Dark of the Moon Voyager Class Shockwave Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Dark of the Moon, Decepticon, Generation One, MechTech, Voyager

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: April 2011
Price Point: $20.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Battle Cannon/Particle Wave Blaster, Blade weapon

Images:

*Images and text from The Official Transformers web site
Few have ever seen SHOCKWAVE and lived. His is the hand that ensures DECEPTICON plans remain secret from the AUTOBOTS. He eliminates evidence and witnesses with brutal, emotionless efficiency. The only hints he ever leaves of his presence are smoking craters and the collapsed tunnels through which he travels.

Fasten your seatbelts for some fast-paced battles with this vehicle-to-robot villain! This sneaky SHOCKWAVE figure changes from battle-ready robot mode to ground assault vehicle mode so he can chase down his enemies or fight the fiercest foes. His battle cannon even converts to a particle wave blaster for maximum destruction. As the battle rages on, keep converting him back and forth so he’s ready to face whatever his enemies throw at him!

Robot villain figure converts from vehicle mode to robot and back! Battle Weapons work with any MECHTECH TRANSFORMERS figure! (Each sold separately). Ages 5 and up.

While the Cyberverse makes up a smaller scale of figures in the "Dark of the Moon" toy line, the size class most fans are used to returns with "Mech Tech" technology. The generaly concept behind "Mech Tech" are weapons that transform from one type of weapon to another. These have standard peg sizes that allow the weapons to be swapped between figures.

Last year, rumors had piled up indicating a character that many believed to be Shockwave would be appearing in the film. In Generation One, Shockwave was a loyal servant of Megatron who was cold and logical but very powerful. The comic books portrayed him as logical, but also willing to betray Megatron if he had to in the name of logic. In more recent time, the character inspired the Energon Decepticon "Shockblast", who was released in Japan under the name Shockwave had in Japan: Laserwave. Now as we get closer and closer to the release of the film, the release of the Voyager Class Shockwave figure confirms (along with his appearance in the trailer) that we will be seeing the one eyed Decepticon wreak havoc in "Dark of the Moon"!

Mech Tech Weapon:
Since the Mech Tech weapons are critical parts of this toy line, I will review the weapons separately if they have some type of functionality. How they work with each figure will be discussed in the review of the various modes. I will make one general statement that will probably be replicated throughout several of the first (and possibly second) wave of deluxe figure releases regarding the Mech Tech weapons: they cannot stay in their "transformed" state without being held in place. Most Mech Tech weapons are spring activated, and when you release the switch that transforms them, the weapons automatically revert back to their previous form. This is important to note as the packaging clearly shows the weapons can maintain their alternative forms with no mention of requiring support (this could change). unlike many of the Deluxe Class figure Mech Tech weapons however, Shockwave's weapon can lock into place in its alternate form!

Shockwave actually includes two weapons, one is a large cannon and the other is a blade weapon. Only the cannon actually transforms. The blade is an angular melee weapon with lots of nice grooves and angles sculpted into it. It has the standard peg size, allowing you to attach it to any Mech Tech compatible figure.

The larger (and transformable) weapon is a large cannon. The cannon has a very angular design, with the side panels ending in blade like ends and the barrel of the cannon itself covered by a six sided diamond shaped piece of armor. The cannon barrel itself is really fierce looking. It looks more like the rear thruster of a jet attached to two more thrusters than anything else, implying a whole lot of destructive power is contained in this weapon. This is also partly inspired by G1 Shockwave's weapon, which had a barrel that looked like a larger tube connected to a smaller one leading to a base at his wrist. This cannon has a large base extending to a slightly smaller cannon barrel. Another Generation One influence is a black rubber tube, with several segments running along its length. This tube can connect to any Mech Tech compatible hole, but it is really meant to go on one of the holes on the back of the Shockwave figure. This tube is a call back to the tube found on the Generation One Shockwave toy, which actually housed wires for its electronic features. I really love these G1 influences and I'm glad that while the character has been radically redesigned, some aspects of his predecessors remains intact.

On the back of the weapon is a dark silver piece that you can push forward. This causes the blade panels on the sides to move outward. At the same time, two smaller cannons swing forward, creating a triple barreled cannon! Even better? The aforementioned silver piece has a tab on it that locks into a hole at the back of the weapon. The result? You can lock the weapon into its "Mech Tech transformed" mode! This is an awesome bit of functionality that I wish all Mech Tech figures had, but so far it seems this one's in the minority. The extra blasters have targeting scopes sculpted on top with a barrel that resembles the larger one a bit. In addition to this functionality, the cover over the main barrel has a hole in it where you can plug in even more weaponry. Not enough? The side panels of the weapon towards the back have C clip rods that will allow you to connect weapons such as those on Darkmount or various Cyberverse figures.

This weapon is cast in dark silver, purple and black plastic. These were the iconic colors of Shockwave in Generation One, so it's no surprise they make up this version of the character. Most of the armor pieces around the cannon are purple, with smaller hinge joints and the two smaller cannons cast in grey. The black is used on the tube, which is a soft plastic that allows it to bend. Silver and black paint are used for detailing on this figure. The black paint is used for a small Decepticon symbol on top of the weapon. Silver is used to paint the main barrel. The sides have a metallic purple paint color on the blade like portions in the front. This purple color is really nice looking and quite unusual to see on a Transformer. This is one cool looking weapon with fun functionality to boot!

Robot Mode:
According to the "Dark of the Moon" prequel comics I've read so far, it would seem part of Shockwave's job was to find new and efficient ways of dispatching with Autobots during the war on Cybertron. From that base function, it isn't hard to see how the designers arrived at the form portrayed here. Shockwave looks like the robotic equivalent of death personified. His chest is made up of what looks like gigantic rib bones that start wide at the top and grow smaller as you go down the torso. His hands end in claw like fingers and his head has a single eye (like his G1 namesake) that looks scary and evil all at the same time. His knee armor is angled as if made up of sharp metal blades and his feet even have spikes sticking out at an angle (you do not want to get kicked by this guy!). Even without his weapons attached, Shockwave looks like death in robot form and it's awesome.

There are of course many "Bay-verse" design elements on this figure. His arms have tons of complex looking machinery details layered on top of each other. His legs have tons of panels that seem to overlap and the use of claws and spikes on his body are very much influenced by how Decepticons look in the live action movie universe. This gives him some very intricate detail. Among my favorites are the forearms and his hip joints due to the complexity of the sculpting.

So here's the thing, you can call a character a name and sometimes he may have almost nothing to do with the original G1 character (I'm looking at you Skids) or he can be a proper homage. In this case, we have a homage on the level of Jazz or Optimus Prime. Shockwave has many of the elements first introduced by his Generation One predecessor. These include:

  • The head design has a single eye with pointed antennae like panels on the sides of the head.
  • The top "bones" on Shockwave's chest stick out prominently, similar to the panel that did the same on the G1 character.
  • Shockwave's hands can fold in against the forearm, allowing you to attach the weapon to his arm, creating a forearm/weapon, just like G1 Shockwave.
  • The side panels on the lower legs curve from top to bottom in a manner similar to the gun handle curves from G1 Shockwave.
  • The robot feet are large and angle downward, similar in design to Shockwave's G1 animation model.

Shockwave is cast in metallic purple, dark grey, silver, black and lavender plastic. These are the perfect colors to pay homage to G1 Shockwave and they look fantastic here. The colors alternate very well, with silver leading to purple and then lavender and so on. The eye is cast in translucent red, and with light piping it looks really awesome. Paint applications are done in two shades of metallic purple, black, gold and silver. The metallic purple has two tones, a darker one that you'll find on parts like his head, shoulders and thighs and a lighter one that is used on his knee armor. The silver is seen on his legs and chest, mostly made up of details from the tank treads. Black is used for smaller detailing, mostly on the robot head. Gold is used on three thruster like sections on his back. Overall, the color scheme looks fantastic. It is interesting to see how much this color scheme skews towards the Generation One Shockwave as the banner poster of Shockwave shows him almost looking black and grey all over his body. I much prefer this color scheme, as I think a more grey/black combination would have frankly been quite dull.

There are twenty five points of articulation on Shockwave. This includes seven on each leg and five on each arm (including the shoulder hinges). As mentioned above, each of his hands can tuck up against the forearms to give him the look of having an arm that is a blaster (a carry over from his Generation One predecessor). The hands are sculpted in an open palmed position, but you can still attach Mech Tech weapons into them thanks to the hold in between the thumb and the palm being sculpted with a round section. Each forearm also has a hole to attach a weapon. The black tube on his cannon can attach to a hole that angles towards the right on his back, so clearly the right hand is where the attachment is favored, but any of the two holes near his shoulders on the back can also fit the tube. That also means those holes can accomodate more Mech Tech weapons! Want to go a bit more crazy with this guy? Shockwave also has "C clip" rods on his feet allowing you to attach even more weaponry on him. When all is said and done, Shockwave is a 'bot with a lot of destructive potential!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach any weapons on the figure.
  2. Swing each of the hands up against the forearms.
  3. Swing each knee armor panel down.
  4. Swing each foot panel up against the knee armor panels.
  5. Swing the heel pieces up.
  6. On the back of the figure, detach the silver pieces with the purple wheels on them from the central "thruster" like piece on the back.
  7. Turn the robot head around.
  8. Pull the robot head section and swing it down on the black hinge piece.
  9. Swing the rib cage shaped chest panel out.
  10. Swing the robot arms up.
  11. Swing the chest sections with the treads sculpted on them out.
  12. On the black hinge pieces attached to the arms are holes, line these up with the pegs on the rib-cage chest piece and connect them.
  13. Swing the robot head section up and rotate it around so the silver parts with the small wheels point forward.
  14. Rotate the robot legs around and then swing the lower legs up against the thighs to form the sides of the vehicle.
  15. Attach the tabs on the inside of the robot legs to the tube in the center (it has corresponding grooves).
  16. There are purple tabs on the top of the lower leg piece, now pointing back. Attach the corresponding grooves on the top of the robot arms to these tabs.
  17. Rotate the robot arms up and over so they fold down onto the top of the vehicle.
  18. Each of the forearms has small hinge sections at the wrist, these fit into the curved grooves towards the middle of the vehicle.
  19. Attach the cannon to one forearm section and the blade weapon to the other.

Vehicle Mode:
Shockwave is a Cybertronian tank in vehicle mode. While his robot mode has several sharp and angular elements, they really come together here literally and figuratively. The overall design looks like several sharp angles and points moving forward until they get to the points at the very front of the vehicle. This image is enhanced by the blade weapon on top of the vehicle as well as the blade like shapes on the sides of the cannon. In some respects, the vehicle looks almost like an alien animal with mandibles in the front and weaponry strapped to its back. I really like this look as it gives Shockwave an extra creepy element to his appearance and it is consistent with the very insectoid design of many of the Decepticon heads in the movie universe.

Shockwave isn't all about blades and angles (or just a big cannon). This mode reveals some fantastic new details. Among the details are the inverse sids of the foot and knee panels that show tube and wire details along with holes representing bolts on the sides. Yo ualso get a nice look at the details on the treads which have small wheels inside and armor over them. Along the length of the tank you'll find details ranging from vents to grids and lines indicating separate panels forming his armor. The detail level on the figure is quite simply fantastic.

Functionally speaking the tank is a bit limited. The main cannon cannot really turn in any meaningful way so you pretty much have to attach additional weaponry onto the main cannon and turn that. This isn't a bash on the figure or anything. Indeed, the way this tank is made, I would have been surprised if the weapon could turn. That said, there's nothing stopping you from taking off Shockwave's weapons and putting other Mech Tech weapons on that can turn. In addition to the holes on the top of the vehicle there are four on the sides (two on each side). In this form, the C clip rods from the feet in robot mode wind up towards the front of the tank on the sides, a perfect spot to add in some additional weaponry! Add to that the C clip rods on the main cannon and there are a lot of weapon attachment possibilities. Shockwave's treads are non-functional. Instead he rolls on two small wheels on the back and the purple wheels on the front.

In this form, Shockwave consolidates a lot of the purple plastic so the purple color dominates. The grey and silver plastic colors are still present on the sides and the weaponry of course. The pointed sections in the front are painted silver and this form reveals gold on the sides of the front wheels and the rear treads. The colors look great, although in this form I found myself wishing there awas some more detail (perhaps a black wash) on some of the tinier details to bring them out more. This is a minor complaint however as the vehicle mode looks great overall.

Final Thoughts:
Voyager Class Shockwave is a really fantastic take on a classic character. Like Optimus Prime in the movie universe the figure takes many liberties with the classic design, but overall the design looks fantastic. He's creepy, powerful looking and has some cool G1 elements. Highly recommended!