#2031: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Now, I don’t want you guys to be getting the impression that just because I’m done reviewing the Wave 2 Deluxe class figures means that I’m done with this here week of Transformers.  No no, I’ve still got plenty of transformers up my sleeves.  Or maybe they *are* my sleeves…hard to tell with Transformers.  Has there ever been a sleeve Transformer?  Probably not, but with Bot Bots, anything’s possible these days…  Sorry, I’m getting distracted.  And this is the worst Transformers review to get distracted from, because it’s a pretty big one.  I mean, it’s another Soundwave.  How often do I review one of those?  What’s that?  Two this year already?  Well, if that’s the case, one more certainly couldn’t hurt.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave is one of the two figures in the second Voyager Class wave of the War For Cybertron: Siege line.  Soundwave is only the second Decepticon I’ve looked at from this line, after the confusingly similarly named Shockwave, who will join this figure in forever baffling all of my Transformers novice family and friends over which one is which.  In robot mode, the figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 practical points of articulation.  Like pretty much everyone else in this line, Soundwave’s design calls back to his original G1 look, but updated a bit to more modern toy standards.  Soundwave had the coolest look of all the G1 Transformers (I may be slightly biased), and I think that comes across pretty darn well here.  He maintains all of the basic design cues of his classic counterpart (including adopting some of the old figure’s alt-mode elements that no longer contribute to the alt-mode), while adding quite a few smaller details to keep things sharp and interesting.  It also way ups the posablility, which is always a plus in my book.  I’m also really digging the left hand’s extended index finger, allowing for interaction with the latch for his “tape deck”.  It’s not all perfect, mind you.  There are a few things that do bug me.  Primarily, it’s the forearms.  They’re hollow on the insides, which bugs me far more than the hollow backing on Ironhide.  It’s not helped by the fact that he’s got some weird kibble going on on the backs of the forearms as well, which means two sides of the arms are compromised.  It’s not enough to ruin the figure, but it’s definitely annoying.  I’m also not the biggest fan of the back kibble, but that’s at least a more aesthetically pleasing solution.  Soundwave’s typical alt-mode, a cassette player, is outmoded by today’s world.  There’s been a number of attempts at giving him a replacement alt-mode, and this one is yet another.  He turns into a sort of a…drop ship thing?  I’m not big on it.  I mean, the concept’s okay, and, admittedly, I do like how it looks more in person than I’d expected to.  But something about the design just feels…I don’t know…half-formed?  More than a lot of the vehicles in this line, he looks like a brick with stuck on it, but unlike with Ironhide, I don’t really dig it.  It’s also not nearly as easy a transformation as some of the others, meaning the whole thing isn’t really ideal, and I really don’t see myself switching him back and forth at all.  If you don’t like the drop ship, Hasbro’s got a semi-official secondary alt-mode, which turns Soundwave into the lamppost he disguises himself as in the first episode of the ’84 cartoon.  Again, I don’t really feel the transformation myself, but I appreciate what Hasbro’s trying.  What’s that?  Neither of those alt-modes does it for you?  Have no fear, because the fan community is on it, resulting in a fairly widely-accepted third alt-mode, which has a sort of a speaker/boombox appearance.  It’s actually not too difficult to configure, and is by far my favorite potential alt-mode.  The only shame is that the cassette player buttons on his pelvis aren’t visible in this mode, but it’s a minor flaw.  Soundwave is packed with a HI-KEP Concussion Blaster, LR-HD Sonic Cannon, and EMTX Blitz Charge Blaster, all of which can also combine (rather awkwardly) into the “USW HF Sonic Compression Mega-Blaster,” which is really more of a staff sort of thing.  I do like how the charge blaster unfolds into a staff, which will certainly prove useful with other figures in the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, you ready for this?  This figure?  Max’s fault.  So Max’s fault.  Because I wasn’t doing Transformers, you see?  But then Max was all “check out this cool Soundwave figure.”  And that turned into “you should get a few other figures to try out this line.”  And now I’ve got a whole darn collection.  Great.  On the plus side, slight issues aside, this Soundwave is a very, very good figure.  I’m super happy to have gotten him, and he’s my favorite in the line, mostly by virtue of being Soundwave.  I dig it.  I dig it a lot.

Soundwave, like all of my other Siege figures, came from All Time Toys, and can be purchased here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

Advertisements

#1991: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS (HASBRO)

So, this Transformers thing…it doesn’t appear to be going away, does it?  Like last month, I am once again bookending a month’s reviews with Transformers.  Today’s offering is slightly different, however, because rather than looking at something new, I’m actually looking at something quite old.  About as old as a Transformer can possibly be, in fact.  It’s no secret that Soundwave is my very favorite Transformer, so it’s probably not a huge shock to see me go back to his beginnings, and take a look at his vintage figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave was released in 1984, as one of the line’s first Decepticons.  He was a re-working of the Microman Micro Change Cassette Man figure, and is actually one of the least changed imports the line had to offer, with only minimal re-tooling and some slight changing of his color palette.  In his robot mode, Soundwave stands 7 inches tall and has 15 workable points of articulation.  Though his sculpt is certainly boxier and more rudimentary than more modern offerings from the line, Soundwave is probably one of the best sculpts of the 1984 line-up.  He’s pretty posable, and maintains that sort of retro robot feel without getting too goofy or basic.  He’s also a rather sturdy feeling figure, which is certainly nice to find in a figure that’s 45 years old.  I particularly like the metal feet, which help to keep him up and standing.  There’s also virtually no kibble left over from his alt form which is downright impressive on such a figure.  Said alt form is, of course, that of a micro cassette player.  Cassette Man was part of a line of figures meant to be mini robots masquerading as everyday items.  While Soundwave in the show had to rely on some weird mass-shifting to go from one form to the next, the toy just sticks with letting him be a realistically scaled player, which is certainly a neat idea.  His transformation from one form to the other is pretty straightforward, which was a relief to a relative Transformers novice such as myself, and the cassette player form is a convincing one.  I mean, it’s not like it’s super complex or anything; it’s really just a box, but it does that whole box thing pretty well.  Soundwave, like many earlier Transformers, foregoes paint for more decals and the like.  For the most part, they’ve held up well, but mine is missing his Decepticon logo (which was actually replaced by a rubsign decal for figures released in 1985 and beyond).  Soundwave was originally packed with a shoulder cannon, a handheld weapon, and one of his cassettes, Buzzsaw.  My figure only has the shoulder cannon, which is really the most important to him personally.  Soundwave included an “action feature” of sorts as well; the door on his chest is spring loaded, allowing for a proper ejecting of any cassette-based associates.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This Soundwave was traded into All Time alongside a larger collection, and spent a good couple of months just sitting back behind the counter, just the see if anyone might as to purchase him.  No one did, and I found myself sitting there fiddling with him one night, at which point I realized I kinda didn’t want to put him back.  So, home with me he came.  He’s somewhat dated, but still pretty darn awesome, and I’m honestly pretty happy I snagged him.  I mean, what kind of a Soundwave fan would I be if I didn’t have the original?

#1981: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS: BUMBLEBEE (HASBRO)

Alright, I’m gonna level with your guys: you might want to get comfortable with the Transformers reviews.  Because there’s probably going to be a substantial uptick in them going forward. Read them at your own peril.  It’s okay, though, because I’m going to ease everyone into them, you see.  I’m not just jumping into Transformers willy-nilly. I’m going to be placing a lot of focus on the one Transformer that’s not odd to see around these parts: Soundwave!  Yes, he’s without a doubt my favorite Transformer, and as with all of my favorite characters, I’d like perhaps to own every version of him.  A man can dream.  And chipping away at that dream is today’s figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave is part of the overarching Transformers: Bumblebee line that came out of December’s Bumblebee film, in which Soundwave made a brief appearance.  He’s from the Energon Ignighters Power Plus Series‘ third wave, which just started showing up in the last month or so.  It features this guy here, alongside Autobot Ironhide.  He’s ostensibly based on Soundwave’s look in the film, but it’s a much looser interpretation than others.  I’ll touch on that in a moment.  Unlike most of the Transformers I’ve looked at on this site, where it’s a robot figure that turns into a vehicle, this one is kind of an inversion.  The vehicle mode is the real focus, with the robot mode there as more of a gimmick.  In the film, Soundwave doesn’t have a vehicle mode (that we know of), so this one makes one up for him, settling on a van that’s actually a pretty sensible choice if you don’t want to go for the classic cassette player, since it still kind of keeps that music theme going.  It fits the overall retro feel of the rest of the Bumblebee stuff, to be sure.  In van mode, Soundwave measures 4 1/2 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 2 inches tall.  All four wheels are actual, working wheels, and the back doors of the van are designed to spring open when the top of the van is pressed down, revealing some impressive looking speakers.  Paint on the van-mode is mostly pretty sparse, but he does have a decal in particular that I love: the mural on the side.  It features a cheesy ’70s-esque painting of a jaguar and a bird, homaging Soundwave’s usual companions, Ravage and Laserbeak, which I just think is the coolest thing.  Soundwave includes an “Energon Ignighter” piece, which is the gimmick for the whole line.  It drops into place through the roof of the van, activating the spring-loaded doors and allowing for a motorized pull and release movement.  Fitting with the overall theme of this release, the ignighter is shaped like a boombox, which is another fun touch.  Soundwave’s transition from van to robot is a fairly simple process, largely consisting of turning him over so that you can see the hidden robot that was under the van.  His appearance is certainly inspired by the classic Soundwave look, just like the movie, but I can’t really say the two designs are all that close.  If I had to guess, I’d say he was probably patterned after early designs for the character.  Whatever the case, he’s still pretty recognizeable as Soundwave, which is the important thing.  He’s not particularly poseable; you can pretty much only move him at the elbows, though there’s some slight shifting to be had in the shoulders as well.  Like I said, the robot’s not really the main focus of this release; he’s more a gimmick than anything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: this is Max’s fault.  No, really, I swear it is.  See, he preordered one of these for himself on Amazon, but then found one in-store, and decided to grab that, but was unable to cancel his order.  So, boom: extra Soundwave.  Shame he doesn’t know anyone who would want a Soundwave… In actuality, I had actually wanted to track one of these down, because I dug that sweet van art.  It’s gimmicky, and not going to be anyone’s #1 version or anything, but for a Soundwave fan like me, he’s a fun addition to the collection.

#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.

#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

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

Soundwave 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.