Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Soundwave Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Beast Hunters, Decepticon, Deluxe, Deployers, Generation One, Prime

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters

General Information:
Release Date: December 2012
Price Point: $15.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: "Talon Grapple Cannon" weapon/launcher, Claw projectile, Ravage Deployer figure

Images:

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics from the Amazon.com:
A fanatic henchman of mighty Megatron, who patrols the skies in search of the Autobot enemy! Autobots beware, because this Soundwave figure is looking for a fight! This powerful robot’s Talon Grapple Cannon launches a grappling hook that traps and crushes his enemies! The Ravage mini-figure will fight at his side or convert to recon mode to gather intelligence. When they need to make a quick escape or dive-bomb their enemies, convert both of them to fighter jet mode! Keep converting them back and forth so their Autobot enemies can’t keep up! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Text from instructions:
Talon Grapple Cannon

  • Snares and instantly disables targets.
  • Data filaments drain information from grappled subjects.
  • Powerful enough to crush host subjects after data drain.

"Tales of the Beast Hunters" Chapter 2

There is no transmission so secure that it will not yield to the tender decryption of Soundwave. Such is the case with the conversation between Bumblebee and Wheeljack, and so, within minutes of the two Autobots blasting off for the distant asteroid belt, Megatron and Predaking also set course for the ancient weapons cache. Soundwave remains on Earth, patiently monitoring Autobot transmissions, assuring his leader that they are indeed alone. It is an opportunity to not only destroy this pair of Autobots, but also to secure weapons that ensure victory over the rest - an opportunity arranged with patient satisfaction by the Decepticon data master.

Continued in Chapter 3 Deluxe Lazerback (sold separately)

SoundwaveAt the end of second season of "Transformers Prime", the Autobots were scattered, in hiding form the Decepticons. This doesn't mean the Decepticons are just hanging around waiting for them to show up. One of the Decepticons working hard to find them is Soundwave, who previously appeared in the toy line as a Deluxe figure. This figure is a retool and redeco of that figure. The changes are pretty significant, but it's worth reading the original review to familiarize yourself with the base toy. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Robot Mode:
Soundwave's new form suggests that the Decepticons were successful in getting upgraded weaponry just as the Autobots were. The general theme of these upgrades appear to be avian/bird inspired armor and weaponry and new coloring. Like most of the retools of previous sculpts, more was done than just a wap out of a head sculpt or limb. Let's go through the changes:

  • The head sculpt has been changed. The sides of his helmet section near the chin now have extra panels coming out the sides at angles.
  • The torso section has been modified, most particularly at the shoulders which have much more stylized details with sharper angles.
  • Each forearm has been completely replaced. Instead of one thin piece, the outer part is a sleek wing piece with a curve at the end and three "blades" near the elbow. His hands are now a separate (and very thin) piece of plastic that can swing inward.
  • The piece on his back based on the stabilizer fins from the vehicle mode has been given larger and more exaggerated pieces. This includes a fin in the center and longer pieces at the top which now resemble tail feathers on a bird.
  • The hip joint pieces have been modified, with a larger beveled detail than seen previously.
  • The lower legs have been heavily modified with curved and stylized pieces set in layers that come to points (pointing up and down).

With regards to his colors, I've seen some complaints online about Soundwave's new "neon" yellow and how it looks terrible against the blue color etc. and I can asusre you the yellow isn't quite "neon". It's bright alright, but it's not exactly the color of a highlighter marker either. The yellow, like many of the colors used on this figure are call backs to the many past incarnations of the character. This time out, his primary plastic colors are a dark blue and a metallic blue. Smaller parts are cast in brown, black and the aforementioned yellow color. The brown is kind of the "odd color out". I'm not sure why it was used. It doesn't look bad per se, but it doesn't look great either. I think the brown parts would have been better off as a dark metallic color (gunmetal comes to mind). The other colors (primarily the blues and yellow in particular) do a nice job of representing classic "Soundwave" colors (for those wondering, in the animated series, yellow was used on several parts where the toy was gold).

Paint decos are done in yellow, gold, silver and dark blue. For the most part, these colors also echo classic Soundwave colors as well. The most heavily painted part is the head (painted dark blue, with a yellow crest and gold face). The sides of each shoulder has a silver Decepticon symbol. There's a standalone bit of dark purple at the waist, which stands out a bit since the color doesn't appear anywhere else in this form. The other parts have mostly smaller details such as the silver on his forearm "blades" and brown on his waist. Aside from the brown (which I'm really just neutral on) I like his other colors a lot. They're different than his previous release and the diversity of colors is more appealing to me.

Soundwave's joints have been slightly re-engineered, so he winds up with twenty two points of articulation. In particular, his forearms aren't one piece, they're two now. He has a forearm "armor" piece (essentially the wing ends) and then inside that is a thinner, rubbery forearm piece which actually has his hands at the end. This forearm section has a hinge joint which can lock nicely, that in turn is connected to both a swivel joint and a ball joint. Don't let the thin arms fool you however, he can still hold his weapon up without a problem.

This release of Soundwave brings us a new character. Instead of being packaged with Laserbeak, this time out we get Ravage! Like Laserbeak, Ravage attaches his chest and "ejects" in a bit of funcitonality reminscent of G1 Soundwave. Ravage looks cool, with a G1 Ravage inspired feline head and neck. His legs are all blade shaped, making him look smooth and taking inspiration from the avian stylings on Soundwave himself.. He's even sculpted with a small tail. Overall he looks really cool for a little accessory and a less ambiguous in form than Laserbeak. Ravage is cast in black and brown plastic. The black makes up the main body with brown plastic used for the legs. The back and tail are painted silver, which ends up showing off the silver detail when he is attached to Soundwave.

Soundwave also has a new weapon in the form of his "Talon Grapple Cannon". True to its name, the cannon itself has some sharp detailing on top (including the trigger) that resembles Soundwave's own stylings. The projecticle is a giant claw. The projectile is tied to the cannon by a string, essentially making this a "capture" tool. The claw on the projectile is hinged, allowing you to grab enemies with it!

I'm really happy with the robot mode of this figure. All the changes actually make the figure more visually interesting and I appreciate the swap out of Laserbeak for Ravage and the addition of his cannon.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Ravage can stay attached or be kept separate.
  3. Swing in each forearm, attaching it to the upper arm using the peg on the inside of each arm.
  4. Straighten out the arms and connect each of the forearm wing pieces to the upper arm.
  5. Swing up each foot against the lower leg.
  6. Swing the two black heel pieces together.
  7. Straighten out each leg and connect them together.
  8. Swing each arm/wing section down and connect the tab at the base of the wings to the matching hole on the robot mode's hip joints.
  9. Swing the back piece up, push the head into that slot, swing out the rear booster and swing the piece back down.
  10. Attach the weapon to the wings, the hole in the middle on the top or bottom of the vehicle.
  11. Ravage can be reattached to the robot chest.

Vehicle Mode:
Soundwave's vehicle mode is still based on a "Predator" style drone, but whereas his original form looked like something you would expect to see on Earth, this figure looks a lot more exotic and alien in this form. Most of this new detail is concentrated in the center of the vehicle and the wings. The center part from the front to the base of the wings has a layer of angled and curved details that come to fine points. This includes the front end, where the curved front section is now flanked by blade like details and the middle which has two small triangular pieces sweeping back. The wings themselves are no longer just flat, rectangular pieces. Instead, they have a much thicker extension from the middle to the end with layered details in the front and the "blades" from the forearms in the back. Combined with the curved claw-like designs at the end, his wings look like those you'd find on a mechanical bird. At the back, a higher vertical fin has been added in the center with some extra arrow shaped details right behind the angled fins. The net effect is that the rear section looks like the tail feathers on a bid, completing the avian theme.

Soundwave shows off more of his metallic blue in this form, and now that its laid out in a flatter form, you can get a good look at the blue "swirls" inside the plastic. It seems this is a common theme for the "Beast Hunters" vehicle-based Transformers and it really looks cool. Yellow plastic stil shows up in this form at the base of his wings and the middle, but it doesn't dominate at all. The brown plastic only appears at the back of each wing and offers variety without overwhelming any other colors. His rear section is a combination of dark blue, metallic blue and black for the base and fins respectively. Paint applications remain consistent with the robot mode, with the yellow and gold details showing up on his wings and the center of the body. The silver Decepticon symbols from his shoulders show up as angled symbols on his wings. Normally I'm very big on adding more deco, but this vehicle looks great as is, thanks in part to the diversity of his plastic colors.

There are 5mm peg holes on the bottom, top (in the middle) and each wing of the vehicle, allowing you to potentially attach up to four weapons at one time (or more if those) weapons allow further attachments). The peg on the bottom of the cannon/missile launcher is designed to be at a slight angle, allowing you to attach the cannon in the middle of the vehicle (top or bottom) without having the claw projectile push up against the body of the aircraft itself, a touch that I really appreciate.

Final Thoughts:
Of the two versions of Soundwave I own so far (I don't have the Arms Micron version) this is my preferred verstion. That probably shocks some people who have called this release everything from "unnecessary" to "too loud in color". For me, the colors work out really nicely and I appreciate the new accessories, particularly Ravage who I find to be a stronger "Deployer" accessory than Laserbeak. Highly recommended!