Transformers Review: Soundwave (Cybertron Voyager)


Intro:
            After the end of the Headmaster series, the name Soundwave was lost to the annals of history. However, for a brief period during the Beast Wars series, the name Soundwave did appear, although he was totally unrelated to his G1 predecessor. Transforming from a bat to an alligator, and vice versa, he was not a major character in the series, only appearing in IDW Publishing comics.
            It was only until the advent of the Cybertron/ Galaxy Force series that the name Soundwave finally made his return.
            Here, Soundwave is depicted to be Sideways/ Noisemaze’s partner in crime, who also happens to be his fellow comrade from the long lost Planet X. When Soundwave was first released, fans were extremely excited, and why not? Soundwave is such an iconic character that along with Optimus Prime and Megatron, he was one of the most easily recognizable characters ever.
            Back in 2005, when I was still a fledgling collector, I didn’t have a Soundwave in my collection, so I knew that I just had to get him.
            Fast forward 7 years after, here we are with this long delayed review…

Alternate Mode:
Soundwave transforms into this futuristic-looking space craft. As a whole, he looks like one of those secret US military experimental stealth bomber aircrafts. 
The figure is reek with minor details, reminiscence of that of Vector Prime’s, but not as much. While it may not hold true to the Robot in Disguise mantra due to its design and concept, it still does quite well in hiding its robot parts. 
On his own, Soundwave doesn’t do much. He rolls on his three wheels underneath it, and that’s about it. It’s his gimmick that gives him the extra oomph. 
Being a stealth bomber, he has to come with a bomb, right? So, to release the “bomb”, all you need to do is take the Planet X’s Cyber Planet Key, insert it to the slot at the back of the aircraft, and the compartment below will open up and release the “bomb” within.

Laserbeak:
Laserbeak's Bomb Mode
            The “bomb” released kinda looks like some sort of a barrel, but this is not any simple barrel we’re talking about, nosiree… This is barrel or bomb actually transforms into one of Soundwave’s most well known minions – Laserbeak, and I have to say, prior to the release of DOTM Laserbeak, this is probably the best Laserbeak ever.
            What I like about this Laserbeak is that he’s very, very articulated for such a small figure. The Cybertron series actually classed him as a Minicon, although we all know he was never one.
Articulation-wise: the neck moves up and down; the wings themselves have several joints – shoulders and all of the wing tips; tail piece moves up and down as well; swinging hips and pivoting ankles. 
I really love Laserbeak, and he’s a really good bonus for this set.

Robot Mode:
            One word describes Voyager Soundwave – lanky. He’s tall, he’s slim – he’s everything I wanna be… Anyways, jokes aside, his colors scream G1 Soundwave of old. Personally, at the time, for those late starters who didn’t have the opportunity to grab a G1 Soundwave before, this was the next best thing, and that’s why I got him in the first place. 
            The head is unmistakably Soundwave, although I must say, he has way longer horns than his predecessor ever had. He also has wings at the back, which kinda makes him look more menacing. 
 
 
            Just like his predecessor, Cybertron Soundwave is also armed with a shoulder canon, as well as a blaster. What’s unique about these weapons is that they too transform, into barrel-like bombs, reminiscence of Laserbeak’s alternate mode.
The Cyber Planet Key and the Bombs
Bombs transform into Weapons
            Articulation-wise: the light-piped head seems to be ball-jointed; the shoulders rotate in a north-to-south direction, and another joint allows outward movements; slightly below the shoulders, the arms rotate; the elbows bend, but there are no wrists movements; the hips are on tight ratcheted universal joints, which is always tasty; the knees rotate and bend (the bending movements are on ratcheting joints, which are very, very, very tight); and finally, the toe and heel pieces move down and back up.
Laserbeak can even perch on either of his wings...

            The knees also have an awkward outward movement, although I don’t really consider it an articulation joint; it’s rather a transformation joint.  
            While the robot mode generally looks good, it is not without its flaws. Due to its skinny nature and the huge backpack, Soundwave can be a bit back-heavy and kinda limits its pose-ability.
            Still, it’s only a minor drawback from a wonderful figure.

Overall:
            As you may know, I love Soundwave. Some fans may have some qualms with how the figure looks in general, but I personally kinda dig the figure, despite having a Cybertronian alternate mode. I think the designers really wanted this figure to be a perfect homage to the original character, especially when this was Soundwave’s real first outing since the days of G1.
            Thus, it’s no wonder that this version of Soundwave has been one of the most highly sought after figure in this region, ever since it was first released, and I was lucky enough to be able to get hold of him.
            He is definitely a must for fans of Soundwave, of the Cybertron/ Galaxy Force series, and even more so if you already have Sideways/ Noisemaze from the same series.
            Highly recommended.

            Final verdict: 9/10.

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