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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Blackjack's review: Soundwave

Name: Soundwave
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Communications Master; Troop Carrier; Pleasing Geewun Fanboys
Subgroup: ROTF Wave 1 Deluxes
Accessories: 'Ravage' missile

"WHERE IS YOUR SON?"

I'm a big Soundwave fan. Let's get that on the line. I love Soundwave in all his incarnations. G1 cartoon, G1 comics, IDW comics, Earthforce, Cybertron, Animated... being simply cool and carrying a horde of Cassettecon troops, Soundwave has been remembered fondly as one of the most well-loved Transformers. Soundwave first appeared in G1 cartoon in his Cybertronian mode—some sort of street light, which is basically him folded up—and later in his iconic microcassette player mode. With his initial minions of Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Ravage, Rumble and Frenzy, Soundwave was well received as Megatron's loyal supporter. In the comics he was loyal as well—to whoever is the strongest Decepticon. In the UK comics, he supported the acting Decepticon commander, Shockwave, whilst still being loyal to a hiding Megatron. Soundwave is a manipulator, an opportunist; trusted by everyone and indispensable because of his skills. I like that. In Earthforce, he later cooperated with Starscream and overthrew Megatron and Shockwave, being the joint leaders of the Decepticons. Soundwave appeared in all other reincarnations of G1—Generation 2, Dreamwave, IDW, GI Joe Crossovers... Soundwave's been there. So popular was G1 Soundwave that he made cameos in Beast Wars, Beast Machines, Armada (miscoloured) and Cybertron (being held by that series' Soundwave).

His toy in G1 is a microcassette player, and came with a bonus—Buzzsaw. This toy would be retooled and redecoed in black as Soundblaster, a reincarnation of Soundwave in Japan. The G1 toy would subsequently be commemorated, reissued and encored. G1 Soundwave more recently had an updated mold in the Titaniums line. G2 presented a GoBot reincarnation of G1 Soundwave. Machine Wars gave us a reincarnation of G1 Soundwave that transforms into an SCUD launcher. In the Beast Wars toyline, an all new Soundwave was introduced, a mutant that transforms between a crocodile and a bat. In Cybertron another new Soundwave was introduced, this one a heavy homage of G1 and transforming into an alien stealth jet, and comes with a minion Laserbeak. Animated gave us yet another Soundwave, a toy corrupted by the AllSpark and Megatron's vision. He had Laserbeak and Ratbat, and the toy transforms into a Scion xB.

2007's transformers movie was about to cast Soundwave. He and Prowl were this close to being in the actual movie. Whilst Prowl later was put down in favour of a Decepticon police car Barricade, Soundwave had three revisions for the movie. First, he was supposed to be a helicopter that attacked an air force base, sending Ravage out to kill survivors. Because of Geewun fanatics, Soundwave's name was changed into Vortex and finally Blackout. Another propositioned Soundwave was for him to be a tape deck that hacks Air Force One, before transforming into a police car that hounds Sam Witwicky down. Michael Bay hates mass-changing, so the police car became Barricade, and the tape deck was supposed to be Soundwave. Michael Bay also likes freaky Transformers, so the character evolved into a skeletal homicidal maniac. Again, this deviated so far from G1 that Soundwave was renamed Frenzy after the Cassettecon.

So poor ol' Soundwave didn't make it into the Movie.

Well, it's a good thing we have sequels. Fans want Soundwave. (Actually, fans want everyone in G1.) Michael Bay wants fans to like his new movie. Yay, everyone wins. Early concepts of Soundwave being a pickup truck circulated through the internet when Soundwave was first announced, but later, it was changed. Soundwave now transforms into a... Cybertronian thing into another Cybertronian thing.

Spoiler alert. I'm going to delve into Soundwave's role in the movie. In the movie Soundwave first appeared in his satellite mode, and only in his satellite mode. Using tendrils to take over an Earthen satellite, Soundwave hacked into the military communications system and discovered where a piece of the Allspark and the location of Megatron's body. He dispatched Ravage down to Earth. After Megatron's return, Soundwave acted as the mass communication agent in the search for Sam Witwicky and his parents. After dialing up Judy Witwicky (and subsequently being dissed as a pervert) he sent Rampage (I think) to capture Sam's parents. His role was minimal, but at least he didn't die, and I really hope he'll get a more major role in the third sequel, if there's such thing.

ROBOT MODE

Soundwave is packaged in robot mode. Now the first thing you will notice about his height is that, from feet to head, he's quite short. However, with those protruding wings, kibble and whatnot, he looks taller in the packaging. Since his robot mode was never shown in the movie, only in concept arts and Prequel comics. This is still a rather accurate toy, as close as the movie designs as any toy could be.

Soundwave's main colour is gray and dark blue, with a few translucent neon light blue thrown in. Red and yellow brightens up the otherwise bland look. Now, I actually think doing Soundwave in silver and blue, instead of decorating him in so much colours, would have worked so much better.

Posability is rather nice. Head's on a ball joint and the neck is extendable. The elbow and shoulders are jointed. The waists and knee, and three toes all have joints. That's not counting the wings on his back.

I especially enjoy Soundwave's movie head design. Soundwave's probably the only movie character other than Prime who has a G1-accurate head. His eyes are painted red, but no light-piping. I read somewhere that his light-piping is the light blue used elsewhere in his body. It's a good thing that it's painted over, then.

From his back, Soundwave can eject a projectile, which is supposed to be Ravage in protoform mode. Yeah. Right. Be warned that the spring is super-sensitive and launches Ravage a long distance. Soundwave also has elbow-mounted curved blade-thingies with limited articulation. Other than that and his big fists, he has no other weapons. Of course, his wings are articulated enough to point forwards and be used as blades of sorts.

Soundwave stands on three toes on each foot. Two facing forwards, once facing backwards. Each toe is posable. Nice. Now if only Soundwave had been taller, and had a better paint job...

SATELLITE MODE

At last. The satellite mode. In this mode Soundwave looks like Vector Prime/Last Autobot's alternate mode. The wings/panels could be adjusted to face up, down or wherever else you want it to face. To be show-accurate, Soundwave needs to have his head on the center of the satellite. Even with his long neck, this is impossible and is blocked by the Ravage missile launcher to make it look like the movie incarnation.

Solution? Sculpt a fake head. Of course. This head is not articulated (so as not to confuse the little kiddies I suppose) but it's not painted. The eyes aren't even painted red, rather, the translucent baby blue.

You can still fire the Ravage missile, but what good would it do? It shoots it backwards/upwards, so it isn't strictly useful in a fight.

JET MODE

A little rearrangement of the wings and spiky things and you get Soundwave's third mode. The 'jet' mode. Actually it's just the satellite mode with the elbow spines extended, some panels rearranged and the wings swept backwards.

Somehow this makes him a triple changer. Then again, both G1 Springer and Cyb. Cryo Scourge are also considered triple changers, so...

Little tidbit—technically, Soundwave couldn't possibly be a triple changer, i.e. Possessing two alt modes, because it's supposed to be introduced in the movie with Megatron being both a tank and a winged tank jet, but Michael Bay apparently forgot to introduce it. Bummer.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation 6/10 At first, it was very challenging without instructions. After a couple of transformations, it becomes easy enough.
Durability 8/10 Soundwave is rather durable, and the ball joints don't pop off easily. However, be careful of his upper legs. It can pop off easily. Also, 'Ravage' is easily lost.
Price 9/10 for me. Why? Because they mis-labeled Soundwave as a Scouts class toy. Mwahahaha.
Fun 7/10 Hey, he's Soundwave. If only the missile could point forwards, and he was a bit taller...
Overall 7/10 I'll give him a seven. Because ROTF is comprised of so many other fantastic new molds, Soundwave seems pretty pathetic for some reason. His robot mode is short, he has... weird alternate modes, and he couldn't carry minions. Plus, his paint job is a mild eyesore that I was tempted to wait for a Premium edition. Still, he is a decent toy, and if you really like him you should get him. Not the best that ROTF has to offer, but a brilliant toy if you don't mind Cybertronian alternate modes.
 
 
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