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Friday, July 20, 2012

Toy Review: Transformers Prime's Soundwave!

Presenting Soundwave from the Transformers Prime Toy-line (Robots in Disguise - not the Takara one).

I once stated that I am not a fan of the "Animated" versions of things - especially when they start distorting the heroes. But I have to say that I really like what Hasbro has done with the Transformers Prime: Soundwave.

In the Transformers Prime Animated series - and practically all Transformers canon, Soundwave is, and remains Megatron's first recruit and number one die-hard fan faithful to his unappreciative leader to the very end.

And a faceless master spy who never fights alone because he has his own loyal sidekicks - in this case he has only one, Laserbeak.

In this incarnation, Soundwave transforms into a Predator Drone (General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper AKA Predator B or Guardian)

Soundwave also actually has a... third form - kinda, sorta, could-be.

Transformers Prime Robots in Disguise Soundwave's blister card reads: "Soundwave is absolutely devoted to Megatron. He uses his ability to intercept any electronic transmission to ensure the supremacy of his leader, and the eventual victory of the Decepticons over the Autobots."

The blister card also goes on to list his attributes as:
  • Strength 8
  • Intelligence 10
  • Speed 6
  • Endurance 5
  • Rank 8
  • Courage 4
  • Fireblast 6
  • Skill 9
What's to like about Hasbro's Transformers Prime Robots in Disguise Soundwave?

His design. It's easy to underestimate the quite reed thin guy in a dark corner who seems to be nothing more than bones, especially when he seems nothing more than a lackey. But as Airachnid found out when she tried to take over the Decepticons, that reed-thin guy actually has solid, sharp blades for arms - with an incredible reach - and a part of him can fly off to shoot you in the back.

Soundwave uses his arms both for blocking and attack.

If you're unfamiliar with the cartoon, you might feel disappointed, or pine for the Takara version that grants him shoulder mounted guns, but I don't believe he really needs it, he's a blade fighter. If he needs the distance firepower, Laserbeak will provide it for him. Laserbeak easily mounts on either of Soundwave's hands:

I do however believe that "ejecting" Laserbeak leaves Soundwave's innards exposed and vulnerable - but then you have to get past those arms.

If you're still not satisfied with choppers for arms, you can actually manipulate Laserbeak into a weapon - non-canonical, but it looks cool. Happily, Soundwave can actually twist his torso which adds to the deadly look of this mode:

And lastly, I really am in love with the blank look of his face. It's like looking into the void that follows your death. You also have to love the paint detailing. When you think of it, Hasbro did not have to paint his inner arms, nor add the war-pink stripe to his shoulder-blade.

Sleek, deadly, beautiful.

Soundwave's Predator Drone mode is a bit rough to look at. It doesn't really conform with what a Predator Drone looks like - but then some major Decepticons - like Megatron himself, don't bother trying to blend in.

He has a small wheel/stand between his two legs underneath the nose of the Predator, but the rear is supported by the body of Soundwave himself:

Laserbeak sits nestled in Soundwave's chest or he can be mounted on the mid-aft section of the Predator:

Now as with the War of Cyberton Soundwave, there's an unofficial 3rd form: Half a raptor or some kind of avian beast rooted to the ground. It screams "Somewhere down the line, Soundwave can transform into this form and combine with something else":

He kinda looks like the front end of Sky Linx.

Here he is being fed by the DOTM Laserbeak:

What's NOT to like about Hasbro's Transformers Prime Robots in Disguise Soundwave?

Aside from the aforementioned apparent vulnerability of Soundwave should Laserbeak be ejected, there are still a few problems with this great figure.

First up is Laserbeak. He looks like crap and can't even stand without the help of Soundwave thanks to the mounting stud at his back:

Laserbeak is backwards in most of these photos by the way -  the mounting stud is his head - which just goes to point out how disappointing Laserbeak is when you can't naturally determine what's his front and what's his back.

Then there's the issue of everything past his groin area. It looks like someone kicked him in the nuts and he never recovered. Further, the back-cantered legs of Soundwave severely limit the amount of pose-ability of Soundwave. It's a good thing the wonderful articulation of his arms more than make-up for it:

So as long as we focus on everything above his waist, Soundwave is one of the nicest Decepticons in the Dungeon. The Transformers Prime Robots in Disguise Soundwave was purchased at retail price in Toy's R' Us in Manila for PhP 699.75. He's available on Amazon for US$ 19.75 (Roughly PhP 850 plus shipping).

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