Transformers Review: Soundwave (ROTF Deluxe)


Intro:
            When the 2007 Transformers movie was first announced, fans speculated on which characters would be on the actual lineup. Personally, I had hoped that Optimus, Jazz, Prowl, Ironhide, Ratchet, Bumblebee and Wheeljack would have made it onto the actual Autobots lineup (I got 5 out of 7, so that’s not bad). Wheeljack would eventually make it onto the Dark of the Moon lineup and Prowl failed to make the cut at all.
            On the Decepticons side, I had wanted Megatron, Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Soundwave, Rumble, Laserbeak, Ravage and Shockwave to be in the final lineup, although only Megatron and Starscream made the cut. As for the rest, Shockwave and Laserbeak made it onto DOTM, while Soundwave and Ravage were actually introduced in the ROTF.
            The character Frenzy and Blackout from the original movie were at some point envisioned to be this iconic character, but the idea was eventually scrapped. At least Bay knew that Soundwave, along with Optimus and Megatron, and probably Starscream and Shockwave, were characters that he really needed to get right, or else he would’ve suffered huge backlash from hardcore TransFans all over the world.
            Soundwave was one of the major characters to have appeared in the original G1 animated series, and he transformed into a mini cassette recorder deck. What made him even cooler, apart from that excellent heavily-synthesized voice by the legendary Frank Welker, is the fact that he is the de-facto leader of his own subgroup – the cassette bots, consisting of originally Ravage, Rumble, Laserbeak, and later joined by Frenzy, Buzzsaw, and Ratbat as the animated series progressed. He was portrayed as a very loyal follower of Megatron, although in the comics, he was loyal to whomever in charge, and at some point, even led the entire Decepticon forces for a brief period of time.
            So fans really wanted Soundwave in the movie franchise, and eventually Michael Bay did give us that, and although Soundwave didn’t feature prominently in the actual movie, he did play a significant role as the movie progressed. Disappointingly, Soundwave never really transformed in the actual movie itself (he was only featured in his alternate mode), although they did make it clear that Ravage was his minion.
            Anyways, Soundwave the figure was one of those highly sought after figures from the ROTF line and I was one of the lucky ones to have gotten him back in 2009. So here’s the review.

Alternate Mode:
            As far as the satellite mode goes, it isn’t really that convincing, well unless of course that’s how satellites are supposed to look like back in Cybertron. Anyways, Soundwave is quite accurate to his movie counterpart. 
 
I know this has probably been said about by many Transformers reviewers all across the net, but I am gonna say it again nonetheless – yes, Soundwave does seem to have 2 heads, but one at any given time. You see, in the actual movie, Soundwave never really transformed, although we did see Soundwave’s head talking while in satellite mode. As far as the action figure goes, that is actually a fake head, although it wasn’t colored as his actual head. 
Confused? Well, let the photo below tell the story.
Soundwave's Fake Head
The actual robot head is well hidden from plain view, at the back of the satellite.
Soundwave doesn’t do much in this mode, except the fact that it can shoot a tiny Ravage out from the back of his fake head. The supposedly little Ravage is basically still in his ­Re-entry mode, which I can’t obviously be bothered off since the designs really do not suggest anything, but we all know cuz we watched the movie.
One thing that fans may like about this mode is of course the aforementioned screen accuracy, and probably the options that you have in rearranging the various panels and spikes on board.

Cybertron Jet Mode:
It’s probably a common knowledge that I kinda have issues with third modes, or the so-called bonus modes. Soundwave is marketed as a Triple Changer, and is touted to have Robot, Satellite and Cybertron Jet modes, although none of them are seen in the movies except for the Satellite mode. Unlike the original Triple Changers from the G1 era, and even the Japanese G1, all of their modes are quite distinct from one another. Unfortunately, from then afterwards, most third modes have been afterthoughts at best – they are there because simply they can.
Soundwave, unfortunately, is not an exception. The jet mode is there, simply because it can. All you need to do is simply arrange the various panels and panel, and voila, instant Cybertronian Jet.
While yes, this mode does resemble some sort of a jet, it’s still kinda odd having Ravage poking out from the back.
Clearly, the satellite mode fairs way better than this mode, at least for me it is.

Robot Mode:
            This is the mode that most of us fans have been longing for. However, having said that, ROTF Soundwave may not be everyone’s cup of tea. While Soundwave may be one of the few (if not the only) Decepticons in the ROTF series to actually have some kind of semblance to its original G1 predecessor, it still has that alien-ish look to him that is quite typical amongst the ROTF Decepticons. Also, if you noticed, Soundwave is also one of the few Decepticons not to have “chicken legs”.
Reminiscence of G1 Soundwave
            Unlike most reincarnations of Soundwave, he’s kinda short and stout compared to the rest.
            Articulation-wise: head is on a ball joint; double-universally-jointed shoulders allow all around motions; the elbows rotate and bend; hips have all around motions; knees turn and bend; the knees can tilt left and right; and finally each toes and heel are individually articulated.
ROTF Soundwave with ROTF Ravage
            As you can see: the articulations are actually quite good. Although he doesn’t come with any of his usual minions, as mentioned previously, he does come with a bullet that is supposed to be Ravage in his Re-entry Mode.
Ravage: Re-entry Mode
            Looking short and stout, this version of Soundwave seems to look more “muscular” than most of his earlier reincarnations.
Soundwave and his Many Reincarnations, From Left: Generations Soundwave, Cybertron Soundwave, ROTF Sounwave, Music Label Soundwave, Titanium Soundwave
Overall:
            As mentioned before, Soundwave may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he is definitely one of the most highly anticipated characters to appear in the movie franchise.
            The figure is quite movie-accurate, and if you dig Transformers with Cybertronian alternate mode, then you would probably dig this figure as well. ROTF Soundwave, thus far, has been one of the most highly sought after figures from the movie franchise and is definitely one of the must-haves for TransFans and fans of Soundwave.

            Final verdict: 7.5/10.

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