In 2021, Lucasfilm are celebrating their 50th Anniversary, and to celebrate Hasbro are releasing a number of celebratory products in their Star Wars line. One of these, in the 6-inch Black Series, is a set of carded figures with retro-inspired card backs from the 1999 release of The Phantom Menace. The general release wave repacks figures of Qui-Gon Jinn, Jar Jar Binks, Mace Windu, and a Battle Droid. It was released in April of 2021.
The 2021 wave essentially follows on from the exclusive releases of Darth Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi in 2019 on foil card backs inspired by the original Phantom Menace figures. The shaped cards feature the face of Darth Mail and a red & black dynamic background. The character name and a headshot from the movie sit to the side of the blister. The 50th Anniversary logo is then inserted in the blister itself.
The rear of the card is a little bit of a hybrid and includes across the top section background information for both The Phanom Menace and Qui-Gon Jinn, repeated in multiple languages.
"In a galaxy far, far away, an evil force is gaining strength and threatens an entire civilization"
"A wise and powerful Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn discovers young Anakin Skywalker, proving to be a pivotal event to the entire galaxy"
Beneath this is a Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary timeline graphic showing where various Star Wars properties sit. This is in place of what would have been the CommTech reader info on the original 1999 cards.
"Commemorate the first 50 years of Lucasfilm with figures inspired by the Star Wars prequel trilogy!"
Beneath this new 50th Anniversary addition is another call back to 1999 with the wording "The Force is with You in Star Wars Figures", another element from those original figures. The card itself is folded over the blister so there is no way of removing the figure without some level of damage to the card.
While the other figures in the wave are untouched repacks, Qui-Gon Jinn has seen a tweak to the original head sculpt. The first Qui-Gon in 2017 was pre-Face Print Technology, and his 2021 re-release not only has that technique applied but also features some changes to the original head sculpt to complement the new decor and to provide a much better likeness to Liam Neeson.
The face print application does a great job of the head, it does still come with some issues including a spot just under the moustache at one side which is a little detracting. My review figure also had a much bigger issue on the left shoulder with a gouge down the top section. This is obviously a mould issue and hopefully for other collectors, it is a one-off issue, and not a wider spread fault with the re-release of Qui-Gon.
Qui-Gon's costume remains unchanged vs the original figure, perhaps a shade darker on the newer release but with the same applied weathering. There remains good detail on the belt with painted silver buckle and buttons and some lighter grey pouches. The legs are cast in the base brown plastic with a darker grey used for the lower leg boots. Both of these would have also benefitted from a wash, particularly the boots which look too clean vs the upper body.
Qui-Gon is packed with his lightsaber, again the same as the 2017 release. it is a black handle with silver trim and a red button for ignition. It features the removable green translucent blade, and this comes perfectly straight and with a decent thickness plug to insert into the hilt - no risk of wonky or damaged blades on this release. When not in use the saber hilt can plug into a socket on the belt.
A figure is perhaps impacted more by what is not included vs what is. The original figure did include an alternative left hand with 'force gesture', this has been dropped on this release. There also remains the age-old question of why some Jedi get soft good cloaks (Mace Windu, Plo Koon) and others like Qui-Gonn (and Obi-Wan) are left without? Throwing in the soft goods cloak or even the Mos Espa poncho would have added a further dimension to this release over the improved head sculpt.
Articulation is as it was on the original 2017 figure. This means the upper body is not as expressive as a more recent release, lacking the butterfly shoulders or the new elbows that bend to 90 degrees and beyond. Two-handed saber poses are just about possible but are not particularly dynamic. The head also suffers from the very visible neck pivot that can be seen under the chin.
T lower half fares much better as it retains double joint knees allowing Qui-Gon to kneel, as he did while waiting to continue his battle with Darth Maul during the climax of Phantom Menace. The ankle rockers are OK, but don't have enough forward motion due to the shape of the boots, and Qui-Gon is prone to falling backward - a stand may be in order?
This new 2021 version of Qui-Gon is going to appeal to quite a bit of the Black Series collector spectrum, including mint in the pack, those who focus on the Vintage/Retro cards, and to general out of the pack collectors like myself who are upgrading the original figure with the new face sculpt.
The RRP of £25 is a little rich considering the lack of the additional hand, and without adding any other perceived value like the cloak. I personally think that this Qui-Gon would have been fine as a Galaxy Collection release with the new head, and by adding in robes. It could also be a good basis for a deluxe release alongside a young Anakin?
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About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...
action figures, reviews, review, articulation, star wars, black series, 50th anniversary, lucasfilm, the phantom menace, qui-gon jinn, jedi, retro carded