#2277: General Grievous

GENERAL GRIEVOUS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“General Grievous was a brilliant Separatist military strategist and a feared Jedi hunter, known for his ruthlessness and hacking cough. His body itself was a weapon, allowing him lightning quick strikes and devastating blows. But he was also quick to run from a fight, a tactic that worked until one final meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

A decade removed from the Star Wars prequels, they don’t seem quite as bad as they once did.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are still major issues and my recent re-watch of Attack of the Clones certainly reminded me of why it’s the worst movie in the franchise, but even when we all thought they were universally trash, there were always some redeeming elements.  For Revenge of the Sith, my favorite bit was always General Grievous, a character I had latched onto before the movie even opened, and whom I would continue to enjoy when he became a major player in the second Clone Wars cartoon.  Though his characterization may have been a little two-dimensional, and his name is just silly (it’s just an adjective!  That’s not a name), he certainly had one of the coolest designs to come out of the prequels.  Even when I had my strict “no prequels” rule for The Black Series, I could always see myself possibly breaking that rule for a good Grievous figure.  Here we are.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

General Grievous is the first figure in the Deluxe subdivision of The Black Series, numbered “D1.”  So far, he’s the only deluxe size figure to be available through all retailers…well, all the ones that were willing to carry him, which didn’t end up including the likes of Walmart or Target.  He started hitting around the second quarter of last year.  Grievous only has one film appearance, so this figure rather sensibly draws from that.  I want to state at the top of this review that this is a very good figure, but he, like every Grievous figure ever created, is also a flawed figure.  It’s a design that has a degree of necessary cheating to work on the screen.  In person, on a fixed item, that cheating isn’t possible, and concessions have to be made…but I’ll get to that.  At full height, the figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  He’s an all-new sculpt, as you might expect, and it’s a pretty darn good one at that.  It manages to fairly accurately recreate his design as seen in the movie, and, in contrast to most Grievous figures, most of the joints in the design are joints on this figure.  Not all, of course.  Some concessions have to be made for the hands and feet, given the scale of the figure, and there are one or two other spots (notably the wrists), where there should be movement but isn’t.  I do really like how tight all of the joints are on this figure; far too many Grievous figures wound up with really floppy joints.  The design of the sculpt also allows this Grievous figure to have a feature that most forego: actual combining arms.  We’ve seen them before but typically only on less articulated figures.  More often then not, they’ll just release him with his arms one way or the other, or, in the case of the first 3D Clone Wars figure, they’ll give him extra arms.  The combining arms end up being the feature that causes this figure the most trouble.  The four separate arms are nicely articulated on their own.  When you go to combine them, it’s a little tricky, because even a slight warp will make them not a perfect fit.  And once they’re together?  Well, you’re certainly not getting full movement out of the joints once the arms are combined, which proves rather restricting.  As nifty an idea as the combining arms may be, I can’t help but feel that swappable arms might have worked a bit better in this regard.  At the end of the day, I can’t really blame them for trying, and this is certainly the best go at it we’ve seen.  The paintwork on Grievous is some of the most impressive work we’ve gotten from the line; the weathering alone really sells the figure, as it gives him a much more realistic appearance, which is rather amusing for a completely CGI creation.  Grievous is a rather well accessorized figure, including his DT-57 blaster, his four stolen lightsabers (which, according to Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force formerly belonged to Pablo-Jill, Eeth Koth, Roron Corobb, and Shaak Ti), and a cape.  The blaster and sabers are pretty standard fair.  The cape is a bit of a let down, if I’m honest.  The decision to use cloth is definitely understandable, and I do really dig the inclusion of the spot to store Grievous’ collection of sabers, but the cape’s totally wrong at the shoulders, with a big, obvious join, as opposed to the proper flowing under his collar plate look.  The grey and red parts also aren’t hemmed together at the bottom, which looks a bit sloppy.  It’s not the end of the world, but it’s bad enough that I don’t see myself using the cape.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been hoping for a Grievous Black Series figure for a while, and was happy to see him announced…but I was never happy about that cape, and it honestly held me back from picking him up, as silly as that may be.  Fortunately, my in-laws had my back on this one, and got me Grievous for Christmas.  After opening him up, the cape still frustrates me, but the rest of the figure is just so well-engineered that I really don’t care all that much.  This is definitely the best Grievous figure out there.

#0451: General Grievous

GENERAL GRIEVOUS

STAR WARS: REVEVENGE OF THE SITH

Here it is, Day 14, the last day of the Christmas Reviews. Today, I’ll be sticking with what I started yesterday: Star Wars reviews. Yep, it’s another SW prequel figure. This time around, it’s another of the characters I could actually tolerate, General Grievous (aside from the name. The name always bothered me. Seriously, his name’s just an adjective! What’s next, Savage Oppress? Oh, wait…) Grievous, like so much of the prequel stuff, was a good idea at the start. He’s got a cool design, an interesting enough backstory, and he had those four lightsabers! And then he went out like a punk. Well, at least he was in good company! Let’s look at the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grievous was part of the first (and only) series of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith 12-Inch figures. He’s a little over 12 inches in height (though not as over as he should be) and he features 17 points of articulation. I always marvel when companies manage to get less articulation into a character that has obvious joints built into their look. How do they miss the obvious joints? Anyway, the figure’s based on the character’s “live-action” appearance in Revenge of the Sith, which is, as I said in the intro, a pretty decent design. The sculpt of the figure is actually very well done, and it’s certainly above what Hasbro usually offered in this scale. For the most part, the sculpt follows the movies design pretty faithfully; the proportions all seem right, and all the little details and intricacies are present. The figure’s arms have been constructed so as to allow them to split as they do in the movie, and I believe this is the only of Hasbro’s figures of the character to actually do this the right way. Sadly, there isn’t really any mechanism to keep the arms together, so you have to fix them a lot. It’s also worth noting that, due to the lack of proper articulation, the figure is a bit pigeon-toed, which can make him difficult to stand. Given the character’s somewhat unique design, he’s mostly lacking the usual clothing seen on the 12-inch Star Wars figures. He does, however, get a rather nice cloth cape. It’s got two layers of fabric, so as to properly convey the two-toned nature of the cape, and it even has the pattern on the back like it does in the movie. It can easily go on and off of the figure, and it stays in place very well. The figure also has more paintwork than the average 12-incher. While it’s a bit basic in some areas, particularly the silver parts, there is some very nice work, especially on the lighter armor parts and around his eyes. Grievous included four lightsabers: two blue, two green. Unfortunately, due to the softer plastic used for his lower arms, it’s impossible for him to actually hold any of them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Obi Wan, Grievous was a Christmas gift from my pal Phil. What’s interesting about Grievous is that I fully intended to buy this figure when it was originally released. I wasn’t terribly impressed by the movie, but I remember seeing this guy on the shelf and thinking he looked pretty cool. But, then I never got around to it, and he vanished from shelves, so I didn’t think about it. I was quite happy to unwrap this figure after all these years. While the articulation isn’t the best and the plastic could be a bit stronger, there’s no denying that this is a pretty great looking figure.