Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Voyager Class Shockwave Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Beast Hunters, Decepticon, Prime, Voyager

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters

General Information:
Release Date: June 2013
Price Point: $24.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Shoulder armor x 2, Chest Armor

Images:

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics from the Amazon.com:
The cunning and brutal Decepticon scientist Shockwave plans to clone an unstoppable Predacon army! Take your Transformers adventures to the next level with this incredible Shockwave figure and his spinning Hyperflux Cannon! Whether he’s in robot mode or Cybertronian tank mode, he’s a scary enemy for any Autobot, and his snap-on beast armor gives him protection against his Autobot enemies’ attacks. Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever you throw at him! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

"Tales of the Beast Hunters" Chapter 14
With Megatron's disappearance, Shockwave reasons that the Predacons, now led only by Predaking, are going to be bad news for the Decepticons as well as the Autobots. He decides to terminate his cloning program, but as he's shutting down the Hyperevolution laboratory, he discovers an Autobot spy snooping around, and formulates a new plan to destroy the laboratory and blame it on the Autobots, assuring the destruction of Optimus Prime's forces at the claws of the enraged Predaking.

Continued in Chapter Deluxe 12 Deluxe SKYSTALKER (sold separately)

Shockwave was introduced into the "Transformers Prime" universe in the second season of the show, featuring heavily in a flashback episode titled "Out of the Past". This guest appearance would later lead to him becoming a "regular" part of the Decepticon line up in the "Beast Hunters" series. Indeed, Shockwave is the one who creates the Predacons (or recreates if you prefer). Previously I had reviewed the Commander Class version of the character, and in truth much of what was said in that review may wind up getting repeated here since so many aspects of the character are similar between this figure and its smaller counterpart. It's probably worth your time to skim that review before reading this one for a more complete picture on this character in "toy form" thus far.

Robot Mode:
Like many of the "Transformers Prime" characters, Shockwave takes elements of his Generation One namesake and updates them in a new, yet strikingly recognizable form. Among the details of note are:

  • The head design has a single eye with a flattened head and flat panels on the sides, similar to G1 Shockwave. However, the panels on the sides have extra sections and there are extra details on the sides of the head.
  • The chest design comes straight from the G1 version with long "window" with the two sides coming to an angle in the center.
  • The shoulder armor has parts that come out to the sides in a horizontal pattern, but there are more layers and some "circuit" like designs in front.
  • Shockwave's left arm is a giant cannon, this is a callback to G1 Shockwave whose left hand was a blaster.
  • The waist area has a center piece which angles out in front, a callback to the trigger that was located there on the Generation One toy.
  • Each of the robot legs has knee armor that comes to a point (like claws) and his feet extend far out from the lower legs. Both of these are exaggerated/stylized versions of similar details on G1 Shockwave.

Overall, what makes this figure unique to the "Beast Hunters" line and not just a replica of the G1 version of the character are the many curved parts and its distinct cannon arm. The curves can be seen everywhere, from the shoulder armor to the forearms all the way to the feet, which come to three claw-like points at the end. The cannon arm is just that, an entire forearm section that reaches far past the knees. This stylized approach certainly borrows design influences from the "Dark of the Moon" incarnation of the character, but is also consistent with the very fluid look of most of the "Transformers Prime" robot designs. There's also a tendency to angle a lot of design elements such as the blade-like protrusions on the sides of the left forearm and the "antennae" on his head. They don't come straight up at 90 degree angles, instead they splay out a bit, giving them a more dynamic look. Another trademark of the TV Show models are clawed fingers on many characters, and Shockwave has that on his right hand, which features sculpted fingers all offset slightly from one another, showing off his clawed fingers nicely. More detail can be found on the back if you lift his "back pack" showing spine-like detailing. It's kind of creepy and cool all at the same time. Overall, Shockwave has a really nicely done design and I think it looks fantastic.

Shockwave is cast in several plastic colors: purple, silver, dark grey and translucent red (which borders almost on an orange). The purple is the primary color of course, with the silver and dark grey (which you could also call gunmetal, though it's not quite "metallic" enough to qualify in my book) make up smaller sections such as his waist, upper arms and feet. The translucent parts appear in two places: the eye, the chest and on the tip of the inside of his "Hyperflux" arm cannon.

These plastic colors are bolstered by the following paint colors: grey, silver, gunmetal and metallic purple. The silver is used on the edge of the cannon and on the sides of each foot (overlapping two of the "claws" on each foot). The grey is used to add additional coloring to parts like the knees and the bottom of the cannon. The metallic colors are used on the "circuit board" like details on his shoulder armor. These details "glow" purple on the show and I almost wish they were painted a neon purple or something to simulate that look, but the copper color does work well against the purple.

There are nineteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes five points of articulation on each arm and four on each leg. In a really neat bit of design, the curved part of the shoulder armor actually flips up (and comes back down via a spring automatically), allowing the arms to fully swing out to the sides without sacrificing the visual of having the armor over the shoulder piece. Thanks to his really wide feet (which are show accurate), Shockwave is quite stable in a variety of poses including pointing his cannon forward. In a really cool bit of design inspiration working towards show accuracy, you can (gently) pull out the tread on the left side of his "back pack" and connect it to a rectangular groove on the cannon, thus creating the "wire" connection between his back and the cannon as seen in the "Transformers Prime" TV Show. This is actually a callback to G1 Shockwave, who had a wire running from the back to his "blaster arm". What's great is that the "tread/wire" is long enough to allow Shockwave to point the cannon up as well. Shockwave's cannon arm has a silver button on top that you can press to activate his "Hyperflux" cannon. When you do this, the barrel of the cannon does two things simultaneously: it opens up the sides of the cannon, showing the translucent plastic underneath and it spins around which makes for a pretty nice action feature. While Shockwave's hand is not cast as a fist, it can hold a 5mm peg weapon. He also has a connection point on his right forearm for another weapon (as if he needs more!).

So far in the "Beast Hunters" toy line, Decepticons like Dreadwing have been given new forms with "beast" like features integrated into the body. However, most of those characters have had previous incarnations that were purely robotic and based on their TV show models. Shockwave however has not appeared as a Voyager Class figure until now, yet the designers needed to give him "beast" like features somehow. The compromise? Detachable armor! There are three armor pieces. Two are claws that attach to the shoulders as shoulder armor. They look like bones and are roughly based on the fossils that the Transformers were chasing in early episodes of "Beast Hunters". The chest piece looks like a skull piece that once belonged to a Predacon's head complete with small "eyes" on the sides and curved pieces that resemble parts of a jawbone in the center. If you stare at this armor a particular way, it bears some minor resemblance to the head design of "Beast Wars" Rampage, complete with sharp points on the sides that flair up, but I might be reading too much into the design. Each of these pieces is cast in rubbery, brown-red plastic. The chest armor has green in the center an on the eyes with purple on some of the top layers. Overall, I think these are neat as armor but they can also serve as Predacon "fossil artifacts" to use in adventures if you're mimicking the television show. I think it was a fantastic call to make the armor detachable so you can have a "pure" Shockwave figure instead.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the armor pieces if attached.
  2. Swing each foot down, then slide the feet forward.
  3. Swing each leg out to the side, then rotate it around so you can swing the lower legs forward, forming the front of the tank mode.
  4. Swing the chest panel forward. The back of the chest panel has clips/tabs that can slide into slots on the thighs.
  5. Swing the back pack up and swing up each of the "blade" like pieces. Also, pull the tread sections out to the sides to widen that section.
  6. Rotate the robot head around.
  7. Pull the panels covering the chest down.
  8. Swing the cannon arm up and clip the bottom to the clips on the center of the chest.
  9. Swing the right arm back, attach the forearm to the peg underneath.

Vehicle Mode:
Shockwave's vehicle form is a scifi styled "H-tank", sort of a cousin of other Transformers like Armada Megatron and Generations Warpath. Unlike those examples however, this is a much more stylized and alien looking tank. This is thanks in part to the many sharp and curved parts such as those on thefront of the vehicle and the various "spikes" sticking up from the cannon and the back of the figure. Indeed, there's something almost crustacean like about its appearance, like the front are claws and the cannon is an oddly shaped head. There's a rather unsettling look to the vehicle which is perfect since Shockwave himself is generally an unsettling character! In terms of show accuracy, most of the key details including the appearance of the front end and the giant cannon on top are present though on the show his vehicle form isn't quite as tall and rides lower to the ground. Overall I think it looks great and rather threatening.

All the robot mode colors carry over here, with the cannon and the legs (now the front of the tank) taking center stage. The only "new" color reveals are found on the torso piece (now the center platform of the tank) which is cast in silver.

In terms of functionality, Shockwave does have rubbery treads in the back, but they don't move. Instead, the rear treads have small wheels in the middle. His front section has larger wheels underneath his "feet. The "Hyperflux" cannon's spinning feature still works in this mode, but the turret can't turn unless you disconnect it from the base.All the "beast" armor can attach to the middle and front sections of the tank, making him look even more like a big, mutant crab of some sort. It looks extra creepy and I love it. What's cool is that the connection points for the "claw" pieces also allow you to attach additional weaponry to the front end.

Final Thoughts:
Shockwave is well worth the wait (most fans feel we should've gotten a toy last year). The figure looks great in both modes and he's fun to play with. Not having the "beast" armor be a permanent part of the figure is a great idea. As an old skool fan, I also love the Generation One homage elements in the figure. Highly recommended!