#1504: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE

Another Transformers review?  Already?  It’s only been two weeks since the last one!  For someone who doesn’t really follow Transformers, I do seem to review a surprising number of them, don’t I?  Now, as I’ve said a few times in the past, my all-time favorite Transformer is Soundwave.  I tend to be drawn to figures of him.  Of my four Transformers reviews on the site, two are Soundwave.  But see, neither of them actually transformed.  Today’s review fixes that little wrinkle.  Let’s roll out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave was released in the 10th Warrior Class assortment of the Transformers: Robots in Disguise toyline, based upon the cartoon of the same name.  He’s a part of the “Combiner Force” sub-line of figures.  From what I’ve been able to figure out from my researching the subject, this Soundwave is based on the characters design from around Season 3 of Robots in Disguise.  To the outside observer, this means he roughly translates to a decent approximation of the classic Soundwave design.  In his robot form, the figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 19 points of workable articulation (counting his articulated shoulder cannon).  Given how restricted the actual movement on Jazz was, it’s actually pretty awesome just how many strides Hasbro has made improving that.  His sculpt is nicely handled.  Very clean, and lots if really sharp work, especially on the head.  He’s bulky, but sleek, and I dig the overall style.  Sure, the “real world” application’s sort of gone out the window, but I don’t mind so much.  He’s just a really cool looking robot design.  Soundwave’s alternate form this time around is some sort of a tank or something.  I’m not 100% sure exactly what it is, but I know it’s not a walkman, which does make me a little sad.  I’ll get over it.  There’s a 14 step process to turn him into the whatever it is, at least according to the back of the box.  I found 14 steps to be a little more fluid than the diagram on the back indicated and had a little trouble getting him to transform at first.  I did get it figured out in the end, and he makes for an interesting enough car-thingy, I suppose.  Soundwave’s paintwork is decent.  Not super complex or anything, but it works.  I dig the various transparent parts, and the light piping on the head is definitely a fun touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Why another Soundwave, you might ask?  Because sometimes I just really want to buy a figure, but there’s not anything new at retail.  And that’s when the Transformers start to tempt me.  Sitting there, looking kinda cool, and easily attainable.  A while back, I saw this guy and almost bought him, but talked myself out of it.  I ended up not seeing him again for several months, but I was admittedly not looking very hard for him.  Anyway, I was at Target the other night, trying to kill some time while Super Awesome Girlfriend was looking for a few things, and they had this guy there.  Since I hadn’t seen him, and he was relatively inexpensive, I figured he was worth it.  He’s pretty awesome, and I’m glad I grabbed him.  And now I’ve fulfilled my Transformers quota for at least a little while.

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#0961: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS: ROBOT HEROES

Soundwave1

Despite being a really big action figure geek (I know, shock and awe, right?), I’ve never had any real affinity for Transformers. I mean, I can appreciate them for what they are, and I like a lot of the designs. I’m a huge fan of halfway decent robot designs. Heck, I even saw two of the films in theatres (maybe that’s not a point in my favor…) Every so often, I find myself looking at a Transformers figure or two, but I think the main thing that keeps me from really getting into them is in the name. For whatever reason, the whole transforming gimmick has never done much for me (which is weird, because I love me some gimmicky action figures!) Fortunately for nut jobs like me, Hasbro’s put out more than a few lines of non-transforming Transformers over the years. In the mid-00s, they were having great success with their more child-friendly Galactic Heroes and Super Hero Squad lines for Star Wars and Marvel, so they brought Transformers into the fold with Robot Heroes. I’ll be looking at that line’s version of Soundwave today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave2Soundwave was released in the second series of Transformers: Robot Heroes, in a two-pack with Autobot Bumblebee. At this point in the line, the designs were pretty much exclusively Generation 1-based (meaning the original ‘80s line), and Soundwave was no exception. The figure stands a little over 2 inches tall, but he’s squatting, so he’d probably be about 3 inches were he standing up straight. He has three points of articulation, at the neck and each of the shoulders, which was pretty standard for the line. The articulation doesn’t really offer much actual posablity, though. He’s a glorified statue: the pose you see him in is really the only pose you’ll be getting. On the plus side, it suits the character, so that’s good. The sculpt is quite nicely done. His proportions are slightly exaggerated (this was the Heroes style), but he’s far less exaggerated than anything from Galactic Heroes or Super Hero Squad, which I think makes him a bit more versatile. The details are all sharply defined, and he’s got a very nice geometric look about him. He clearly takes a lot of influence from the animated version of Soundwave, which is hardly a bad thing. The paint follows the animated look as well, opting for flat colors instead of the usual metallics. It works quite well with the sculpt and the application is generally pretty clean, though there are a few issues with some slightly misaligned details here and there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I’ve never been much of a Transformers guy, I really liked Robot Heroes. There was a time when I owned just about all of the G1-inspired figures from the line. I’ve since sold the vast majority of them off, but I kept Soundwave for a few reasons. First, he’s always been, my favorite Transformer. Second, he was the first Robot Heroes figure I got. My brother liked Bumblebee, so we bought this set when it was released and split it, and I liked Soundwave enough to pick up a bunch more of the figures. Even with most of the others gone, I still really like this guy.

#0466: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS HERO MASHERS

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If there’s one glaring omission from the numerous figures I’ve covered on this site so far, it’s Transformers. Transformers was a huge hit in the 80s, and it’s one of those toys that kind of forged its own path. The thing about Transformers is, they’re kind of their own thing. While the name technically refers to a very specific set of figures, it also loosely defines an entire genre of figures. There are “transformers” of practically everything. And none of that seems to have hurt the main brand, which doesn’t seem to be in any danger of falling out of popularity. That’s pretty impressive.

Amazingly enough, actual, name-brand Transformers make up about 0.14% of my action figure collection. That’s FOUR figures. Out of 2800. And only one of those actually transforms. Transformers thoroughly missed me. That said, I do like some of the characters, specifically Soundwave, the one that used to turn into a cassette player. He amuses me (three of my four Transformers are Soundwave). Recently, Hasbro has been getting into the “mix and match figures” idea, under the heading Hero Mashers. The line started with the Marvel brand and then expanded to Transformers. Soundwave was amongst them, so I picked him up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave3Soundwave is part of the second assortment of Transformers Hero Mashers. He’s part of the regular assortment of figures, rather than a deluxe or multipack. He’s based on Soundwave’s original design (referred to as his G1 design), though I’m certain there are a few design changes that a more die-hard fan than I could point out. The figure is about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 20 points of articulation. As far as I can tell, the sculpt is wholly original to this figure, but I don’t have any others to check. It’s a well sculpted figure, though he’s definitely been adapted so as to fit the style of this line. Most of the work is on the simpler side, with no really fine detailing, but that seems to be in line with the rest of the line, and it’s done well. The figure has a few ports here and there for various add-ons and accessories to be plugged in. While it’s fairly evident that they are there, they meld pretty well with the rest of the figure. I’d be interested to see if that carries to the non-robotic designs in the Marvel line. The paintwork is roughly on par with the sculpt. It’s rather straight forward, with no real fine detail work or anything. There’s also a little bit of bleed over in a few spots, though nothing atrocious. Soundwave is accessorized with his standard shoulder cannon, as well as a handheld missile launcher (because Hasbro), two gold rocket add-on thingies, a gun of some sort, and an alternate left hand (which, going by the Colossus pieces included with a few of the Marvel characters, I’m going to assume is from another character). In addition to the accessories, Soundwave also has the main point of the Hero Mashers going for him: interchangeability. He comes apart at the elbows, neck, hips, and knees (but not the shoulders, curiously). The pieces are a bit of a tight fit and some, such as the neck/head joint, are really hard to get back in place once they’ve been removed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Soundwave was purchased from the Kmart nearest the place my family and I stayed over the holidays. In all honesty, he was something of an impulse buy. Well, the closest that I come to an impulse buy, anyway. I had seen him a few times before and passed him up, but I was at Kmart, and they had him and I hadn’t seen anything else I wanted and I sort of caved. As just an action figure, he’s fun, though not the greatest figure I’ve ever owned. As a figure built for swapability? Hasbro’s got a little ways to go before they’re on par with something like Minimates. It’s a neat idea, and the toys are good, but the joints are just a little too tight for frequent swapping.

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