SOUNDWAVE & DOOMBOX
BUMBLEBEE: GREATEST HITS (HASBRO)
Let’s jump back to the faraway year of 2018. There was a new Transformers movie, Bumblebee, and after five prior live-action offerings of diminishing success, this one was a slightly different approach. The scale was largely brought back, and focused almost entirely on the title character in his own smaller-scale adventure. However, the initial cut of the film had a brief appearance from Optimus Prime, who now sported a more G1-inspired design than in previous installments, and when word of this design got out, fans wanted more G1-inspired elements. This led to the film’s prologue on Cybertron, which sported a whole ton of G1-ish looks. They were largely absent from tie-in toys, since they were all pretty last minute, but there were a few things thrown together to not leave them totally out in the cold. Given the film’s ’80s setting and emphasis on music, it’s not terribly surprising that Soundwave made his way into the tie-in stuff, even if he didn’t have a musically-based alt-mode in the movie. And I’m a sucker for Soundwave stuff, so, you know…
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Soundwave and Doombox are a Leader Class release from the Target-exclusive Bumblebee: Greatest Hits line, which was part of their larger Bumblebee movie offerings. He was the only of the three offerings from the subline not to include a Bumblebee of some sort, and was presumably chosen because of his thematically appropriate alt-mode. Also, because he’s Soundwave. Always have Soundwave. And Magnus. Him too. Always have both. I’m getting side tracked. Just talking about the Soundwave today. Calm yourself down, Ethan. In his robot mode, Soundwave stands about 10 inches tall and he has 19 points of workable articulation. This release is a retool of the Titans Return/Legends Soundwave mold (itself a retool of Titans Return Blaster). The only change-up for actual sculpting between the releases are the leg panels, which mostly serve to change up how he looks in his alt-mode. The mold is definitely a very G1-esque Soundwave, albeit one that’s perhaps a little more rudimentary and boxy when compared to more recent updates to the look. He gets a bit more kibble on his back, keeping a rather noticeable handle protruding from his shoulders. He’s also got a fair bit of hollow construction, which was more prevalent at the time of the mold’s original release. He’s certainly a nice, chunky figure, though. His color scheme was adjusted to fit a bit more with how he ended up looking in the movie, or at least an approximation of it. It’s a little darker and greyer than typical G1 figures, which is of course more on par with the usual movie stylings. Soundwave was packed with a blaster rifle, his usual shoulder mounted cannon, and a sort of a stand-in piece for his usual tape-deck-inspired associates.
Soundwave’s primary alt-mode isn’t his original tape recorder, but it’s closer than other updated modes, since it’s a boom box (a mode he inherited from the Blaster that used the mold first). It’s honestly a pretty good alt-mode. The transformation’s not too complicated, and everything folds up and into place pretty convincingly. The updated leg panels change the detailing of this mode’s speakers, going from the mesh-style to the slit style. Not crazy important or anything, but it does at least add some variety to him. Since this mold began as a Titans Return release, his head is a Head Master, so it’s removed during transformation and can turn into “Doombox”, who’s a little mini version of the classic Soundwave look. He’s obviously a lot less detailed, but it’s a fun gimmick. It also works really well with Soundwave’s third mode, which turns him into a base, which can be used with any of the Head Masters. The stand-in for the tape deck can be used as a vehicle for Doombox, which is honestly a lot of fun.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’ve had this figure since he was still at retail, and I just never got around to reviewing him. I know, bad Ethan. I had gotten a gift card from someone at work, and happened upon him at Target, which was enough of a justification to grab this guy. He’s never been my go-to Soundwave or anything, but he’s surprisingly fun, and he’s a good showcase of the gimmicks from this era of the line. And, most importantly, he’s another Soundwave. Hard to beat that. Unless you’re a Magnus.