Sunday, 28 September 2014

Galaxy Force (Toy's Dream Project) Soundblaster

There's something about a black repaint that lends a model a new sense of style and refinement... not to mention the sense that the character just became ten times more sinister, powerful and dangerous just because of his paint job. At least, that's how it frequently goes with TransFormers, because the black repaint is almost invariably the Nemesis version of an Autobot, and evil clones are cool.

But what happens when the character is already a Decepticon, and just gets a darker repaint? Well, G1 Soundwave was rebuilt into Soundblaster and (in toy form) gained a 100% increase in minion capacity in his chest. But what of the Galaxy Force version..? Is it another upgraded Soundwave?

Vehicle Mode:
Well... It's the same old spiky stealth-space-bomber-plane, but now in a rather more stealth-ish colourscheme. Apart from the silver. And the gold. And the translucent red. And the red chrome. In fact, this model has more or less the same distribution of the same colours - perhaps a bit more of the gold, and it's a bit more saturated. The grey plastic is essentially the same as the original version of this mold, so the only significant differences are that the blue plastic has been replaced by black plastic throughout and the red paint is now metallic.

The coherent, consistent colourscheme does help the model immeasurably, though it's still  very awkward, and there's no way that back end is ever going to look like a vehicle that flies by conventional means.

I'm a little ambivalent about the 'landing gear' on this model, since it's basically three plastic wheels, one mounted in each of the hefty pylons close to the wing tips and one sticking out on the underside of the nose. In all honesty, I'd rather have done without landing gear to make a sleeker model.

One other thing I neglected to mention in my write-up of GF Soundwave was that one of his weapons can be stuck in his bomb bay instead of his minion, just as his minion can be mounted under his wings instead of one of the weapons. None of them mount especially well - they're only held in place by tiny tabs, so they rattle round a lot - and finding the best orientation for the minion in particular can be a trial. They're all the same shape, broadly speaking, but the extra seams on Hell Buzzsaw cause the difficulties.

Robot Mode:
Part of me regrets not taking more photos of this model but, essentially, it really is the same as the original. The gold paint is richer and more plentiful, but it's not a massive change. The switch from flat to metallic red for the shoulder stripes and other assorted details is interesting and very welcome - it's amazing what a difference just that makes... although I'm sure metallic red wouldn't have looked as good on the blue plastic of GF Soundwave. The chrome on the insides of the tailfins has gone from gold to red, though the metallic paint on the outsides is still gold... Not quite sure why that decision was made, considering the paint on the wings is gold on both versions of this mold.

The use of translucent red plastic for the weapons and lightpiping is quite effective - on the former, it makes them seem more powerful somehow, or at least significantly different, while the latter gains a new degree of malevolence.

Hell Buzzsaw:
Here we have another simple repaint, this time of the original hexagon cartridge minion. It was a great idea, and this model is rather cool... but I really wish they'd created at least one other minion, even if they were never going to try creating 2-packs of minions the way they did back in G1. It would have been amazing to have had a Ratbat or a Ravage, though I suspect a Rumble/Frenzy would have been a simpler engineering proposition.

So, essentially, what you have here is exactly the same as GF Soundwave's minion, Laserbeak, but with gold as the only paint colour where Laserbeak had silver on his back and flat red on his wing turbines. There seems to have been some misalignment when one of the legs was pinned in place as it's at a slight angle, but it doesn't hinder transformation or what little posing the model can do.

As with Soundwave, Transformation is a little annoying, particularly when trying to assemble the nose of the plane/spacecraft out of the robot's arms. This model feels somewhat overengineered for the purpose, and it was disappointing, even eight years ago, to have a great chunk of the plane - the entire wing assembly - completely unchanged and hanging off his back.

Articulation is the same, too, though I have found that the mid-shin transformation joint is a touch more stable and less likely to flop under the weight of the model... I guess it's one of those things that will vary from model to model. unsurprisingly, the heels haven't been remolded at all, so he's still not the most stable model in existence, particularly with that large, heavy wing backpack.

Interestingly, though this model was packaged as Soundblaster, according to Takara Tomy it's apparently 'Logos Prime' (possibly 'Amalgamous Prime', depending on the whims of Hasbro), a shapeshifting, time-travelling ancient known to Vector Prime, and who speaks through Hell Buzzsaw. There's a convoluted story that even takes in Beast Wars Reborn, but I find it curious that, among a race of transforming robots, the concept of a 'shapeshifter' is considered unusual. I had displayed this quite happily on my Galaxy Force Decepticons shelf for quite some time, but have reorganised things now. Of course, if GF Soundwave was (technically) not a Decepticon, Soundblaster sure as hell wasn't... but he certainly looks the part, and it follows on from his G1 namesake.

Soundblaster is one of three Toy's Dream Project exclusives I own, the other two being Superlink Ariel (aka Arcee) Paradron Type and GF Fang Wolf Black Version. Since this is something of an exclusive, I'm happy to report that I haven't warped his thigh-flaps (yet) through inattention while transforming him, unlike my Soundwave...

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