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Qui-Gon Jinn

SWI: The Phantom Menace
by yo go re

I've finished reviewing my entire Force Friday haul, but thankfully for our "Star Wars September" theme, the pre-Friday clearing of the Star Wars sections of the aisles meant that some figures that would otherwise have been skipped managed to sneak out.

A venerable if maverick Jedi Master, Qui-Gon Jinn was a student of the living Force. Qui-Gon lived for the moment, espousing a philosophy of "feel, don't think - use your instincts."

Have you heard of Star Wars "Machete Order"? Sadly, it has nothing to do with digitally inserting Danny Trejo, but rather, changing up the viewing order so you watch Star Wars and Empire, then after the big Vader reveal, you switch over to the prequels as an extended flashback, then come back to finish up with Jedi. It's a decent idea, using the shock of Vader's revelation as a way to increase the emotional impact of the prequels, but it completely excises The Phantom Menace. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face! No, "pre-pubescent Anakin" isn't a terribly important thing to miss in the story, but isn't depriving the world of both Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn too high a price to pay? We say it is!

Before becoming this generation's Charles Bronson, Liam Neeson was definitely a working actor, but he was far from famous - Darkman wasn't exactly tearing up the charts, you know? Episode I was part of his big rise, following Schindler's List, Nell and the Braveheart coattail-rider Rob Roy. The toy's sculpt definitely captures his familiar hawkish likeness, though the paint has left him with oversized pupils that dominate the whites of his eyes.

The hair is a better sculpt on this figure than on Sideshow Toys' 12" Order of the Jedi figure. Part of that is the intervening decade between the two figures, but that's not all: on this figure, the hair is actually part of the head rather than a separate wig glued to his forehead; at least, the hair on top is - the longer hair in the back is a second piece that's tucked under the edge of the sculpt, a very clever way of making it look seamless. But even if they hadn't done that, they sculpted the strands of his hair all the way along, so it actually looks like hair and not a brown lump. How did Sideshow not do this well?

Below the neck, the detailing on his Jedi robes is outstanding. They sculpted every layer of his robes from top to bottom, which works out to be three levels: a tan shirt against his skin, a beige robe above that, and a matching beige tabard stole on top. All that is held down by a thick beige sash, itself circled by his brown utility belt. He wears brown trousers and knee-high brown boots. All of that is sculpted, not softgoods, and the robes have an impressive texture all over them. The belt has a complex silver clasp in the center, and various pouches and things attached to it. This is a great-lookin' toy!

His articulation is up to snuff, as well. Qui-Gon Jinn-and-Juice has swivel/hinge rocker ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips and torso, swivel/hinge wrists, elbows and shoulders, a hinged neck, and a balljointed head. The torso doesn't move very far, because of the way his ABS shirt and PVC skirt bump up against each other, and on mine at least, the left hand falls out of the arm quite easily. Still, you can have fun posing Qui-Gon however you want. For instance, the "kneeling in meditation before rushing to my own foolish death" pose.

The accessories are disappointing. All he gets is his lightsaber and an alternate "Force waving" hand. The lightsaber has a removable blade and can plug into his belt, but seriously: that's all? Obviously it would have been tough to include all the little Jedi gadgets he uses (like the "communicator" that was just a repainted woman's razor) because there would be no way for him to hold them and they'd get lost immediately, but why no brown robe? Just use the same one Obi-Wan came with! That would have added a lot of display options to the figure that are now sadly missing. Somebody who ever found Obi-Wan, give me your cape. I want it for my Qui-Gon.

Qui-Gon Jinn is a lot like Chewbacca, in that the only reason I got him was that I was excited to find something that wasn't the same old pegwarmers (though in this case it wasn't Han and Greedo who were blocking him from shelves, but Jyn and Cassian). The face paint could be better, and he really should have come with a robe, but Hasbro did a nice job here.

-- 09/16/17

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