the greatest Jedi Knights ever to have lived. As a young Jedi who had just completed his own training, Obi-Wan made a solemn pledge to train young Anakin Skywalker in the ways of the Force. Anakin became a Jedi but then turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader. Many years later, destiny would have an older and wiser Obi-Wan guiding Anakin’s own son, Luke Skywalker, in the ways of the Force, and ultimately, in turning Vader back to the light side.
1998’s Episode 1 Flashback line offered us no new characters but instead completely new versions of the majority of the main OT cast. Amongst them was this Ben Kenobi figure, released for the first time with his hood up and in a mainly pre-posed fighting stance.
The original Kenobi figure was re-tooled for the Cantina Showdown Cinema Scene pack in a similar pose, but as a figure to figure comparison you can see the leaps that Hasbro made from one release to the next. Besides the main difference of his hood being up the ‘98 Kenobi is significantly toned down, his physique matching that of Sir Alec Guinness a lot more successfully, whilst the paint apps are absolutely superb. The detail on his face and eyes is clean and clear whilst the dry, desert-worn effect of his inner robe looks brilliant. The Tatooine figures always got the best out of Hasbro’s paint operations during the POTF2 era.
Kenobi’s pre-posed posture mainly affects his legs and lower robes, but despite this he can still fit a few purposes thanks to the fact that he’s actually got more points of articulation than the average nineties Star Wars figure. He has ten rotating joints, coming with cut elbows and rotating wrists in addition to the standard six, and using these along with the surprisingly unencumbered neck joint means you can get a decent range of fighting poses. All of that said however there is absolutely no way this Kenobi is going to be sitting in a landspeeder any time soon…
This Obi-Wan marks the coming of the action-posed toys that became prevalent with the release of Attack of the Clones; however it still feels completely like a POTF2 figure. As far as the nineties went for the Star Wars line, this is the definitive Ben Kenobi.