Revenge of the Fallen Soundwave Toy Review

in 2009, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Movie (2007), Revenge of the Fallen

Revenge of the Fallen

General Information:
Release Date: May 2009
Price Point: $11.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missile x 1

Images:

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Stationed in orbit above Earth, SOUNDWAVE swiftly taps into every satellite in range. Within minutes, communications, data traffic, weather information, and high-resolution spy photography flood his sensor net. The spill of data fills him with pleasure, and one by one, the humans' systems come under his complete control. From his seat on high, he is in a position to control the destiny of mankind without their knowledge...or to run their civilization into the ground. Convert this TRIPLE CHANGER figure into three different modes and get ready to take on AUTOBOT forces! In robot mode, this devilish-looking SOUNDWAVE warrior's cannon converts to a "blade" for battle! With a few twists and turns, change the robot figure to satellite mode with a launching RAVAGE projectile! Ready to blast off into unknown territory? Convert this awesome figure into space cruiser mode and be ready for out-of-this-world action! Figure comes with launching RAVAGE projectile accessory.

In 2006 I remember sitting down with a friend over drinks and one of the topics that came up was the upcoming Transformers theatrical film. He asked me to tell him some of the characters appearing in the film. Bumblebee? Of course. Prime? Of course! But when he asked about Soundwave I had to reluctantly say "No." and he said a variation on the statement "Oh come freaking on!". This reaction is hardly unique. The iconic Transformers character was very prominent in the original series and not too long before the film was released, he was a feature character on the "Cybertron" series. It only made sense to expect him in the movies, but it wouldn't be until "Revenge of the Fallen" when he would join the live action movie universe. This figure represents the character in his movie form and features two forms that were not seen in the film.

Robot Mode:
With a character like Soundwave, his original form is so embedded into peoples' minds it's almost impossible to imagine what he would look like without having a chest panel that opens and a boxy form. For this iteration of the character, the designers seemed to have started with the Decepticon symbol, which was originally based on Soundwave's head and then extrapolate a body from that. Every part of him seems to be angled or sharply defined points. The head design encapsulates this look. Using the G1 head as its inspiration, it is triangular in shape, with a crest in the center that come sup to two points. The jawline comes down to a point with sharply defined visor eyes. In effect, this is the Decepticon symbol in a stylized form. His chest also has sharply defined sections surrounding circular details that look almost like the front of speakers. His shoulder joints are basically cylinders, but they lead to panels that stick out to the sides at angles and he has sharp looking blades on each arm. Even his toes are pointy in shape. His entire look is very dangerous and sleek, which works very well for the character. Soundwave is dangerous, and the character was often said to be one of the few Decepticons who could stand toe to toe with Megatron himself, so it's neat to see him get such a fierce form.

Soundwave isn't just about blades and panels. There's a lot of cool smaller detailing worked into this figure. His mouthplate is not flat like the G1 version, but rather has some small lines etched into it, giving it a multi-layered look. His mid-body has small circular details on the sides and horizontal sections that look like abdominal armor. Another detail I love are his fists, which are huge and powerful looking and have each finger nicely sculpted in.

Usually I don't comment on the design of the missiles included with a figure, but in this case I think it's appropriate. To keep the premise of Soundwave having smaller Transformers that "eject" from him, "Revenge of the Fallen" showed him firing Ravage into Earth's atmosphere to deploy him for a mission. This figure includes a missile that is sculpted to look like Ravage all curled up in his "entry mode". This missile is cast in black with no paint applications, but it is one of the more unique and cool looking missiles in the line.

Soundwave is cast in several colors: blue-grey, dark blue, black and translucent blue. The most dominant color is blue-grey. It is a soft color that takes the silver/grey palette that dominates much of the movie line and blends it with the blue that is so identified with the character and comes to a nice middle ground. The dark blue color is more along the lines of what you'd expect to see on Soundwave and that can be found on smaller sections like his upper legs and the blades on his arms. Black plastic is used on much smaller joint ssuch as the knees and ankles. The translucent blue is very striking. it is found on his chest, arms and the panels attached to his arms. In each case it is used to form circular details such as the "speaker-like" ones I mentioned earlier.

Paint applications are done in a variety of colors including gold, orange, red, silver, dark blue and metallic brown. The gold is very appropriate as this was a key color on G1 Soundwave. Here it is used on his crest and to outline details on his chest around the circular "speaker" details. He has a bit of gold on his legs as well. The orange color can be found on his abdominal armor while the red paint is used for his eyes. Silver is used on the armor sections by his head, his mouthplate and the small circular details on either side of his mid-body. The dark blue is really nicely used on several sections including the chest and head. This brings more of the G1 color scheme influence into the figure, which in my book is always a good thing. Finally, the metallic brown color can be found on sections of his forearms and bits of his legs. They're minor details, but they do contribute to the overall fabric of the figure's appearance.

There are twenty three points of articulation on this figure. The articulation is a nice combination of ball joints (on the arms) and hinges (on the legs) as well as swivel joints (found on the arms and legs). Each of his "toes" and his heel piece can be moved as well. I'm not even counting the ability of the panels on his arms to move, which would bring the points up to twenty nine. Functionally speaking his only real weapons in this mode are the blades on his arms. His missile launcher actually winds up on his back here so that's only useful for targets above him unless he bends over to fire.

Transformation to Satellite Mode:

  1. Swing the toe and heel pieces together, pointing down.
  2. Connect the two panels on each shoulder together.
  3. Pull the panel on the lower section of the back down.
  4. Swing the upper body section over so the robot head is looking down.
  5. Push the robot head up.
  6. Push the shoulders in towards the torso.
  7. Swing the blades on the forearms out to the sides.
  8. Swing the panels on the side of the vehicle out to the sides.
  9. Swing the legs out to the sides, then rotate them so the inner legs face you.
  10. Swing the lower legs down and then up, connecting them together.

Satellite Mode:
This is the mode that Soundwave was actually featured in "Revenge of the Fallen". What fascinates me about the design of this mode is that it takes the whole theme of the Decepticon symbol and work it into the design of this mode. Look at it carefully and you'll see the panels from the robot shoulder are like the points on the sides of the Decepticon symbol "head". The alternate robot head used on this mode looks like the crest on the middle of the Decepticon symbol. The sides have angled panels pointing down that look like the points on the lower section of the Decepticon symbol. It's a wonderful design and I really appreciate the way it looks, even though it isn't a very "Earth-type" satellite it does work in the context of the character. Also, Soundwave is never said to have taken on the form of an Earth satellite, so I think it's clear that this is his original Cybertronian form, which has its own appeal as well.

There's plenty of cool detailing on this that does indeed make it resemble an Earth satellite. The two panels on the shoulders, the sides and the single panel pointing downward all resemble the panels you'd see on an Earth satellite. The striping pattern sculpted into them hint at the possibility they act as solar energy collectors. I like the heavily stylized head design at the top of the satellite, which resembles the robot mode face and still hints at a Soundwave-esque design. The torso design has a lot of paneled and layered details and the circular piece in the middle looks great, complete with raised line details and a circle in the center. This almost looks like a sun symbol and it matches up with similar details on the sides.

This mode is a bit less colorful than the robot mode. You mostly see the grey plastic in this form, but the eyes, the circle on the chest and the two similar details are cast in translucent blue. Some smaller sections such as the arm joints and the panels underneath the chestplate are cast in black. His arm blades are of course cast in dark blue. All of the colors from the robot mode carry over here, but silver is the only one that is prominent. You'll find silver on the head, the three thin panels and on the chest section. A touch of the gold and brown is found here and there on the sides, but that's about it. Now, this may sound super plain to you, but keep in mind that this was the mode featured in the movie, where Soundwave was mostly silver to begin with, so in that context the colors here make sense. I think the saving grace of the colors is the use of translucent blue for several parts. They really stand out nicely and look like parts filled with energy.

It's a bit weird to talk about articulation for a satellite, but Soundwave does indeed have articulation points in this form. In total, he has twelve points of articulation made up of the panels on the shoulders, the sides and the panel in the center. Each one of these can be moved in different directions (which I guess you could imagine aligns them to capture the maximum amount of solar power or something). In this form, pressing the small button under the chin fires the Ravage missile, though here it shoots out behind his head instead of being more of a downward launch such as the one featured in the movie. Still, it's cool having a Soundwave that can "eject" Ravage!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode (Starting satellite mode):

  1. Swing the outer half of the panels on the shoulders down, connecting the circular parts on the panels to the tabs sticing out of the shoulder.
  2. Rotate the side panels so the striped sections face up and swing them to angle out to the back.
  3. Swing the blades on the robot arms forward.

Vehicle Mode:
The vehicle mode is simply a rearrangment of some panels from the satellite mode, but I do appreciate that the design actually does look like an alien ship. The panel on the front end certainly looks like the neck of a jet and the wings (and blades) set out to the sides give a sleek appearance to the vehicle. Perhaps the best detail are the panels from the robot shoulders, which now function as boosters on the back. The translucent blue color used on the boosters is perfect, giving the figure a "glowing" appearance in that section.

Final Thoughts:
Soundwave is an interesting take on the character and quite different from his previous incarnations. The use of the Decepticon symbol as the design basis for the figure is a great idea and I like it a lot. Recommended!