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War For Cybertron Soundwave

Transformers Generations
by yo go re

You know, when Soundwave appeared in the Cybertron toyline, fans were all excited because he hadn't really been seen since G1. Since then, he's been in four different lines, with multiple releases in each. Maybe it's time to take another break, guy?

Soundwave is one of the most sophisticated electronics and communications experts on Cybertron. His body is heavily armored and shielded to protect the sensitive communications gear hidden within, where he stores every byte of information he collects. He is a living storehouse of secrets. No one trusts him, but everyone understands that the data he holds could destroy them all.

This is another War For Cybertron release, like Bumblebee and Optimus Prime. Despite being an all-new continuity, WFC draws its inspiration from what's gone before, which is why that description of his personality in his bio sounds like the old tape player we know and love.

The WFC designs are influenced by the old, but only in the broadest strokes. He's blue and grey, but he's not nearly as blocky as the original figure was. Really, the only square part about him is his thighs, and even those have sculpted details breaking up the lines. On the other hand, his feet are a similar shape and there are blue lines on the outside of his arms that roughly correspond to the levers that used to slide his hands out. Of course, there's no missing that big yellow door on his chest - it even hinges open! Still, this clearly isn't a movie toy, with all those thin overlapping plates and exposed wires: Soundwave is a solid robot. With a hollow in his chest.

You're well aware that Soundwave's head was the basis for the original Decepticon logo, but that gets further away with each subsequent reinterpretation. There's a logo right on his chest below his head, and you'd never know they were from the same source. His eyes are painted red, which defeats the purpose of making them light-piped, doesn't it?

Soundwave has good articulation for his size, though he's another example of a TF who has space for a waist but doesn't get one. The left bicep swivel on mine pops out whenever it's moved, but that's just a molding error, so there's no saying whether you can expect the same. It's a minor annoyance at worst. At least he has wrists. He also has two weapons, a shoulder mounted cannon, and a handheld blaster. Yeah, those are the same things the original had. Throwback! Both weapons can store inside his chest, as well, which serves as a multi-layered reference: the wepaons have subtle plus and minus signs on them, suggesting the batteries; plus, when they're tucked into his chest, the ends look like the spools in a casette tape. Meta!

There was an ad for War For Cybertron sponsored by Gamestop that showed Soundwave transforming into a boom box (since those aren't as extinct as tape recorders are), but sadly, that's not the toy's altmode. In G1, his Cybertronian altmode was a streetlight, but that's not the toy's altmode, either. In the game, he really converts into a car of some kind. A space car. A boxy space car. A space Volvo. All four wheels roll, and there's a fierce-looking bumper in the front.

The car is 4¼" long, 2" tall and 3" wide. The weapons can plug onto the sides of the car, if you don't want them to be stored in the chest compartment. I had to make some minor modifications to the robot's foot to get it to plug in place properly in this mode: the socket had some stray plastic that was keeping the peg from fitting inside. There's really cool detailing on the sides and roof of the van, and the hubcaps have angled insets that vaguely resemble the Decepticon logo.

Now, we said up above that WFC Soundwave doesn't actually change into a boom box, and that's technically true. However, it is possible to approximate the stereo mode without actually changing anything about the toy. You can fold him up just like he was seen in the ad, and it doesn't require any cutting or removing of parts at all. Hasbro's designers bother to include that piece of crap battle station thing on the instructions for Straxus, but they can't throw us a bone with Soundwave? Lame! Oh well, it's simple to figure out, so get at it.

You don't need us to tell you to buy War For Cybertron Soundwave - you probably figured it out as soon as you saw him. Sure, his legs are slightly too long for his body, but you're not going to let that bother you. He has a cool design as a robot, an interesting vehicle mode, and a completely unofficial stereo mode, to boot! The only thing missing are his little Minicon pals, but if you have the Predator Attack Team or the Legends Class version of movie Ravage, you can fix that easily!

-- 11/09/10


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