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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
Alternate Mode:
Box Art:

Knightdramon's review of: BT-13 Laserwave

Name: Laserwave
Allegiance: Decepticon (Destron)
Function: Military Operations Commander

Once more, Takara has done it. Taking a classic G1 character I never owned and re-building him in a special, realistic car mode is one of the things that makes Binaltech so special. Laserwave is the third character (so far) that has his alternate mode drasticaly changed in order to be in the line.

Back in the 80s, Shockwave was one of the few Decepticons in the cartoon's first seasons that had a non-realistic alternate mode. While Megatron emerged as a handgun, Starscream as a jet etc, Shockwave remained a huge purple gun—probably what made him stronger than the rest of the gang. The toy originaly came from another company (than Takara), so he's not going to be re-issued. Superlink laserwave is an excellent alternative, but if you want something closer to the original, this baby's for you.

Packaging:
There's not much to be said about the box that isn't mentioned in all my other reviews. A classic, very down to business design by Takara effectively puts the Binaltech figures into the adult collector's market. Instead of using a splashy red scheme, they go for a much more subtle, metallic grey and black theme. The result is simply amazing. As with all other Binaltechs, he's missing a Dreamwave drawing in the front. Using an actual picture of the toy works just as well. All over the box you can find the logo of Mazda, probably as part of the license agreement.

On the back of the box, you can get a small glimpse of what the package is all about. Depicted in both modes with various windows showing off details (ala Gundam), it makes you crave for what's inside. Beautiful pictures of the head (although the eye isn't in that shade of green), hand and various aspects of the car mode decorate the windows.

Included is the obligatory display stand (the same model used for all Destrons besides Swindle—white), a booklet with the instructions and next chapter of the story, a collector's card and a car sticker with the Destron logo. Due to a factory mistake, mine came with two collector cards. Oh well, works for me!

Vehicle Mode:
What? No big bad gun? Laserwave makes a striking appearance as a more sleek model of the RX 8 car we saw back in BT 08. I have yet to see this car on the streets, so I cannot comment on how well it replicates it.

However, I can comment on just about everything else. Instead of being purple as everybody would like, Laserwave features a really dark, navy blue that *almost* borders on purple. It's much darker than the blue used on Smokescreen and Tracks. The problem first seen on Overdrive (namely, the different shades in plastic and die-cast metal parts) is non-existant here.

The metallic parts are limited to the hood, roof, all four doors and rear part besides the bumper and the spoiler. A problem that my Laserwave has and neither Meister had is that the door joints are too weak to support the metallic doors. In other words, the front doors flail badly because they can't be sustained by their joints. This is a minor defect here, but poses a greater problem in robot mode.

Since this is a robot in disguise, let's see what his car mode can do to "hide" while in the ranks ofhis contemporaries (other model cars). The hood opens to reveal minor engine details—all painted in black. The front wheels turn in unison thanks to a magnetic system and the doors have reflective side mirrors. The windshield is much darker than Meister's, to evoke a "darker", Decepticon look. All four doors can open (the rear ones utilising the same system as in the real car), and the seats are realistic enough to fool you into thinking he is a normal model car. The steering wheel can turn and the trunk opens, allowing for minimal storage space. It's nice to see that even after 13 releases into the line, Takara (and Hasbro) are sticking with the rubber tires.

Since Laserwave is a remould of Meister, I just can't ignore describing the differences between them. I'll be comparing him to the white version, reviewed by Civ. First of all, Laserwave spots a bigger, "badder" front bumper, one of the modifications of the mazdaspeed version. His hubcaps aren't chromed, but painted in a very dark brown colour (adds to the overall dark look of the car but doesn't look that impressive). The parts beneath the doors and part of the doors have been remoulded as well, making them more angular. As a result, the windows have been shortened. The side mirrors are much smaller, making the door a bit more difficult to open. The rear bumper is a bit bigger too, and then there's the extra spoiler not present on Meister. Furthermore, the rear window doesn't have those yellow lines across and is much smaller.

Being a Decepticon lover (those remoulds just look so much cooler than the originals), I can't bear myself to say that he's bad. Quite the opposite, Laserwave is one of the best cars in the line and quite fit to be the Decepticon leader. There's just so many things that capture you, you'd want to spend some time just looking at this awesome car mode.

Robot Mode:
Ah, the joy of transforming the RX-8 mould. Absolutely nothing to tick you off if you are careful. Instead of getting the mustang mould, featuring a much more difficult transformation scheme, the Decepticons got the easy mould for their leader. Nothing more precious than transforming faster than your opponent.

Anyway, let's get serious. The mould gained one transformation advantage from the various remoulds, but also one disadvantage, compared to Meister. Due to the resizing of his rear windshield, turning his waist around in the initial transformation stages is much easier and less stressful. The fear of breaking the windshield by scrapping the legs to it is now gone. However, the remoulded areas beneath the door make it more difficult to form his chest panel. Minor problem, but still, a problem.

I'll start reviewing Laserwave from bottom to top. His legs feature the best (or close to) articulation in the entire line thus far. Even though his feet are one concrete piece, a false impression of articulation at the ankles is given to us because the rear bumper can rotate to almost all sides. What's more, his entire foot can swivel around (it's part of the transformation scheme). For added stability, he has heels that can move up or down in order to support the weight.

His legs have about 6 points of articulation each. Mighty impressive is the fact that they aren't comprised of any ball joints at all, yet they can achieve some poses Smokescreen and Streak can only dream of. His knees use ratchet joints, and the thighs are connected to the waist by ratchet joints.

His main body is bulky and powerful, plus somewhat reminiscent of his G1 self. The torso is a beautiful amalgamation of black mechanical details and two silver stripes (the seats), which blend with the front body of the mazda rx 8. The bigger front bumper really makes a difference.

Moving to his arms, we are finally free of a stupid problem Meister had—his right arm would frequently pop out of the socket. Thanks to an improved socket system, Laserwave's arm can move and move and move and move a bit more without having to pop out for every second move.

Both shoulders are adorned by the Decepticon symbols, encased in a silver silhouette. The arms have lots of tech details, but nothing too impressive. Each arm features 4 basic points of articulation up to the wrist. This is where things get interesting...

Laserwave's left arm features his characteristic laser cannon! Instead of having a normal hand, he has a translucent purple cannon. The cannon is full of sculpted details, but they're left in the same colour the rest of the gun is. As with a normal hand, it has the usual wrist articulation.

And in a simply amazing move, Takara managed to shrink and stylize G1 Laserwave's head and reproduce it in this mould. It's almost a perfect replica of the face we became so fond of in the cartoon, plus it features a gimmick first seen in Generation 2—a light piping eye. In order to understand just how well this gimmick works, try covering the green part on top of his head.

Laserwave is trully an impressive sight in robot mode. The wide chest, coupled with his gun arm and the doors doubling as wings make him an impressive Decepticon commander. As far as playability goes, this guy has plenty of articulation points to last for weeks before getting boring. With a glamorous navy blue colouring, he is sure to make Smokescreen and Tracks feel like flashy lackeys. Recommended to every TF fan, old or new.

Transformation: 8. Pretty simple, straightforward, and painless. The only thing you have to worry about is the main torso when going back to vehicle mode.
Durability: 9. Got this grade because as soon as I opened one of his rear doors, it popped off. Hasn't done it ever since. Very stiff joints except on the doors, and the paint isn't that easy to scrape.
Fun: 9. He is Laserwave, a toy you might have missed the chance to get when he was out 20 years ago. Now he is back, looking better than ever, having two guns, a cool head and...the works. Plenty of articulation points ensure that you won't get bored too soon.
Price: 8. For what you get, 35 euros (46 dollars) isn't that much. And if you only buy one figure per month, he isn't going to empty your wallet. For a cheaper alternative, one can always get the alternators version for about half the price.
Summary: 10. Almost flawless. Ignoring the fact that he is Laserwave, this figure still doesn't disappoint. Pretty nice colour scheme, cool car, badass robot mode, hefty amounts of articulation...save yourself the trouble and get one now. It's for your own good.

 
 
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