"Bumblebee" Power Plus Series Soundwave Toy Review

in 2019, Action Figure Review, Bumblebee Movie, Decepticon, Power Plus Series

Energon Igniters

General Information:
Release Date: February 2019
Price Point: $12.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Target, Walmart, Amazon etc.)
Accessories: Energon Igniter Core

Soundwave

*Images and text below from Amazon.com:
The lifeblood of Transformers robots, Energon fuels the epic action on Earth and beyond. Now, imagine harnessing the Transformers energy source with Energon Igniters figures. Convert this Energon Igniters Power Plus Series Soundwave figure between robot and van modes in 3 steps. Then plug the Energon Igniters core included in pack into the vehicle and push down to unleash driving action. This Soundwave figure stands at a 5-inch scale with eye-catching detailing. The Energon Igniters core unleashes the power in all Energon Igniters figures (each sold separately; core only available in Power Plus and Nitro Series). Soundwave callously collects intel by stealing the signals of Autobot communications. Once the cold Decepticon spy gathers valuable information, he uses the power of Energon to take off at top speed, delivering his report with haste to the ruthless Decepticon leader, Megatron. Harness Energon Igniters tech and unleash the power within.

Copyright 2018 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2018 Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro. Includes Transformers: Bumblebee -- Energon Igniters Power Plus Series Soundwave figure, Energon Igniters core, and on-box instructions. Figure scale: 5 inches. Ages 6 and up. Warning: Choking Hazard - Small parts may be generated. Not for children under 3 years. Caution: Hair entanglement may result if child’s hair comes in contact with moving parts of toy. Adult supervision is required.

In September of 2018 Hasbro launched its "Bumblebee" toy line based on the live action movie. Much of this toy line was aimed at a younger audience, relying on the "Energon Igniter" gimmick. More complex and detailed figures for the movie would be folded into the "Studio Series" and "Masterpiece" lines instead. The "Energon Igniter" gimmick was spread across several classes of figures including the "Power Plus Series" which consisted of figures that were roughly 5 inches (12.70cm) tall with very simple transformations.

One of the most memorable sequences in the "Bumblebee" movie is a flashback to Cybertron where we see several key G1 characters in new, yet familiar forms. One of these characters is Soundwave, who appears with many of his iconic features including his shoulder cannon and "tape deck" chest. This figure posits a "what if" scenario where Soundwave winds up on Earth with Bumblebee in the 80's and takes on a time-frame-appropriate alt-mode.

Packaging:
Unlike the basic "Power Series" figures, the Power Plus Series figures are on bubble cards. The front is very similar to the other figures on the line. The background features a CG render of Bumblebee with an Autobot symbol next to him. To the right is a black "Transformers" logo against a yellow strip. Above that is the "Energon Igniters" logo. Soundwave himself is packaged in robot mode with his Energon Igniter core next to him.

The back of the packaging shows the figure transforming in three steps. It also features the Energon Igniter Core feature. The insert inside the bubble actually features artwork of Soundwave that looks like the character's appearance in the film with a bit less detailing. Overall the package stands out, especially in the Transformers section where both the "Studio Series" and "Generations" lines both have more dark colored packaging at this time.

Energon Igniter Core Accessory:
Most of the Energon igniter Core accessories included with the Power Series figures look like some futuristic engine. However for this particular figure the designers decided to do something special. Soundwave's Energon Igniter Core does not look like an engine. Instead it is modeled after an 80's boom box! The front has all the requisite details. This includes a strip with radio stations on the top, round speakers on either side and a tape compartment in the center. Below the tape section are sculpted buttons. The back of the Igniter Core features several lines running across that were typical of boom boxes in the 80's. They even sculpted a small battery compartment cover in the middle! I absolutely love this accessory. It's inspired, looks great and is just a bit silly.

Robot Mode:
I speculate that during the production of the "Bumblebee" movie, Hasbro did not have a lot of lead time on the creation of certain toys. Sure they were told that Soundwave would be in the film, but I am guessing they did not have a CG render to work with. Instead, this figure appears to take the classic Soundwave design and blend it with live action movie-esque design elements.

The basic Soundwave design elements include his iconic head with the "V" shaped crest and visor eyes with a mouthplate. He also has a shoulder cannon on the right side and a chest compartment with a "tape deck door" in front. The more "movie" style designs include the way his crest is exaggerated, a "cannon arm" on the left forearm and some angled detailing on the shoulders. He does have some detailing on his mid-body area and legs that look like a mixture of both G1 and Movie designs including some angled parts in the center. Overall I really like this design and almost wish we had a "Studio Series" style figure with this design.

Soundwave is cast in blue and black plastic. Silver is used for detailing on his arms, the shoulder cannon, the mouthplate and the Decepticon symbol on his chest. The chest compartment is outlined with yellow paint. The eyes are painted red. These are all iconic Soundwave colors and the distribution of the colors looks good. I do wish some silver had been used on the legs. They are unpainted but have plenty of sculpted detail that gets lost without some paint to accentuate them.

Being a Power Series figure, articulation is limited on this figure. Soundwave can move his forearms up and down and that is it. He has a 5mm port on the right hand, allowing him to hold weapons from other figures (and oddly, his own Energon Igniter Core).

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Push the legs together if separated.
  2. Straighten out the arms.
  3. Flip the black panels on the legs up.
  4. Swing the arms in.

Vehicle Mode:
Soundwave's vehicle mode is based on Chevrolet Vans from the early 1980's. These vans typically had a flat front end angling up to a large windshield. The back section is big and boxy. On either side is a circular window. A spare wheel is attached to the back of the vehicle. In a nice, tiny detail the door handles have small, raised cylinders on them representing buttons you would press to open the doors. Of course, Soundwave can't just be a normal van. He has a customized spoiler on the back and a visor over the top edge of the windshield. The retro design of the van is cool and I really dig the sculpt.

The deco for this mode is "okay" but gets elevated by one specific detail. Let's start with the front end. The headlights are all painted light blue, helping to bring out a lot of their sculpted detail. The windshield is black with a silver Decepticon symbol in the center. Surrounding the windshield is a yellow border. This serves as a callback to the chest compartment in robot mode. The most amazing part of the deco is a sticker on the right side towards the back. This features an 80's style painting featuring a bird and panther screaming with a neon design behind them. It is wonderfully cheesy and beautifully done part of the deco. Sadly, the sticker is only on one side (the other is blank), but it is still my favorite deco point on this entire figure! Unfortunately, much of the figure is left unpainted and it really could have used more paint or stickers to bring out a lot of the details.

Push the Energon Igniter Core into the top of the van to activate its action feature. When you do this the back doors flip open to reveal a series of speakers built into the door! You can imagine Soundwave launching a sonic attack (or throwing a really serious party). Push the white button on the top of the Igniter Core down and let it go and it will propel Soundwave forward. It's a fun action feature and I love how the speakers tie in to the character.

Final Thoughts:
In all honestly, this Soundwave figure is not that great. It barely has articulation and the back of the robot mode is basically just a giant chunk of the vehicle mode. That said, I like the sculpted details in robot mode and the van mode is wonderfully silly. Add to that a really great accessory and this is a fun package, but you kind of have to appreciate the goofiness of it. If you are looking for a solid Soundwave figure with articulation and more deco, this is not it. Recommended only for a very specific group of fans.

Pros:

  • Fun accessory.
  • Nice sculpt in both modes.
  • Amazing sticker in vehicle mode.

Cons:

  • Very limited articulation.
  • The vehicle mode parts on the robot mode are really out of proportion on the back.
  • Needs more deco.