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TRANSFORMERS TOYS AND MERCHANDISE SECTION

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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Brave Maximus' review of:
Takara #10 Soundwave reissue

Name: Soundwave
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alt-Mode: Cassette Deck
Function: Communications
First Cartoon Appearance: G1 - More Than Meets the Eye, Part 1
Motto: "Cries and screams are music to my ears."

It is said Soundwave can hear a fly sneeze. Uses anything he hears for blackmail to advance his status. Opportunist. Despised by all other Decepticons. Sensors can detect even lowest energy radio transmissions. Able to read minds by monitoring electrical brain impulses. Acts as radio link for others. Locates and identifies Autobots, then informs Decepticons. Carries a concussion blaster gun. Often target of retaliation by his comrades.

So, we all know the story of the original Soundwave mould. Before there were Transformers, Takara had a line of figures called Microman. This featured everyday items that changed into robots. When Hasbro created Transformers, they took a bunch of those moulds and created additional characters. One of the most memorable from this line is Soundwave. Unfortunately, the years took their toll on the original mould, and many fans feared that we would never see a Soundwave reissue. But Takara listened to the fans and came up with a plan. They took the chest part from a previous remould of Soundwave (called Soundblaster for the Headmaster series) and used it in place of the damaged sections of the Soundwave mould.

So the Collection Series Soundwave is an interesting hybrid, but then, we got the reissue.....

Alt Mode:

Soundwave is a personal cassette deck. Many of the younger Transfans might think this a strange alternate mode, but when Transformers first came out, they focused on the "Robots in Disguise" aspect almost as much as anything else. He's quite compact, being just over 4" wide, and looks to accept the micro cassettes that were used a lot at the time.

He is full of very realistic detail - a lot more than you would expect to find for a toy of this age. His primary colours are dark blue and silver/grey, with gold and chrome filling in the details. On the front you can see the play, rewind, fast forward stop and record buttons, all in raised chrome detail. A sticker provided the record\power LED and they even have an arrow on his front to indicate which direction the tape will move. On the upper right hand side, there are even the counters and counter reset button (non functional). On the right side, there is the volume slider (which actually slides!) and on the left side is a spinning wheel (which could also be the volume, and then I would have no idea what the slider is for - cut me a little slack, the original Microman figure was made before I was born). On the back is a belt clip, which can be taken off to reveal a battery compartment with 2 batteries!. Then, of course, we come to the major detail and action feature: The ejecting cassette door. Push the large silver button on the left side at the front, and the main panel pops open to reveal some great tech details and 2 pegs like the spinners found in a cassette player. All in all, quite impressive.

A couple of oddities though: The original Japanese Soundwave came with a headphone set. In all the pics of the original Soundwave, Soundblaster and the reissue Soundwave, I can't find a place for them to plug in. Also, look at the tape deck face on and look at the speakers, they seem to be mirrored, as the "left" speaker is on your right side, and the "right" on your left. For you to hear it properly, you would need to turn it around 180 degrees, and then you couldn't press stop or play. The original Soundwave came in two variations - one had a plain Decepticon sticker on the front of his cassette holder, the other came with a heat sticker. This Soundwave has both. There is a plain sticker on the front, while the heat-rub sticker is on his back, at the belt clip. His ejection mechanism is different from the original Soundwave's (due to the hybridization of the Soundwave and Soundblaster moulds - the original Soundblaster held 2 cassettes at a time), so there are 2 support pieces visible at the sides, and it doesn't slide out as the original did. Now, this doesn't bother me, but it may not be to your liking. Something to be aware of.

Robot Mode:

Soundwave has one of the most easily recognizable robot modes of any Transformer (with the exception, maybe, of Optimus Prime). Standing 7" tall with his distinctive chest, head and missile launcher, he easily sticks in your head. There's not a lot of new colour added here: He's still blue (head, chest, missile launcher, outside lower legs, and shoulders/upper arms) and silver/grey (lower arms, upper and inside lower legs), with gold, silver, and chrome making up most of the detail (everything mentioned above, as well as his face plate). Yellow makes an appearance for his visor, and red and black show up in sticker detail. The colours work amazingly well together, and make him an imposing Transformer.

The detail in him is amazing; every where you look there's cut details and raised spaces. In places where he might look plain, stickers fill in. Unfortunately, this is a double edged sword, as, over time, the stickers may start to peel and become jagged. So treat them with respect. One of the things I love with Soundwave is that, in an era when most Transformers' accessories had no where to be stored on the figure, Soundwave's weapons turn into his batteries. One extends out and becomes a hand held blaster (with the addition of a silver missile) while the other turns into a multi-missile launcher. One of the joys of the Takara reissues rather than the Hasbro ones (other than the fact that we actually get Soundwave that way) is that they don't have to follow US toy laws. His missile is of normal size (not 2 inches in length), and can actually fire a good distance. (Doing this review, the thing accidentally fired and flew across the room and under the couch.....)

A couple of interesting notes: This Soundwave reissue did not come with Buzzsaw as the original Soundwave did. Instead he came with his more usual partner, Laserbeak. Also, it is easy to see that the Decepticon symbol is a stylized version of Soundwave's face.

Poseability:

Quite unusual for a Generation One toy, Soundwave features nine points of articulation. While this is still light by today's standards, he comes from a time when the average was 2-4 points. He features elbow and arm joints (that rotate and move to the side), hip and knee joints (sure they go backwards, but he can still use them), and head articulation (side to side and up). Quite nice for its era.

Transformation: 6. Not to hard, but definitely not a minibot
Durability: 8. He's solid, with some heavy pieces of die-cast metal. You usually see that the tape mechanism survives on the Soundwave's better than on Blaster, but his knee joints tend to weaken over time, making it hard to have him stand up sometimes.
Fun: 10. It's Soundwave!!! If you can't have fun with him, you're a lost cause.
Price: 7. He was a great find and had a decent price when the reissue first came out, but, as it goes out of stock on most importers, his price goes up. Get him now, while he's still reasonable.
Overall: 9. A great toy, and one that's worth getting for every Transformers fan, as he's the only character who hasn't made it over to modern Transformers series.
 
 
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