12" Shaak Ti and General Grievous

It's only fitting that someone be doing Star Wars reviews this week, and since I'm not, Sean Teeter has stepped up to the task!  Here's another great guest review of two of the recent 12" figures - tell us all about them, Sean!

I’m going to do something a little different tonight boys and girls. While the majority of my toy collection consists of Star Wars figures, I do focus on other figures as well, including some of the sixth scale stuff out there. However out of the dozens of 12” figures that have been in my collection over the years, I’ve only ever owned a total of five sixth-scale Star Wars characters. There are many reasons for this –the first mainly being the limited amount of space I have (those carded figures are going on the ceiling soon . . .).

But basically the main reason has to do with Hasbro’s sixth-scale approach. I just don’t feel that most of their figures are up to par in this market when compared to the excellent work done by bbi, Sideshow, and others. However, they’ve been getting better. I picked up a production sample Maul a few years back, but tossed him to the wolves on eBay. These days I’ve only got four: VOTC Boba Fett, Count Dooku, Shaak Ti, and General Grievous. These last two are the most recent additions to my horde of Star Wars items. I thought they looked interesting enough on the shelves at Target, but what really counts is how they look out of the box . . . 

Packaging - **1/2
While I like the vibrant new style of the 3 ¾” carded figure packaging, I’m not as high on the sixth-scale presentation. The good news for MIB’ers is that the amount of window space on these figures pretty substantial. In fact the whole “box” is clear plastic and pretty open for viewing purposes. There are very few twisty-ties holding the figures to their backer cards, but Grievous has some clear rubber bands holding his arms to his legs.

The bad news is that the plastic dents and scratches up kind of easy. Some of the more fragile parts on these figures might take a beating even inside the box if handled roughly. Think Jim Carrey’s opening UPS scene in Ace Ventura.

Sculpting - Shaak Ti: *** ½; General Grievous: ***
These are probably two of the best-looking figures I’ve ever seen in the Hasbro 12” line. The amount of detailing on Grievous with all the little stress cracks in his exoskeleton and his armor segments just looks pretty cool. The head sculpt is also pretty accurate and the split forearm design not bad. That being said, the arms only look decent when split apart. There’s no way to join them together and they only look semi-seamless when bent in towards the body.

There are other things really working against him as well. First off, the plastic used on his head and forearms is pretty soft. In fact, there’s no way he’s going to be holding lightsabers in his four-arm configuration without the use of clear rubber bands, so save the numerous ones found in the packaging. The grips aren’t that great in regular two-arm mode either. The two cape pegs on his chest are also soft plastic and bend pretty easily. While I can forgive them being there, I don’t like the wonky look they get after a while.
I would have easily bumped him up another half star if Grievous were actually made to scale. The guy barely clears twelve inches and just looks kind of diminutive next to other figures, especially Shaak Ti.

From what we’ve seen in the animated Clone Wars, Grievous should tower over Shaak Ti. I popped over to actress/model Orli Shoshan’s website to see how tall she is out of curiosity. Without the Shaak Ti horns she’s 5’ 7”. General Grievous is supposed to be closer to six and a half feet tall according to the Star Wars database. This Ti figure is almost 14” in height!

Other than the scale issue, Shaak looks pretty close to her on-screen appearance. Her expression is neutral, which is okay but I would have preferred some sort of serious look to go with a few fighting stances. Her hands are pretty generic in design. I would have liked the articulated finger sections seen on other figures like Dooku.

After looking over her for a bit it almost appears that her head sculpt may be too large, but with the character design that’s a hard call. Comparing her to the 3 ¾” figures, it appears that the tentacles are actually in proportion to the rest of her body. I would have preferred them a bit more flexible, especially the rigid back one. 

Paint - Shaak Ti: *** ½; General Grievous: ***
Grievous just doesn’t have much to paint as most of his body is molded in his production colors. The eyes are pretty good, but are staring off to the left. This doesn’t work well with the cut neck articulation. The green torso cavity is decent. The forearms appear to be shot in off-white with the silver highlights painted on. This turns out pretty well, and is repeated on the legs. In a few places we have the opposite: white painted over silver plastic, and it doesn’t match up as well. The biceps, crotch plate, and rear all suffer from the boney white look as opposed to the regular off-white.

Shaak Ti’s ops are pretty much on the money. The striping on her head gear is particularly clean and quite stunning. The white face paint, lipstick, and silver forehead wreath are all very clean, and make for some great-looking features. The eyes are also very nicely rendered, down to the faint little lashes. The only miss here is with the silver chain running up the middle of the forehead. The paint wanders a bit and the forehead ornament is off-center. Other than that, the head is perfect; just wish she had a less neutral expression.

Hasbro also gave Shaak Ti two-toned black & silver fingernails. I just thought this was a nice little touch and I’m glad they went for this little extra detailing.

Articulation - Shaak Ti: ***; General Grievous: **
Shaak Ti may not be as good as the Sideshow bodies out there, but for a twenty-dollar Hasbro figure, she’s got plenty. She has ball-joints at the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and a cut at the waist. All the joints are relatively stiff and hold poses pretty well.
Grievous almost makes me want to weep. For a guy with six limbs, he’s got some limited poseability. The general has pinned ankles, knees, hips, arms, cuts at the neck and waist, as well as limited ball-jointed shoulders and elbows.

This whole figure is a case of missed opportunity. The legs can certainly bend and take crouching and kneeling poses, but only front to back. Some ball joints are really needed here. Two of the basic figures had ball-jointed knees at the very least, so I don’t see why we can’t have any such articulation below the waist here at all. The legs pins loosen up pretty quickly too, especially the ankle joints. Grievous just can’t stand up straight without collapsing on his ankles, he’ll always be hunched over a bit which makes him appear even smaller next to other sixth-scale figures. The neck cut is kind of a low blow since a ball-jointed head would have been really easy to do. Every basic figure has one, why doesn’t the big guy? 

And now the biggest question: how good are the arms? First off, this is definitely something different for Hasbro and I was interested to see how they articulated our spindly-armed general. Well they didn’t completely muck it up, but they came close. The shoulders are kind of limited in their movement, but not too bad. I would have liked a mini ball joint at the top of each arm instead of the one peg holding each pair together, but I can live with it. Unfortunately, these joints seem to loosen just like the legs pins. They just take a little longer. 

The most frustrating thing about this figure has got to be the elbows. The forearm sections basically snap on to the knob at the ends of the for upper-arm segments. The range of movement is very limited; the most extreme angle you can bend his arms at is around the 130 degree area. Take it past that and the forearms will pop right off. Hell, flick any forearm with your finger and they will probably go flying. The design is just really weak.
He can hold a few display-worth poses, but it takes a lot of little adjustments. I don’t see too many kids playing with this guy. They’re likely to throw him across the room in frustration, where he’ll shatter into a dozen pieces.

Accessories - Shaak Ti: **; General Grievous: ***
Shaak Ti comes with her lightsaber hilt, a removable blade, and some sort of stand. The stand appears to be designed to ride between her legs (insert your own joke here) as opposed to clamping onto her or something more practical. It’s a tad tall, so you can only pose her standing straight up. Frankly the thing’s next to useless. I ended up rubber-banding it to her back so she can hold crouched positions.

The hilt sculpt is pretty damn accurate and the paint ops are simple but clean. That being said, this thing is freakin’ huge! The hilt’s way out of scale both in regards to width and length. Because of this it not only looks a bit ridiculous in Miss Ti’s hands, but also stretches her grip pretty wide.

The general comes with four lightsaber hilts and four removable blades. The blades are divided evenly: two green, two blue. All four hilts are the same design and have no paint ops. They are the same exact sculpt as the Saga 12” Plo Koon hilt, including the extended belt peg. Of course there’s no where to hang them though. While I still think they look pretty big compared to Grievous’s skinny hands, the scale is much better than Shaak Ti’s weapon. He could have also used his blaster pistol, which is missing in action here. In all truth, both sets of accessories are probably at a two-star rating, but Hasbro could have cheapened out and gave Grievous only one or two sabers, but we got all four. For you sixth-scale customizes out there this is pretty cool.  

Outfit - Shaak Ti: *** ½; General Grievous: ***
Since Grievous doesn’t really wear clothes, there was only one thing to include here and that is his cape. The cape looks very nice and is done in two different layers of fabric: heavy silver on the outside, and a thinner red lining inside. There are paint ops on the outside to mimic the dark gray patterns found on the back.

The cape attaches via two elastic loops to the two pegs sticking out of Grievous’s chest. While I don’t much care for the pegs, I like this idea better than using a chain or string to go around his neck. Some sort of saber holster would have been nice, but I’ve seen a few custom jobs out there that look good. The double layer in the cape allows you to cut strips into the inner layer to hold the saber hilts if you’d like.

Shaak Ti’s outfit is very nicely done. The cloak has two patterned streamers hanging down the front that are attached by a small string halfway down to the inner edge of the cloak itself. You can either leave it that way or snip the strings for more maneuverability. The cloak itself looks nice on Shaak, but the hood is too small to fit over her noggin. She’s never shown hooded anyways, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem. The only other issue here is that it doesn’t seem long enough. While the cloak isn’t ridiculously short or anything, it stops just past her boot tops.

Underneath she has a skirt, leotard, a belt, and her boots. The boots look closer to knee-high Dr. Martin’s than the traditional Jedi style. The skirt has a nice crepe texture to it and hangs well. It’s a tad thin and see-through, but not bad. The belt attaches with Velcro in the back. In the front she has her long patterned sash. The design on this thing looks really cool and stands out against the plain dark background on her clothing. 

So what’s missing? Well first off for all you sticklers out there, Ti is wearing black as opposed to the dark brown she’s always been shown in. I personally don’t have a problem with it. Think of it as Shaak Ti in her version of evening wear. 

Secondly, there’s no place to hang her saber hilt. This I do have a bit of a problem with, since it wouldn’t have been too hard to include. All we need is a peg and a belt hole. Finally, she’s missing the bracelets seen on the 3 ¾” figure.

Those of you looking to customize a sixth-scale Goth figure have hit the jack pot though. Her skirt and boots are perfect for that.

Durability/Quality - Shaak Ti: ***; General Grievous: * ½
I have to say Shaak Ti is pretty solid all around from her construction to her clothes. There’re no problems to be found here. Grievous on the other hand has numerous issues. First and foremost are his weak leg joints. The guy can only stand in a permanent crouch. Stand him up straight and you might be able to leave him alone for a few minutes, provided there’s no air movement around him. Up top, there are similar problems that will develop over time with the shoulder joints.
The super thin arm sections are also an accident waiting to happen, since this guy might become a shelf diver without the proper pose. The soft plastic on the hands really hurt him as well. Hell, the entire forearm construction from the joints on down is just kind of cheap.

Value - ***
Twenty bucks is a pretty good value for a decent 12” figure. While I certainly have my issues with Grievous, I don’t feel ripped off by the price tag. Shaak Ti is certainly worth the money. If her saber hilt had been a more reasonable size, I may have even bumped her up a half-star.
So far Darth Sidious and the Anakin to Vader two pack are the most common 12” figures to be found on the shelves. Grievous seems to be pretty popular, as he’s been cleaned out of stores both online and off rather quickly. The 12” Clone Trooper is also making an occasional appearance at stores. Shaak Ti and Barriss Offee have just been turning up in wide release within the last couple of weeks. Target seems to have all of them in, and that’s where I got mine at $19.99 apiece. Check you local TRU’s, Targets, and Walmarts for prices $20 and under. K.B. Toys and K-Mart have them as well, but it will cost you a buck or two extra, so be sure to shop around. 

Overall - Shaak Ti: *** ½; General Grievous: ** ½
Simply put, Shaak Ti is one of the best sixth-scale figures I’ve ever seen from Hasbro. Not only is she unique in look and design, but she’s a female Jedi –one of only two released thus far. Her exotic headgear and excellent tailoring really make up for the fact that her accessories kind of suck. I mean that two-piece stand is a piece of crap and her hilt is just a few shades smaller than the Master Replicas’ .45 scale Darth Sidious saber. Sure, she’s a bit tall compared to other 12” Star Wars figures, but so what? Being someone who barely pays attention to the sixth-scale Hasbro line, it’s not too much a concern for me. Have her pose in a crouch if you want her to look a bit smaller. 

All I have to say is she draws some attention from the shelf with that red skin tone and striped set of tubes. The boys and girls at Hasbro made an excellent decision in producing Shaak Ti, who has certainly developed a fan base after her cool supporting role in the Clone Wars cartoon. I’d love to see them do a few other supporting Jedi as well. I’m sure if Hasbro put out a half-decent sixth-scale Aayla Secura, they’d fly off the shelves like there was no tomorrow.

As for Grievous, I really debated back and forth not just on his final score, but every aspect of his design and execution. There are tons of people ripping on the character of Grievous throughout the Star Wars message board universe, but I don’t really care. He’s got an awesome look and thanks to the Clone Wars series, a certain amount of character development. Hell, Darth Maul was in the Phantom Menace for about ten minutes and he still had one of the coolest character designs in the entire Saga. And how many figures of Maul are out there? Over-hyped he was, but still cool.

For this figure, I really wanted to like him a lot more than I ended up doing. In the end the best word to describe him is frustration. You will feel frustrated as you try to rubber band a saber hilt to each hand. Frustration will continue to set in as you try to position his arms only to have the forearms pop off at every other movement. And if that’s not enough, you have to find a pose that incorporates his weak leg joints and non-ball-jointed head –and he still might fall over, leaving you to start the whole process from the beginning.

There’s also no way around the simple fact that he’s just too damn small compared to the other figures in Hasbro’s 12” line. He looks best posed by himself or with a little distance between him and the next sixth-scale figure.

In the end, all of these factors are real heartbreakers since at the core of those problems is a great figure just itching to come out. The sculpting looks better every time I see him, even with those wussy soft plastic hands. The cape looks really dramatic draped over his skeletal frame, especially with those four arms curling out with just as many lightsabers in hand. After going through all the nonsense it takes to get a good looking pose out of him, he does have a way of drawing attention to him. Not all of us can afford the awesome quarter-scale Sideshow piece coming out later in the year, so this and the sweet-looking Unleashed figure is what we have to make do with. Provided you leave him alone after stably posing him, he should serve the purpose of looking good, but he ain’t going to do much else. I predict that after the initial madness surrounding the new movie and toy release begins to subside, Grievous will start gathering a bit of dust on store shelves. Kids won’t have the patience to deal with his problems and he just doesn’t make for great playing –or any playing for that matter.

Collectors will have no trouble finding him at decent prices so his secondary market value isn’t going to have too much in the way of inflation, so you won’t be paying insane prices on eBay. If you want him but don’t absolutely need him this second, I would recommend waiting a bit, as I’m sure the prices will go down after a while to clear out the overstock.

Score recap
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - Shaak Ti: *** ½; General Grievous: ***
Paint - Shaak Ti: *** ½; General Grievous: ***
Articulation -  Shaak Ti: ***; General Grievous: **
Accessories - Shaak Ti: **; General Grievous: ***
Outfit - Shaak Ti: *** ½; General Grievous: ***
Durability/Quality - Shaak Ti: ***; General Grievous: * ½
Value - ***
Overall - Shaak Ti: *** ½; General Grievous: ** ½

Figure from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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