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Transformers: Prime
by yo go re

Sometimes it's hard to remember that Transformers: Prime is technically in the same continuity as War for Cybertron.

Soundwave is absolutely devoted to Megatron. He uses his ability to intercept any electronic transmission to ensure the supremacy of his leader, and the eventual victory of the Decepticons over the Autobots.

WfC Soundwave turned into a car (and a boombox!), while the Prime version takes the altmode of an unmanned aerial drone. And not the chunky boomerang kind of UAV, the "flying dildo" kind.

The choice of a Predator drone caught a lot of people off guard, because, like we said, he used to be a car. His Animated version was a car. His movie version was (eventually) a car. It's been seven years since Soundwave first got his wheels off the ground, but come on, what does a Predator drone do? It's used for both stealth reconnaissance and information gathering, and as an armed war machine. Are those not the same two things Soundwave does?

The drone has a 7¼" wingspan, is 6¼" long and 1⅞" tall. There's a single langing gear that folds down from under the front, but no matching equipment in the back. The profile has the distinct bulbous front end that drives the women wild, and sharp, hooked wings in the back. Ouch! The fuselage is a desaturated blue offset with black and a few hot pink highlights.

To convert Soundwave to robot mode, swing the wings back and unfold the forearms from the underside. Pivot the arm/wings so the flat sides now face outward, then rotate them down into position and unhook the elbows. Separate the two halves of the drone's front end, unfold the feet and bend the legs so he will appear to have knees. Finally, pull back on the tailfins, allowing the head to automatically jump up into place, then tuck the rear point of the plane away and raise the panel back up to stow it inside the chest cavity.

In this mode, Soundwave stands approximately 5½" tall, give or take a quarter inch. His shoulders are the highest point on his body, so his "height" will depend partially on how you decide to pose him. He has a sort of hunched posture, being both bent forward at the waist and having his chin tucked down against his chest. Plus he has those animalistic backward-bent legs, so he'd be a bit taller if he could stand up straight.

As is traditional with Soundwave, his head is based on the Decepticon logo. It's wildly exaggerated, but the similarities are there. He has no face, just a smooth black blank where the face should be. It makes him super creepy and emotionless, and in the animation it functions as a display screen, sort of like the Tele-Vipers' visors used to, and shows a wiggly line when he replays the things he's recorded. You know, blackmail.

The rest of Soundwave's body is just as sharp and pointy as his head. He has long, thin arms with spindly fingers, wing-like structures on his chest, shoulders and back, and spurs on the back of his legs. He's got great articulation, too: balljointed head, swivel shoulders, balljointed biceps, hinge elbows, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. It's more than you might expect, looking at his half bat, half stick bug frame.

So, remember when we said that Soundwave's chest looks like wings? There's a good reason for that: they're wings. Soundwave comes with a Prime version of Laserbeak. Rather than hiding in a compartment inside Soundwave's chest, Laserbeak is actually embedded right there, so when you pull him out, there's a noticable gap waiting for him to come back home to roost.

Laserbeak is, naturally, a bird. Thing. A bird-thing. He's a football-sized creature that has wings, which doesn't really make him a bird, but we call him a bird because we're biased toward G1. It's hard to tell his front end from his back, but just remember: the points go toward the rear. The wings are hinged, so you can have him in different poses, and there's a peg on his belly that allows him to plug into Soundwave's hand or any other appropriately sized hole, such as the one on top of the drone mode.

I liked car Soundwave a lot more than UAV Soundwave, and even when he started appearing on the cartoon the design just bugged me. He is a badass on the series, though, despite never speaking one word, and I decided to take a chance on the figure. Turns out he's a really cool Transformer, made all the better by the inclusion of a Laserbeak who lives in his chest.

-- 03/20/12

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