"Generations" Cyber Battalion Decepticon Shockwave Toy Review
Release Date: March 2018
Price Point: $17.99
Retailer: Walgreens Exclusive
In March of 2015, some interesting listings popped up on the Official Transformers web site for "Cyber Battalion" figures. These appeared to be simplified figures that resembled upscaled Legends Class figures. However, these figures were not present at both Toy Fair 2015 and they were not part of Hasbro's presentation at Botcon 2015. Eventually the Cyber Battalion figures were released in various ways including as exclusives at Walgreens and Universal Studios (including last year's release of Jetfire and Prowl at Walgreens).
Three years after the initial listings of Cyber Battalion figures popped up online, a whole new wave of them has appeared on the shelves of Walgreens stores. This time the wave features two figures: Shockwave and Sideswipe, both representing the G1 versions of these characters. I personally acquired the Shockwave used in this review in a Duane Reade (a Walgreens owned chain) in Queens, New York in March of 2018.
Unlike most Transformers packaging on the market nowadays, this figure comes in a rectangular box that has no window, so you can't see the toy inside. Instead the front has photography of the toy in both modes with a white and grey grid behind it and a Autobot symbol in grey. Cut in a triangular panel is artwork featuring Shockwave (mostly focused on his head). To the right is the vertical "Transformers" logo with the "Generations" logo above it. The back of the packaging features the figure and instructions along with a brief bio blurb in four languages (including English and Spanish). Towards the bottom is safety information.
Open the flap on the side and you pull out a cardboard tray with the figure attached by plastic ties. This explains why there's no window box. Basically money was saved by not having to print a fancy background for the tray. It's just plain cardboard. My guess is given the simple nature of the figure, the designers figured most folks getting this would ditch the packaging anyhow. What I like about the packaging is that it is reusable and easily fit onto a bookshelf. There's even character art on the side with the character's name so you can line them up!
If you take a look at previous Cyber Battalion releases such as Bumblebee and Megatron they are clearly inspired by previous incarnations of the characters but in new designs. Not so with Shockwave! This time out the designers decided to go fully retro on Shockwave's robot mode design and basically used the animation model from the Generation One cartoon as the basis for this design. The basic outline of the figure looks like the G1 version. The design elements carried over from the G1 figure include:
- The head is wide with a single eye in the middle and flaps that look like "ears" on the sides of his head.
- The chest is wide with a panel in front that looks like a window.
- Right under the chest is thin but wide opening similar to one on G1 Shockwave.
- The section in between the shoulders and torso is curved, similar to the same area on G1 Shockwave.
- The mid-body area has a series of horizontal panels leading to the waist/hip area. This is a detail found on the original animation model that was extrapolated from the G1 Shockwave action figure's trigger piece.
- The right arm ends in a fist while the left arm ends in a weapon barrel.
- Each shoulder armor section has a small piece that sticks out to the sides.
- The wrist areas have lines etched into them, wrapping around the forearms.
- The area above each thigh in the hip/waist area has a small bit that extends out and up at an angle. This is a callback to an opening on the original Shockwave toy that allowed the legs to swing forward for his blaster mode.
- The knee armor comes out and curves up a bit over the lower part of the thighs.
- The feet are thin and angle downward, then angle again at the "toe" area.
- On the back Shockwave has two circles with a line going through them at an angle. This is a callback to a single circle on G1 Shockwave's back that also had a line going through it.
Frankly he looks amazing for a Cyber Battalion figure. Standing about about 7.25 inches (about 18.42 centimeters) this figure is a bit bulkier than the Deluxe Class Shockwave from 2012 and of course he towers over the Legends Class version. Between the G1 detailing and the way he can stand toe to toe with Voyager Class figures such as Megatron and Starscream, the sculpt is a real winner.
Shockwave is cast in purple and silver plastic. The main purple is a darker shade while a lighter shade of metallic purple is used for smaller parts like his hand and blaster-hand. Silver is found on the thighs and feet. The deco on this figure is really nice. Yellow is used on his eye and the thin section under the chest. Light purple is used on the chest and the hips. Silver paint is found on the mid-body, "ears" and the area around the feet. Meanwhile a gorgeous metallic silver (almost a gunmetal grey) is used on the front of this lower legs and the sides of his arms. The finishing touch is a giant Decepticon symbol tampograph on the top of his chest, calling back to G1 Shockwave's sticker. The deco looks great and I am very impressed given the "simplified" nature of the figure.
Now here is where I have to throw a bit of real talk into the mix to temper expectations. As great as this figure looks and as many G1 details were brought into the design, it is still a Cyber Battalion figure aimed at a younger audience, just like its predecessors. That means there are some aspects of the sculpt collectors many not like. The biggest offender are the lower legs, which are completely hollow in the back, most likely for cost savings. Functionally, the feet swing up into them for the transform, but there is no reason a panel could not have been added to cover up the back (and be integrated into the transformation). Of course, that would have sent the price up beyond the $17.99 price point.
There are fifteen points of articulation on this figure, but the actual range of articulation is limited due to the "Cyber Battalion" level design. The arms are fine, featuring three points of articulation each (though the arms cannot swivel out and in). However the legs do not have knee articulation, so even though his legs can swing out, forward and back, you cannot really pose him much due to the legs being "stuck" at the knees, but hey, at least he can kick some Autobots around! There is a 5mm port in the fist, but sadly due to the way the handle on Legends Class Shockwave is designed this Shockwave cannot hold him in weapon mode, but any figure or accessory with a standard 5mm peg can attach without a problem.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Turn the head around.
- Swing each hand inward.
- Swing the feet back into the lower legs.
- On the left leg, swing out the skid.
- Rotate the lower legs so the knees face outward, then push the two legs together.
- Swing the panels on the top of the vehicle mode's front section back.
- Swing the chest down.
- Push the robot head back and down.
- Swing the robot arms back.
- Swing the wings out.
Shockwave transformed into a scifi style blaster in Generation One, but toy safety laws prevent him from becoming a gun-like weapon so the designers gave him a scifi spaceship mode instead. However, the front section of the vehicle is largely based on the barrel of G1 Shockwave's blaster form, so some of the legacy of the character's design makes it through into this figure. The similarities largely focus around the wide, rectangular barrel in front and a series of three, angled pill-shaped designs on the top near the end of the barrel. He also has fins on the bottom of the barrel section that call back to the front sight found on the G1 Shockwave figure.
The rest of the figure is largely a new design, with the piece at the back looking like Shockwave's head has been turned into a bridge for a ship. The wings on the sides have some nice vent and thruster details on them and his arms look like they are meant to also be engines or thrusters of some sort for the ship. As scifi ships go, it is no stranger than the aerial mode of say, Six Shot so I think it looks just fine. Sadly, for those wondering there is no way to play around with bits to make him into a convincing blaster. The wings do not swing down at the base, only in the middle so you cannot make a handle that way. The robot arms also cannot come together close enough to form a handle. However let's be real, most fans are going to keep this displayed in robot mode!
A lot of the robot bits show in this mode, so there are not a lot of color surprises. The front section is painted silver, there is some lighter purple painted onto the middle of the barrel and there is some more gunmetal grey on vents in the sections formed by the arms. The Decepticon symbol from Shockwave's chest shows prominently in this form and it looks very cool.
Cyber Battalion Shockwave is really better than he has any business being. Previous Cyber Battalion figures have been good to pretty great, but Shockwave's G1 aesthetic in robot mode and deco are excellent. Sure he has hollow bits, sure he could use knee articulation, but that comes with the Cyber Battalion territory. Highly recommended!
- Excellent sculpt that calls back to the G1 toy and animation model.
- Great deco in robot mode.
- Nice size, placing it at around the height and width of the Voyager Class of figures.
- No knee articulation.
- Some fans may not want a Shockwave that does not become a blaster or tank.