Star Wars Transformers Toy Reviews: General Greivous (Wheel Bike)

in 2005, Action Figure Review, Star Wars Transformers

Star Wars Transformers

General Information:
Release Year: December 2005
Retailer: General US (Toys R Us, Target etc.)
Price: $15.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Accessories: Blue Lightsaber, Green Lightsaber, Red Lightsaber/missile, General Grievous mini-figure


Tech Specs:
The much-feared General Grievous has trained with the evil Count Dooku in the art of lightsaber combat. Using unorthodox fighting methods, such as furious multiple-lightsaber sassault, Grievous has managed to cut down several Jedi Knights. Now, Grievous changes into wheel bike mode to engage and destroy Obi-Wan Kenobi and the remaining Jedi.

Strength: 8  Intelligence: 10  Speed: 10  Endurance: 10
Rank: 10  Courage: 10  Force Knowledge: 5

General Grievous was introduced to the big screen in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Also featured prominantly in the animated Clone Wars series, this character gained a prominance often associated with characters with unique designs. Grievous was a being who had organic and mechanical parts fused into one nightmare of a body. Being mostly robotic and a major villain, Grievous was an obvious choice to become one of the first Star Wars Transformers figures.

Each of the first wave Star Wars Transformers were given write ups on The Official Star Wars web site, Grievous' read as follows: General Grievous has sowed enough metal-crunching mayhem to earn him a spot among the Decepticon ranks. Now, the evil Separatist leader can transform from robot to ground-tearing wheel bike and back, armed with twin lightsabers and a firing missile launcher.

Each Star Wars Transformers vehicle comes with its pilot, in this case General Grievous himself. The figure is very basic, a fairly thin, skeletal form with Grievous' distinctive oval shaped head. Although in the movie the character's arms can split into multiple limbs, here he just has his two arms and two legs. The figure stands on a base, which works best considering his legs are angled. The designers used pearl white and gunmetal grey for the tiny figure. I am rather impressed that they squeezed in some brown designs on the head, showing just how tiny deco patterns can be! This is a solid figure, so there is little articulation other than the hips (so he can sit on the vehicle). The arms are somewhat bendable, but I do not recommend doing that considering how thin they are. Repeated movement could easily break them off.

Vehicle Mode:
Grievous' vehicle transforms into the Wheel Bike vehicle shown in Episode III. A curious vehicle that uses both a wheeled form as well as legged form (depending on terrain), this was Grievous' primary vehicle during his final battle with Obi Wan Kenobi. This and its color scheme made it ideal to use for Grievous' alternate form.

The design of the Wheel Bike form is very well done. The central body is one large wheel section, with spiked edges. The vehicle rests on four thin legs, each with hyndraulic details and the angled covers at the end of each leg. On the right side of the vehicle is a triple barreled turret, on the right is the seat for the vehicle's driver. This is, of course, very much out of proportion with the vehicle shown in the movie. There, Grievous was about the height of the vehicle when sitting. Here the mini-figure included with the vehicle sits in a small chair that barely makes up the middle section. The control sticks for the vehicle swing up and allow you to put the figure in the chair. When swung down, the control sticks hold the mini-figure down fairly well.

Other nice details are the series of metal plate layers on the wheel itself as well as the ridged sections of the lower legs, all details straight from the movie. The blasters on the right side are well done too, with the rectangular barrel ends so often seen in Star Wars vehicles. The central gun barrel is actually one of Grievous' Lightsaber weapons as well. Push the large button at the base of the cannons and it fires the missile! This was a nice touch, giving both a projectile weapon and a way of storing one of the robot modes' weapons.

Color-wise, the vehicle is mostly metallic grey. Some parts such as the armor on the lower legs are painted two shades of brown, light brown for the outer armor, darker brown for the inner ridged areas. Gold is used for the ring details that run all the way around either side of the central wheel section.

Grievous' vehicle has twenty six points of articulation in this form, mostly owing to the many points build into the legs and feet. Not only do they bend at the joints, but they also rotate on the forward lower legs and the rear upper legs. However, this articulation also causes one bit of weakness in the design. The swivel points that allow the legs to splay outward are not locked down in any way, so it is easy to just pull the leg off during play or transformation. Granted this is preferable to actually breaking the legs, but it is a bit annoying.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. To prevent possibly losing them, detach all the Lightsabers and set them aside.
  2. Detach the side cannon and set it aside.
  3. At the front of the vehicle, pull down each half of the wheel to separate the front upper and lower halves.
  4. Swing the rear legs back.
  5. Spread the wheel halves out to the sides.
  6. Swing the lower halves up and into the back, securing each with the peg-in-hole systems on the inside of the upper wheel sections.
  7. Swing the rear legs down and straighten them out.
  8. Slide the brown armor pieces up.
  9. Pull the robot head up.
  10. On the forward legs, tuck the three claws into the brown armor pieces and move them to reveal the robot hands.
  11. Swing the panel the pilot seat rests on back, then swing the middle panel with the pilot seat on it around. The mini-figure can be placed into the seat.
  12. Swing the panel the cannon rested on back, then reattach the cannon to it.
  13. The red Lightsaber can be placed in one of the mech's hands or stored in the cannon. The blue and green Lightsabers can also be held in his hands or stored in the slots on his back.

Robot Mode:
The character of General Grievous largely resembled a walking skeleton, granted one with oddly curved bones and a fearsome elongated skull. Grievous' mech retains the frightening appearance of its pilot nicely. The robot head is a nicely designed reproduction of Grievous' head, with its elongated shape, teeth like protrusions on the bottom and flaps on the sides. The head is multi-layered, with the eye socket holes shwoing small, beady, evil looking eyes underneath. Small details like the ridges on the side flaps were not ignored either.

The mech's central body is shaped just like the "real" Grievous, thin and sleek with details resembling rib cages with armor slapped on top. The arms and legs are appropriately thin and their shapes do resemble bones, albeit mechanical ones. His fingers are really nicely detailed, with each digit segmented off from the next by line detail. I am particularly fond of the neck details which range from curved parts to tubes running up the sides.

With a form as relatively small as a skeletal frame, Grievous' mass had to go somewhere, and having the lower wheel halves "tuck" into the back was a very smart move. It gives the figure weight balance, but also gives it the appearance of having a backpack of equipment. The cannon on the right side can swivel to aim up or forward (under the arm). Having the control seat in the back with Grievous piloting it further makes the point of how this is a piloted mech designed to look like its cruel master.

Grievous' primary color is silver, but a slightly lighter shade than the wheel bike's central body. Painted over that on the knees, head and torso are gunmetal grey, gold and bone white. On the head the eyes under the eye sockets are yellow surrounded by brown.

Grievous' mech has a whopping thirty one points of articulation, again owing greatly to the arms and legs. This includes three points of articulaton on the hands and four points of articulation on each arm (not including the hands).

The hand hold the Lightsabers fairly well for display, but under heavy play they will fall out rather easily. The instructions show that Grievous can hold his cannon, but it barely stays in his hand because the peg is too short to really let the hands get a good grip. The problem with the joints than can turn outword occur here as well. Yank a bit too hard and the joints come off. Granted they slide right back on, but if you're not careful you'll wind up with a bunch of Grievous bits instead of a complete figure.

Final Thoughts:
Grievous is best aimed at slightly older Transformers kids (like around 10 and up or so). He is really nicely done, well detailed and fun - but the ease at which he can come apart could get younger kids (not to mention parents spending their good money) frustrated. For older collectors however, this is an excellent piece, getting a fan favorite character and his vehicle in one form was an excellent idea. Recommended!