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Transformers Bumblebee
by yo go re

And here we thought the movieverse didn't have mass-shifting.

Shockwave first appeared in Dark of the Moon (after a tiny cameo in Revenge of the Fallen), and he looked fairly Shockwave-ish. Of course, it's hard for him to be as much of an unidentifiable mess as the rest of the Transformers as long as they give him a head with a single giant eye and a gun for a hand. Still, the toy wasn't very good, so when he appeared in Bumblebee, there was hope for a new toy.

Unfortunately, while we do get a toy, it's part of the new Core Class pricepoint. That made sense for Ravage, who's meant to be smaller, but the point of the Studio Series line was to make bots in the proper scale, and the only way this Shockwave is right is if you mistake the fact that he's standing in the back of the scene for him being really tiny. [Are children small, or just far away? --ed.]

ILM's Stephen Zavala did a good job adapting the original G1 design to the movie style, keeping the shape of the chest (and the head, of course), while adding lots of techno details on the limbs. Amazing how you can make these characters look "real" while still making them look recognizable... as long as you care enough to try.

Shockwave gets his gun, but it's done as a separate accessory that he just holds, rather than actually being a part of his arm. Bleh. The design of the gun owes a bit to Energon Shockblast, with big round elements on the sides near the barrel, which isn't something that's really shown up on any other Shockwaveses. The figure is fairly poseable despite its small size, moving at the ankles, knees, hips, forearms, elbows, biceps, and neck.

Despite being such a small figure, it still gets a full instruction sheet. Lift the arms, spread the hips to the sides, point the toes down, raise the chest so you can wrap it around the lower body and plug it into the small of his back, rotate the torso down, turn the forearms to the side, then turn the head around backwards and plug the cannon into the back of the head.

The DotM Shockwave turned into a... thing. In the review, we called it "some kind of car tank wheeled blade gun pincher thing," and we stand by that assessment. He didn't convert in that film, so Hasbro was free to make things up; the same is true in Bumblebee, but this time they at least didn't embarrass themselves? Emiliano Santalucia designed a tank that, quite frankly, looks way too much like the Prime cartoon's version of the character. It's a quad tank, like we've seen so many of before, so it makes for a rather uninspiring toy. And the scale doesn't help any.

Shockwave was released in the Core Class lineup because it was totally new and Hasbro wanted a "big name" character in there to help legitimize it and drum up interest. Well, unless the casepacks are one Ravage to about a dozen Shockwaves, it didn't work. He's warming those pegs pretty hard! The final product is fine, even if making the arm-cannon removable is a pretty massive cheat, but hopefully Hasbro will revisit him in a larger scale. And maybe work out a different altmode?

-- 04/19/22

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