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By Thomas Wheeler

You know, it's amazing to me that given the mixed reviews two of the newest 12" Star Wars entries readily available in the stores have gotten in some circles, one of the best 12" Star Wars figures to come along in some time is only available online or through the official Fan Club.

The two 12" figures in the stores are bounty hunter Zam Wesell and the villainous Count Dooku. In the case of the former, some richly deserved criticism has been heaped upon this figure for having a "fashion doll" type body instead of a more realistic-looking, not to mention better-articulated one. In the case of Dooku, the use of a G.I.Joe body has been debated in some circles, as well as the rather peculiar and decidedly unmenacing facial expression.

Zam and Dooku can be fairly readily found in any toy store or department store with a decent toy department. But the only way to get the 12" Ki-Adi-Mundi figure is to go online to "" and order one, or send in an order form from Star Wars Insider magazine.

Personally, I recommend getting it online. You don't have to be a member of the Star Wars Fan Club to buy the figure. I used to be, but I recently let my membership lapse in every club I was a part of except The Planetary Society and the G.I. Joe Collectors'Club. This was a deliberate choice on my part to save money. All I really got from the Fan Club was a magazine.

The reason I recommend ordering this figure online is how fast you'll likely get it. The Star Wars Fan Club uses FedEx for their shipping, and I had the figure delivered to me in less than a week. Four days later, I got confirmation from the Web Site that my Ki-Adi-Mundi was on the way.

For those who don't know. Ki-Adi-Mundi is part of the Jedi Council. He was the only member of the Council who was not a Jedi Master, but "merely" a Jedi Knight. However, his wisdom plus his skills earned him a place on the Council despite his lower "rank". Ki-Adi-Mundi is a Cerean, with a particularly tall cranium (technically making this a 13" figure), which gives him unusual mental skills -- definitely handy as a Jedi.

The figure is superb -- truly superb. This is exactly what a 12"-scale Star Wars action figure should be, in basic principle, from start to finish. I can find much to praise about this figure, and absolutely nothing to complain about.

The head is masterfully sculpted and well detailed. The eyes are some of the best-painted I've ever seen. This is sometimes a slight problem with Hasbro's figures. Mass production through paint stencils sometimes causes bad aim, I suppose. The highlight details on the head look as though they were painted on and not just smeared on with some sort of haphazard wipe or wash.

The body is largely that of an Action Man figure. As such, it avoids the one thing that a lot of 12" Star Wars collectors gripe about -- the rubberized limbs with the internal articulation that they claim limits the figure's poseability (I dispute this claim personally since the limbs are at least articulated which is more than can be said about some toys even in this size range), and it avoids what I consider to be the questionable use of the G.I.Joe body mold, with its proportionately scrawny limbs (for SW figures).

The body mold used for Ki-Adi-Mundi is well-proportioned and well-articulated. The hands are unique sculpts to duplicate the rather wrinkled look of the head, as well as match the appearance of the character in the movie.

The clothing is superb. This is one area where Hasbro has never short-changed any 12" Star Wars figure, really. They've always been very well outfitted, and Ki-Adi-Mundi is certainly no exception. The soft plastic boots have painted soles and buckles. The under-tunic has made from a fabric that has somehow been given a random ridged pattern which adds nicely to the detail. The outer tunic features a hood that is in fact large enough to some up over the Jedi's tall head. There's a small plastic pouch of some sort under the outer tunic.

There are some additional nice details. There's a notch on Ki-Adi-Mundi's plastic belt, another nicely detailed piece, which his lightsaber can snap into, thanks to a small peg on the lightsaber's hilt. The transparent blade of the lightsaber is easily removable.

Overall, as I said, this is exactly what a 12" Star Wars figure should be. I honestly don't know why Hasbro didn't release this figure to the stores. Perhaps they felt that a secondary character such as this wouldn't fare that well. But given that he's heads above (no pun intended, really) the present offerings in the stores, it still seems like an odd decision.

Fortunately, Ki-Adi-Mundi is nonetheless readily available to anyone with online access, or if you want to do it the "hard way", go pick up a copy of the latest Star Wars Insider magazine. Either way, if you're any sort of fan of Star Wars and the Star Wars action figure line, you will most definitely want to add the 12" Ki-Adi-Mundi to your collection. I give him my highest recommendation!