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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Pun-3X' review of: Soundwave

Name: Soundwave
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Communications
Sub-Group: NA
"Cries and screams are music to my ears!"

A smooth talking opportunist who uses his eavesdropping abilities on friend and foe alike. Equipped with advanced radio wave and energy sensors, Soundwave is a crucial communications link for Decepticon forces. Four armored tracks equip him for any terrain, and the giant electron rocket makes him a devastating warrior, earning him the nickname "The Terror Tank."

Machine Wars Soundwave is a repaint of a U.K./European-exclusive named Stalker. The toy was originally these brighter green and purple colors, with gray and black portions making up things like treads and upper arms/legs, etc. The original concept behind it was that its mounted rocket could attach to one of four fighter jet toys known as the Predators. Each of these Predator toys had a flip down transparent panel with a picture of a transformer in its crosshairs. You could look through the back of the rocket like a scope to see the image. He also came with a gun and mountable missiles designed to fit on his sides in vehicle mode. On top of that, Stalker came with a small radar dish that would mount on his back end.

For Soundwave, most of the features are removed or rendered useless. (though you can still look through the scope of the rocket and see the predator target panel...if you have a Predator toy) Except for the radar dish and the rocket, Soundwave is pretty much just the body of Stalker. The paintstyle, however, is drastically improved. He has a light gray on dark brown color scheme, with splotches of darker gray camouflage all about. The gray treads are now black and match the rest of his limbs and head. His optics are that transparent blue with the "open back" for light to come through. The color scheme is a vast improvement over the overdone (in my opinion) colors of Stalker.

Vehicle Mode:
The vehicle looks like a four-tread tank body and has many suggestions of a futuristic design. It's very nasty looking, with the cockpit offset on the let side. The camo really works well in this mode. The rocket sits on a platform of sorts that's horizontal to the vehicle. The radar dish mounts on either side of the rear of the tank, portions that become shoulder armor in robot mode.

The only thing I wished for this toy was a normal cannon or turret instead of a giant rocket. Though the toy is still very nicely done. It has a menacing feel to it, like it isn't meant to do damage up close. When this Soundwave attacks, you aren't supposed to know it's coming until it's too late.

Robot Mode:
The robot itself is also very mean-looking. The two rear treads become shoulder armor as mentioned, and their size adds to the nastiness of this guy. Everything is nicely proportioned, and the tank is visible in this mode without looking anything like some vehicle with legs and arms sticking out of it. The arms rotate 360 degrees forward and back, though they don't go out to the side. While he does have 'elbow's so to speak, they only work turning inward as they are meant for his transformation. The waist swivels, also a cause of the transformation. Unfortunately, his legs have no articulation at the hips. You can fake knee joints as the portions of his lower leg fold back for vehicle mode.

The only other issue I might have is the giant rocket sitting on his shoulder, remeniscent of the old Soundwave's shoulder cannon. It's just too big. One could keep it on his back, but you have well over half the thing sticking up past his head. Again, the radar dish can sit on either shoulder in robot mode, and it looks quite fitting. Still, the toy has a great look to it and quite some play value. If all you want is a display piece, you're definitely looking at a good toy.

Transformation: 4 - It really isn't much more than flipping arms out, twisting the body, flipping out the legs, flip the head out, done. Very easy to do, and no pain involved.
Durability: 8 - This toy feels like it was well designed, and all the parts are nice and thick. You really don't have to worry about it breaking anywhere as far as I can see.
Fun: 7 - If only because the robot mode just doesn't have all the joints it could have. Otherwise, though, it's a nice toy and gives an impression of that bigger character who can kick everyone else's butt. People love the tougher-looking toys.
Price: 8 - This really varies. As the Stalker mold is pretty easy to find sans most parts, the MW Soundwave figure can be pretty pricey on places like Ebay. Much more thant it's probably worth. If the paintstyle is definitely desired, it might cost you. Otherwise, getting the newly-released Universe Soundwave (which is the same mold at $20 and comes with more than just this figure) might be a better bargain.
Summary: This is a pretty neat figure to have. It fits in with a section of Decepticons on my shelves, and the color scheme, as mentioned, is a vast improvement over it's predecessor. Even without some of the original's gimmicks, Soundwave holds his own. If you can get one, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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