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Predatorstuff Reviews the Sideshow General Grievous Life-Size Bust!

July 17th, 2009

While being attacked by the armies of the Republic, a ship carrying Grievous explodes and crashes to the ground, leaving Grievous mortally wounded. Kept alive by technology and a blood transfusion from the deceased Jedi master Sifo-Dyas and from the powers of Count Dooku, his body is transported to the planet Geonosis. As a foreshadowing of the future of Anakin becoming the cyber-organic Darth Vader, most of Grievous’s body is replaced with Droid parts and he eventually becomes the pupil of Count Dooku and the General of the Separatist Army. So begins the story of the AMAZING Star Wars character General Grievous, and the KICKASS new full-sized bust from Sideshow Collectibles!

General Grievous Bust

Didn’t know I was a Star Wars junkie now did ya? Yep, I’m a Star Wars nerd and it ranks right up there as my favorite movies along side my beloved Predator and other favorites. I’ve seen all the cartoons, movies, books, novels and other story tidbits centered around the Star Wars universe, but for the sake of my sanity have refused to start collecting the genre. Why? Because of the second mortgage and impending divorce that would result from my purchases, that’s why! The only Star Wars collectible I have in my collection to represent my beloved series is an extremely rare full-size ESB Yoda statue built by Howard Senft, 1 of only 2 ever made. But when General Grievous, who is one of my favorite antagonists in the Star Wars Universe, was announced last year at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con, I absolutely HAD to have it. Here we are almost year later and at last, the General is MINE, and today I get to review him for your viewing pleasure!

Let’s check out the details from the Sideshow Product Page for Grievous:

Sideshow Collectibles proudly presents the latest addition to the Star Wars Life-size Bust series, General Grievous. The General Grievous Life-size Bust has been meticulously sculpted to capture every detail of Grievous’ techno-organic visage. The General Grievous bust is mounted on a Star Wars inspired display base, including a ‘General Grievous’ nameplate. The hand crafted, hand painted General Grievous Life-size Bust is sure to become the premier addition to any Star Wars display.

Limited Edition: 750
Product Size: 23″ H x 11″ W x 11″ D
Product Weight: 20.00 lbs

Artists:

Don Rutherford
Anthony Mestas
Scott Klauder
Howard Senft
The Sideshow Collectibles Design and Development Team

Before we keep cooking, I would like to mention a couple of things you should bear in mind on this review… For one, I have repainted the eyes to my tastes, so the eyes you see in this review do not reflect the production pieces accurately. The eyes are actually completely yellow on the factory pieces, however when looking at close up movie-stills, I noticed Grievous has a yellow base, but also splotches of green and dark red like blood. So with some of my wife’s nail polish and bits of cosmetic sponges, I was able to re-create that look fairly accurately. The other thing I did was use 5 minute epoxy to add a heavy coat of high gloss to the eyes and fleshy eye sockets to give them a heavy wet look, which also seemed more accurate to me. For those of you brave enough to mess with your statues, using a 2-part 5 minute epoxy is a GREAT way to add that wet look to eyes and mouths… it’s a common technique used by model builders.

I should however mention that these are not necessary tweaks at all, the statue still looks awesome (heck, you might even prefer the factory look over my modifications) so don’t worry that if you pick this guy up for yourself that the eyes are poorly done. It still look great, I simply wanted a different look and I knew how to go about it. OK? Cool, glad we got that out of the way…

When talking about this piece, Sideshow says “The hand crafted, hand painted General Grievous Life-size Bust is sure to become the premier addition to any Star Wars display.”. Read on and we’ll cover the sculpt, painting and finishing bases and see if this guy is worth the coin and if Sideshow delivers on that promise.

General Grievous Bust

SCULPTING

I actually had to re-watch Star Wars Episode III to double-check my suspicions, but I think perhaps all is well although I am not 100% convinced… when I first opened the box and took out the head, the first thing to pop in to my head was that is looked too small. General Grievous is quite large and it never occurred to me that he actually does seem to have a tiny head on a huge body.. so when you see the head separate from the body, it seems on the small side. But if you pop in the movie, you suddenly realize that he does in fact have a small noggin, and it’s simply his shoulders that make him look so massive. It’s still a decent size, but you may find it a tad smaller than you expected, so just consider this a heads up on that (no pun intended).

Aside from the initial question of overall size, the sculpt looks awesome and very accurate with nice smooth castings with only a little bit of rough pitting around the eyes, although that may or may not be on purpose, I’m not sure. The marble textured surface is smooth with clean lines and has numerous cracks and fissures similar to what we seem in the movie, although these look more like claw marks than the rough uneven cracks the movie-stills reveal. The internal area with the throat/gillet parts are clean and look great, and the real metal tubes and mesh wiring look fantastic and compliment the sculpt extremely well.

The base itself is the same standard base Sideshow uses for all it’s life-size busts and looks great as always, they picked a real winning design for the bases and I’m glad they are using it as a standard on all their pieces.

In terms of casting materials, the piece is a mixed-medium product, with almost everything made of polystone, with some plastic and metal parts, as well as transparent resin. We’ll get in to that in the painting and finishing area in just a second. The overall sculpt and castings are very good quality (That’s really a non-issue with Sideshow products typically) and has a good heft to it at 20lbs or so. The bust itself is broken down in to 4 pieces… you have the main neck section, which is already connected to the base, the head section and the two plastic “ear” pieces that connect to the sides of the head.

General Grievous Bust

PAINTING AND FINISHING

One of the biggest concerns on this piece was the final production finish of the marble texture paint effects on Grievous’s outer shell… the prototype photos looked great, but the forum users were definitely worried about the final production run. Despite a few people saying that perhaps the marble effect is a bit too dark, I personally think that they did a good job on it, especially for a factory paint job. The effect seems to be subtle enough not to be overdone, and the overall look does achieve the marble effect they were looking for as far as I can tell. So for those of you reading this review and wondering about the marble texture paintjob, I think it looks good and isn’t an issue at all.

The other concern was the eyes, and I think that while they are a bit plain with just the mottled yellow, I still think it looked fine even though not quite as detailed as they could have been. In fact, I believe the prototype may have shown eyes with a bit more mottled detail in the eyes, but the production pieces just had the yellow. I did however feel that the final finish of the eyes was too flat and needed to be shinier, which is why I added the gloss finish. So bottom line on the eyes is that the factory job looks fine, but a little glossy epoxy really makes them stand out with next to no skill required and if you’re brave, you can add some extra green and red mottling to the eyes for added detail.

The interior areas of Grievous look great and everything is painted well and cleanly.. I found no areas missing paint, no paint runs, no stray paint brush hairs etc. Everything looks great! The metal ribbed tubing is made with real metal spings and the mesh parts are real metal mesh wiring, which looks awesome and I am SO glad they used instead of having them as part of the casting. The other awesome idea is the use of translucent resin for the throat/gillet piece, which is really the perfect way to do that part. It’s a redish orangy color and looks very realistic because the translucent resin allows light to pass through it, making it look organic. It could have used some additional glossing to make it look wet, but I can see how that would be a pain in the butt to pull off and it still looks good as is.

The one area I do have an issue with however is the material and paint finish on the “ear” sections, the two pieces that attach to the sides of the head. Unlike the rest of the statue, these parts are made of a light plastic material that is smoother and has a satin finish that the polystone doesn’t… the end result of that difference in material is that paint dries slightly differently on it, and it ends up not being the same color. Under certain lighting conditions, I found it very obvious that those side pieces were not the same color as the rest of the head, they seem much lighter. The other issue is that the beige outer shell of Grievous is lightly spattered here and there with tiny light grey spots, just to add some texture to the paint. That looks fine… the problem is that they went and did this on the “ear” parts, but instead of light coverage with grey, they used a blue color and spattered it on very heavily and this only further highlights the difference in color between those two parts vs the rest of the piece, and it shouldn’t be. In all honesty this is really the only problem I had with this piece, however it is fairly minor and is only really noticeable upon close inspection from perhaps a foot away.

The only other light plastic parts on the bust appears to be the voice pickups on the mouth, which are thankfully quite flexible as I accidentally smacked one and had it been cold cast or something fragile, it would have broken off for sure. (The voice pickups are the small dark parts that stick out the sides of the mouth on each side and wrap around towards the front to his silver audio outputs.)

So overall I am quite happy with the paint job and extremely pleased with the use of polystone, metals and translucent resin as they really help make this bust a stand-out piece.

General Grievous Bust

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall I have to admit that Sideshow does back up their claim, this is indeed a premier addition to my Star Wars collection and I don’t regret for a second picking this guy up as he looks AWESOME! I’m hoping someday to score myself a Darth Maul bust to display with him, but that’s a whole other write-up in itself. The painting is well done and the mixed mediums used for the different areas of the bust was beautifully planned and executed and I only wish every Sideshow piece was as successfully brought to completion as this guy. (Although the last couple of reviews have been extremely positive for Sideshow, this is an exciting trend after those last 2 disappointing AvP Helmet reviews.) As I mentioned earlier, my only issue is with those “ear” pieces… the flimsy plastic material just doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the piece and neither do the blue speckles they painted on to them. I should also mention that these pieces connect via two pins that plug horizontally in to the sides of the head, but that is actually not right. In the movie, you can clearly see that they connect via rods that go vertically in to the top and bottom sections of the side parts. I have to admit I’m going fanboy on this one though, because I don’t even see how you could really pull that off without permanently gluing things in place, so for the sake of logistics I think Sideshow didn’t have much of a choice but to go with the horizontal pinning method.

By the way, am I the only one that thinks these life-size busts should come with motion sensitive voice chips that play quotes from the movies when someone walks by? Too cheesy maybe? I dunno… it’s late and I’m tired but I would love this thing to spit out Grievous quotes at me. Ever notice how all the bad guys in Star Wars get the cool voices?

Oh and before we move on to eye candy, for those of you that want to pick this guy up, Sideshow actually has this in-stock as a second opportunity item! You can click HERE for the product page or to place an order!

Time for VIDEO! I put together a fun little HD Video review you can check out by clicking HERE on YouTube or just click the icon below! Be sure to pay attention to the beginning, I made a little custom adjustment to the Predatorstuff intro for shits and giggles!

Video Available on YouTube!

And what’s a review with sexy photos right? I fired off a bunch of shots from all angles, but mostly I wanted to give you a good idea of what the marble texture looks like up close, and how the custom eyes I made turned out. Click on the icon below to check out the gallery and I hope you like my work:

Phew, it’s been CRAZY busy for me with all these reviews and with SDCC coming up, this isn’t likely to slow down much! I hope you enjoyed this review and I hope you’ll check back often next week for tons more goodies, including some news about SDCC 2009 which is coming up later this month. I’ll be giving you some tips on how to keep updated on all the latest cool Predator gear and other awesome licenses even if you’re not attending.

Oh and let’s not forget… please feel free to share your feedback on this review or Mr. Grievous by clicking the comment button below and using the comment form to share your thoughts, or if you need to send me an email, use the contact form.

Have a great weekend!
Dan

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