"Generations" War for Cybertron: Siege Soundwave Toy Review
Release Date: February 2019
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: "HI-KEP Concussion Blaster," "LR-HD Sonic Cannon," and "EMTX Blitz Charge Blaster" (combines to form "USW HF Sonic Compression Mega-Blaster")
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
- Build the ultimate battlefield: discover an expansive ecosystem of collectible figures and weapon accessories with Siege figures. (Each sold separately. Subject to availability).
- Customizable weapon load out: soundwave figure comes equipped with 3 weapon accessories that can combine to form a larger weapon. Multiple weapon ports on figure and vehicle enable weapon accessories to attach in custom configurations.
- Expandable weapon selection: fans can build bigger mission loadouts by compiling an arsenal of additional weapon accessories from other Siege figures. (Each sold separately. Subject to availability).
- Inspired cybertronian Alt Mode: Voyager class wfc-s25 soundwave toy features classic conversion between robot and cybertronian spacecraft modes in 25 steps.
- Add battle effects: attach fire blasts accessories (not included. Included with battle Masters figures. Each sold separately. Subject to availability) to the ends of weapon accessories to simulate blaster fire coming from weapons.
Build the ultimate battlefield with siege figures. Siege plunges fans into the epic fight to survive on the final day of the Autobus and deception battle to control Cybertron. The Deception resistance army and the Autobus counter-resistance fighters gear up with the C.O.M.B.A.T. (Cybertronian omnifuctional modular battlefield assault Tech) system, the universe's most advanced modular weaponry -- including the dispassionate deception army major And spy, Soundwave. Wfc-s18 sound wave spy Patrol figures fit (individually) inside chest of this figure (sold separately, subject to availability).
Back in 2013 Hasbro and Takara Tomy both released a Titan Class Metroplex figure. While this giant figure did include his partner Scamper, it did not include his other two team members Slammer and Sixgun. With "Siege", Hasbro is taking one step in the right direction to fill in this gap with the release of "Siege" Sixgun! Since much of the "Siege" play pattern revolves around weaponry, having a character who is literally comprised of weaponry in the line makes perfect sense.
Hasbro and Takara Tomy really stepped up their game for the "Siege" packaging. This window box is no longer the rectangular shape of previous Voyager Class figures. Instead, it is rectangular on one side and then the left side features an angled section that sweeps backward. The middle features a large window with the figure in robot mode. Set vertically over the figure is a chevron with his name, rank symbol and alpha numeric designation. Under that is the large "War for Cybertron: Siege" symbol which looks gritty and striking. The Transformers logo is set vertically on the right side with the "Generations" and Takara Tomy logos above it. The angled section on the box shows off Soundwave's package art while the other features what looks like a poster for "Siege" including the Ark blasting off into space.
There is a fun, hidden feature on the side of the box. Shine a Black Light there and you will see Cybertronian glyphs. These glyphs can then be entered into Hasbro's "Teletraan-1" web site. Soundwave's glyphs translate into "LAMPPOST", referring to Soundwave's classic disguise from the first episode of the G1 animated series. Entering this on Hasbro's Teletraan-1 site unlocks a listing with information on Soundwave's location during the events of "Siege" and a video featuring the action figure. Towards the bottom is a wallpaper image with Decepticon symbols on it. Use a black light on the side inner flap and you will see a drawing of Soundwave's lamppost mode. While the instructions do not provide instructions for this, the drawing gives you a good look at what the mode should look like.
Soundwave includes three accessories, each a blaster with a distinct design. One is the "HI-KEP Concussion Blaster" which is based on G1 Soundwave's handheld cannon often shown in the G1 cartoons and comic books as having one of this missiles with "L" shaped pieces on the top and bottom in it. This piece is cast in blue and grey plastic. The cannon itself is blue. The piece that sticks out at the end of the cannon is grey. There are red rings painted around the front and back edges of the cannon and there is a bit of silver "battle damage" on top.
Another G1 based weapon is the "LR-HD Sonic Cannon". This looks a lot like the Concussion Blaster, but the end has small rocket launcher tubes sculpted into it. This is typically shown as mounted on Soundwave's shoulder area in G1. This piece is also cast in blue and grey. The cannon barrel is blue while the peg on the bottom is grey. This weapon features a small peg at the back which allows you to attach it to the "EMTX Blitz Charge Blaster" to form the "USW HF Sonic Compression Mega-Blaster".
Finally, the "EMTX Blitz Charge Blaster" is not based on any of Soundwave's G1 weapon. Instead, this pistol like blaster appears to have been designed to actually go with "Siege" Megatron. The weapon is cast in grey plastic and can fold in half. The bottom half has a 5mm peg while the top half looks like a blaster with a front sight tab on top. This looks very much like the weapon barrel that was on G1 Megatron's back in both the G1 cartoon and comic book. It fits on "Siege" Megatron's back perfectly. If indeed this was the intent, it was very appropriate for Soundwave, Megatron's loyal follower, to come with a weapon meant for him.
I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that Soundwave has one of the most iconic designs from the G1 era. If you look at various versions of the character over the years (including the "Cyberverse", "Titans Return", "Fall of Cybertron" and "Robots in Disguise" versions) there are several elements they have in common. This includes the design of the head, the chest having some type of allegory to the "cassette door" on the original and thick, powerful limbs. In some cases the weaponry also serve as callbacks to G1 Soundwave. This new incarnation is no exception. Much like the (relatively) recent "Titans Return" Soundwave, this figure leans heavily on G1 Soundwave for its design. This includes very blocky design elements including the torso, arms and legs. His head looks like a modern, stylized version of the G1 head design including the visor eyes, "V" shaped crest and mouthplate. Even smaller details are borrowed from G1 Soundwave including "button" like designs on the hip/waist area, a raised section in the middle of each foot and the raised designs on the "cassette door" panel on the chest.
Where this figure differs from G1 Soundwave is the addition of a ton of mechanical greebles. Ranging from raised panels and lines on the shoulders to designs like circles on the forearms and even tubes on the sides of the legs, Soundwave is a virtual visual riot of design. While some "Siege" figures like Prowl are relatively smooth with limited greebles, Soundwave goes the opposite direction and is a greeble lover's dream. Personally I think it looks great, but that perception is partly based on the fact that there are so many other G1-esque Soundwave toys without a pile of greebles on them. The other major difference are thrusters on the back that can also double as cannons. These wind up being part of the vehicle form.
Soundwave is cast in blue, grey and clear plastic. The layout of the plastic colors are based on G1 Soundwave. That means the upper body has a lot of blue with grey forearms while the lower half of the body has grey thighs and feet and blue lower legs. The "cassette door" is clear plastic and Soundwave's eyes are an unusual translucent yellow. This serves as a fun nod to the G1 Soundwave toy. Most Soundwave figures use red on the eyes, calling back to the cartoons instead. The main color used to provide detailing is silver. This includes a lot of "damage" on the "cassette door" and some on the legs. Gunmetal grey is used for battle damage on the forearms. The lower legs have a combination of black, gold and black, filling in more details. These colors are callbacks to stickers on G1 Soundwave's legs. Meanwhile, the edges of the "cassette door" have gold paint on them and the middle section has a purple and silver Decepticon symbol tampographed onto it. The deco looks great. Fair warning however, if you are not a big fan of the "damage" deco on "Siege" figures, you likely will not like this deco much at all.
There are twenty points of articulation on this figure. This includes five on each arm and four on each leg. Each fist has 5mm ports, allowing him to hold his weapons. Interestingly, the left fist is sculpted with the pointer finger sticking out so he can "press" his own "eject" button like he would in the G1 cartoon. To the right of the head is a 5mm port, allowing you to attach his Concussion Cannon (again, inspired by the G1 version of the character). There are also 5mm ports on the sides of the forearms. Meanwhile, his back pack has two 5mm ports on it, allowing for weapon storage or to attach additional weapons from other figures. Need to attach even more weapons? The bottom of the feet and the sides of the lower legs also have 5mm ports! That gives you a lot of ways to load up Soundwave with a ton of weaponry. In another interetsting (and character appropriate) attachment point - each forearm features attachment points for Laserbeak's feet. This allows him to perch onto the arms and chill out or report on his latest mission!
In addition to attaching weaponry, you can also attach Blast Effects from Battle Master figures to several points on Soundwave. That includes one on each shoulder and lower leg. You can also attach Blast Effects to the small blasters near each shoulder. Given how beat up Soundwave already looks, it's more than appropriate to add on Blast Effects to him!
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach all the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Swing the back pack out, swing the head into the chest.
- Swing the back pack over the section where the head was.
- Swing the back of each lower leg up, then swing out the panel with the three circles on it.
- Push each leg into the interior of the lower legs.
- Swing the lower leg panels back down.
- Rotate each lower leg outward, then swing the panels on them back.
- Swing the chest forward, then up, pushing it into place against the middle of the vehicle. This will go over the edge of the panels from the lower legs.
- Swing each fist into the forearms.
- Swing each arm down. Rotate the forearms around, then clip them together.
- On the left side, swing the grey, triangular piece under the thruster section up.
- Attach each of the blue cannons to the thruster sections.
- Attach the grey blaster to the section under the right side thruster.
I think it is fair to say that many Transformers fans have an affection for Soundwave. In many ways he embodies what the early Transformers line was all about. A sneaky Decepticon disguised as an every day object with a fun play pattern involving a function of said every day object. What's not to love? That said, the designers working on modern day Soundwave figures always have a challenge of trying to create an interesting alt-mode for the character that is not a boom box or micro cassette recorder. Sometimes this results in cool vehicle forms, but this particular one may not be considered one of the best. The biggest issue most fans have had is that frankly, no one is quite sure what this mode is supposed to be It is some nebulous kind of ship. Is it a troop carrier? A flying aircraft carrier? A Cybertronian fighter? I mean, it has a cockpit/bridge section in the middle vents, thrusters and even landing skids on the back, but it really feels like a "Because we say so." style mode so while it is distinct, it is hardly a roaring success in terms of creating an appealing alt-form for an iconic character.
All that said, I see this vehicle as a heavily armored launchpad for Micromasters in "Siege". I know that probably is not the intent, but that's how I have rationalized it. I also have to say, I like the way the thrusters are set at angles towards the back, the missile (or torpedo?) tubes in the front and the landing skids are neat little details.
This mode shows off mostly blue and silver plastic. The panels that form the middle of the vehicle are painted silver. Lots of other silver is used for battle damage on the front and back of the figure. While the mode may not scream "Soundwave", the colors certainly do!
You can remove Soundwave's own weapons to use the three 5mm ports to attach alternative weapons. Since he's such a solid block of a vehicle don't worry about weighing him down too much with extra weaponry.
Transformation to Lamp Post Mode (starting in robot mode):
- Swing each fist into the forearms.
- Rotate the lower body around.
- Swing the back pack out.
- Swing the robot head back, then swing the back pack back into place.
- Swing the thrusters/blasters on the back pack forward and over the area where the head was located.
- Swing the arms back, then swing the forearms in, connecting them to the tabs on the back pack.
- Swing the skids/blasters on the forearms up.
Lamp Post Mode:
To the uninitiated, Soundwave's lamp post mode might be a very strange thing to look at. It kind of looks like a weapon emplacement (especially with the thrusters/cannons from his back pointed forward) and the small blasters flanking them. Or if you focus on the parts sticking up in the back, he looks a bit like some type of communications relay. I think both of these perspectives are valid and show that Hasbro really thought this mode through. They could have easily just made this form the same as the G1 cartoon version, with Soundwave's head tucked in and arms spread out, but this way it actually looks like it has some type of function.
In addition to looking like a functional piece of equipment, this mode also fits nicely into the "Siege" play pattern. Between the top and sides of this mode there are six 5mm attachment points for extra weaponry. If you combine him with enough parts from other figures such as Sixgun is almost winds up looking like a battlefield base. Fans have been creating "fan modes" for this figure for a while now including a semi-"boom box" mode and weapon emplacements. It's fun to mess around with and isn't that the point of a toy at the end of the day?
Soundwave is a fantastic figure but it is not the "perfect" Soundwave figure. Depending on who you ask, that title may still belong to the Masterpiece figure after all these years. Still, I think he looks great in robot mode, full of detail and paint detailing. Having the "chest/cassette" action feature is a welcome addition to the figure and having a lamp post mode really just adds the cherry on the whipped cream for me with this figure. Still, the vehicle mode is a bit of a head scratcher and it would have been nice if a "hidden" boom box mode had been added into the mix. Still, I love this figure and highly recommend it.
- Excellent G1 based robot mode sculpt.
- Good articulation.
- Plenty of attachment points for extra weapons.
- Fun play value.
- Lamp post mode!
- The vehicle mode is a bit weird and not very "in character".
- Some fans won't like the amount of battle damage paint on the figure.