SOUNDWAVE (& RAVAGE)
TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)
Having exhausted all of the Earthmode characters from Bumblebee, in 2020 Hasbro started dipping their toes into the waters of the large cast of characters seen in the film’s opening battle on Cybertron. Initially, they stuck purely to characters like Bumblebee or the Seekers, who had proper alt-modes displayed in the sequence (Cliffjumper also got in on this, by virtue of sharing his alt-mode with Bee), but this year, they’re going a step further and focusing in on the characters without any displayed alt-modes. You know what that means? It means your boy Ethan gets to review another Soundwave is what it means. And your boy Ethan is all kinds of down for that.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Soundwave is part of the Wave 15 Voyager-Class assortment of Hasbro’s Transformers: Studio Series, alongside a repack of last year’s Autobot Hot Rod. He’s numbered 83 in the line-up, making him the last of the Bumblebee-themed figures from this first batch for the year. It’s our second time getting Soundwave in his G1-inspired Bumblebee look, and the first time we’ve gotten a toy of it from Hasbro proper. In his robot mode, the figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and he has 27 workable points of articulation. There are a few spots of restricted movement on this guy, especially when compared to other more recent Soundwaves, but the overall set-up of movement serves him well, and is well integrated into the overall look and design. Soundwave’s sculpt is a pretty solid one, and does a respectable job of capturing his design from the movie. Obviously, it’s not quite on the same level as the ThreeZero version I looked at last year, but then I don’t really expect it to be, now do I? The level of detailing is pretty sharp, and he largely avoids any major gaps or hollow spots in his robot mode. He’s also got an integrated cassette door-esque spot for storing his little buddies, complete with a spring loaded opening feature. His arms aren’t quite free enough to get his hand up by the button, but it’s otherwise a cool feature. Soundwave’s paint work is generally pretty good, with clean application, and a lot of decent coverage for the important details. There’s one slight oddity to it, though; while his construction appears to have light-piping worked in for his optics, the visor is painted an opaque red, which doesn’t feel like it was *quite* what they were going for when they designed him. Soundwave is packed with his usual shoulder mounted cannon, as well as the blaster rifle we saw him with in the film.
As addressed above, Soundwave has no alt-mode in Bumblebee, since he only participates in the battle as a robot. So, for him to be a proper Transformer and all, Hasbro had to supply him with an alt-mode. This one has been the source of much gnashing of teeth amongst the fanbase for being a pointless and nothing alt-mode, but Soundwave does actually draw his alt-mode from another piece of media, namely IDW’s Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe from 2014. As any direct tie-ins to that series are rather unlikely, it’s not a bad re-use of alt-mode. It also looks a bit like a Snowspeeder, and I like that. Transforming him isn’t too bad; there’s some slight fiddliness, but not as bad as some Studio Series releases. There’s one spot of a false piece showing up in the final assembly, but otherwise things stay pretty kosher. On my figure, one of the ports on what would be his right forearm is malformed, meaning you can’t use it for one of his weapons the way the instructions show. That said, there’s other, better spots for storing them, and I do rather enjoy this alt-mode. Not enough to leave him that way long-term, but still.
Shipping alongside these latest Studio Series sets is a Core Class assortment, which is new for Studio Series specifically, though was introduced as a main scale-class last year with Kingdom. Kingdom used it for smaller-scale versions of heavy hitters, but Studio is mixing that concept in with some figures that should actually be smaller. In the first assortment, we get a Bumblebee-inspired Ravage, specifically designed to work with Soundwave. I’m bad about reviewing Soundwave’s cassette buddies on their own, so I figured I might as well bundle him in here! In robot mode, Ravage is 3 1/2 inches long and has 16 workable points of articulation. In many ways, he does feel like a slightly simplified and scaled down version of the ThreeZero one, which I suppose is fair. They are based on the same design and all, so it makes sense. He’s a little blockier than he should be, but as far as small-scale Ravages go, he’s really not bad. He’s even got a working jaw, which is fun. Ravage is packed with his two side cannons, the missiles for the top, and an extra missile based on G1 Soundwave’s and designed to fit in the cannon. It’s an odd choice, since Soundwave doesn’t get the handheld one that should actually have the missile…but I guess it’s the thought that counts. Like the larger one, this Ravage turns into a box, meant for storing in Soundwave’s chest compartment. You have to make sure he’s transformed *just* right to fit in there, which is a little frustrating at first, but once you figure it out, it works alright.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’m cutting back on Transformers. I swear. I really mean it. But there was a Soundwave, you guys! I had to have Soundwave, obviously. And Ravage. You know, because otherwise Soundwave is gonna get all lonely. So, just the pair of them, right? Right. I’m sticking with that, I swear. I really like this design for Soundwave, and I really liked getting it from ThreeZero, but I’ll admit, it’s nice to have an actual proper toy of it that I can just mess with, without fear of breaking a very expensive collector’s piece.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review. If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.