Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sixteenth In The Expanding Series, The General Grievous Ornament Tips Closer To Average!

The Good: Decent coloring and (most of the) casting, Good concept
The Bad: Very minor balance issue, Niggling details
The Basics: For 2012, Star Wars fans got a new General Grievous ornament that was a little more average than extraordinary!

I am a big Star Wars fan, but when it comes to the merchandising, I’ve become very discriminatory. Too often, products that seem initially cool do not hold up as well under closer inspection. This year, that is how I am feeling about the new General Grievous Hallmark ornament. General Grievous is the standard-release Star Wars Hallmark character ornament, and it is the fifteenth in an ongoing series. Released in 2012, this has been easily available and, despite the popularity of the character, this one may well be on shelves after the holiday season is done.

Hallmark Keepsake has a line of collectible ornaments from major franchises, like Star Wars and Star Trek. From the Star Wars line comes the General Grievous ornament. Fans of the Star Wars Prequels will easily recall General Grievous. For those unfamiliar with General Grievous, he is the Trade Federation strategist who, prior to Revenge Of The Sith (reviewed here!) captures Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. He is the mostly robotic general who may or may not be a Sith (he has the eyes . . .).

It is Grievous, standing with a stolen lightsaber at the ready that is the subject of the 2012 General Grievous ornament!


The General Grievous ornament recreates the alien cyborg in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2012, features just the character. General Grievous is cast in an action pose, his weapon at the ready and his cape flowing behind him. This General Grievous ornament is 3 1/2" tall, 4 1/4" wide and 3 1/2" deep. Hallmark charged $17.95 for the ornament originally and I’m still split on whether or not that is overpriced.
The Hallmark General Grievous ornament is made of a durable plastic and has him holding his light saber. The ornament is molded with a decent amount of detailing, especially all of the parts that look robotic on his arms. The character, because he is mostly a droid, has mostly clean lines and simple planes, but in the nooks and crannies, Hallmark made him look appropriately complicated! Unfortunately, General Grievous’s face has a slightly animated look to it. Instead of being as precise and having molding that is more severe, this version of Grievous has a slightly rounded face that is more reminiscent of his appearances in The Clone Wars than Revenge Of The Sith.

What helps the ornament quite a bit is the coloring details on General Grievous. Grievous is cast mostly in monotones, but details like the symbol on the back of his cloak and the fact that Hallmark correctly colored the outside of the cloak gray, but the inside red is a nice attention to detail. As a perfectionist, I think the green lightsaber looks mildly ridiculous; it could have been cast in a translucent green plastic to better match the quality of the rest of the ornament. On the three General Grievous ornaments I looked at, there were sparkles, as if from glitter. Either this is a weird quirk of the ornament or the General Grievous ornaments were manufactured very close to an ornament with glitter and they got messy!


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, General Grievous could have a sound chip or light effect, but he has neither. This is one of the basic ornament releases from Hallmark, without any frills.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake General Grievous ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Wars Christmas Tree, General Grievous is essential. This ornament has a brass hook loop embedded on the back, center of the cloak. In an effort to make the hook more discrete, Hallmark appears to have left the ornament a bit heavier on the right. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get the General Grievous ornament to hang level. At best, I got it to hang with a five degree right pitch. Most collectors are unlikely to notice that as an issue.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for my review of that one!). Since then, they have branched out into other popular franchises like Star Wars and The Wizard Of Oz. The General Grievous ornament is not at all limited and has not appreciated in the secondary market yet, which makes sense because many Hallmark stores still have him, in quantity, on their shelves. I was surprised when workers at one of my five local Hallmarks informed me they had not sold a single General Grievous ornament! I was surprised, but not too surprised. Given that I am on the fence about the ornament’s price, this is certainly one to wait until after Christmas to buy and get it half-price. If you can beat the dealers doing the same thing, General Grievous would be a decent deal!


Like most Star Wars ornaments, the General Grievous has nothing to do with the Christmas holiday and the die-hard fans of Star Wars are pretty much going to buy it up regardless of the quality or any issues with the quality. But for discriminating fans, the General Grievous ornament is a somewhat tougher sell than one might initially think. While I ultimately like and recommend the ornament, it is one I’m recommending for the after-Christmas buy, not as one one ought to rush right out for.

For other Hallmark ornaments of Star Wars characters, please check out my reviews of:
2012 Momaw Nadon Limited Edition
2011 Jedi Master Yoda
2011 Bossk Limited Edition ornament
2010 Lando Calrissian Limited Edition ornament
2010 Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot
2010 Boba Fett and Han Solo in Carbonite mini-ornament set
2009 Greedo Limited Edition ornament
2009 Han Solo As Stormtrooper
2008 Emperor Palpatine ornament
2005 Slave Leia ornament
1999 Max Rebo Band mini-ornament set

This is an ornament I proudly sell in my online store! For the current availability and to purchase please visit my Hallmark Ornament Store Inventory


For other holiday ornaments, please check out the index page!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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