Power of the Force, 1995
Appears in: A New Hope
Card Back: Trained by the Jedi Master Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi learned the ways of the Force and became a Jedi Knight. He successfully defended the Old Republic in the Clone Wars and was hailed as a hero. He took on his own apprentice, the young Anakin Skywalker. But Obi-Wan was not yet ready to pass on the way of the Jedi, and his student became impatient with the rigors of Jedi training. Skywalker allowed himself to be seduced by the dark side of the Force. Taking the name Darth Vader, he pledged allegiance to the evil Senator Palpatine and went on to hunt down and kill the remaining Jedi Knights in the name of the Galactic Empire. Kenobi felt responsible for Skywalker’s fall, and determined to stop his one time pupil. He confronted and defeated Vader in an epic lightsaber duel, leaving his broken body for dead.
Kenobi then went into seclusion on the Dune Sea of the planet Tatooine, where he became known as the hermit “Old Ben”. There he watched anonymously over young Luke Skywalker, whom he had hidden from his evil father before Vader even knew of the boy’s birth. Luke sought Ben out after discovering a plea for Kenobi’s help hidden inside the droid R2-D2 by Princess Leia Organa. The two quickly became involved in the rebellion against the Empire, leading Kenobi to a final confrontation with Darth Vader on the Empire’s Death Star. Cloaked in fearsome black armor, Vader was more machine than man at that point and proved to be more than a challenge for his teacher. Obi-Wan sacrificed his life to Vader’s lightsaber for the sake of the Alliance, his spirit becoming one with the Force. In doing so he became powerful beyond imagination, and later guided Luke to the final victory at the Battle of Yavin.
It’s remarkable how now, over two decades later, we can see how well that card back bio follows (or is it leads?) the story of the Prequel Trilogy. My only point of contention is the statement that “Obi-Wan was not yet ready to pass on the way of the Jedi”, because I’d argue that he’s way too hard on himself for Anakin’s fall. But then, that’s part of what makes him such a great hero.
As it was, back in 1995 Hasbro’s copywriters were working from the backstory given in the OT along with little details from Lucas himself. Whatever your opinion of the Prequels, there’s no denying that ol’ George had a good idea of how the key points would play out, at the very least.
All that aside, we’re here to look at the 1995 Power of the Force Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi. Trust your instincts and click through for more!
For the many complaints about POTF2 figures being too buff, Obi-Wan Kenobi is pretty well proportioned. Indeed, from his flat chest to average physique, this is one of the better likenesses of the first wave, and a big part of this is down to the impressive head sculpt. While the sculpted beard may make Kenobi look more lantern-jawed than Sir Alec Guinness ever was, the lines of his face and parted hair evoke more than a passing resemblance to the great actor.
Posed with a slight forward step, it’s actually Kenobi’s arms that prove the first let down here. Sitting prone, hands by his side, he perhaps matches the waiting, watching Kenobi of A New Hope, but it is a little boring. What’s more, with his right hand he can only hold his lightsaber pointing straight out. Switching the blade to his left hand mitigates this and gives Kenobi a bit more of a fighting stance, but it’s not the technique he was known for…
Kenobi’s flowing robes have proven awkward for toymakers to tackle through the years, from the vintage line through to the 6” Black Series – and so it would prove with the very first modern Obi-Wan. Made from a pliable soft plastic that folds over his head like an oversized apron, Kenobi’s robes awkwardly encompass both his inner white tunic and the central part of his outer robe. When Ben is shuffling through the seedy streets of Mos Eisley or creeping around the Death Star the appearance works; yet as soon as you need him to sit in a Landspeeder or cantina booth things get tricky. The robe does come off but then leaves Kenobi with a mismatched tunic and arms, something that doesn’t quite maintain character.
The robe itself does help with another shortcoming of the figure though, which is his difficulty standing. With either the front or back of the robe you can find a way to balance Kenobi, despite what his feet might want to do. This is something that became very useful when taking the shots for this review!
Finally, there’s Kenobi’s only accessory: his lightsaber. As with Luke and Vader from this wave the lightsaber was a game changer for Star Wars toys, with a bold translucent blue blade and silver painted hilt proving an enormous improvement over the vintage Kenner weapon. The details on the hilt more or less follow the shapes of the prop, giving this amputee maker the unique look it deserves.
With the great head sculpt and innovative robes, the 1995 Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi figure could have been a highlight of the wave. Unfortunately, with the poor posing and execution of the robes not quite hitting the spot, he became one of the near misses instead.