One of the most anticipated figures from Galaxy Force has finally been released. Does he live up to the hype? And more importantly, does he live up to the name?
I, for one, was ecstatic when I originally heard about Soundwave being in Galaxy Force. The original line art designs practically made me drool with envy. Then came the colored pictures, showing very G1 colors and style. I could barely wait until he made his appearance in the anime, let alone the release date of the actual figure.
Interestingly, GF Soundwave is the first Transformer Iíve bought sinceÖ around 1990. The last Transformer that I got/bought was something from G1, although I forget what it was. Beast Wars and Beast Machines didnít appeal to me much, and I pretty much skipped over Car Robots/Robots in Disguise and Micron Densetsu/Armada before getting back into Transformers big-time with SuperLink/Energon and now with Galaxy Force/Cybertron. So keep in mind that this review is written from the perspective of someone who hasnít gotten a new Transformer in some fifteen years or so.
Anyhow, now down to the meat of the review:
True to his G1 namesake, GF Soundwave is mostly a deep sea blue, with some grey/silver, a bit of gold, and some red details thrown into the mix. The detail level is incredible; many of the futuristic details are molded straight into the plastic (think Vector Prime or Noisemaze), and the general paint job on the unit is well done. And he comes with Killer Condor (I think Laserbeak sounds better, but since this is a review of the GF figure, Iíll stick with the Japanese name).
Although I donít know much about it, apparently Soundwaveís vehicle mode is basically a Cybertron-version of a stealth jet that I canít remember the name of. Whatever it might be, it looks unbelievably cool. I canít think of a more suitable alternate mode for Soundwave: sleek and stealthy. In the G1 cartoon, Soundwave was always the one to sneak into and spy on the Autobot base, and play cool tunes. What better of a vehicle mode for an up-to-date Soundwave than a stealth jetÖ other than an iPod, of course. Iím only slightly annoyed at the fact that his head is visible from the underside of the jet, but Iíll let that slide since a large portion of the GF designs are all like that.
Soundwaveís transformation isnít particularly complex, but still somewhat satisfying nevertheless.
Fold down the silver fins, loosen the cockpit-shield, detach the legs from the nose of the jet, unfold the legs from the winged section at the hip, twist the arms out from under the cockpit, fold the body at the shoulders back onto the winged portion, fix up the head, snap the arms into place, fold out the feet and align the orientation of the various limbs.
Not too complicated, not too simple. My only gripe about the transformation is the way the instructions teach you: they only leave it at the ďlong-neckĒ Soundwave, which looks horrible and non-show-accurate. Itís obvious that it was meant for the ďshort-neck,Ē otherwise they wouldnít have included a double-hinge behind the head.
Killer Condorís transformation is relatively simple; he just sort of unravels into the bird-mode. Both engines (or whatever theyíre supposed to be) fold out easily into Soundwaveís gun and shoulder cannon.
Talk about an amazing homage. Even at first glance, this guy already screams G1 Soundwave: Killer Condor on his wing, cannon on his shoulder, gun in hand. He even has the gold contour around the chest area where Killer Condor fits in, G1-cassette-style. His articulation is very good: 2 joints at each shoulder, 2 joints at each elbow. His hips move both back-to-forward and side-to-side, both with a click-joint. He has a nice clicky knee-joint, and it rotates too, but his ankles donít have much articulation other than just for folding out the feet. That makes 18 points of articulation without counting the head.
My only complaint about his bot mode is that he carries a bit too much kibble on his arms: the nose of the jet behind his right arm, the cockpit of the jet as a shield on his left. It would have been nice if the shield was removable, and they found some other use for the jet-nose. This leads to the annoying task of displaying him a cool pose; the shield or jet-nose get into the way a lot and obstruct the movement of the arm. While Iím at it, I might as well request that his wrists should rotate too. Some people have complained that he has a bit too much gold on his chest, but I personally don't think it's too much of a problem.
Fortunately, there are these little fold-out heels from his feet. Otherwise, itíd be impossible to put him in any pose other than a standing-straight candlestick-like pose. That, and the light piping in his head is also amazing. I just love the look of a robot with glowing eyes.
Soundwave is packaged with the same Force Chip as Noisemaze. Must be a Planet X thing. Anyhow, plugging the Force Chip into the base of the torso will open up the chest compartment, G1-style, so that Killer Condor or either of his guns can be stored inside. Very cool, but take extra caution when plugging the Force Chip in when Soundwave is in his vehicle mode; I almost lost Killer Condor when he fell from the chest cavity (it faces downwards in vehicle mode). Itís somewhat of an annoying gimmick if you play with the figure a lot and put stuff in his chest all the time.
I donít know if itís just mine, but there are several joints that seem to be loose: the right elbow, the right hand (the gun is loose in the right hand, but tight in his left), and the ever-popular neck.
: Amazing homage; cool vehicle and bot mode; Killer Condor included.
: Some flimsy joints; too much kibble on the arms; Force Chip gimmick is tedious if you play with the figure a lot; give us an updated Ravage, Ratbat, and other G1 cassette Transformers!
By far, this is one of the must-haves from the new line. Whether you want to import the GF version as I did, or wait for the local Cybertron version, there's no question that this one is definitely something that every fan, of GF and G1 and everything in between, needs to have in their collection.
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