General Grievous (Exploding Body)
Released June 2005
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on August 18, 2005
There are so many great figures in the Star Wars line that are done time and again, made just a little bit better every time. This is what confuses me about General Grievous (Exploding Body)-- he's crap. He's also the third basic version of this character.
The figure includes a removable cloak, exploding body bits, a gun, and a lightsaber.
In the frenzy surrounding the new figure launch, something interesting happened: people were too distracted to complain about the bad figures that came out. Well, now that the dust has settled, let's look at one of the year's greatest turkeys.
Packaged in this mode, his cloak covers the figure and the majority of what I'll be complaining about later. While he did wear a cape in the film, I believe the colors to be off-model and I'm not buying that the logo on the back is appropriately placed. In this mode, he can turn his head, or move one of his arms, and that's it. The sculpt of the cloak shows a lot of work went into it, but it also looks like he's about to have a haircut. Which, given that he has no hair, doesn't make for a good looking toy.
Also, he's got rubbery legs, and he's somewhat top heavy. For those who may guess where this is going, this means Hasbro (as the kids say) jumped the shark on this one. Just having him on display standing on your shelf over a period of time will cause him to fall forward. If you attempt to remedy this by placing him on a stand, his legs will bend and misshapen over time. While I see good reasons to make some plastic flexible for safety purposes, there are times where it just doesn't work and it leaves the consumer with an inferior product. This is one of those times.
Finally, in addition to all of these problems, he's very clean in this mode and without the cloak-- in the movie, he had a little dirt and battle damage.
As you can see here, he's pretty good, but not great. He doesn't appear as hunched over as he did on the big (or small) screen, and his unique walk did not translate to plastic. He's clean... he's white. And yes, he's top-heavy-- this means that even with the cloak removed, the problems with him toppling over and eventually bending out of shape remain. Shame, Hasbro. There's little excuse for producing a figure that can't stand up in this day and age, and there's no excuse for creating one that can't stand up when you plug it into a stand. That's just sloppy toy making.
The ball-jointed head, on the other hand, is pretty good. The sculpt is OK, but not fantastic. The eyes are well done, and the ball-jointed construction on the neck allows for a wide range of motion and on at least our sample, it doesn't flop right off. It's a good design, but still seems just a little off from what it looked like on the big screen. Still, it's a bright spot on this figure.
And as mentioned above, he blows up. The mechanism itself works fairly well, but it also cripples this toy as an action figure. If you pick him up, he might just split in two, and he doesn't stay together particularly well. Hasbro (and Kenner) made figures that explode well in the past, like the Scorpion Alien from ALIENS, and the 2002 Super Battle Droid (despite having some gummy leg problems) blew up just fine and never really had a problem holding together. At least not my sample. So what happened here? How could this figure have turned out to be so lame?
One average lightsaber, a General Grievous blaster, a cloak, and a bunch of little exploding bits and pieces.
The lightsaber is excellent, but somewhat bland. It doesn't do anything you haven't seen a lightsaber do in the past, but it's functional, looks good, and is a nice extra.
The blaster is, again, great. The figure was designed with it in mind and his trigger finger fits right into the trigger, perfectly. Well done, Hasbro!
The guts and cloak and everything fit together well, but this figure would probably have been better off minus a few of these items.
New for 2005: the flaming head of Darth Vader. Enjoy it while it lasts, it'll be gone before 2006.
This is a very ornate package. Despite being somewhat generic across the line, there are numerous layers at work here-- there are two cardboard inserts in the front, a plastic tray, and stickers all over to make this really stand out. The end result is a busy, flaming design you just can't ignore. It isn't as gee-whiz or gosh-golly cool as the packaging used for the Original Trilogy Collection but it looks like the most expensive cardback Hasbro has done to date and the new egglike bubble is a huge departure from the previous two decades and change of product from Kenner and Hasbro. The bubble is much like that of the G.I. Joe figures (two- and three-packs) from 2003-2005 in that the bubble wraps the card, hugging it, where it is taped in the back. This allows you to remove a figure a little more easily, although the folks at Hasbro secured it in more places so you'll probably rip most of these getting the figures out.
Despite being a bit of a dud and shipping frequently, he's still a little tough to come by. With a little luck, you can find one, but he's not exactly a pegwarmer.
General Grievous will probably go down in history as another third-rate villain. With characters like Aurra Sing and Boba Fett receiving no short amount of hype before going essentially nowhere, it looks like we have another one to add to the mix, and Hasbro sure as heck exploited the character while the opportunity was good. As the third basic figure (after a Force Battler, Attacktix, Galactic Heroes, and several other figures), Hasbro must have been hard up for ways to make another Grievous toy, and while an exploding one should have been really cool, this one wasn't. If Hasbro were to revisit the character with a new figure based on this situation, I bet it would be pretty good-- but it's probably going to be quite some time before we see another General Grievous figure. (I mean, the last new Jango Fett sculpt was 2002... Hasbro really doesn't seem to like its prequel villains too much!)
This figure is not a great figure. Grievous loyalists will love it, and odds are any collector that doesn't ever need to leave a figure in an upright position for more than a day or two will as well. It's an OK toy, and a horrible collector figure because it just can't stay together or stay fully stood up. As such, we have no problems whatsoever telling you to save your five bucks on this guy and go buy a spare Clone Trooper or R2-D2.
Our review sample was obtained from Entertainment Earth in April, 2005.