The first wave of Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary figures are focused on cool retro packaging, so I felt okay skipping most of them, but had to pick up this Qui-Gon Jinn because this release fixes something I didn’t love from the original release. Let’s take a look!
The Phantom Menace came out long enough ago that I do have a bit of nostalgia for the Maul-themed card back from that era. Not enough to keep it or buy other releases on this card that have no changes to the figure, but it’s kind of fun to see again. I bought a lot of figures on this style card back in the day. The card itself has some kind of foil embossed treatment that looks pretty cool in person, but frustratingly did not photograph well with my lighting set up. I included a quick iPhone pic at the end of the above gallery that gives a better impression of what the thing actually looks like in person.
Qui-Gon comes with his lightsaber with removeable blade. The hilt has a little peg that plugs into the belt so Qui-Gonn can store the weapon when not in the middle of aggressive negotiations. The original release did include a “mind-trick” waving hand, but unfortunately that isn’t included here and I actually had to heat up the figure in order to swap the mind trick hand from the original figure onto this one. I still wish he came with the dark brown outer robes.
The main draw for this figure for me and I’m sure many others is the new portrait. The original was a little cartoony and had some very rudimentary paint work on the beard. Hasbro was also trying to improve the eye painting on the figures at the time so he has this two part head where the eyes are a separate piece and the rest of the face goes over the eyes like a mask. I appreciate that they were trying to solve one of the line’s most pressing problems, but it wasn’t entirely successful. The faceprinting on this new head looks phenomenal and while a little glossy, conveys an excellent Liam Neeson likeness. The original figure looks like Michael Myers compared to this release’s William Shatner.
My Qui-Gon did have a bit of stray brown paint on the nose, but even with that bit of poopy paint, this figure still is quite an improvement on the original. I did end up removing the splotch for the most part with a careful application of watered-down acetone. The before picture is on the left above and the after is on the right. The robes on this figure are also slightly darker than the original release and I think that, combined with the slight overspray shading captures Qui-Gon’s look from the film successfully.
The body seems to be the same as the original figure which is good and bad. The sculpting is fantastic, with nice textures and proportions, but the articulation can be a little clunky. I do miss the nice neck tilt and butterfly shoulders of the more modern Jedi figures. The waist articulation here is also pretty stiff, mostly a swivel, but at least he doesn’t have those bloody awful swivel/hinge knees.
For me, this figure is worth the slightly inflated price of admission just for the vastly improved portrait and the face printing detail. If he gets re-released as a cheaper archive figure, I might be annoyed that I paid extra for that 50th Anniversary packaging I recycled, but for now I’m happy with him. I think I would be less pleased with the figure if I didn’t already have the mind trick hand and some soft goods robes and poncho.