"Authentics" Soundwave (Alpha) Toy Review

11/20/20

General Information:
Release Date: Q2 2020
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Limited Markets (Amazon, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Walgreens etc.)
Accessories: Cannon, Radar Dish

Official product photos and information below in italics are from the Hasbro Web Site:
Transformers Authentics figures feature popular Transformers characters at a 7-inch scale. Experience the excitement of Transformers conversion play with this Transformers Authentics Soundwave figure. It changes from robot mode to vehicle mode and back in just 6 easy steps. Choose a side and collect other Transformers Authentics figures to stage epic Autobot vs. Decepticon battles (each sold separately. Subject to availability).

Soundwave is an evil Decepticon spy who uses advanced receptors to gather secret information about the Autobots. His ability to scramble, encode, and decode data signals of all kinds make him a valuable asset to Megatron. Transformers Authentics figures bring the exciting conversion play you expect from a Transformers figure. Transformers Authentics figures are a great way to start any Transformers collection. Features classic conversion from robot to vehicle modes in 6 steps. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro. Hasbro and all related terms are trademarks of Hasbro.

  • Includes: Soundwave figure.
  • AUTHENTICS ARE GENUINE TRANSFORMERS FIGURES: Authentics figures are a great value and the perfect way to start your Transformers collection
  • CHOOSE YOUR SIDE: The heroic Autobots or the evil Decepticons and collect other Authentics figures (each sold separately, subject to availability) to stage an epic battle
  • AWESOME TRANSFORMERS CONVERTING ACTION BETWEEN ROBOT AND VEHICLE MODES: Fun play for ages 6 and up with easy conversion from robot mode to vehicle alt mode
  • G1-INSPIRED CYBERTRONIAN ALT MODE: Soundwave figure features classic conversion from robot to G1-inspired vehicle mode in 6 steps
  • Figure scale: 7 inches
  • Ages 8 and up
  • WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.

Packaging:
Like previous "Alpha" Authentics figures, Soundwave is packaged in robot mode on a large blister card. Given that the figure is roughly the size of a Voyager Class it is an interesting choice. I'm guessing it was mostly made out of cost considerations. The card itself features "Evergreen" Soundwave art which is heavily based on his G1 appearance. The packaging focuses on the contrast between white, blue and red so it really pops nicely on shelf (or peg).

Robot Mode:
Soundwave is one of the most iconic Transformers characters from the G1 era. He was heavily featured in the original show and his micro-recorder mode from G1 really emphasized the "Robots in Disguise" aspect of the 80's toy line. However, as technology moved along in real life, transforming into a cassette recorder was almost quaint, and designers have attempted to update Soundwave a lot over the years, giving him new forms such as ground vehicles. This figure follows that path, but it still incorporates a lot of classic elements to the robot mode. These include:

  • The head sculpt is classic Soundwave including the two pronged crest in the middle and his mouth plate.
  • The chest design fetures a "cassette compartment" (though it does not open on this figure).
  • The waist area features triangular designs and shapes in the middle suggesting buttons carried over from a cassette recorder mode.
  • Soundwave's cannon can mount on his right shoulder, similar to the way G1 Soundwave would use one of his weapons.

This modern robot design adds on some fun details that allude to the "sound" part of his name. Most notable are the legs, which feature circular details on them that look like he has speakers integrated into his lower legs. He also has circle details on his forearms which also suggest that he can send out sound waves from them! I really love these details as they riff off both the character's names and abilities.

In a bit of an odd design quirk, Soundwave's upper body looks a tad out of proportion with his lower body. The legs actually look just right in package until you swing out the robot feet which makes the legs longer. This increases the height from roughly 7 inches to almost 8 inches (about 17.78cm to 20.32cm)! This surprised me given that this is a figure aimed at a lower cost market. I'm not complaining, especially since you can still swing the feet in and Soundwave stands just fine.

Soundwave is blue and silver plastic. There is quite a bit of deco on this figure given its price point. Grey is used on the face while red is found on his eyes and legs. The chest has tampographs for the "door" and he has some grey on the waist area and legs. Even his radar dish has deco, which totally surprised me. He is not quite at a Generations level deco, but he looks good!

There are fifteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes a bunch of ball joints such as on the hips and elbows, so his range is pretty good. Oddly, the right forearm falls off pretty easily if you manipulate it enough, yet the joint feels tight. Go figure. No big deal since it snaps back on. You can attach his cannon to the port on the right of the head. The radar dish attaches to a slot on the left. The weapon has a 5mm peg, so it can also attach to the ports in his hands.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Push the feet up into the lower legs.
  4. On either side of the head there are panels on hinges, swing those up.
  5. Swing the arms up at the shoulders and push them in to form the sides of the vehicle.
  6. Swing the panel on the back forward to form the front of the vehicle.
  7. Push the lower legs together, then swing them up to form the back of the vehicle.
  8. Attach the radar dish to the top of the cabin section.
  9. Attach the cannon to the port on the rear section of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
Soundwave's vehicle mode is a futuristic looking SUV. This mode leans heavily into its scifi appearance and the G1 homages seen in the robot mode. For instance, right on the hood of the car is a rectangular design. It is unpainted, but the shape is clearly meant to evoke G1 Soundwave's "cassette compartment" on his chest. Then running along the sides and on the back are the "speaker" details from the robot mode parts. There are some really nice small details like panels and cross hatch patterns that surprised me. Earlier Authentics figures were not quite as detailed so this was nice to see.

This mode is mostly blue plastic with black used for the wheels. Grey, black and yellow paint are used for detailing. If this were a pricier figure, I would expect the hood and sides of the vehicle to be painted to bring out the sculpted details, but given the price point I'm not surprised they are unpainted. Let's call it a customizing opportunity for you talented fans out there!

The vehicle has slots on the top to attach his accessories. I appreciate the way the radar dish taps into his "sound" functions while the cannon references how powerful of a warrior he is.

Final Thoughts:
Authentics Soundwave really shows how this "lower budget" line can really produce a good figure. Given the price point and the intent of this figure, I am really appreciative of how much the designers achieved. If you're a fan of Soundwave or want to have a fun "Deskbot" Soundwave for your collection this is a great choice. Recommended!

Pros:

  • Nice sculpt with many G1 Soundwave homage details.
  • Good deco given the price point.
  • A nice sized figure, with a height that measures up to Voyager Class figures.

Cons:

  • Limited articulation compared to a Generations figure (but it is also a lot cheaper).
  • The proportions in robot mode look a little off with the feet extended out, but this is hardly a deal breaker.