Dark of the Moon Shockwave with Fusion Tank Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Commander, Dark of the Moon, Decepticon, Revenge of the Fallen, Cyberverse

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: September 2011
Price Point: $14.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Fusion Tank, Tube, Missile x 1, Blade weapon
Image Gallery: Photos of Shockwave with Fusion Tank

*Images with asterisks above and text in italics below from The Official Transformers web site
SHOCKWAVE stealthily tears through the Earth in order to avoid detection by the AUTOBOTS and their human allies. His ability to emerge from the ground and attack anywhere has put the AUTOBOTS on alert! Where will he strike next? Race into battle with this 3-in-1 converting action set! Your terrifying SHOCKWAVE figure changes from robot mode to vehicle mode and back again. His Fusion Tank figure shifts from tank mode to ground weapon mode to battle base mode and back again so he's ready for anything. As the battle rages on, keep converting SHOCKWAVE and his Fusion Tank back and forth - and face whatever his enemies throw at him! CYBERVERSE Series 1 006 SHOCKWAVE Fusion Tank Ages 5 and up.

The name Shockwave often invokes a cold, terrifying menace among the Decepticon ranks who has power to rival Megatron himself. Indeed, in the G1 comic book series there was a period of time when Megatron and Shockwave actually had to share the mantle of Decepticon leadership. In "Dark of the Moon", the character is reinterpreted as a powerful Decepticon who is partnered with a gigantic Decepticon worm (which some reports have dubbed "Colossus"). There's no doubt that Shockwave caused quite a bit of damage in the films, and although he never said anything, his menacing presence was quite prominent in the film.

This version of Shockwave brings the character into the "Cyberverse" in a smaller scale than the Voyager Class figure and includes a vehicle known as the "Fusion Tank". The term "Fusion Tank" has been seen in Transformers lore before in the Generation One era where Action Master Megatron's vehicle was also known as a "Fusion Tank" (but had the prefix "Neutro" in front of it). This vehicle is based in part on the giant "Colossus" worm Transformer that appeared in "Dark of the Moon", though nothing on the packaging suggests that the Fusion Tank is indeed the worm itself. Some opaque reference is made to Shockwave himself burrowing around underground, so take that as you will.

As of this release (and the writing of this review, November 2011) this Commander Class version of Shockwave is only available in this "action pack". It is possible that he might be released individually later on but nothing official has been announced as of yet.

Shockwave Review

Robot Mode:
In my Voyager Class Shockwave review I wrote quite a bit about Shockwave's "death incarnate" style of design. Much of this character seems to have been designed to represent death itself. Most prominent of these features are the blade weapon he carries that is analagous to the traditional scythe that "Death" wields in human lore and the design of his chest, which shows what look like exposed ribs covering the details underneath. Add to that his G1 influences including his single, ominous looking eye and the cannon that attaches to his arm (creating a "gun arm") and Shockwave is one creepy looking Decepticon. Many of these features and more are represented in this design. I am very pleased with how intricate the detail work is on here, down to "spikes" that stick out of the area near his feet on the front of his legs. Fear not however, these sharp looking spikes are really soft plastic and won't hurt anyone.

Other details that really caught my eye include a really complex set of intertwining mechanical details sculpted into his legs, the very layered design of his cannon and the beveled designs worked into his blade weapon. Overall, Shockwave is very well sculpted and I'm quite impressed.

Shockwave is cast primarily in a metallic lavender plastic. Other parts such as the wheels on his back and the spikes on his legs are cast in silver. The lavender is a really nice shade that shines nicely under direct light. The shade of lavender used here is lighter than the one used in the film's CGI model, but it is quite appropriate to the heritage of the character (who has been lavender in most of his incarnations since G1).

Paint applications are done in silver, gold and red. Silver is distributed throughout the figure from the treads on his legs to the face. Gold is used for the section of his torso underneath the "ribs" as well as select parts of his waist area. Look on the right arm and you'll see a tiny Decepticon symbol painted in silver, not too far off from where G1 Shockwave would have had his Decepticon symbol! The colors used on the main figure itself are also found on his cannon weapon, with lavender plastic as the base and silver making up most of the underlying layer of the weapon. Gold details are included inside the silver sections and the very end of the cannon is a dark, gunmetal grey. His blade weapon and the tube that connects his cannon to the main body are both cast in silver. The final, and extra creepy touch is using metallic red to color his single eye, which really stands out against the silver and plastic on the figure, making Shockwave look like he's really glaring at anything he sees. It's a wonderful effect.

Shockwave has eleven points of articulation in this form. This includes ball joints on his hips, knees and shoulders as well as swivel joints on his arms. There's quite a bit of variety as to what you can do with this figure and accessories from the Cyberverse line. The most obvious involves Shockwave's cannon, which can plug into the hole on either side of the arm in the section between the shoulder and forearms. To do this right, you have to turn the forearm in so the top of Shockwave's fist faces front. Then you can attach the weapon, turning his arm (either one) into his "gun arm". Be warned however, with the tube attached his arm's and then in his back, his arm won't be able to move much before the tube pops out. It seems like maybe another half inch ma have been needed to give Shockwave better flexibility in movement for play and posing.

This figure also includes a blade weapon that can attach to the side of his arm (either one will do). Shockwave also has holes in the insides of both of his forearms, allowing you to attach Cyberverse weapons in those spots. Shockwave can also hold these types of weapons in his fists, which have been sculpted in a partially open position. Altogether, you could have up to six weapons attached to Shockwave at once!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach any accessories and set them aside for now.
  2. Turn both forearms so the top of the forearms face each other.
  3. Push together the silver "ribs" on the torso.
  4. Push the silver spikes on his lower legs up.
  5. Swing the section with the wheels on his back up.
  6. Move the wheel sections up and connect them together to form the front of the vehicle.
  7. Swing the robot legs up on the hip joints.
  8. Rotate the lower legs so the robot feet point out to the sides.
  9. Connect the lavender sections in the front of the tank treads to the matching notches on the front wheel section.
  10. Swing the rear tread sections out.
  11. Rotate the forearms so the pegs on them can slip into the holes above the rear treads.
  12. Attach the blade weapon to the arm on the left side.
  13. Attach the cannon to the arm on the right side.
  14. Attach the tube to the hole on the right side of the cannon and then the hole in the middle of the vehicle (which would have been the back in robot mode)

Vehicle Mode:
Shockwave's tank mode is not based on any real tank but rather looks like his native Cybertronian vehicle mode. It's rather long and starts with sharp claw looking sections in the front near the front wheels. Then it rises as it goes back, with the front half at a lower level than the rear half. On top are the robot arms which serve as the base for each of Shockwave's weapons to sit on. Along the sides are tread details similar to those seen on "H" shaped tanks from other Transformers toy lines such as Armada Megatron. It's definitely an imposing looking vehicle but it has a hint of sleekness to it as well.

The vehicle mode on this figure reveals every bit as much detail as the robot mode. The aforementioned front "claws" have really nice designs with curved bars leading to the base of the front end while the sides of the vehicle work a lot of mechanical sculpting into the treads and armor of the tank. Such details include small circles along the armor panels looking like rivets and two pod like devices on the back of the tank (one on each side). It's a great looking sculpt overall.

In terms of accuracy to the movie, well, that's not much of a factor as Shockwave never showed off his tank mode in the movie. In both of his key appearances in the film he stayed in robot mode, which is unfortunate as it would have been awesome to see this tank on screen.

In this form, many of the armor panels and parts consolidate, thus making lavender even more prominent than before. The only real breaks in the lavender color are the silver and gold details on the weaponry, the silver on his treads, tube and front wheels. The sides of the front wheels are painted gold, echoing the pattern used on his cannon.

Functionally speaking, you can detach his main weapons and attach alternative Cyberverse weapons to his robot arms. Also, if you move the forearm sections a bit, you'll find two holes, one on each side towards the back of the vehicle. These too can accomodate Cyberverse weapons, but you'll have to choose relatively narrow ones as there's not a lot of clearance on either side. The vehicle has sculpted treads, but it really rolls using the two silver wheels in the front and two small wheels on the back.

Fusion Tank

Base Mode:
The Fusion Tank is not 100% transformed into this form in the packaging, but it's close. The base mode consists of the cannon being swung up and pointing forward, the platform/panel in the back swung up and the platform in the front swung down. There are silver legs that swing out to the sides for balance. The overall appearance winds up being like a cross between a weapons platform and a harness for Legends size figures (not Commander Class, which are too tall to fit properly). This is also the form that gives you a good look at a lot of the detailing on this figure thanks to all the panels being opened up. The most prominant detail is the cannon on top, which also resembles the "head" of the "Colossus" vehicle/creature from "Dark of the Moon". It is made up of layers of sharp looking armor and angled panels. Right in the center is a missile launcher activated by a trigger on top. What's interesting is that the design doubles as a drill. The section you insert the missile into looks like a mechanism designed to spin and the missile itself has a corkscrew design. I dig the way the design of this section has a dual purpose and it looks great.

Throughout the rest of the base you'll find other designs that borrow form the "Colossus". For instance on the central platform in the front, there is a cirucular design with teeth in it that resembles the mouth of the "Colossus" from "Dark of the Moon". Similar details are found on the platform behind the cannon. The intent of this platform is to have a Legends Class figure appear as if he was controlling the cannon, the only problem is that the platform relies fully on a single hinge, with no support. I did manage to get some figures standing on it, but the platform did droop a bit. The main platform under the cannon fits a Legends Class figure, and you can then swing the two silver arms with claws on them almost like straps on a harness.

The Fusion Tank is cast in lavender, purple and silver. The lavender makes up most of the tank while the purple color is found at the base. Silver parts are used on the harness arms, the legs on the sides as well as the arm that connects the lower section of the base to the cannon. Paint applications are done in gold and silver, keeping in the same color theme as Shockwave himself.

There are several spots on this base to attach additional weaponry. The cannon itself has three holes (two on the left side, one on the right) which can fit Cyberverse weapons. The platform behind the cannon has two holes for Cyberverse weapons, but they have to be pointing back or angled out to the sides to fit properly, and depending on the figure you may not be able to stand it properly behind the cannon. Each of the legs on the sides have holes that can fit standard 5mm peg weapons such as Mech Tech weapons. I love the combination of holes for Mech Tech weapons and Cyberverse weapons, creating a potential arsenal for any Decepticon in the station. As a battle emplacement, I like it but wish the platform behind the cannon had more support.

Transformation to Ground Weapon Mode (from Base Mode):

  1. Push the platform behind the cannon down.
  2. Swing each of the legs out on the sides up.
  3. Swing the cannon up.
  4. Swing each of the "harness" claw arms down.
  5. If not attached, connect the blade weapon to the right side.

It is interesting to note that the photography from the packaging shows Shockwave's own cannon attaching to the left side of the Ground Weapon, and then the tube attaching to the cannon and to the main body of the Ground Weapon. However, when I tried to attach Shockwave's weapon, the peg was simply not long enough to proper attach to the left side of the cannon. You may have more luck with this, but for me I was unable to resproduce the exact look of the Ground Weapon Mode as it appears on the packaging.

Ground Weapon Mode
The note in the transformation about this form makes me a bit sad, because this is a very impressive looking mode. I mean, if you saw a gigantic cannon about 1/3 longer than Shockwave himself aiming at you, I bet you'd run for the hills! However, I have to say even without Shockwave's cannon attached to the side, you can still attach other Cyberverse weapons on it. Towards the rear section are two pegs nicely integrated into the design, looking almost like vertical stabilizers on a jet. Commander Class figures can then hold onto this as if controlling the cannon. The stability of having the platform from the Base Mode and the "harness arms" serve as "legs" in this mode also allows Legends class figures to stand on top of the cannon. If you really want to take the "battle emplacement" image further, troops could easily hide under the weapons platform in vehicle mode before rolling out into battle.

Transformation to Tank Mode (from Ground Weapon mode):

  1. Swing the main platform from the base mode up.
  2. Swing the "harness arms" up.
  3. Swing the cannon up and back.
  4. Remove the weaponry and attach it to Shockwave instead.
  5. Attach Shockwave in vehicle mode by connecting the pegs on the "harness arms" to the corresponding holes on Shockwave himself.

I found that once attached, the Fusion Tank caused Shockwave's front end to spread out a bit, so the parts that fit into the front where the front wheels are wound up not firmly seated in place. It takes some fiddling to make sure the weapon is fully straight as well, but it can be done.

Combined Tank Mode:
What's better than one deadly tank? Why two deadly vehicles combined of course! In this form Shockwave is double the trouble. I won't go on and on about the detailing because all the same details from the previous two modes show here, and there are no new color reveals. What I will say however is that the combined mode works extraordinarily well on a visual level. The two vehicles integrate beautifully into one monstrous looking form. Since Shockwave and the Fusion Tank both have a very angular and sharp looking aesthetic, the sculpts blend well, and thanks to both of them sharing the similar color plastics, their colors blend perfectly.

From the standpoint of being a "Colossus" toy surrogate, this mode works very well. Shockwave was seen in "Dark of the Moon" emerging from the worm like creature in battle, and it is not hard to see the visual analogy where Shockwave would "emerge" from the combined Fusion Tank form.

By combining these two vehicles, you get all their functionality in one. This includes the ability to attach extra (or alternate) Cyberverse weapons to the side of the cannon as well as on Shockwave if you remove his blade weapon.

Final Thoughts:
This action set is not without its problems. There seems to have been a step missed somewhere in the development process from prototype as pictured on the packaging to the final product. I also think the platform behind the cannon in base mode could have used an extra piece to support it underneath. Overall however, it is a good toy, but these strikes keep it from a super high rating. Instead, I will recommend this figure with some reservations.