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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
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Zeeks' review: General Grievous

Name: General Grievous
Function: Separatist
Sub-Group: Apprentice to Count Dooku

“The much-feared General Grievous has trained with the evil Count Dooku in the art of light saber combat. Using unorthodox fighting methods, such as a furious multiple-light saber assault, Grievous has managed to cut down several Jedi Knights. Now, Grievous changes into wheel bike mode to engage and destroy Obi-Wan Kenobi and the remaining Jedi.”

When I first heard about the idea of combining two of the greatest toy franchises in the world, I was very curious about the outcome and what the consumer would actually get for a toy. Would it be decent? Would it satisfy both the Star Wars Fan and Transformers Fan? Growing up on a steady diet of Star Wars and later migrating to the Transformers, they actually stayed with me to this day. So, I got my answer. Definite…maybe.

Maybe, you say? Yeah, maybe. We got some great ideas, with questionable execution.

To date, I’ve picked up six of the Star Wars Transformers, and the particular one I’m most impressed with is the subject of this review. General Grievous, a primary character in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, got the Transformers treatment, and the results are basically 50/50. There are absolutely fantastic things about this guy, and absolutely dreadful things about him.

Alternate Mode:
The alternate mode for Grievous is the wheel bike, which was featured in the Utapau chase sequence in ROTS with Obi-Wan. As the wheel bike, there is no discernible wheel nor any type of bike. (George, you need to name your vehicles better.) The length varies depending on the extension of the arms, but roughly it stays within the 6 to 8 inches. Now, a child playing with this really isn’t going to be able to do much except put it in various stationary poses while the other SWTF’s are flying through the air (with the help of your hand) since there are no wheels on the underside and the four limbs aren’t tight enough to stay in one pose very long.. So, on the playability scale, there’s not much you can do with it. Also, the tiny Grievous pilot doesn’t stay in his side seat very well. So, that’s the basic faults with the particular model. On the plus side, Grievous is incredibly detailed for a toy his size- character accurate coloring (the metallic with brown and tan overtones), and the pseudo main wheel has the teeth, made of a durable rubber that actually behaves more like a plastic. On the opposite side of the seating area is the main gun turret, which has a spring operated light saber that pops out a little too easily for me.

If I had to narrow this down to one reason alone why a child wouldn’t like this in terms of playing with it, it is definitely the transformation. It’s not mind boggling in terms of trying to figure out sequence, but it is very HARD to do. The limbs are nothing- easy as anything. The bike portion, however, is tough. In a nutshell, you divide it in half to make the halves join together on the back of the figure, but you need to pull them apart, and that is not easy. I’m not sure if it just happened to be my model, but I had to use a little excessive force to bring the initial halves apart, then fold up the other two divided halves to make them complete. You also need to be very wary of the position of three elements during this particular process- the side panels containing the seating area and gun turret, and most importantly, the “kick stop” (for lack of a better description). Also, trying to get your fingers in there is not easy either. To me, this is the worst aspect of the figure. Definitely could have been designed better, but I suppose cashing in on the idea of two successful toy franchises was more important.

Robot Mode:
Definitely, this is the best mode of the two, which is quite the reverse for the other SWTF’s I currently have. Of course, since Grievous is primarily a robotic figure anyways, it makes total sense to the success of the visual. The white bone plating on the chest, the incredibly detailed head sculpt, and the articulated hands and feet create an extremely handsome piece. So what’s wrong with this? The damned thing can’t even stand up on its own! In all the effort to articulate him, almost every limb, joint, and movable detail is completely loose. The hip joints, which are ball and socket, pop off without much effort. The hands barely grasp the light sabers or the turret which can be used as a rifle in robot mode. In every attempt to get the robot to stand, the legs do a complete split, no matter how you try to angle them. The only way I can get him to stand up is by propping him up against something. So the great price is paid: excellent articulation, not enough “figure” to even stand. If you take the limbs by themselves, you can’t help but admire the detailing. And it is great; I will totally give it that, but with the heavy weight on the back, these superbly detailed limbs just fall flat. In the “could have been, should have been” area, I would have liked to have seen the 4 separating arm limbs, as featured in the movie.

Transformation: 3. No child, whether 8 or 32 years old is going to have enough patience to fiddle with the bike wheel portion of this.
Durability: 2. Terrible- limbs fall off at the slightest touch, joints are the weakest I’ve ever seen on any transformer or action figure in general.
Fun: 8- as a display piece only. You can’t play with it, but if you are just looking for something to display, the detail will stand out enough to justify the “no-play” aspect.
Price: $15 U.S. Retail. Overpriced by $5 in my opinion, as many of the Transformers of the same exact size and range offer the same (if not better) features for the price.
Overall: Grievous Fan? Get him. Star Wars collector in General?
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