Machine Wars Transformers Toy Review: Soundwave
Release Date: 1997
Price Point: $14.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Kay Bee Exclusive
Accessories: Radar dish; Rocket
Transformation: Armored rocket carrier
Motto: "Cries and screams are music to my ears!"
A smooth talking opportunist who uses his eavesdropping abilities on friend and foe alike. Equipped with advanced radio wave and energy sensors, Soundwave is a crucial communications link for Decepticon forces. Four armored tracks equip him for any terrain, and the giant electron rocket makes him a devastating warrior, earning him the nickname "The Terror Tank."
Rank: 8 Courage: 5 Firepower: 8 Skill: 6
One of the most popular characters in Transformers history is Soundwave. Most remember him as "that guy who held tapes in his chest". Well, for Machine Wars, Soundwave continues his purpose as a communications device, but this time he's a powerful mobile communications center instead of a tape player!
The Machine Wars Soundwave toy is actually a redeco and re-release of the European/Canadian exclusive Transformer Stalker. Stalker was a part of a group of Decepticons known as the Predators.
In vehicle mode, Soundwave is a mobile missile platform. It is not difficult to imagine that the missile could be a communications device and he has a radar dish mounted towards the rear of the vehicle. Of all the Machine Wars "G1 characters", Soundwave is one of the few that comes close to his original function as a communications officer.
You will note that on the sides, Soundwave has a group of pegs. These pegs were meant for the missiles that Stalker originally came with. Fearing safety issues, Hasbro removed the missiles and the missile launcher gun from this release. However, the missiles that were included with Machine Wars Starscream are the same type that Stalker (and all the Predators for that matter) were included with, so his missiles will fit into these pegs.
Another interesting feature that the Predators had involved the missile included with Soundwave. If you look into it in the rear, you will note that it is a lot like a scope. The Predator group had four members who were jets. Each jet had a square piece which would fit into the square piece on the top of the missile. Then looking through the scope you would see a battle scene. Each Predator member offered a different battle scene.
Soundwave's colors are much more subdued than Stalker (who was pink and green for the most part). His primary color is silver. The sides and missile launching platform are all maroon. Running along the sides of the silver pats and the edges of the maroon parts is a nice aqua green striped pattern. A disc on the right side of the vehicle is green with a sticker making it look like an access hatch of som sort. The missile is white with a translucent blue tip. Several stickers adorn the missile including one that says "Decep-Mvl" and another saying "319 2X".
For a mold that was created in 1991, this toy has held up well over time. There's quite a bit of detail here. The missile has fins and mechanical details all over it. The vehicle itself has everything from a cockpit area on the front to grilles and vents on the sides. The back has a horizontal pattern which makes it look like troops were meant to stand back there. The treads are solid molded pieces.
The toy actually rolls on wheels on the bottom of the toy.
Due to the removal of the missile firing gun and the missiles themselves, the vehicle mode feels too much like it is missing something. However, the new deco is superior to the original.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Begin the transformation by removing the missile. Set it aside for now. Flip the vehicle over and lift the two panels on the underside of the vehicles' front section. Swing the front section down and close the panels to form the robot legs. If you have the toy standing, you can see the robot fists. Swing the arms down and out. Rotate the upper body around at the waist. Pull back the platform that the missile rested on. Flip up the robot head and then place the missile onto Soundwave's shoulder. Soundwave is now in robot mode.
In robot mode, Soundwave is one tough looking robot. With large shoulder pads, large fists and a rather blocky (yet sleek) look, this is one robot that you don't want to mess with. Most of the detail on this toy is detail carried over from the vehicle mode. The chest does have a nice Decepticon sticker on it and the robot head has nice translucent blue plastic eyes. The face of this robot does bear a slight resemblance to the original Soundwave in that it has a crest on his head, a face plate and "visor" eyes.
The robot mode suffers a bit because of the lack of the missile firing gun. Without that, the only offensive weapon Soundwave seems to have is the big missile on his shoulder. The toy looks much more impressive loaded with missiles and holding one of the Predator guns.
Soundwave has three meaningful points of articulation: the waist and the arms. His legs can tilt back (since that's part of the transformation), but you have to open up the panels in the back first.
Overall, it was nice to see this toy released in the United States, even if it was in a somewhat limited fashion. If you can get this for under $20, I do recommend picking it up if you cannot obtain Stalker for a reasonable price. Ideally, get a bunch of Machine Wars Starscream missiles and load this guy up. Even without the gun, it makes him look much more menacing. B+