I’m not sure how to review a model. Mainly because your experience may be completely different than the next guys. It would depend on your model experience, your dexterity and self-control (so you do not murder anyone) and your commitment to detail. This is my second Bandai kit, the first being the Executioner Trooper. I plan on doing a write up of that as soon as I get some time. For the purpose of this review, we will be discussing my experience. Your mileage may vary.
Why pick this up? Look, it’s been 13 years. If someone was going to make a good Grievous figure, they would have already done it. I’m done holding my breath waiting for Bandai’s action figure arm, Figuarts, to get it out for purchase. The kit is 1:12. He may be tall for that but he spends most of the time hunched over.
A quick rundown of what I know about the character: Hated droids, had an accident or almost died in some fashion in a novel (I think, or a comic) and he ended up having his organs put inside of a robot. I love some ham-fisted irony. He makes the scene sometime in between Episode II and Episode III. The MTV two season Clone Wars cartoon ended with Grievous fake kidnapping Palpatine, Anakin reaching out with the force to grab him and nearly crushing Grievous in the process, thus the cough he had throughout Revenge of the Sith. He hates Jedis, or at the very least has unresolved issues with them. He has four arms and uses lightsabers as his primary weapon but is not a force user.
At first glance, the box seems to contain 15 million pieces. After you sort it all, it ends up being a much more manageable 7 million.
If you’ve never done a plastic model kit, this may seem overwhelming. However, when you break it down to sprues you’re dealing with roughly 6 parts. With little parts. That attach to tinier parts.
Fortunately, I have some experience making model kits. My OCD once led me to believe that the shortest route to getting all of the Star Trek Enterprises in scale to one another was to build them myself. While that never came to fruition (I own the kits but have not built most of them) I did build enough of them that I learned the basics.
If you don’t have that skillset, don’t worry. The kit is what is called a “snap together” kit and that means exactly what it says. It looks fine as is, out of the box and put together with no additional modeling skills required.
Theoretically, no glue is needed. Much like the Executioner, there were some parts I had to glue. If you run into pieces that just won’t stay, try some glue. I know that sounds like common sense to some of you but for someone who has never touched a model before, with express instructions “no glue needed” they could end up walking away from the build because they think they’re doing something wrong.
From start to finish, the build took me four hours spread out over two weeks. The instructions are clear with pictures for every step. The two most frustrating parts were the neck assembly and the cape. For the neck, I’d like to give you some advice to make it easier on yourself. However, the neck was a stopping point for me where I stepped away from the kit for the night. The other option was placing the kit in the microwave and set it to 1 hour. The next day when I returned to it, it was only through an act of God, an accident or pure serendipity that allowed me to get it together. If it were to fall apart again, I’d probably give up. It’s that frustrating.
The cape is… well it’s pointless. I get it, it’s a model kit and we should put it together. Yet when I look at the cape and see that it is painfully obvious they made this as a way to punish us, I can’t help but think there was an easier way. You’ll want extra fingers, scotch tape or phone-a-friend to get this put together.
Let’s take a look at some pics:
As you can see, I added some weathering to him. Specifically, I painted the black lines, gave a lot of recessed areas a dark wash. I dry brushed some rust colored pastels and added some blaster burns. Then I dry brushed the dark brown parts with silver to give it a metallic appearance in the right light. The last thing I did with it was hit it with a dull coat to seal in the weathering. He came with sticker decals and waterslide decals. If I’m making a real model I prefer water slides. However, this kit doesn’t lend itself easily to using water decals. I could not get the stickers to stay on (watch that one over his mouth!!!) and tossed them. I hand painted most of the stickered areas.
If this was the completed model, it would still be decent enough to put on the fancy shelvin’. However, Grievous’ big money making move was “crazy 4 armed lightsaber swinging robot guy,” and by golly, Bandai gave him to us! They deliver it with two sets of arms that you can easily* (more on that later) swap out. One set is the regular two-armed version, the other four. Since this is not a figure, in order for him to place or remove lightsabers from those hands, you have to remove the hand, pull it apart (it splits in two) and place, or remove the lightsaber.
They also give us four lightsabers, two blue and two green. They work well for him but dwarf every other lightsaber at 1:12 scale ever, ever, ever, ever. I have to wonder which Jedi he killed in order to get these Saber-Spears? Still, in HIS hand(s)(x4), they look great.
The last thing in the box is his two-piece base. Nothing fancy but it can hold him up if needed.
Is it an action figure? No. Well, yes. Well, no. Look, it’s articulation scheme is almost as good as the Figuarts line, which means you can put him in a lot of different poses. All of the poses in any of the pics above and below, I was able to balance him at least long enough to take the shot. Which brings me back to my “easy” comment above.
Replacing the arms are “easy” now because I remember, through a series of unfortunate events, that if you put more than a little pressure on his arm as you pull it out, the thing will fall apart. The peg is more often than not, going to stick in the body. When that happens there’s a really good possibility that you will accidentally fling the part you pull out somewhere. His legs will just fall off for no explicable reason. I know to be careful with his head because the mandibles under his mouth will fall off if you breathe on them wrong. His ears will flip off his head and land behind you on the similarly colored floor. So he is easy… now. In 6 months when I go to restage him, I will forget and I will have to learn all of that again. This all brings me to a point…
He isn’t an “action” figure because he wasn’t meant to be. He’s meant to be built and displayed. Only masochistic nerds like me will take this model on a week-long series of photos in his basement. He even survived my girlfriend putting away Christmas decorations while I was asleep and knocking my stage down. When she told me she “knocked some stuff over” I just knew Grievous was in a million pieces (because remember, he is 7 million pieces) all over my basement floor. He was not and she felt bad. Which is bad. Because they’re just toys, but I’m glad she cared enough to feel bad. That’s weird.
Anyway, what he does (be a model) he does great. He is worth your time if you have the patience and at the end of the day, like one of my favorite Internet toy guys, Robokillah over at The Fwoosh say’s, you get a really cool figure. If you’re looking to pick him up, you can get him here:
While I was shooting these pictures, I remembered how in my Padme review I said that I wished they had some kind of snap-on to cover her midsection. Not because I’m a prude but because with it not torn, it could be Padme’s Daily Butt Kicking Outfit (patent pending). With it torn it is forever cemented in that moment in the Star Wars galaxy. Like a something word trapped in amber. Sorry, “fly in amber” is too cliche but I’m not sure what else gets caught in amber. Caterpillars? Too many syllables. I panicked and I let you down. I’m sorry.
What do you think? Gonna give a model a shot? For you army builders, its a cheaper route to go but may prove more frustrating I would think. For one-offs like this or the Executioner? I can absolutely recommend this if you can get over the things I mentioned above.
As always, I am interested in your thoughts!
Here he is in his new shelf home.