The new bad-ass of Star Wars makes his 3.75” action figure debut in Hasbro’s “Sneak Preview” wave of figures that act as the prelude to the Revenge of the Sith onslaught. This is a completely logical step for a wave of figures that, for all intents and purposes, is to be hyping you up for the new film.
Grievous makes for an interesting figure to review, as he’s not everything he could be, yet he’s got a lot going for him as well. He makes for one of the more popular figures in the wave though, despite his flaws. He’s the Darth Maul of his film, and his first figure in the basic line really milked that by selling very well… good thing because he’s going to have plenty of new versions in the regular ROTS line as its reign dominates toy aisle pegs. But for now, we’re going to pick apart Hasbro’s first dish of Grievous goodness, and I’ll give you the scoop on what’s to love, and what’s to loathe.
-Sculpt: For what my eyes tell me, this figure looks incredibly accurate to the complex structure that is General Grievous. The bony skeletal structure to his body has a great amount of depth in it, and there’s no shortage of detail on the plates, pistons, and other bits and pieces that make up the figure’s awkward design.
Some nice details one may notice are the open spaces between pieces of Grievous’ arms, or the way Hasbro sculptors made his armor plating hang over a point of articulation, basically obscuring the articulation point without hindering its usefulness in getting different poses out of the figure. These are the extra efforts in sculpt that can make or break a figure.
Without a doubt, Grievous sports a lot of depth and realism in sculpt, but there’s some imperfection here that’s tied to a partially lacking level of articulation. The sculptors had some of Grievous’ features down to a tee, but at the same time the sculpt has some pieces of the figure in a fixed pose that only strong articulation could ever help alleviate. We’ll touch on that in the “Cons” portion though.
-Paint/Deco: Grievous is rather colorful, despite what you may have seen in early footage/pictures from the film. I was personally surprised to see Grievous as the figure that sort of popped out on the pegs as the most eye-catching.
With an array of gunmetal/metallic colors underneath the sort of “bone white” looking skeletal structure, the figure really is something to behold on the pegs. He should make for an imposing looking enemy on the big screen as well.
The various recessed areas of the sculpt weren’t overlooked by Hasbro though, in regards to paint, and that’s a nice plus in the detail column for them. For instance, on Grievous’ thighs you can see how the metallic paint found its way down into the crevices between the two skeletal thigh pieces. That’s some tiny detailing down in there.
The figure has some paint bleeding onto different parts, but I think it’s minimal enough that it doesn’t detract from the figure overall. It’s mostly where the metal structure meets with the outer skeleton, and it’s very minimal. It really actually blends in well with the healthy dose of a “wash” that was applied to the figure overall to highlight all the detail from the sculpt.
Beyond the metallic, there’s the organic portion of Grievous that received some special paint applications. First was the torso of the figure which has some green-colored paint that is subtle but noticeably different from the metal and “bone” of the character overall. A nice touch on what I can only assume are the organic remains of whatever Grievous once was inside his metal frame. The only other sign of life for Grievous is his menacing eyes staring out from under the mask. You can see red flesh surrounding cat-like eyes that are nicely detailed with no paint bleeding anywhere, even though the eyes are incredibly small.
-Accessories: I think that Grievous could’ve been shortchanged as far as accessories go and he still would have sold well initially. His character seems to have caught people’s attentions quickly, and that’s a good thing for the film. However, Hasbro didn’t get stingy with accessories, and you can’t argue with the good in that!
Grievous comes with a removable cape that clips to his chest with barely visible pinholes (again, a plus to the sculptor), a small blaster pistol, and lastly a 2-piece lightsaber. Hasbro had said those sabers were a thing of the past, but it seems they’re going to make a comeback now and then in the ROTS line.
Personally, I enjoy the saber and Grievous gets an extra plus from me for having the 2-piece saber, however you cannot hook the hilt on Grievous’ body anywhere, though the hilt has a post to connect it to a Jedi’s belt or whatever. I’m not sure what the thinking was here or if the hilt is a reused sculpt (it looks generic to me, but I’m not a saber hilt aficionado to comment.
The gun’s an all-new sculpt, the cape doesn’t fall right off the figure, the saber is easily held by Grievous (as is the gun). That’s all good, and 3 accessories is enough to get a positive response from this reviewer.
-Articulation: Here’s an area where we’ll hit a snag, as the articulation is not bad, and you can pull a lot of good poses with what Hasbro gives us in this figure. At the same time though, Grievous has a complex sculpt with some rather sharp “posing” done by the Hasbro sculptor that worked on the figure. It makes for a figure that a little extra articulation would’ve helped.
Grievous has articulation at:
-2 ball/socket shoulder joints
-2 swivel forearm joints (basically, wrist joints)
-2 standard hip joints
-2 ball/socket knee joints
-1 ball/socket neck joint
-1 basic waist (mid-torso) joint
With a total of 10 points of articulation, Grievous isn’t terribly bad, but he’s the kind of figure that looks like he’s going to be packed with moments of action in the upcoming film. As such, one could ask for a little more articulation.
Right now though, I’m displaying my Grievous without the cape and in a nice action pose, and he’s suiting me for now. I’d gladly have taken a super articulated figure of Grievous though, even if that would conflict with resculpt after resculpt of this figure down the road. We’ll touch on articulation “Cons” though shortly.
-Poseability: I’m trying to differentiate between two things that are often related here… “good poseability”, and “good articulation”. They are related more often than not, but one doesn’t necessarily need the other, nor does one necessarily mean you GET the other...
No, I’m not speaking in riddles. I’m simply saying that, even with 10 points of articulation, General Grievous is a tough figure to pose. Some ankle joints would’ve alleviated this problem a LOT, but Hasbro saw fit to omit that point of articulation on both legs. It is where the figure becomes a tough nut to put on the shelf… and have it stay there… especially with his cape on. The cape’s almost made for another figure that is standing straight up and down, while Grievous’ feet/ankles are sculpted for him as if he were crouching, lunging, or some other form of fancy footwork.
That’s not to say Grievous is bad either, and we’re certainly going to see more than 1 or 2 more versions of this character to come. I just think the ankle joints would’ve taken a good figure on paper but not so great in practice, to a figure that was both poseable on paper AND poseable when you pop him open and start playing with him. He’d be close to an “ultimate” Grievous really.
-No 4-arm Feature?: Hasbro chose not to give Grievous the 4-arm splits that he cranked out in the Clone Wars Cartoons, and which one could assume he does in ROTS as well. It would’ve required some extra work, and it’s again maybe not in line with Hasbro’s plans for future Grievous figures (it’s definitely not, actually, as “4-arm” Grievous figures ARE in the basic ROTS line), but it would’ve been appreciated in this figure.
It’d great if it were just something that wasn’t tied to an action feature, and the arms could be made as a “single” arm or split apart at the leisure of the fan. A nice addition that wasn’t meant to be though, unfortunately.
-Cape = Cannot Stand: The cape is a nice accessory, and the cape clips to Grievous’ body great, and it isn’t noticeable, but there’s one fatal flaw… The cape makes the figure fall over. It’s just incredibly tough to get the figure balanced, as the cape is either too long, or as I noted in the articulation/poseability flaw, the figure just needed some extra joints to stand up tall enough for the cape.
It’s a flaw either way, and one worth noting in this review since it’s really one of the more frustrating features on this figure. I mean, it’s a perfectly good cape gone to waste.
Well, that’s General Grievous’ Sneak Preview figure in a nutshell. He’s really not bad, despite those couple of flaws, but with the sheer number of figures of Grievous that are due out, you find one, two, or even three others to your likings.
I personally would like that one “super articulated” Grievous, and I don’t see that in the ROTS basic line right now, and the Preview figure doesn’t deliver either. I’m disappointed in that, but the figure still isn’t bad overall. Grievous appears to have been one of the more popular figures in the wave, and I think just by his menacing looks he’d win over the hearts of those just taking a passing glance as they walk past the Star Wars figures.
He’s a worthy purchase, I don’t feel bad about buying him, but I’m hoping for something better down the road that’s a bit more poseable than this figure. That’s my final word on the subject… Now, go have some beers with your friends because I hear that’s what some Star Wars nerds feel a need to tell others to go do when they don’t agree on how cool their toys are!