#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.

#1426: Clone Commander Gree

CLONE COMMANDER GREE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Clone Commander Gree, designation 1004, led the Elite Corps of clone troopers during the Clone Wars.  He saw deployments on such heated battlefronts as Kashyyyk.  Though a faithful commander who carried out the Jedi’s orders, Gree was ultimately loyal to the Republic.”

I’ve spent two whole weeks looking at the smaller scale offerings for The Last Jedi, but I’ve not yet looked at any of Hasbro’s other big line, The Black Series.  There’s a simple reason for this:  I’ve yet to see most of the new Black Series stuff anywhere.  I did manage grab at least one figure, albeit not one of the characters from the new movie.  Instead, we jump back to the Prequels (I know, not my first choice either), and take a look at one of my favorite clones, Clone Commander Gree!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Commander Gree is a Toys R Us exclusive offering for Star Wars: The Black Series.  A smaller supply of this figure initially showed up at SDCC this year, but the vast majority of figures showed up at TRU retail stores for Force Friday, allowing Gree to take the slot taken by the Snowtrooper Commander and Hovertank Driver in years past.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Gree is seen here in his Phase II Clone Trooper from Revenge of the Sith.  It’s definitely the more distinct of his two designs, and thus not a surprise for this figure at all.  Gree is largely built from the same pieces as the Clone Sergeant I reviewed way back when. It was a good sculpt then, and it’s still a good sculpt now.  Gree obviously gets the Phase II helmet in place of the Phase I version, and it fits well on the body and looks far more accurate than a good number of other Phase II trooper figures.  Gree gets a unique torso and left thigh piece as well, patterned after the standard pieces, but adding some of Gree’s extra straps and such.  The torso even gets a port for a removable antennae, which is a nice touch, though the antennae has a tendency to fall out of place a lot.  Paint is the most important part of a good Commander Gree figure, and this figure definitely delivers on that front.  All of the colors match up very nicely with his on-screen color scheme, and the level of detailing, especially on the camouflaged areas of the armor, is just top notch.  They’ve even included a good deal of silver detailing, showcasing the wear and tear that Gree’s armor’s undergone.  That’s a detail that’s largely been left off of the smaller figures, so I’m very glad to see it show up here.  Gree is actually quite well accessorized for a Black Series release, getting both small and large blaster rifles, and a pair of quadnoculars to hold.  I wouldn’t have minded an unmasked head as well, but that’s still more than what’s been included with prior 6″ troopers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I first started collecting The Black Series, my one rule was no Prequel figures.  I broke that rule for the Clone Sergeant, but I’ve stuck to it since.  However, even when I decided on that rule, I knew this guy would be an exception.  Gree’s always been my favorite of the Clone Commanders, and I have just about every other figure of him, so I certainly wasn’t passing on this one.  My TRU didn’t get any Black Series figures on Force Friday, but this guy showed up about a week later.  This is easily the best Gree figure ever released, and definitely one of my favorite Black Series figures.

#1181: Clone Commander Cody

CLONE COMMANDER CODY

LEGO STAR WARS: CONSTRACTION FIGURES

commcodylego1

Alright, let’s start off week three of the post-Christmas reviews by looking at…something from the same line as yesterday.  It’s like something different, only the exact opposite!  Like yesterday’s review, today’s subject comes from the somewhat contested Star Wars prequel trilogy.  In fact, he’s even the same actor as yesterday’s character, thanks to the wonders of cloning!  Yes, it’s everyone’s favorite clone commander who tried to kill Obi-Wan in Episode III, Clone Commander Cody!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

commcodylego2Commander Cody was another figure from the first assortment of Lego Star Wars: Constraction Figures, released during 2015’s Force Friday event.  Amazingly enough, Cody was the only Storm/Clone Trooper variant available in the first assortment.  The figure is assembled from 82 pieces and, like Jango, stands about 9 1/2 inches tall.  In terms of construction Cody is very similar to Jango, using most of the same basic pieces.  Upon closer inspection, several of the body pieces are clearly designed to be Clone Trooper armor, and it seems they were rather hastily refitted to be Jango’s distinctive Mandalorian togs.  That being the case, a lot of the pieces work a lot better for this guy, and he makes for a more faithful recreation of his on-screen counterpart.  The helmet, while still not as spot-on a recreation like K-2’s head, it’s more complex design makes for a more interesting sculpt than Jango’s.  I personally could still stand to have a little more detail present, but I definitely like this one.  Of the three Constraction figures I’ve looked at so far, Cody has the best paintwork by far.  Not only is the white and orange nice and vibrant, but he’s also got a ton of great detail work, especially on the torso.  There’s some fantastic weathering going on here.  Cody includes his larger blaster rifle, which is a surprisingly good recreation of the rifle seen in the movies.  That’s it.  No action feature for this guy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Jango, Cody was a Christmas present from Super Awesome Girlfriend’s parents, picked up during the same Walgreens sale.  Cody’s not my first choice of Clone Commander (Rex would be first, followed closely by Gree), but he’s not a bad character, and I’d be more inclined to pick him up than Jango.  The end result is definitely a superior figure to Jango, and probably one of the better Constraction figures Lego’s put out.  K-2’s still my favorite, but this guy’s a solid follow-up!

#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.

#0334: Kashyyyk Trooper

KASHYYYK TROOPER

STAR WARS 30th ANNIVERSARY

KashyykTrooper1

The Star Wars prequels are kinda bad. They make me sad, and that’s just not right. Every time I watch them, I like them even less than before. They are the perfect antithesis of the original trilogy in that respect. Still, there were a few interesting ideas, and above all, there were some genuinely good designs. Yesterday, I took a look at Clone Commander Gree, one of my favorite designs from the prequels. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the Kashyyyk Trooper, one of the clones under his command.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

KashyykTrooperWilsonLike Gree, the Kashyyyk Trooper was realesed in the 2008 series of the Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection. The figure is 3 ¾ inches in height and features 23 points of articulation. The Kashyyyk Trooper is based on one of the handful of trooper designs seen amongst the Kashyyyk forces in Revenge of the Sith. The design takes a lot of its cues from the Scout Trooper design, but the figure actually features a mostly new sculpt. The only re-used piece is the figure’s head, which previously was used on a Scout Trooper, but even that has a new faceplate. The rest of the sculpt is new, and it’s all pretty well done. The proportions are pretty good, though the hands do seem a little oversized. There are minor differences between the Scout Trooper and the Kashyyyk Trooper, and it’s really nice to see Hasbro go the extra mile to include these differences instead of just resorting to a basic repaint. The flip up face plate is pretty cool looking. It flips down easily, and stays in place the right way and it doesn’t look to bulky. The underlying face is fairly generic, but that’s alright for a clone, I suppose. The paint work on the Trooper is pretty good. Not as impressive as Gree’s, but pretty decently detailed. There’s no real issues with slop or bleed over, so that’s good. The figure includes a large blaster rifle and a display stand with the figure’s name and the title of the movie on it.

KashyykTrooper2 KashyykTrooper3

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a figure that I didn’t really jump on when it was first released. At the time, I was kind of getting out of Star Wars figures, and I certainly wasn’t going to be getting prequel figures. However, when my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix, marked all of their Star Wars figures down to $3.99, the price was right. It’s a pretty cool figure, with a pretty cool design. I love the Scout Trooper, so you can’t really go wrong with throwing some green in there.

#0333: Commander Gree

COMMANDER GREE

STAR WARS 30th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTIONCommanderGree1

Generally speaking, I don’t like the Star Wars prequels. I remember enjoying them overall when they were released, but as time has gone on, I like them less and less. That being said, there are a few things I did like from those movies. One of the biggest things was the Clone Troopers, who were just all kinds of cool. In Revenge of the Sith, we were introduced to several named clones who served as commanders of certain forces, and featured their own unique looks. My personal favorite was always Commander Gree, the clone in charge of the forces on Kashyyyk.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CommanderGreeWilsonGree was released in the 2008 series of the Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection. The figure stands 3 ¾ inches tall and features 26 points of articulation. Gree is based on the character’s appearance in Revenge of the Sith. He makes use of the pieces from several of the previous Clone Troopers, with the addition of a new torso featuring Gree’s “suspenders.” All of the pieces are pretty accurate to the movie, which is pretty cool. The figure features a removable helmet, which is quite nicely scaled. Surprisingly enough, the underlying head isn’t undersized to ensure this, and it even has more than a passing resemblance to actor Temuera Morrison, which is much better than the last two clones I reviewed. The paintwork is the most important part of any Commander Gree figure, and the paint here is spectacularly done. There’s a tone of texture and detail on pretty much every piece of the figure and he features no noticeable slop or bleed over. Gree includes a short blaster rifle, a pair of binoculars, a backpack with an antenna, and a display stand featuring his name and the movie he appeared in.

CommanderGree2 CommanderGree3

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Gree is a figure I passed on a few times when he was released. I already had the earlier version from the Revenge of the Sith line, and I figured that was probably good enough. Recently, my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix, had a sale and marked all their Star Wars figures down to $3.99. For that price, I was willing to go for it. I’m glad I did because this version of Gree is a definite step up from the previous one.