Speed Stars Stealth Force Soundwave Toy Review

in 2010, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Generation One, Speed Stars, Stealth Force

Speed Stars Stealth Force

General Infobmation:
Release Date: July 2010
Price Point: $9.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Pull tab

Images:

*Images & text below from Transformers.com:
SOUNDWAVE may have abandoned his position in orbit to join his fellow DECEPTICONS on the ground, but sound is still his weapon of choice. He has packed his new vehicle mode with powerful sonic weapons that can shake the Earth and rattle AUTOBOTS to pieces.

This cool SOUNDWAVE vehicle hides a secret -- and it's sure to take his enemies by surprise. Send your vehicle out into action in regular vehicle mode, then slide the roof back to reveal its hidden weapons! Before the enemy even knows what's happening, he's in the fight of his life! When combat is over, slide the roof forward to retract the weapons and shift this speedster back into stealth vehicle mode. With vehicles like this on the "road", you never know when the next battle will begin! Vehicle does not convert to robot. Ages 4 and up.

Last year, the Transformers introduced a sub-line known as "R.P.M.'s", aka the "Robot Powered Machines". This expression of the brand focused on the vehicular aspect of Transformers play including Hot Wheels styled cars and larger vehicles that had more kiddified transformations. At Toy Fair 2010 it was revealed that the line would continue with an added sub-line known as "Stealth Force". The idea is that a vehicle roughly deluxe size or larger would have a gear system that allowed it to transform from a regular vehicle mode to a "battle mode" with all sorts of weaponry appearing from hidden compartments in the toy. My last review was a larger scale, motorized Stealth Force vehicle, Gears. Soundwave is one of the first wave of smaller sized vehicles, roughly between a deluxe and scout class figure from the regular line at a lower price point.

Vehicle Mode:
In the "Transformers Animated" series, several classic Transformers characters were reimagined, some with new transformations that still maintained the integrity of the character in some way, shape or form. In the case of Soundwave, the character was given a vehicle mode, making him mobile while updating the character at the same time. Appropriately, he transformed into a boxy, SUV type vehicle that evoked the look of his Generation One tape deck alternate mode. This mode seems to have become the default style of alternate form for Soundwave. In his Speed Stars/Stealth Force vehicle mode, Soundwave is an SUV with a very similar design to the one used in "Animated".

Soundwave's vehicle mode is tall and wide on the front, sides and back. This gives the vehicle a powerful appearance that befits the character. The back section has an angled piece sticking out in the back, looking almost like a spoiler. This enhances the appearance of the vehicle, making it look sleek on top of being powerful. This shape almost matches the "Animated" version of the character exactly, which is a refreshing bit of continuity for the character.

Not only is the overall shape of the vehicle like the "Animated" version, but several of the more minute details are inspired by that version as well. If you look on the front end, there are several sculpted and raised details with triangular shapes sticking out the sides. These are reminscent of the "button" details on the front end of Animated Soundwave, a homage to the buttons on his G1 tape player mode. On the sides of the vehicle are small details above the front wheel wells that are similar to details in the same spot on the Animated figure. The doors have two raised circle designs with lines connecting them, resembling the drums of a cassette tape connected together by a tape. This detail was on the "Animated" version as well and is one of the strongest visual connections to the Generation One version of Soundwave. Another big detail that comes from "Animated" Soundwave is a circular "Power" symbol design sculpted into the top of the vehicle towards the back. What's really great about many of these details is that in some cases they are a bit more intricate than the details found on the "Animated" version. It's also really cool how the details serve as dual homages, to both the "Animated" and Generation One versions of Soundwave.

On most Transformers vehicle modes, the underside of the Transformer is often ignored or given very simple details. In this case there are quite a few details on the underside of the vehicle including tubes, axles and angled mechanical looking pieces.

Soundwave is cast mostly in metallic blue plastic. He also utilizes dark and light grey plastic for the wheels and the underside of the vehicle respectively. Paint applications are done in white, gold, black, red and silver. White stands out the most of course, and you can find that on the headlights and the "cassette drum" details on the sides. Gold is worked into the cassette drum details as well while silver is used on the sides of the wheels. The black paint is used for the Decepticon symbols, one found on the hood and a smaller one on the back of the vehicle. Red is used to paint the rear lights. I would have liked to see a bit more color on this figure, specifically on the details sculpted into the front and top of the vehicle, though I would not be surprised if a future redeco did contain more paint.

Transformation to Battle Mode:
To transform the vehicle, pull the rear section of the roof back. Doing so will cause the following parts to transform:

  • The rear wheel wells will swing out and reveal cannons inside.
  • The front wheel wells will open up to reveal weapons.
  • The top flips open revealing two missiles.
  • The doors flip out revealing a cannon under each.
  • The front flips down to reveal mechanisms underneath.
  • The top of the cabin slides up to show four weapon barrels.

To reverse the transformation, push the roof piece back and the parts will all slide back into place.

Battle Mode:
With Gears being my first up close exposure to a "Battle Mode" from the Stealth Force, I found Soundwave's array of weaponry to be quite surprising. As his write up indicates, he has chosen to outfit himself with many weapons using sonics, and thus, several of his cannons do not look like your conventional weaponry with gun barrels or machine gun barrels. Here's the rundown from front to back:

Front:
The front end has the highest concentration of weaponry overall. Each of the wheel wells slides out and exposes four vertically aligned cannons and one at the top of a different design. The front grille section folds down and reveals machinery underneath that may or may not be weaponry. The four vertical barrels hae rounded ends with smaller circles inside that resemble the front of speakers. You can just imagine these weapons sending out tremendous blasts of sonic energy, smashing enemies in the way. These weapons are all cast in grey plastic. The front of the vertical barrels are painted white.

Sides:
The doors flip out and reveal two huge cannons that have details in them akin to the ones on the sides of the doors. There are some really detailed mechanisms attached to the ends of the barrels including coils and extra cylinder details. The insides of the doors have raised line details set at angles and curves. What's also cool to see are the details on the central part of the vehicle that are normally covered by the doors. There you'll find curves, circles, triangles and more. I think the cannons attached to the doors here are my favorite weapons on the whole vehicle. They're detailed and look ultra dangerous. The center of the vehicle and the weapons are cast in grey plastic. The ends of the cannons are painted white, and the barrels have some metallic blue paint on them. It's a really nice color that I think could have been used against the metallic blue of the vehicle mode to great effect.

Rear:
The rear section has some of the most unusual looking weaponry I've ever seen on a Transformer. The rear section has three vertical cannons similar in design to the ones in the front, but the top of the rear wheel wells also have cannons that have barrels that look like...well...flowers. No joke, each one has a small protrusion in the center with details that move outwards that resemble petals on a flower. I'm sure this is another "sonic" weapon, but it just looks a bit odd in the mix of deadly weaponry elsewhere on the vehicle. The ends of these cannons are all painted white and are cast in grey plastic.

Top:
The top section has two very distinct types of weapons. Towards the front are four barrels of what look like sunburst patterns at the end of a cylinder. Behind that are two missiles. I like this mix of weaponry, and it's cool to see Soundwave hasn't completely sacrificed traditional weaponry! Both these weapons are cast in blue plastic, but ehy are painted white to stand out. The ends of the missiles and the barrels are painted gold, making them quite distinct from the rest of the weaponry on this vehicle.

Final Thoughts:
I really enjoy the way Soundwave's design is very different from Gears with his sonic weaponry. It's also awesome having a "double homage" built into the figure. It gives it a distinctive feature despite it not having a robot mode. This isn't your traditional Transformer, but if you buy the concept of vehicles that transform into a "battle vehicle", this one should definitely be on your list to pick up!