Price Point/Size: Ultra
Retailers: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Kay Bee)
Release Date: Q4 2004
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Accessories: Radar (Soundwave), Rocket/Missile (Soundwave), Missiles x 2 (Space Case)
Towards the middle of the "Transformers Universe" toy line, Hasbro began to experiment with pricing and toy scales by taking figures of different scales and packaging them together to make a different price point. In this case, the Soundwave figure (previously seen as Machine Wars Soundwave) and Space Case (a redeco of the Generation 2 character) were put together to form an "Ultra" price point item where previously they would have most likely been a "Mega" and a "Basic" on their own. I've reviewed both these figure before so this review will focus on the changes made the figures for this release.
This is one of the few times in "Transformers" history where a character is given two different decos in two different lines on the same sculpt several years apart. Soundwave already had this rocket carrier mode once before, so given the multi-universe nature of the "Universe" line this could have been an "alternate" Machine Wars Soundwave or even "the" Machine Wars Soundwave in new colors. Either way, the mode of a rocket carrier is not an unfamiliar one for the character. Indeed, it kind of makes sense since he could easily be carrying a rocket with communications equipment in it and a radar dish to pick up signals.
Soundwave is cast in purple, grey, light grey and translucent green plastic. The central core of the vehicle is purple with the tread sections on the outer part done in grey. The rocket accessory is mostly light grey with a translucent green end. The radar dish accessory is cast in purple. There's also a bit of neon yellow plastic used on the end of the rocket and hinted at on a ring where the rocket attaches to the vehicle. Purple is a great color to make the main color on the figure since it represents Decepticons as a whole. I've always felt that in many ways Soundwave is the personificaiton of Decepticons. He's sneaky, an opportunist, powerful and heck, G1 Soundwave's head was the basis for the Decepticon symbol itself! Giving him this color works perfectly in my book. The grey parts give him a nice dark and neutral counterpoint to the purple.
Paint colors on this figure include light grey, dark grey, yellow, black, maroon and metallic blue. The rocket itself has several dark grey paint applications on it, mostly on the fins that stick out on the sides. There's some black sprayed onto the end of the rocket which looks fantastic, giving it a "burnt" look as if it's taken off a few times. On the figure itself, light grey is used on the forward parts of the front end and each tread section, offering a lighter contrast to the dark grey plastic. The disc on the right side in the front is painted yellow with a black "radioactive" symbol that really stands out and looks cool. Here and there are maroon details giving some more color diversity. The metallic blue color is used on smaller parts such as the sides of the tread wheels and his cockpit windows. The final touch on this deco is a tampographed Decepticon symbol on the left side of the vehicle. Overall I really love this deco. The colors all work together nicely and look fantastic.
Functionally speaking, Soundwave has been neutered a bit from his original release as "Stalker" in the 90's. The original figure included a missile launcher and several missiles. However, the missile launcher (with accompanying missiles) would not pass US Safety standards together, so Hasbro left them out of the vehicle altogether. Since the missiles are useless without the launcher I completely get why they were left out. Now what had been left in is his "Megavisor" feature. Look into the rocket from the back and you may not see anything at first, but then push up the curved peg and an Autobot symbol will flip up with a targeting scope over it! This originally had an image of the Autobot "Rotorstorm" in it, but I'm just super happy that something was put on this and it wasn't left alone (as it was with King Atlas). The maroon plastic panel that can slide back was originally intended to allow the "Predator" jets from the 90's to attach to the scope so you could see their slides, but here it pretty much just lets some light into the "Megavisor".
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Begin the transformation by removing the missile/rocket. Set it aside for now. Flip the vehicle over and lift the two panels on the underside of the vehicles' front section. Swing the front section down and close the panels to form the robot legs. If you have the toy standing, you can see the robot fists. Swing the arms down and out. Rotate the upper body around at the waist. Pull back the platform that the missile rested on. Flip up the robot head and then place the missile onto Soundwave's shoulder. Soundwave is now in robot mode.
One of the interesting things about the robot mode for this figure is how the head sculpt bears a lot of resemblance to G1 Soundwave's hed. It has a high central crest, angled parts on either side of the crest and he has visor eyes with a mouthplate. The rest of the figure could be seen as either a distinctive body of any old Decepticon or an upgraded Soundwave. Soundwave was typically represented as a thicker, bulkier robot and this body does the same.
All the same colors seen in the vehicle mode appear here, but now the neon yellow shows up a lot more. The yellow isn't super bright, it's actually toned down but the shade of yellow is a particularly light one. This makes up the head, the waist, thighs and elbows. The chest and legs are a combination of purple and grey plastic parts. His eyes are cast in translucent green with light piping on the top of the head. Paint applications use a lot of the same colors from the vehicle mode but add on some yellow and silver. The yellow is used on the center of his chest on some of the line details. Metallic blue fills out other details on the chest. The maroon color is used big time on his forearms and the tampographed Decepticon symbol is now prominently shown on his chest. The final touch is some silver on his mouthplate. Overall the colors look great and the addition of the yellow is a bit of a throwback to the age of bright colors that defined part of the 90's in the "Transformers" line.
All of the joints on this figure are nice and tight, especially the shoulders which are ratchet joints. The rocket attaches to the shoulders without a problem but the radar dish was a tad more loose than my "Machine Wars" Soundwave. One part has been redone on this figure. On the back of one of the legs is a panel with copyright information. One date is 1996 which indicates the figure's "Machine Wars" era origin. The 2004 date is its "Universe" release, but I found it interesting that its original release date of 1992 is gone altogether.
Space Case's new colors are interesting as he is made to be color coordinated with Soundwave. His main plastic colors are grey and maroon with some green and translucent yellow. This mode mostly shows off the grey plastic on the top half of the vehicle and the rear section. If you flip it over you'll see a lot of the maroon parts (which are very obviously the waist and thighs of the robot mode). The cockpit is translucent yellow and his landing gear is an interesting shade of green. The green looks almost neon, but it's not bright the way you would expect neon to be. In some light, it almost looks mustard colored. This same color is used for his two missiles.
These colors already jive with Soundwave's, but his paint colors are also aligned with Soundwave's. These colors include purple, silver, neon yellow and dark purple. The purple forms a line of details on the sides leading to the angled stabilizers at the back. Silver is found on the edges of the boosters in the back and a beautiful pattern at the edge of the wings that look like wear on the wings in a streaking pattern. Such details are uncommon on Transformers in general so it's cool to see it on a figure like this. Towards the back are some neon yellow details on the back and above the boosters. Towards the front are small dark purple arrow shaped details in front of the cockpit. The finishing touch on the deco is a huge Decepticon symbol tampographed on the back. Like most Decepticon symbols in this line, it's purple with a white outline. The tampograph on my copy of this figure isn't perfect. It's actually rotated slightly at an angle but I can't say for sure if this is something you'll find on every copy.
This new color scheme is a huge departure from Space Case's original release and it looks great. I'm glad it just isn't the original deco pattern in new colors and I like the way the colors synch up with Soundwave's.
From a functional perspective, the missiles still fit nicely on the underside of the wings. Unlike his original release, he only comes with two missiles instead of three.
- Detach the missiles if attached.
- Disconnect the rear thruster sections from the top of the vehicle.
- Swing the entire red hip section down along with the robot legs.
- Swing the claw arm to one side and the other arm to the other.
- Rotate the section of the jet with the wings around.
- Swing the section with the wings down on the black hinges, revealing the robot head and forming the back of the figure.
- Rotate the lower robot legs so they face forward.
- Rotate the forearms so the elbow joints can bend forward.
- Missiles can be reconnected to the wings or held in the claw and hand.
*Note: If you want a Macross-esque "Gerwalk" mode, you can swing the legs and arms down with the jet portion still transformed as a vehicle.
In this form the colors on the figure are broken up. Grey is still the dominant color which you'll find on the torso, head, back, forearms and lower legs. The upper arms, shoulders, waist and thighs are maroon. The way these colors alternate looks great. While both are dark in tone, the colors are so different they still contrast nicely. The Cyberjets had very distinctive faces with translucent, triangular parts and Space Case was no exception. Here, the translucent part of his head is yellow, matching the cockpit color (which is displayed prominently in this form on his torso).
The purple color that made up a lot of the vehicle mode appears on the chest, but the dark purple color shows up a lot more this time around. You'll find it on his fists and knee armor. Silver paint outlines the translucent part of the face and on the feet. Bands of bright yellow appear on his forearms.
There has been no retooling on this figure. Unlike Soundwave, his copyright stamps are still dated "1994", the time frame the original figure was released. Space Case's joints are all still tight and he can hold on to his missiles as weapons in his hands or attach them to his claw. Be warned however, that over time a lot of the "Generation 2" "marble launcher" style claws crack on repeated use. This hasn't happened to mine, but I've only launched the missile a handful of times.
This is not a pairing I would have come up with. The two characters have really never had anything to do with one another, but their vehicle modes both have a militaristic and futuristic vibe. I also like the color combination. It's definitely not one you see often. This set is a bit tougher to find nowadays. I would not spend a ton of money on it (one ebay auction I saw during the writing of this review has them listed in box for $90!) but if you can find them loose at a reasonable price (no more than $40 on the high end) then it's totally worth it. Recommended!