General Grievous was first introduced in the Clone Wars animated series, indeed at the tail end of the first part. What was this thing, anyway? It looked like a really mean version of a Battle Droid, but it had the ability to fight Jedi Knights on their own terms -- and win. Whatever General Grevious was, he was dangerous.
He was heavily featured in the second part of the animated Clone Wars tales, as a major player in the "abduction" of Chancellor Palpatine. During his escape, Obi-Wan Kenobi damaged Grievous' chest, which, in a nice little bit of continuity, explains why Grievous had that annoying cough all during Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Wait a second -- a droid with a cough? Well, that's just it. Grievous wasn't a droid. He was a cyborg. Granted, there wasn't a lot of organic to him. The eyes that emerged from underneath that malevolent face plate appeared organic, and clearly there were some of his vital organs encased in his chest, but that appears to be about it. Whatever Grievous might have been before he became a cyborg, there wasn't much left of him by then. Darth Vader had more organic parts left than this. Heck, maybe even Michael Jackson did.
I suspect that General Grievous was one of those characters that Hasbro might've been a little reluctant to render in the 12" size, but they sort of had to. He was certainly a major player. Only thing was, there was no way that Grievous could possibly have used any previous parts. He was more or less humanoid, but that's a far cry from being able to haul in some leftover Action Man or G.I.Joe molds and put a head and a costume on them. Grievous would have to be built from the ground up.
And Hasbro has done a very capable job. The figure is well-designed, nicely articulated, and overall very well-built. He has a huge fabric cape, silver on the outside with some imprinted symbols, and red on the inside. If there's one area that halls a little short in the overall design, it's the head. It's not QUITE vicious enough. I would've personally painted the lines above the eyepieces black, and I would've designed the eyeholes in the faceplate to be slanted downwards more at the top, to make him look meaner. They almost seem to slant upwards, and it detracts a bit from the viciousness of the character.
Grievous comes with four lightsabers. Four? Yes, four. Grievous likes to save lightsabers from Jedi that he's killed. And he can use them. His arms can split into two, essentially giving him four arms, each capable of using a lightsaber. This was one of the major factors that made Grievous so dangerous to Jedi Knights. He could swing four lightsabers at the same time, and his organic mind knew how to use them far better than any robot could have ever been programmed to. Few opponents could withstand that sort of assault. In fact, Obi-Wan Kenobi eventually dispatched Grievous by using a distinctly non-Jedi method -- he shot him with a blaster.
The figure's arms are capable of performing the "split", although the delicate fingers can't really hold all four lightsabers all that well. When combined, there's enough fingers there for each whole arm to hold a lightsaber, but not really all four. Likely to be a minor nuisance for those who want to display Grievous at his nastiest.
Overall, though, it's an excellent figure, and certainly Grievous was a major enough player in both the animated Clone Wars series and Star Wars Episode III to earn his spot in the Star Wars universe, and warrant this large scale figure.
If you can still find them anyplace (I was quite surprised to see them turn up at TRU this late in the game), then I definitely recommend the 12" GENERAL GRIEVOUS!