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General Grievous' Starfighter

Star Wars Transformers
by yo go re

If only the Star Wars prequels had really been this goofy!

General Grievous has fought many enemies in the Clone Wars, but none has been so difficult to defeat as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Every duel has ended with Grievous on the run and the Jedi still alive. Piloting his starfighter, Grievous launches an all-out attack against Obi-Wan then morphs into mech mode to defeat the Jedi once and for all!

I kind of feel like Lucasfilm over-estimated the impact of General Grievous' starfighter. In a world of cool, memorable ships, "that thing we briefly see Grievous near" is not a star. At least his Wheel Bike was stupid enough to stand out, but this thing? If not for its appearances in The Clone Wars, I doubt I'd remember it existed at all.

Maybe the problem is that Revenge of the Sith didn't give it enough time to shine. It does have a fairly neat design, with a broad, flat body and a trailing cockpit - it looks like a cross between a racing boat and a WWII fighter plane. The nacelles have sleek, pointed lines, and there's just enough sculpted technology on the body to keep it from looking plain. The front landing gear can pull down, but if this is supposed to be "at rest," then the tail fin should fold up out of the way of the rear foot. The Star Wars Crossovers had stopped coming with tiny pilot figures by the time this one was released, but the cockpit still opens.

Converting the ship to the robot is a decent process. The instructions seem pretty simple and straightforward, but there's enough complexity to keep you from being bored. A lot of unfolding of big panels, but then also a lot of turning limbs back and forth.

These Star Wars TFs really do seem to work best when the character is robotic to begin with, which I guess really isn't too much of a surprise. A General Grievous who turns into a space ship is going to look very much like a General Grievous who doesn't turn into a space ship. The way the ship kibble hangs off him actually does a nice job of looking like a cape, even if it is blue instead of his usual red.

The head is pure Grievous - that skeletal white mask, the red skin around the eyes, all that. The design of the body also gives us the collar around his neck, those giant shoulder pads of his, and details on the limbs that clearly reflect the shapes of the real guy's cybernetic body. Like we said: being a robot makes looking like a robot very easy.

The articulation is okay, but there's room for improvement. He moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, waist, hips, knees, ankles and toes. It sounds like a decent amount, but the joints jump from one position to the next, rather than moving smoothly, and the elbows are spindly and weak. They did a nice job with his animalistic feet and his extra thumbs, but it's a shame his arms don't split in two. He's armed with two lightsabers - one green and one blue - that can store behind his back. The gun underneath the starfighter mode can be removed, allowing Grievous to wield it like a blaster.

Grievous' Starfighter was such a minor vehicle that it didn't even get a proper name - it's called the Soulless One, but that wasn't revealed until 2009, in a piece of pop-up trivia on a Clone Wars repeat. That's how little anyone cared. Given a proper showcase in the films, it could have been a popular Star Wars ship, but instead it's a footnote. However, it makes for a nice Transformer, even if the robot mode has some strange choices in its design.

-- 07/05/16


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