"Generations" Studio Series Soundwave with Laserbeak Toy Review

in 2020, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dark of the Moon, Deluxe, Generations, Studio Series

Studio Series

General Information:
Release Date: January 2020
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Laserbeak PVC figure

Soundwave

Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:

  • Studio series Deluxe class: deluxe class figures are 4.5-Inch collectible action figures inspired by iconic movie scenes and designed with specs and details to reflect the Transformers Movie universe.
  • 4.5-Inch scale soundwave: figure is highly articulated, featuring vivid, movie-inspired deco, and includes a detailed laserbeak figure accessory that attaches to his arm.
  • Big screen inspired: figure scale reflects the character's size in the world of Transformers: dark of the moon. Figure and packaging are inspired by the iconic Serengeti hideout scene.
  • 2 iconic modes: figure converts between robot and car mode in 19 steps. Perfect for fans looking for a more advanced converting figure. For kids and adults ages 8 and up.
  • Removable backdrop: fans can use the removable backdrop to pose and display the soundwave figure in the Serengeti hideout scene with their own style.

With this Studio Series 51 Deluxe Class Transformers: Dark of the Moon Soundwave figure fans can imagine bringing the movie action from the Serengeti Hideout scene to new dimensions. The figure converts between robot and car modes in 19 steps and comes with a Laserbeak figure accessory.

Remove the backdrop included in pack to showcase Soundwave in the Serengeti Hideout scene. In the Serengeti Hideout scene from Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Soundwave and Laserbeak report to Megatron that the Autobots have discovered the Ark, and returned to earth with the cargo. Pleased with this news, Megatron issues them a new set of orders: eliminate the human collaborators.

Early 2020 saw the release of a whole new wave of Studio Series figures. One of these was a Deluxe Class Soundwave. Soundwave has been part of the movie universe since Revenge of the Fallen when he appeared with the alt-form of a satellite. He would also appear in Dark of the Moon with a new car-based vehicle form. While there was a "Human Alliance" and Legion Class figure released of the character from Dark of the Moon a Deluxe figure was produced but only given a very limited release outside of the United States. Now fans have another chance to own a Deluxe Class Soundwave figure from Dark of the Moon thanks to Studio Series! This figure is not a re-release of the figure from that line. Instead, this is a brand new sculpt.

Packaging:
The Deluxe Studio Series figures are packaged in boxes similar in size to the boxes used for "The Last Knight". The boxes are vertical rectangles with a large window in the front. Instead of the lighter colors of "The Last Knight" boxes, this box takes a more "Generations" style approach, using a black background and a vertical "Transformers" logo to the right. Above that is the "Generations" logo. Reflecting the new, unified approach to the Transformers toy line both Hasbro and Takara Tomy's logos appear on the front of the packaging. Towards the lower part of the box is the logo for the specific film the character comes from. To the left is new package art with blue borders. The packaging also has package art on the side and a large collector number designated to each figure. In Soundwave's case he has the number 51. The idea is that you can line up all these figures on a shelf to show off the collection numbers. It's a neat idea and has kept me from tossing out the box so far.

The back of the box features Soundwave with Laserbeak) in both modes indicating a 19 step transformation. There is also an official "Licensed By Daimler" sticker since Soundwave's vehicle mode is an official Mercedes-Benz. The packaging also calls out the backdrop included with the figure, but oddly there are no cosells.

Accessories:
Soundwave includes one accessory: his minion Laserbeak! There have been Laserbeak figures before (including a Movie the Best release. However, this is probably the tiniest. This figure is a PVC non-transforming figure that can easily sit in the palm of your hand (with room to spare). it features Laserbeak's distinctive design including an elongated neck, bulbous eyes, sharp looking wings with rotors at the base and a segmented tail.

Laserbeak is made up of soft, light grey plastic. The eyes are painted red. I would have liked more paint applications of course, but given that this is just an accessory I am glad to see any paint on it at all.

Laserbeak's feet can move back and forth and they have an opening that allows them to connect to Soundwave in both vehicle and robot modes. More on that below.

Robot Mode:
When Soundwave came to Earth in Dark of the Moon, he took on a new form and a lot of the details of that form are represented here. These design details include:

  • The head design looks like an exaggerated and heavily stylized version of G1 Soundwave's head. Like that head he has a crest with two points sticking up and two points sticking up on the sides, though here they go much higher. His actual face has an insectoid look, complete with teeth and mandibles which is consistent with other Decepticons in the live action movies. It looks wonderfully creepy.
  • The arms are thick and bulky with round sections on them that seem inspired by speakers, a callback to G1 Soundwave's radio mode.
  • The chest is made up of the front of the vehicle mode, complete with the Mercedes Benz logo in the middle.
  • Soundwave's hands look like they have sharp claws at the end, giving him an extra evil appearance.
  • The legs have several curved panels from the vehicle mode wrapped around them. They also feature knee armor that comes up like a spike over the knees.

All that said, there are some differences between this figure and the CG model used in the film. The wheels on the top of the robot don't quite wind up in the back, but instead sit behind the head. Also, the chest and mid-section does not have as many jagged and twisted metal details as the CG model in the film (but it's close). That said, I really don't mind and I think the figure looks great.

Soundwave is made up of silver, gunmetal grey and clear plastic. There is some silver and black paint used for detailing, especially around the head/chest area. A bit of red peeks out via his eyes and the rear vehicle mode lights on his legs. This color scheme does not sound particularly thrilling and frankly, it isn't. It is very uniform and lacks some of the personality that traditional Soundwave colors like blue would bring to the table. Indeed, even his "Human Alliance" figure made it a point to mix in some blue even if it was not screen accurate. However, this figure seeks to be screen accurate, so the focus is on the silver and grey spectrum of colors with a bit of black and red added into the mix. In that respect it does a great job.

There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure. This includes four in each arm and leg. Each hand is open, but actually has a 5mm slot. Unfortunately the slot is rather loose, so you may need to experiment with different weapons in your collection before you find one he can hold onto without it falling out of his hands. You will note each arm has a bar on it. Laserbeak can clip to this piece, helping to recreate one of Soundwave's first scenes in Dark of the Moon. Sadly, these bars are too small to use with the "C Clip" weapons from Dark of the Moon but it was a nice thought.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach Laserbeak if attached.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing the inner parts of the forearms down, then swing the robot hands into the forearms.
  4. Rotate the forearms in, then swing them up, lining up the wheel wells, door panel and forearm panel forming the sides of the vehicle mode.
  5. Rotate the headlight pieces around on the chest and move them forward then push them in.
  6. On the back, swing out the cabin cover and rear window sections.
  7. Push each foot up, then swing the halves of the vehicle's rear section up.
  8. Pull the chest section forward.
  9. Push the panel the head rests on from the bottom. The front part of the panel should come up first, then swing it back. Be sure the head is looking forward otherwise it may get stuck.
  10. Connect the two leg halves together to form the rear of the vehicle.
  11. Set the mid-body piece so it is at an angle, then swing the robot arms down, forming the sides of the car.
  12. Swing the robot chest up to form the front of the car.
  13. Laserbeak can attach to Soundwave by tabbing into the slot on the top of the car.

Vehicle Mode:
In general, the featured characters in the live action Transformers films turned into real life vehicles. In Soundwave's case he transformed into a Mercedes Benz SLS AMG, which was a fairly new vehicle at the time (the film came out in 2011, and that was the same year the vehicle was introduced to the U.S. market). This is a sleek, two seater vehicle which was built to be fast and impressive looking all at the same time.

I always appreciate Hasbro going the extra distance to officially license a vehicle mode, especially for those characters from the live action films. This means they undergo a certain level of scrutiny for license holder approval that generally makes the vehicle mode better. Here's a rundown of the key details found on both the real life vehicle and this action figure:

  • The vehicle features a long front end with a shorter rear section. This makes it look like it was built to move fast even when it is standing still.
  • The middle of the grille features the Mercdes Benz logo featuring a three pointed star inside a circle. There is an additional logo circle on the hood.
  • Under the Mercedes Benz logo is a thin, rectangular panel where the license plate is meant to go.
  • The headlights are set vertically on the front of the car, starting in the front and going back partially over the front wheel well.
  • Underneath each headlight is a small section with a cross hatch pattern on it.
  • The hood has two vents on it near the windshield.
  • Behind the front wheel wells are angled sections with raised horizontal lines that look like "speed lines".
  • Each side view mirror features horizontal line designs on the back.
  • While the doors cannot open in this mode, you can see the outline of where it would open in a "gull wing" fashion.
  • Each door features a handle in the middle that would be used to pull the door up.
  • The left side of the vehicle has a circle behind the door representing the opening to the gas tank.
  • The rear of the vehicle features the Mercedes Benz logo in the center.
  • The letters "SLS" and "AMG" are sculpted on either side of the trunk door. The letters "AMG" have a distinct series of lines next to them.
  • There is a thin, rectangle representing where the rear license plate would go.
  • Each headlight is a thin, "eye" shape.
  • Below the license plate panel is a cross hatch pattern and on either side of that are the exhaust pipes.

As you can see from the rather extensive list above, the designers put a lot of care into ensuring this vehicle mode reflected a lot of the details from the real life car and it looks fantastic!

This mode mostly shows off silver (plastic and paint). The windows are clear and the wheels are black with silver paint. The front grille has black paint on it while the headlights are painted off-white. The rear lights are painted red and the Mercedes Benz logo has a little bit of black paint on it. These colors do not sound like the most exciting ever, but it does look good and it is fairly accurate to the real life vehicle.

In a fun little bit of play value, Laserbeak can actually attach to the car! Just swing his feet back so the tab on that section points down. Attach the tab to the slot on the top of the car. It is a fun way of making sure Soundwave has "accessory storage" in this mode but I have to admit I find the sight of Laserbeak hitching a ride on Soundwave really funny.

Final Thoughts:
There have been other Soundwave figures from Dark of the Moon in the past, but the Deluxe one was a very limited release. This figure gives fans a chance to own a Deluxe Class Soundwave as he appeared in the film. The figure has a beautiful sculpt and nice deco along with a fun accessory. Recommended!

Pros:

  • Excellent sculpting in both modes.
  • Good deco.
  • Transforms into a nicely detailed licensed vehicle mode.
  • Laserbeak is a cute little accessory.
  • Finally offers fans the chance to own a Deluxe Class Dark of the Moon Soundwave at mass retail.

Cons:

  • No weapons included for robot mode.
  • The panels need to come together just right in vehicle mode or the back section sticks up a bit. Just take it slow and step by step as you transform the figure.