Transformers Animated Electrostatic Soundwave Toy Review

in 2009, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Generation One, Transformers Animated


Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: November 2009
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Ratbat figure/Keytar

Images:

*Images and text from Transformers.com:
"Are you ready to rock?" After a couple of years working alongside LASERBEAK, SOUNDWAVE realized it was time for a change. His new partner, RATBAT, lets him lay down multiple tracks of sound at a time, creating frequencies that can do more than just control other robots. Now, SOUNDWAVE is into straight-up mind control. Using complex synth beats he can make people – and even the AUTOBOTS – do whatever he wants.

Pump up the battle excitement with this awesome ELECTROSTATIC SOUNDWAVE figure! In robot mode, this ferocious fighter uses his keytar accessory break down his enemies’ guard. Convert his “keytar” to the RATBAT figure to give him another ally. In SUV vehicle mode, he’s primed and pumped to chase down his opponents — and his keytar accessory or RATBAT figure partner both attach to the roof so they can go wherever this warrior is spreading his mayhem!

Figure comes with keytar accessory that converts to a RATBAT figure. Ages 5 and up.

In the "Transformers Animated" episode "Human Error" Part 2, Soundwave works to exact his revenge on the Autobots. Part of this involves trapping his enemies in a virtual world. When he enters this world, his avatar is shown in different colors than his "real world" self, and true to form the designers of the animation models on "Animated" chose to give Soundwave colors that paid homage to a previous incarnation of the character. In the Japanese "Headmasters" series, the original G1 Soundwave was destroyed, but then brought back to life in new colors focusing on black and red with some gold. Known as "Soundblaster", this character was the inspiration for Animated Soundwave's "virtual world" avatar. Now this avatar has taken form as a deluxe figure as part of the extension of the "Animated" line known as Electrostatic Soundwave. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. Take a look at Animated Soundwave's review for more details on the figure.

Vehicle Mode:
Staying true to his appearance in "Human Error", Electrostatic Soundwave's primary color is dark grey. This replaces the blue plastic on the first release of this figure. The wheels are still black but the smokey grey windows have now been replaced with translucent red plastic. The grey and red colors are direct call backs to G1 Soundblaster. Paint applications are done in red and gold, which were also colors used on G1 Soundblaster. I was very happy to see that the paint decos are done in a very different pattern than those of the first release of this sculpt. On the sides, the cassette like details are painted red, but everything else is different. Instead of the technological looking lines useed on Soundwave, Electrostatic Soundwave has red tribal markings all over him from the hood to the top of the cabin to the sides. These have claw like designs leading to overlapping lines that end on hooks. These designs feel to me like references to Soundwave's new partner, Ratbat. The red color is also used on the edges of the wheels, replicating the pattern used on the first Soundwave's wheels. The gold color is found on the hood in the form of a Decepticon symbol on the left side of the vehicle. A bit of lavender paint is found on the front end of the vehicle, used to paint the various "radio buttons".

I think it is important for any Transformers redeco to differentiate itself from its previous releases not only in color, but also in deco pattern. Considering the way Soundwave is played up as a character who uses musical instruments as weapons, the tribal decos are most appropriate for this redeco, but they also contrast him heavily from his previous incarnation. The G1 homage is appropriate as well since "Animated" has worked hard to incorporate lots of fun references to previous Transformers series into the show's mythos.

While the main figure itself was not altered for this release, the designers did give Soundwave a new accessory. While the first version came with Laserbeak, transforming into a guitar, this time around the homage is to Ratbat, another of G1 Soundwave's original cassette warriors who transformed into a bat-like robot. This time around, Ratbat is a bat-like robot who transforms into a keytar. His wings are sculpted with keys and various buttons, but the overall shape are curves with points at the end, looking like stylized bat wings. The head is very bat-like, with a snout and fangs that look appropriately creepy with angled ears that point upward. His eyes are set in triangular shapes, looking like he's scowling and his brow has raised designs on it that look like creases as Ratbat makes a scowling face. Another set of details that I really loved are found on the back of the wings. Each wing has several line details that look like the bone structure behind real life bat wings.

Ratbat has tiny feet under his head, but they're not particularly useful as he can't stand straight on them on account of small tabs sticking out of them. These tabs allow him to be connected to the top of Soundwave's vehicle mode, but by himself he can only sort of lean over by using his wings as support. Since Soundwave himself has not been modified, Ratbat can sit on top of both versions of the figure. His wings can swing up and down, simulating a bit of a flying motion.

Ratbat is made up of black plastic. Paint decos are done in red and lavender. In particular, the lavender is used to paint the key details on the wings while the sharp keys are left black. The lavender paint is also used on most of the face details including the snout. His eyes and several bar graph details near his head are painted red. I like the use of the grey color with lavender, it pays homage to G1 Ratbat's primary purple color while adding in a new element to it.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. To transform Ratbat into a keytar, push in the wings to compress them together and then turn the bat head to the side.
  2. Split the vehicle mode's front end from the back end by pulling the front forward while holding the back.
  3. Split the front end in half.
  4. Swing out the sections with the "radio buttons" in the front.
  5. Swing each half of the front of the car out to the side and down.
  6. Swing the sections that form the top of the cabin and windshield up to form the robot feet.
  7. Pull each door/side section out to the sides and swing the shoulder joints down.
  8. Flip out each palm and swing the wheels on each shoulder forward.
  9. Swing the panel in the middle between the arms down to reveal the robot head.
  10. Swing the robot chest piece up.
  11. Rotate the waist around to correctly align the legs.

Robot Mode:
Electrostatic Soundwave's robot mode uses much more one to one direct color replacement. The blue plastic from Soundwave has been replaced with dark grey. The parts that were black on Soundwave are black here as well including the shoulder hinges and thighs. The eyes and chest "cassette" panel are now translucent red. Most of the color decos are the same on this version of the sculpt as the original, with the circles around the wheels and the speakers on his back are red along with the lines on his knees. The same grey color that is used on Ratbat is used to paint the feet and mouthplate along with the buttons on his chest. Gold is used for the border outlining the panel on his chest as well as the Decepticon symbol in the center. Oddly, while the first version of Soundwave has lines painted on his forearms, Electrostatic Soundwave's forearms are unpainted. It doesn't dramatically change the look of the figure, I just found it a curious omission.

In his keytar form, Ratbat can be connected to Soundwave via the peg on the lower part of the keytar, similar to the way Laserbeak connected to the first Soundwave. The pegs are the same, so you can interchange Ratbat and Laserbeak between the two figures. He looks really cool and funny all at the same time.

All of Electrostatic Soundwave's joints are tight. In fact, the leg joints on my Electrostatic Soundwave are actually tighter than those on my first run Soundwave.

Final Thoughts:
Electrostatic Soundwave is a fantastic redeco of Soundwave. I love the fact that he has a new accessory inspired by the character's G1 origins and that his color scheme is a homage to Soundblaster. Even better? The "floppy legs" issue I had with the first Soundwave aren't present here, placing this firmly in the highly recommended category!