Yodasnews Review: General Grievous (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Review and Photography by Jeffrey A. Gouse (SithLord0498)
Review Date: July 16, 2008
Yodasnews’ advance coverage of the initial Clone Wars action figure line continues with the major villain of the first wave: General Grievous.
Sorely under-used and suffering a ridiculous diminishment of his ferocity in Revenge of the Sith, his previous action figure incarnations have endured similar minimizations as well with a grossly under-scaled height relative to other figures and weak stability and articulation. Fortunately, in terms of theatrical appearances, it looks as though Grievous will once again be portrayed as a methodical and relentless killer in Clone Wars. It would be almost symmetrical if the first good action figure version of the General should come from the Clone Wars figure line. It sure seems promising since this is also the first accurately scaled version and the first with interchangeable arms. And he doesn’t have an action feature either!!
With all of these deviations from past attempts at this character, is this latest version a significant improvement or another missed opportunity? Read on and discover for yourself.
SCULPTING: Average (Bordering on Below Average)
Overall, General Grievous’ sculpt yields mixed results. Aesthetically, Hasbro’s sculptors did a phenomenal job replicating the look of the CGI model. The sloping edges and angular shapes have been faithfully translated. The same is true for the character’s exaggerated proportions (e.g. – the long neck and triangular torso). Plus, this is the first Grievous that looks accurately scaled, standing a good head above the Wave 1 Clonetrooper.
However, Grievous falls short in terms of functionality. The plastic used on the arms and legs is still too rubbery and easily warped. The hands are so soft and misshapen that it is extremely difficult to get the figure to hold its weapons without the aid of Hasbro’s notorious clear bands. Sadly, they seem to be using those bands as a crutch and an excuse for not sculpting accessory-friendly hands. The one area where the sculpting is functionally successful is in the use of harder plastic for the feet. That combined with an evenly distributed center of gravity gives the figure better stability than Hasbro’s earlier attempts at General Grievous.
PAINT APPLICATIONS: Average (Bordering on Above Average)
The best feature of Grievous’ paint applications is the dry-brushed gray paint on his armored plates. When combined with the off-white base color, Hasbro effectively replicated the textured bone appearance seen in Revenge of the Sith and The Clone Wars. Hasbro added further definition by layering varying thicknesses of light tan paint sporadically across the figure. Where things begin to break down is on the hands and face—two places where the paint strays too far outside its boundaries. On Grievous’ hands, Hasbro applied the white paint in circular blots rather than adhering to the raised squares where the paint should have gone. As for the face, it looks good from a distance, but closer examination shows fuzziness in the application and no clear boundaries between pupils, irises, and Kaleesh flesh. Also, the three gray lines of Grievous’ mouth are crooked and fail to stay on the sculpted vents.
ARTICULATION: Poor (Bordering on Below Average)
Considering this is Hasbro’s fifth attempt at Grievous, one would expect much better articulation by this point. Alas, that is not the case here, and the General is saddled with a pitiful six points of articulation. The legs and ankles are in fixed positions as are the wrists and elbows. The latter omissions also make the ball-jointed shoulders predominantly useless as they have no other arm-based joints to complement. The ball-jointed head has a good range of motion and does allow some variation in posing. However, the overall poseability of the figure is abysmal.
Grievous is one of only two figures in the first wave without an action feature, and he makes up for it with several accessories: interchangeable arms, four lightsabers, and his blaster. Of that list, only the blaster is a real success. Done in the animated CGI style of the movie, Grievous’ blaster is a fairly sturdy weapon that sports a great amount of minute detail such as the pill-shaped indentations on the barrel and various notches and grooves around the grip and trigger. To simulate wear-and-tear, Hasbro dry-brushed metallic paint across the entire weapon. It adds definition without being too overbearing.
As for the lightsabers, Hasbro paid a greater amount of attention to the hilts than they have in the past with regards to generic lightsabers. Obviously, those belonging to the main characters get special attention, but the non-descript Jedi sabers are usually molded in gray plastic and left unpainted. Hasbro went the extra mile here to add touches of black and yellow-gold to the hilts, resulting in four distinctly different weapons. Sadly, the sabers suffer from plastic that is too soft and easily warped. In fact, one of the sabers was heavily bent straight out of the packaging.
As mentioned earlier, the most prolific of Grievous’ accessories is the inclusion of interchangeable arms, giving collectors the ability to alternate between his standard two-armed version and the lightsaber combat-ready four-armed version—a two-in-one feature that all previous versions lacked. Swapping between them is easy, and the arms stay snug in the sockets. Another plus is that the ball-jointed shoulders are located behind the pegs, so they retain their full range of motion in spite of the arms’ interchangeability. However, the arms are ultimately a disappointment because they are too rubbery and easily warped. Furthermore, the hands are permanently twisted in multiple directions, leading to saber blades getting tangled up in each other. Without wrist articulation, there is no way to adjust the hands’ orientation. The best one can do is angle the lightsabers away from each other, but that can be a frustration endeavor as the hands do not grip the hilts very well. The picture below took a few minutes of finessing to get the sabers aligned correctly. Even then, they were one slight bump away from falling out of the hands.
OVERALL RATING: Below Average (Bordering on Poor)
Whereas Yoda succeeded in terms of aesthetics despite failing in functionality, General Grievous is regrettably an overall disappointment. Had Hasbro included more articulation and used sturdier plastic, this would have been the best of all the Grievous figures thus far. To say perhaps the next attempt will finally produce the be-all, end-all General Grievous would be too naïve at this point because Hasbro’s track record leaves little hope. Yes, there are some positives to this figure such as more accurate scaling and better stability, but they are not enough to justify spending upward of $7 or $8 on this figure.