Yep, I’m sure not too many people were fooled by my tweet this morning. The glow in the dark Obi-Wan Kenobi Force Ghost action figure was not a rare, exclusive Star Wars figure. But it should have been, right? It was just a fun experiment that I thought I’d put out on April Fool’s day.

I had the idea a month or so ago and I was going to do it anyway. It just so happened that it was a few weeks before April Fool’s Day so I thought it would be fun to tie it in. I was inspired to do this by a comment from internet friend Jamie Benning from the awesome You can hear an interview I did with Jamie a couple of years ago. Last month I was asking people on Twitter about their favourite glow in the dark toys, and Jamie replied saying he had always thought there should have been a glow in the dark Obi Wan force ghost figure. This immediately sparked an idea in my head as I just so happened to have a tin of glow in the dark paint (as you do) which I had never used.

I’m sure there will be some people who say that I shouldn’t be painting an old vintage figure. In my defence I made sure I found an old ‘beater’ Obi-Wan online that I could get cheaply. His nose is quite bashed and he had quite a few scratches on his back and legs. I wanted to do this experiment in a fun way with respect for the line, and try to make this look as genuine as possible, as a true homage and ‘what if’. I also didn’t want to directly lie in my April Fool tweet, so I didn’t even try to suggest that this was a rare figure, but I knew some people would jump to their own conclusions. So basically I tried to do this as ‘by the book’ as I could, and just as a fun experiment, with respect for the line.

The figure
So in a nutshell, here’s how I did it. Firstly I had to choose what bits to paint. I nearly painted the whole thing, head to toe, including the vinyl cape/robe. But I thought that would look a bit rubbish, and use up too much paint. In the end I ditched the vinyl robe and just painted the moulded robe on him, leaving the shirt, trousers etc unpainted. I also chose to paint his hair and beard as I thought that would leave a cool glow rather than painting his complete head including skin.

I then primed the figure with white paint, as the glow in the dark paint works better when layered on top of white. I did two coats of this. When painting, I did his legs one night, let it dry, and then top half the next night. My 6 yr old son helped with the painting too, which he loved. The paints were Humbrol enamel paints, Matt White number 34, and I used a pair of ‘helping hands’ to help hold him when required.

Glow in the dark paint
Then came time to use the glow in the dark paint. I am a HUGE fan of anything that glows in the dark (blog post about my Top Ten glow in the dark toys coming soon) and I was very excited about this stage. I got the Starglow paint from Glowtec. I’d never tried this paint before so didn’t really know what to expect. It said it might need 2-3 coats. What I discovered was that you really had to lay it on thick. I did two coats and while it did glow in the dark it was extremely patchy. I tried laying it on much thicker and that did help although it made the figure slightly less attractive with so much paint. But I knew mine was going to end up carded and hanging up so I was more concerned about the glowing quality than about the detail on the figure’s paint job. After around 4-5 coats it still wasn’t quite as glow in the dark as I had hoped, as it was still very patchy. I couldn’t quite work out how to get it glowing smoothly and evenly. But it was good enough for what I wanted. After all it’s just meant to be a hazy kind of glow around him. It’s not very smooth but it does glow very well.

The card
The other part of the project was the card. I wanted to display my Glowbi-Wan as a carded figure, just so that I could hang him up and that the glow in the dark paint wouldn’t get scuffed. I was thinking of a number of ways to mock this up, but another internet friend, Dave Moss from the amazing Toy Polloi YouTube channel, pointed me to a recent video of his where he tested a product from a guy on eBay who sells re-carding sets, consisting of authentic-style card art and plastic bubbles. Perfect for what I wanted. It’s available from Restore Nation on eBay and they’re great. I wanted mine to be an Empire Strikes Back figure so I bought an Empire card (Luke). I scanned it and I then got a screenshot of Obi-Wan from Empire and did some Photoshop jiggery-pokery. I thought of the name ‘Glowbi-Wan Kenobi’ and nearly added that to the card, but a part of me did want to try to make this look like an authentic figure that might have been, so I kept it as the normal name. I just stuck my printed card art onto the Luke card using Pritt Stick. It’s quite tricky getting the plastic bubble stuck on straight but it does look pretty good when it’s all done. I was slightly nervous that the glow in the dark paint wouldn’t charge properly through the plastic but it seems to be fine.

Thanks again to Jamie for his inspiration for the original idea and for helping source a screenshot of Obi-Wan.

Fun little project. Hope I didn’t offend anyone. I’m not sure I would try do it with Yoda and Anakin because they’re more rare!