Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,786: Grievous' Bodyguard

Revenge of the Sith Battle Arenas
Item No.:
Asst. 85241 No. 85456
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Display stand base, electropole, Obi-Wan Kenobi figure
Action Feature: Dueling action, sort of
Retail: $19.99
Availability: Summer 2005
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Bio: Battle as Obi-Wan or one of General Grievous' bodyguards, as they face each other on the sinkhole planet Utapau! One remains - the other falls! (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' photo area.

Commentary: I'm generally pretty happy when Hasbro gets a new "trooper" made and does a few versions of it, but for some reason this Grievous Bodyguard figure stayed in its packaging (or at least its insert) until March 2012, at which point I finally removed it because I had a deadline to meet and I had to review something. The interesting thing about waiting to open a figure like this one is you get to see just how poorly modern packaging ages. You know those little clear rubber bands? They crumble like a cookie. Seriously, look at some of your older, well-taken-care-of packaged figures. Those clear bands are now slowly turning opaque and some of them are crumbling even though you've never even touched them. He's surrounded by some plastic which is sealed around his person, and you have to basically rip it apart. It works, but it's some of the more annoying packaging I remember ever having to deal with.

The figure itself ain't bad. Well, the sculpt ain't bad. As a figure it's terrible, but as a statue it looks really cool. He is jointed at the neck and shoulders... and that's it. He has some difficulty standing and may need to be heated or tweaked in order to get the legs in a more normal pose, because I think he's gonna faceplant if I sneeze. This is why leg (or ankle) joints are essential-- no leg articulation may mean a figure can't stand, and since this one can't sit either, it's worthless without its action display base. You can basically use it like a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robot, but he doesn't seem to like staying on the stand all that much.

As a sculpt, I actually quite like it. The chest has some big gashes and dents, and a few subtle ones can be found on the legs. The paint job seems a lot better than the other 2005 Magnaguards, and it feels thicker and sturdier than the other releases. It just can't stand particularly well and his arms give new definition to "awkward." The figure can assume a pretty good "dead on the ground" pose, and if you take him out of the arena display stand that's probably what you'll be using it for. Still, I hate to knock it because the sculpt and deco are so nice, but given the price it's almost shameful that Hasbro released this. When this 2-pack came out at $20, single figures typically sold for $5.24-$6.99 and had a minimum of six or seven joints. Three just plain isn't cool unless we're talking about Padme or something so small it wouldn't even make sense to give it a joint. This is a release you get if you're a completist only because the Vintage 2010 figure is so much better overall, but I'd be lying if I said the figure didn't have a certain charm. I don't think most of you are going to find that it has enough charm, though, so don't go chasing it down unless it's cheap.

If this were released today for about $10-$15 I think you might be happy with it, as the figures are fun but not fantastic. If you just want little plastic men to hold and smack each other with, you'll like this set. If you want to pose a figure or put them in a ship? Avoid.

Collector's Notes: A boxed sample sold for $3.94 before shipping on eBay recently, and I'd say that's about right. They're not overly common on eBay, but it wouldn't stun me if you could trip over these at the right flea market for $5 a whack. And it's worth at least half that. If memory serves this set came out after the other arenas.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,786: April 18, 2012

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