When Disney first unveiled their Diecast Star Wars Elite Action figures at D23 I was pretty impressed. When they then landed the 6 Force Awakens figures on Force Friday I was blown away, particularly with the Flame Trooper and Captain Phasma. Sadly, as collectors started to pick these up it became apparent that rather than a 6" 1/12 scale like Hasbro's Black Series, these came in around 7" 1/10 scale. Not wanting to mis-match on scales and not wanting to start a new line from scratch, I left the Elite series alone.
We then found out that the 6 Original & Prequel Trilogy figures seen in the D23 box set were arriving on a staggered release up to the release of The Force Awakens, and I decided that out of all of them that General Grievous was a must as it was a figure Hasbro are yet to tackle and the scale issue wouldn't matter too much with Grievous being an over-sized figure.
Grievous hit UK stores as of the 27th of October, but rather than every Disney store - they restricted him to just 7 across the UK. I managed to get to the Trafford Centre on the 28th and picked up the last one on the shelves.
All the Elite series come in a stunning presentation box which is perfectly designed for MIB collectors. The large window shows off the figure against a classy red background. The brushed steel box with its high gloss red trim adds an exclusive look with the character text picked out in plain black. The rear of the box stays away from any artwork but instead a bit of blurb about the Elite series itself, then some bio of the character.
Grievous comes in an over-sized box compared to the other figures, and fair play to Disney for sticking with the £18.95 UK RRP when it would have been reasonable to charge a higher price for what is a larger box & figure.
Sadly it at this point, the un-boxing, that this review will take a negative turn. Once out of the box you are faced with a good 10 minutes wrangling with the 12 twist ties that are holding Grievous in place. Once released you can see why the twist ties were necessary as instead of being tight jointed like say a Hasbro or NECA figure, Grievous just "flops" out of the box - and in my case one of his arms wasn't even attached to the body. Each arm is on a basic ball joint, but the material is a plastic and therefore the arms pop off far too easily. Each arm is articulated at the elbow, but barely move. Each hand is on a ball joint but rather than moving smoothly feel like they are about to snap when you try to move them. The head rotates ever so slightly from side to side and that is it for articulation on the top half. Moving down to the legs you get a hip joint and a knee joint, both of which are loose and therefore Grievous is impossible to stand on his own.
No fear you think, he comes with a pegged stand. This in itself is a nice piece and Hasbro could take a lesson here. The purpose however of a stand is to allow a figure to, well stand. This one has one peg that fits into just one of Grievous' feet - and even once locked in, the General just flops over. To get any pictures of all in a vertical position I had to use a Kaiser Doll stand to keep the figure upright.
The accessories that come with the figure are a cloak, and four light sabers. Starting with the sabers, each hilt is different and from what I can see reasonably accurate to the film. But then all that hard work is ruined as the blades are just a painted pastel colour, no attempt to get a translucent effect. The next problem is that Grievous won't hold the sabers in the conventional sense. Each hand is too wide open and has no articulation to close the grip. That being said, you can balance each saber hilt into a hand and have Grievous in offensive mode vs your Black Series Obi Wan. The cloak I must admit is well done in a soft rubber material which drapes round the neck piece. Again though, good start but poor finish as the cloak doesn't sit flush to the back of the figure and rides up into two points that don't physically meet any part of Grievous body. Not a big issue when viewed from the front, but any side view of the figure and the cloak looks like it is floating in mid air a good half inch from the body. It is also too long as the only way to have the cloak not touching the floor means positioning Grievous into a tip-toe position and with no ankle joint this again looks unnatural.
Taking away a few positives, and the sculpt is really good in the main and captures the ceramic look of Grievous' armour. The under parts are quite soft in the sculpt and would have looked a tad better with harder lines and more angular. Paint is pretty basic, but I must admit they have done a nice job of the eyes beneath the mask piece. Some weathering would have improved the figure also as he looks too clean.
All in all this figure is sadly a wreck. The basic of any collectors line is for the figure to look good, display nicely and stand on its own. Disney have gone for looks but absolutely no thought has been put into the design. In fact I suspect these figures (I have heard similar issues with other Elite figures not standing or being top heavy) were designed purely for display in their box. The die-cast element should work really well on droids and armoured troops, but Grievous is more plastic than anything and the joints which need to be metal and robust and cheap and nasty and will cause collectors no end of frustration.
I am so disappointed at this point I am not even going to open an Archive page for Elite Series reviews and galleries. You can checkout the full catalogue of pictures on my facebook page HERE.
If I was going to score Grievous, then I will give him one star on the back of a decent enough sculpt. This figure should have been a triumph and instead will leave most collectors frustrated - expect to see lots of returns in stores this week and lots of complaints next week when the online orders start to land. If you are still on the fence about this one, my advice is to wait for Hasbro, Bandai/Figuarts or Mafex to do a version and pay the extra that he will cost from them