Star Wars “30th Anniversary Collection:” V-Wing Starfighter by Hasbro

It feels like a long while since I’ve looked at a 3 3/4-inch Scale Star Wars vehicle, especially if you exclude the whole 5-POAPALOOSA I did for the opening of The Last Jedi. Let’s face it, Hasbro doesn’t do a lot of these anymore and when they do, they’re a far cry from what they were in the glory days. Unless you want to count a certain Sail Barge Experiment that’s going on right now. Anyway… A couple of weekends back, I spent Saturday morning going through one of my Star Wars totes. I was expecting it to be mostly figures, but there were a few surprises buried in there, and one of them was this cool Starfighter that was released as part of the 30th Anniversary Collection, one of the last of Hasbro’s Star Wars lines that I collected with excitement and fervor. I was surprised to find that I never gave it a proper review here, so I set it aside for a day just like today!

The Alpha-3 Nimbus Class “V-Wing” Starfighter made its appearance at the end of Revenge of the Sith, escorting Palpatine’s shuttle to Mustafar. I’ll confess, this last point came up in my research and I didn’t remember actually noticing them when I watched the movie. For a long time, I just assumed this ship was based off an Expanded Universe design from The Clone Wars, or a concept that never actually got used. One bit of credit I’ll always give to the Prequels and Clone Wars era, is they featured some pretty cool ships, many of which were given the royal treatment by Hasbro to become excellent toys. Anyway, I think this ship was released a few times, but I got the 30th Anniversary Collection version. I was never a big fan of the package design, but I think I bought just about everything this line put out. The package indicates the ship being flown by a standard Clone Pilot, and that’s the figure I’ve used for my pictures, but I’ll point out that Hasbro did release an official V-Wing Pilot as part of an exclusive multi-pack and that one wore a black flightsuit. The V-Wing requires a bit of assembly as all of it’s wings have to be attached, as does the front section of the hull. It’s probably more than I’m used to seeing in this size toy, but nothing too complicated.

To say that this is a distinctive design is quite the understatement! I suppose you could argue that there’s a little bit of A-Wing in here, at least in the ship’s main body, but this one is more elongated and has a much sharper taper, like the head of a spear. Also, I’m a big fan of ships that have different configurations for landing and flight, and as we’ll see in a bit, the V-Wing very nearly takes this idea to the extreme. The basic layout follows the usual Rebel/Republic ship formula with a single-pilot cockpit positioned in front of a socket for an Astromech Droid. In this case, the Droid’s head is permanently attached to the ship, so you cannot provide your own. His head will, however, swivel, and if accessorizing is your thing, he’s painted to match the hull of the ship. And speaking of paint, the deco on this ship is absolutely gorgeous. In addition to the red and off-white coloring, you get some yellow markings, scorch marks, and a lot of silver scrapes and weathering. I think you could argue that Hasbro overdid it a bit with the silver scrapes, but in this case, I think too much is better than nothing. Comparing this ship to Hasbro’s super-clean modern offerings is like comparing apples and oranges.

When landed, the V-Wing rests on three landing struts, the rear two are integrated into the collapsed wings, while the front retracts into the primary hull. There are three sets of articulated wings, one set on each side and another set mounted behind the top of the cockpit. All of these have textured heat radiating panels on the interiors. I really dig the armored-up look the V-Wing sports when it’s all closed up and landed.

From the back, you can see the V-Wing’s dual vertically-stacked thrusters, as well as a pair of articulated rudders that flank the engines. The V-Wing is not capable of Hyperspace on its own, but apparently could be adapted to take a Hyperspace Ring like the Jedi Starfighters. When the ship is ready to take off, you just fold in the front landing strut and press in the upper engine to deploy the wings.

And man, does this thing look awesome with the wings deployed! They spring open like scissor blades and really show off the sleek and aggressive design of the hull. They also reveal the banks of missiles that are positioned on each side of the cockpit area.

The missiles are cool in that they actually look like missiles and not the usual simple rods that we see in a lot of Hasbro’s ships. They have pronounced fins and the tips are painted red. Paint applications on missiles! These truly were wondrous times! There are buttons positioned at the top of the wing mounts which will fire these and they shoot pretty damn far!

The cockpit looks nice and snug, but there’s actually plenty of room in the compartment for the Clone Pilot figure, and I imagine most other normal humanoid figures would fit fine as well. The cockpit is hinged at the back and there’s a little slot at the front to help open it. Fun fact: The V-Wings sacrificed life support for maneuverability, hence the importance of the sealed flightsuit. The eye on my Q7-Series Astromech is a tad wonky, but otherwise the paint on him is pretty good, and I really appreciate the fact that his head will swivel.

About the only downside of this beautiful ship is that it doesn’t come with a way to display it with the wings open. There is, however, a useful cluster of pipes sculpted on its undercarriage near the back. I was able to make it work fairly well with a flight stand that Mattel used to sell for their DC figures.

If you’ve been with me for a while, then you may have heard me talk about my Great Star Wars Purge that happened around 2009 or so, where I liquidated a huge portion of my Star Wars collection. I can still remember getting ready to add this one to the selling pile, but relenting at the last moment. It might have been because it was still a relatively new purchase at the time, but now that I’m holding it in my hands again, I think it was probably more about just how unique and special this ship’s design is, and how well Hasbro carried it off. It’s hard to think of too many ships in this class since that have turned out this well. It’s both a fun and great-looking toy, and it’s been rescued from the storage tote and now displayed on my shelf once again!

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Star Wars Black: Commander Cody by Hasbro

A new wave of Star Wars Black hit my doorstep this week. This time the assortment is comprised of all new releases (IG-88, Leia as Boushh, and Commander Cody), but the case breakout included two Codys. It’s a real shame that Hasbro has been getting away from the original concept of delivering four new figures in each wave, but they’ve become real inconsistant on that point now, causing me to buy these guys individually and pay a couple of extra dollars for each. Cody is actually the one figure in this wave I’m least interested in, but I’m a little pressed for time today so I thought I’d knock him out.

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The packaging is still great at showing off the figure, but from an art design standpoint it’s totally utilitarian. Why is there so much text on the box? We’re now up to four different languages and the left panel, where some companies put the name and an image of the figure, is just clogged up with disclaimers and copyright bullshit. They’ve even removed the useless character quote from the back. Oh well. I don’t keep these packages anyway, so let’s shred it open and get Cody out.

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If you picked up the 6-inch Black Clone Trooper then a lot of this figure should be familiar to you. He uses a repaint and slight resculpt of that body. The orange trim and unit markings go a long way to making him distinctive, and he’s also got some matte gray paint on his belt and midriff. The resculpted parts on the body consist of a new backpack, an armband, and a rubbery antenna like thing coming off his left shoulder armor. He also has a rank bar on his chest. All in all, this is a decent enough body sculpt. My biggest nitpick would be that they still haven’t opted to paint the pins in the elbow joints to match the black part of the inner suit. It seems like that should probably be something a $20 collector figure would watch out for.

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The helmet is all new and it seems to be a pretty good fit for Cody. I’m one of those weirdos who prefers the Phase I armor over this more Stormtrooper-like style, but it still works for me. Cody’s modified helmet features the visor and the antenna, setting him apart from the rest of the cannon fodder. I do think they did a pretty nice job with the paint on the helmet. The blue paint on the side vents is extremely clean and I like the little flame effects on the induction filters. There’s also some decent weathering to the gray stripe on top.

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Articulation is the same as we got with the regular Clone Trooper, which is to say pretty good. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and ankles, have double hinged elbows, and swivels at the thighs. His torso is ball jointed just below the armor plate and his neck is ball jointed too. The armor doesn’t really interfere with his poseability and I like that you can actually get him to aim down the barrel of his rifle. Not bad!

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Speaking of rifles, Cody comes with the same two weapons as the regular Phase I Clone Trooper. You get the standard pistol and the large rifle, both cast in the same black plastic. It’s always kind of bothered me that these guys don’t have holsters for their pistols like the Stormtroopers do. Or even shoulder straps on those rifles.

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I try to be very selective about the Prequel figures I buy because I tend to like those movies even less with each passing year. I can’t even begin to count how many 3 3/4″ Prequel figures I sold off during my Great Star Wars Purge of about five years ago. Nonetheless, I kind of dig Cody here. He’s a solid enough figure and I suppose if I’m going to own one of the Clone officers, it might as well be Cody. On the other hand, if I apply the old FFZ Test to him and ask, “does this figure really benefit in any way from being done in the 6-inch scale?” I’d have to say no. I’m pretty sure Hasbro has done just as good a job with Cody in the 3 3/4″ scale, but I suppose that says as much about how good some of their smaller figures have become then anything else. I suppose a next a regular Phase 3 Clone Trooper is inevitable and yeah, I’ll probably pick one of those up too.

Star Wars Black: Anakin Skywalker by Hasbro

I started out this week looking at the Star Wars Black 6-inch Clone Trooper and I wasn’t all that impressed with him. That’s unfortunate because apart from the extra Stormtrooper, that was the figure I was most looking forward to getting. The only other new figure in the wave is Anakin and the only reason I own him is because I bought the whole case and he tagged along for the ride. This guy has a couple of strikes against him from the get-go. One, he’s a Prequel figure, which aside from the Clones and maybe Jango Fett, I’m not actively collecting. Two, I expected him to heavily reycle parts from the Prequel Obi-Wan, another figure that I was not at all impressed with. I know, we’re off to a bad start here, so let’s take the high ground (so stupid) and just jump in and get this over with.

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I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging. It looks good and does a great job of showing off the figure and his extras. I love the way the lightsaber and extra head just seem to hover there in the package. Anyway, this should be the last time we see this box deco before the redesign in the next wave. Anakin comes with two portraits, so we’ll start off with the noggin he comes with out of the box.

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I already said that I was expecting a nearly straight repaint of the Obi-Wan figure and that’s not at all what we got so kudos to Hasbro on that. In fact, I’m really impressed that Hasbro practically did an entirely new sculpt for the Anakin body. Sure, there’s obvious differences, like the bracer on his right forearm, the belt, and the boots, but even the areas on the robes where shared parts would have been sensible have different texturing and fold patterns. After having scrutinized both figures side by side I’m still having a problem finding anything that’s directly recycled without some tweaking. There are also some cool and more subtle differences like the way Anakin’s shoulders crest upward a bit at the ends. I had some issues with the Obi-Wan body feeling a bit too bulky, but I don’t find the same issue here, but I think that’s mostly because Anakin had a bigger build.

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The figure comes boxed with his regular head, which I think is a passable enough likeness. It’s certainly about on par with the Lukes and Han from past waves and I’d argue it’s better than the Obi-Wan portrait. I think my only gripe here is that since they included his “evil” Darth Vader head, they might have gone for a less angry looking expression for his normal noggin. The most notable difference in the Vader head is that the messier hair and the eyes, which are painted red. It feels like it needed a little something more to make it stand out. Maybe a paint wash or some dark circles under the eyes would have helped. Still, all in all it’s not bad.

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Articulation here is pretty much the same as we saw with Obi-Wan. You get a limited ball joint in the waist and the neck features both a ball joint and hinge. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and the ankles feature both ball joints and lateral rockers.

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As with Obi-Wan, Anakin comes with his trusty lightsaber with a detachable blue blade. The blade is a deeper blue than Obi-Wan’s and it’s also a bit thicker. The hilt is nicely detailed and painted and it’s also pegged so that it can be attached to the belt.

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I was originally planning on unloading this figure, along with Obi-Wan to a more prequel minded collector, but much to my own surprise, I liked Anakin enough to convince me to keep him and Obi-Wan both. I can’t say as he’s all that much better than some of the 3 3/4″ treatments, so he still fails the “is the new scale living up to its full potential” test, but he still turned out much better than I expected. I think the plastic sculpted robes look better on him than on Obi-Wan and I really appreciate all the effort Hasbro made to make him a unique sculpt when they could have easily just recycled the Obi-Wan body. On the whole, I think the 6-inch Black series is still a win, but this most recent wave has really shaken my confidence, especially since the best two figures in it are from previous waves. But, we have a new assortment due to ship soon, so hopefully Hasbro can restore this line to a more solid footing.

Star Wars Black: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Prequels) by Hasbro

The third wave of Hasbro’s 6-inch Star Wars Black figures has arrived on my doorstep without much breathing room between this one and the last wave. But then again, this isn’t a complete wave anyway. No, this case consisted of three new figures and the Han Solo from Wave 2. It’s annoying, because my best chance of getting these at a decent price has been to buy them by the case. While I might have a chance of picking up Obi-Wan and Luke at a good price a la carte, I’d have to shell out about $40 online to buy a single of the Stormtrooper. And that means having to suck it up and take the good with the bad. God forbid Hasbro pack two Stormtroopers into the case instead of the extra Han, right? Anyway, let’s kick things off with Obi-Wan Kenobi.

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There’s the packaging. I still dig it a lot, but according to what we saw at Toy Fair, the boxes are going to be changing to a new deco in a couple of waves. That’s fine by me because having two types of boxes for the line will aggravate my OCD something fierce and that means I don’t have to save the packaging anymore. The box simply states this is Obi-Wan Kenobi, but as we can see it’s Obi-Wan from the Prequels. Someone better versed in The Star Wars might be able to tell you whether he’s from Episode 2 or Episode 3, but I’m fine just considering him Prequel Obi-Wan. Some may be surprised that I bought him, as I’ve sworn to be really picky with this line and mostly stick to Original Trilogy figures. Nonetheless, one of the few things I liked about the Prequels was the way they portrayed young Obi-Wan so I didn’t mind so much getting him with the case.

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The sculpt here is not terrible, but it’s definitely got some issues. The plastic robes look way too bulky, particularly in the waist and shoulders, and the effect is exasperated by the head, which looks tiny by comparison. I get that the robes are supposed to be poofy and flowing, but instead it just makes Obi-Wan look like he needs to drop a few pounds. Interestingly enough, the figure uses some actual softgoods for the robes below the belt. On the one hand, it helps to not restrict the hip articulation, but it also begs the question, why not use this for all the robes? A slimmer buck with this kind of fabric over it might have worked better. Maybe? Well, maybe not, but I doubt it could have looked much worse. I mean, just look at the arms. It’s tough to sculpt arms with droopy sleeves and have them look right in multiple poses. These seem like problems that should have been left behind in the 3 3/4″ line.

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The head sculpt taken on its own isn’t too bad. There’s definitely a likeness in the portrait and I would have no problem identifying who it’s supposed to be if someone just handed me the head. The fact that it looks disproportionate to the body is more a problem with the heft of the buck than the size of the head. I think the sculptors did a particularly nice job with the hair and the paint is certainly passable. I’ll concede we’ve seen better head sculpts in this line, but the likeness is the least of this figure’s problems.

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The articulation is about right for what we’ve been seeing in this line. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders and elbows, while the wrists have swivels and hinges. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and rockers in the ankles. The neck is both ball jointed and hinged and the waist appears to be ball jointed, but really only works as a swivel. The only real issue I have with the articulation are the hips. They have a weird amount of play in them. It’s like their loose, but only to a certain degree. It doesn’t affect the figure’s ability to stand, but it you hold the figure by the torso and shake him they wobble all over the place.

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Obi-Wan comes with only one accessory… his lightsaber. As we saw with X-Wing Luke, the blade can be detached and the hilt can be worn on the belt. This time, however, the hilt gets pegged into the hole on Obi-Wan’s belt and it fits quite nicely. I wish Hasbro had gone this route with Luke’s lightsabers, rather than using the hook, as this method holds the hilt more securely and looks better. But with just the one lightsaber, this figure feels really light in the accessories department. A softgoods cloak would have gone a long way to round out the package. Hell, we used to get those with the 3 ¾” Vintage Collection Jedi. Actually, screw that, we got a softgoods cloak for Jedi Luke… from Kenner… in the 80s! And if not a cloak, then how about some bits of Clone armor? Anything to help justify the $20 would have been nice.

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For a line that has impressed me very nearly consistently from day one, Obi-Wan is certainly a disappointing release. The goal of the 6-inch Black series should be to give us superior sculpts and articulation, but I honestly think young Obi-Wan has been done better in the smaller scales. The real shame here is that I’m pretty sure we’ll see this buck again and again. I’m sure Hasbro is already fitting it for a Mace Windu head. It’s ironic, but in the end I feel worse about having to choke down this figure in this wave than I do picking up a second Han. At least the Han figure is excellent and I can display him with his different belt, hands, and weapon. The same can’t be said for Obi-Meh-Kenobi.

Star Wars Unleashed: General Grievous (Target Exclusive) by Hasbro

Last week I promised I’d check out the other 2006 Target Exclusive Unleashed statue from Hasbro, and so here we are. As with Boba Fett, this statue was originally released carded as part of the regular Unleashed line, but it got a special repackaged re-issue for Christmas. Neither of them sold well in my area and soon Target had an entire endcap full of them at ridiculously low clearance prices.

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The packaging is the same as what we saw last time. You get a big drum with a vintage style deco. It displays the statue very nicely and even has windows on the top to let light in. The inner backdrop of the drom features a really nice illustration and the outer back of the drum has a blurb about Grievous. I’ve done my fair share of shitting on the Prequels, but I’ll concede that there were some cool ideas at work and I always thought Grievous was one of them. He was certainly a more formidable presence than Darth Maul and whoever the hell the main bad guy was in Attack of the Clones. I think it was a fat bug guy, or Jango Fett, or the Trade Federation guys, or maybe Dooku or Palpatine… whoever it was they weren’t as cool as Grievous. I like this guy.

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What I didn’t like was how difficult it was to get Grievous out of his drum. Boba’s tray lifted right out, but Grievous’ seemed to be affixed to the bottom of the drum. I had to go in with clippers and cut the twisty-ties. It took some effort, but I managed to get him out unscathed.

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At first glance, Grievous doesn’t shock and awe as much as the Boba Fett statue. Maybe that’s because Boba’s more iconic to me, but that one just seemed like a far beefier and more majestic piece than this one. But the more I examine Grievous here, the more I can appreciate what Hasbro did. For starters, this is about as dynamic as you can get from a static piece. Grievous is hanging off the side of what appears to be a bulkhead and he’s poised to lunge at you like a rabid Dalmatian on crack. His four arms are deployed, two wielding lightsabers, one wielding a blaster, and the last holding on to some rails. His talon-like feet peg into the wall piece and the statue balances itself amazingly well for not having a proper horizontal base. This statue’s pose just oozes energy and excitement.

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The sculpting on Grievous is adequate, but a lot softer than what we got for Boba. You can see some detail in the grey inner-workings of Grievous’ cybernetic limbs. The white armor plating is supposed to be mostly smooth and without a lot of detail. There are a few cracks sculpted into the armor here and there, but again they’re rather soft and not terribly striking. A lot of the really good detail that’s present is sculpted into the wall. It’s also worth mentioning that Grievous’ thin limbs really betray the quality of plastic. His arms are very bendy and I doubt this guy would survive well in storage without getting all warped.

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While the sculpt is ok, I think it’s the paintwork that fails this statue the most. The bulk of Grievous is cast in grey plastic, so most of what needed to be done was just paint the armor white. There are a fair number of brush strokes evident on the armor. That’s ok, I can let that slide as it tends to just look like weathering or possibly even what the paint would look like on the actual armor. There’s also a little variation between some of the armor that’s cast in a matte white plastic and the glossier paint used on other parts. But what’s more troubling is the slop. Granted, you need to get in pretty close to see it, but once you do, there’s an awful lot of it. The metallic green also seemed like a strange choice for the chest area.

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It may sound like I have a lot of gripes about Grievous, but the truth is, even with some flubs, this is still a pretty sweet display piece. When you consider he came off a retail shelf and was priced at about $20, I can be a lot more forgiving. If anything the exciting design of the pose makes up for the little technical gaffs, and I have to admit I would love to see this piece duplicated in a higher end statue. In fact, I’d go so far to say that I think the boys at Hasbro did a much better job with the design and pose on this statue than Sideshow did with their tribute to The General. If you’re a fan of the G-Man and you don’t want to blow the budget to represent him on your shelf, you can do a lot worse than tracking down one of these.

Star Wars Vintage Collection: General Grievous by Hasbro

I swore to myself I wasn’t going to buy any Vintage Collection figures based on the prequels and yet here we are. I really thought this was a stupid idea on Hasbro’s part to take such a great concept as the VC and sully it by shoehorning the prequel figures into retconned packaging. I still think it is. Nonetheless, I really wanted to own this Grievous figure as it looked simply amazing and leaps and bounds better than the old Grievous figure that I had in my collection. “So, who cares about the packaging anyway?”, says I to myself, “I’m just buying it for the figure.” And yet before I got to the register, I convinced myself that the packaging looked so damn good, I needed an extra to leave carded and pop into a clamshell. Kudos, Hasbro, you have defeated me again!


So, yeah. The original concept here was to give fans awesome figures based on vintage originals and mount them on the same cards as the old ones. Obviously we’re straying here, since the prequel figures aren’t vintage and they were never issued on this style cardback. Part of me wants to see this whole operation as part of Lucas’ plan to make us think that characters like Grievous were already part of the master plan when he sat down to pen the original Star Wars. Then the more rational part of me says, “just shut up and enjoy the damn toys.” And I certainly can’t argue with results. The card looks awesome. The figure looks awesome. The figure on the card looks awesome. Of course, these no longer come in clamshells, but Hasbro has conveniently provided us the opportunity to buy them online. The back panel of the card still shows Grievous in his original Revenge of the Sith packaging to compare it with the new stuff.

I’ll lay my tortured opinionw about the prequel films aside and say that General Grievous was my favorite character from the newer films. When I purged all the prequel stuff out of my collection a few years back, I still kept Grievous, although now I can pretty much discard them all, since this new figure is absolutely fantastic and skunks all the previous Grievouses in every possible way. Keep in mind, I’m not saying this figure is perfect, as there are still a few unfortunate elements at work here, but it is an outstanding figure. All of his armor plates are cast in soft plastic, so you can bend his chest plates out to reveal his chest. His armor also has a nice brushed finish to give it a realistic bone look.

The real softgoods cape is an excellent addition to the figure. It’s remarkably well crafted with the correct insignia on the back and a gorgeous red liner. It also has sewn in pouches for Grievous to store his trophy lightsbaers. I’m not usually a fan of using softgoods in figures this small, but in this case it not only looks great, but it eliminates all the poseability problems that the plastic cape added to previous releases. It actually looks like someone took a 1:6 scale accessory and shrunk it down for a 3 3/4″ figure. Plus he can easily remove it for when he wants to get down and start busting open caps of whoop ass on Jedi fools.

But like I said, this figure does still have a few issues worth noting. The use of soft bendy plastic for the legs, for example, is unfortunate. I’m totally amazed that Grievous can stand so well, but these legs are still prone to easy warping and they don’t always stay where you want them to. And then there’s the arms. While they will peg into each other, this severely limits their articulation. The figure was definitely designed with the assumption that we’re going to be keeping his arms separated most of the time, which is admittedly how I plan on displaying him anyway.

Grievous comes with a nice dose of accessories. He has his blaster, two activated lightsabers (one green and one blue), and two trophy light saber hilts, that can actually be tucked into pouches on his cape. Yeah, I said that already, but it’s such a cool feature, I had to say it again. Sadly, he does not come with a figure stand, but then none of the VC figures do. Even more sad is that his feet do not have pegholes, so you can’t even help him out with one of Hasbro’s generic Star Wars stands.

If you’re a fan of the Wheezing G-Man, I can’t recommend this figure enough. True, I fell in love with the packaging too, but if your will is stronger than mine, I still suggest you ignore the retconned packaging and get the figure anyway. Truth is, I dig him so much, I’m probably going to have to hunt down his starfighter too.