SOUNDWAVE & RAVAGE
TRANSFORMERS: BUMBLEBEE DLX (THREEZERO)
So….remember about two weeks ago, when I was discussing the oxymoronic nature of non-transforming Transformers? Man, aren’t they just a crazy concept that will never catch on? Certainly I’m not going to be backing that horse any time soon, right? …Yeah, about that… Despite only really being a moderate Transformers fan, and also recently finding myself grouped with the people that think maybe Transformers should transform, I may have well gone and bought a rather pricey non-transforming Transformer for myself. Look, in my defense, it’s Soundwave. Also, it’s from Bumblebee. Exactly how was I supposed to say no? And, while we’re all on the topic, this isn’t a completely transformation-less Transformers release, for reasons I shall get into in the review itself!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Soundwave & Ravage were released as part of ThreeZero’s Transformers DLX line, which has so far been dedicated to designs from Bumblebee. This marks the fourth release in the line, following Bumblebee, Prime, and Blitzwing. Soundwave’s definitely a little more of a reach than the others in terms of his role in the film, but he’s freaking Soundwave, so it’s not like it’s super hard to figure out why they’d choose to release him, and bundling in Ravage is just pretty straight forward stuff, really. The packaging is pretty adamant about referring to both of the figures included here, but make no mistake, Soundwave’s the main deal, and Ravage is really just an accessory. Soundwave stands about 11 1/4 inches tall and has, like, a lot of articulation. Getting an accurate count’s kind of tricky, because so many of the joints are really just there to aid other joints in the posing process. What I’m getting at here is that posing Soundwave is a pretty darn involved process, which requires you to really want to know how you’re posing him before jumping in. He’s designed with lots of lifting and moving plates, in order to ensure the best posability, while also keeping him movie accurate in the sculpt department. It takes some getting used to, and if you’re not careful you might end up with some breakage, so reading through the instructions and learning what lifts and how is a good idea. I myself wound up accidentally popping the glue on one of his front waist panels when I moved his hip forward incorrectly, so I know first hand the need to be careful. The figure’s sculpt is dedicated to recreating the movie-interpretation of Soundwave’s G1 design as closely as possible, and based on what I could see from his brief appearances in the film, they’ve done a very nice job of capturing that design. His internal workings make use of some actual metal parts, which makes him both sturdy and hefty, and it’s all sort of wrapped in an outer shell made up of a lot of separate plastic plates, which are responsible for making him look all Soundwave-y. The detailing on those plates is all very sharp and they look properly machined. For the most part, they also stay in place very securely. The body beneath those plates is likewise quite nicely detailed for the most part, though I was somewhat surprised to find that the internal detailing for the torso isn’t actually sculpted, and is instead a decal. I get the why, ultimately, but it does feel ever so slightly like a step down compared to the rest of the figure. Soundwave has no alt-mode, of course, but that’s something he share’s with his movie counterpart since Soundwave, like a lot of the Cybertronians we see early in the film, wasn’t actually designed with one in mind. That does make his lack of transformation a little less egregious than the three prior figures, I suppose. Soundwave’s paintwork is quite impressively handled. The base colors are nice and bright, and eye catching, and there’s quite a lot of detail that’s been put into making all of the plates and such look worn in and damaged. There’s a lot of simulated wear and tear, and it looks quite convincing, and is quite certainly of a higher caliber than, say, Siege. Soundwave includes a light-up feature for his visor. You’ll need to provide two button cell batteries of your own, but it’s a very nice effect, and adds just a little extra pop to him when on display. Soundwave is packed with a decent selection of extras. There are quite a few extra hands, 9 of them to be exact, in fists, open gesture, open relaxed, and trigger finger pairs, and one two finger gesture hand for the left side. He also gets a blaster rifle, a display stand, and most importantly…
…Ravage! Soundwave wouldn’t be much good without one of his cassette buddies to keep him company, now would he? Of course not! Ravage got a whole bit of focus in the movie, so there was this whole fully rendered model there to use as well, so I guess that does sort of make the whole thing easier. Ravage is about 4 inches long, and has 17 workable points of articulation. The articulation’s not quite as involved on Ravage, largely because Ravage isn’t as posable as Soundwave. He’s still got all the basic movement he’ll need of course, and on top of that, he’s got all the movement he needs to, what’s that, actually transform? Wait, is there an actual Transformer here? Why, yes there is! For Ravage isn’t just permanently in panther mode, but is able to also be folded up into the movie’s approximation of a cassette mode. Said cassette mode can be stored in Soundwave’s chest compartment, as seen in the movie. The transformation’s a little bit nerve wracking, if I’m honest, but I’m certainly glad it’s there, and it gives both Ravage and Soundwave a little bit of extra fun factor when messing around with them. To help facilitate this transformation, Ravage also gets a few accessories of his own, as the side mounted rockets and the cannon for his back are removable parts which can be added to the figure when he’s in panther mode. Pretty dope.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
It all started a little over a year ago, back before Transformers R.E.D. was even a thing on my mind, and therefore a thing that was well and truly getting me thinking about non-transforming Transformers. We’d seen the first three DLX figures, and they were certainly cool, but not enough for me to really jump on the bandwagon. Then Soundwave got shown off, and Jason from All Time Toys was looking at possibly placing an order, but really only if I was interested in picking one up. I’m no stranger to high-end toys, but I’d not yet jumped down this particular rabbit hole with Transformers. But…it was Soundwave, and it was also like a year away, so I had plenty of time to save up for him. Good thing, too, since that year was 2020, and, well, we all know how that went. Needless to say, he arrived, and I was quite happy to finally pick him up. He’s definitely very different from anything else I own Transformers-wise, but I was definitely expecting that. He’s certainly more collectible than toy, and isn’t really meant for fidgeting with the same way as other Transformers, but I still had a lot of fun messing with him once I took him out of the box, and he’s a tremendously impressive piece when sitting on the shelf. I certainly wasn’t expecting to have *two* non-transforming Soundwaves in the space of a month, but worse things have certainly happened.