Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Revenge of the Fallen Preview: Soundwave

OK, I'm doing these in a screwy order. This, along with the slightly re-sculpted Deluxe Bumblebee, was among my first Revenge of the Fallen purchases but Prime and Sideswipe, while bought several weeks later, were far more interesting. Figure I'd better get this out of the way, though... and get to RotF Bumblebee whenever...

Soundwave has been on the cards since the first movie came out. The writers wanted to include him, but needed to figure out a way of working in the idea of 'ejecting' minions. Well... they've kind of come up with a solution... but, while this thing has a robot mode, rumour has it Soundwave will not transform in the movie. Perhaps it's going to be like Scorponok from the first film - the toy has a robot mode, but the character in the movie does not.

However it pans out, this toy is said to be a Triple Changer - that's right, three modes. Sadly, the difference between two of them is minimal, and achieved by locking panels together in a slightly different configuration.


Vehicle Mode(s):
Soundwave's main alternate mode is a satellite. Allegedly. Obviously of Cybertronian design, much like Megatron's 'jet' mode in the first movie and 'tank' mode in the sequel. It's... Spiky. It has a face that's not unlike robot mode's face, but with one large crest rather than the two 'horns'. It's also rather lacking in decoration and, being grey broken up by touches of silver, black, dark blue, and translucent cyan, satellite mode is crushingly dull. Even the huge amounts of molded detail don't help because the whole thing just looks too alien.

Swing a few panels around, and you have 'space cruiser mode'... which doesn't look that different. It does bring to mind the likes of Galaxy Force/Cybertron's Vector Prime, which may well have been the intention but, again, the predominance of flat grey makes for a very dull model.

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The missile included with this toy is molded in such a way as to imply Ravage is 'ejected' as a missile/protoform... but the relative size of the missile suggests that Soundwave isn't very large. Significantly larger than a tape deck, but not one of the larger Decepticons. The proportional relationship between Ravage and Soundwave would be fairly close to that of G1, though.

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Robot Mode:
Here, more references to G1 Soundwave become apparent - more blue, hints of gold... but still, this is not the Soundwave we remember from 1984. The head is about as perfect as one could ever hope for - very different from the original, but still clearly and unmistakably Soundwave.

His build is very top-heavy... Excessively broad shoulders flanking a very heavy-set chest with large primate arms... and a pair of tiny, comparatively weedy legs. There's something about this model that says 'Batman'... possibly why I'm writing about this model so soon after Darkwind. It's not just the head, though its similarity to TakaraTomy's Microman Flightgear Batman is quite striking. Nor is it the 'cape' formed of his alternate mode's panels.

In all honesty, I found this model to be a bit of a let-down... not least because the double-balljointed hips are a little weak and tend to sag. There's just nothing remarkable in the design or the decor - he's not a 'robot in disguise', because his satellite mode barely counts as a disguise and, while it looks suitably alien, it doesn't really impress.

Typically, I've seen photos from this year's BotCon of a store-exclusive recolour in more traditional Generation 1 Soundwave colours, and that seems to be a bit of an improvement... but there's something generally mediocre about this figure that no paint-job could ever fix.

He's reasonably poseable, within the boundaries of his awkward construction, and manages to look like some kind of malevolent angel from some angles. I guess Soundwave is following in the traditions established by the preview figures from the first movie - Protoforms Optimus Prime and Starscream - looking like nothing in particular, and setting low expectations for the rest of the line.

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Making matters even more blah, there's no Mech Alive gimmick on this model.
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