"Generations" Fall of Cybertron Shockwave Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: July 2012
Price Point: $14.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Arm cannon, Arm cannon barrel/cover

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from the Official Transformers Web Site:
The battle between AUTOBOT and DECEPTICON is never over, and this SHOCKWAVE figure is the next generation of awesome TRANSFORMERS action! Your SHOCKWAVE figure comes armed with his strategic thinking skills and a laser cannon that will make any AUTOBOT think twice about taking him on. But when he needs to go on the move with more firepower, convert him to Cybertronian mobile artillery vehicle mode! Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his AUTOBOT enemies try to dish out! Figure converts from robot mode to vehicle mode and back! Includes laser cannon accessory! Cybertronian mobile artillery vehicle mode!

Figure comes with accessory. Series 01 003 SHOCKWAVE. Ages 5 and up.

2012's big "Transformers" multimedia event was not a movie, but rather a video game. Following up on the success of "War for Cybertron", High Moon Studios was due to release "Fall of Cybertron" in August of 2012 so a large portion of the "Generations" toy line became dedicated to characters and designs from the game itself. Shockwave was one of those chosen for the action figure treatment. Not only is he a character in the game, but he was also a character in the recent "Dark of the Moon" feature film, making him a perfect villain to include in the initial assortment of "Fall of Cybertron" action figures.

This particular wave of "Generations" figures also marks a significant change in the "Transformers" toy line. The Deluxe Class figures of this line are notably smaller than their counterparts from previous years and the price point has gone up, averaging $12.99-14.99 depending on where you go instead of the more traditional $9-12.99. The reality is that this is a reflection of the current economic climate around the world. I hope to see a time when the size of figures in this class increase again (but I'm not holding my breath).

Robot Mode:
Some characters in the "War for Cybertron"/"Fall of Cybertron" series look quite different than the G1 counterparts we've come to know over the years. However, in the case of Shockwave the designers really made it a point to keep as many G1 details intact while adding in elements that come from the "modern" Transformers aesthetic (usually involving layered panels, more intricate mechanical parts and the use of sharp angles).

The G1 elements of Shockwave's design are right in your face as soon as you look at the figure. His head design has a flattened design with his unique single eye in the center. On top is a ridge leading to a notch at the end, a detail borrowed from G1 Shockwave, but exaggerated a bit. The sides of his head have flat "ear" panels that sweep back, another exaggerated/stylized detail borrowed from G1 Shockwave. Other G1 elements include his six sided chest design, complete with a translucent plastic window in front, angled shoulder armor and flat legs with panels on the sides that appear to be the grips on a weapon (though in this case they're not). The chest panel detail in particular is really nice as there are line details carved into the front of the window and then more details behind it.

From a modern design perspective, many of Shockwave's details are rather intricate and he's choc full of angled bits especially on his legs, mid-body and back. This series of layered panels gives him a decidedly alien look and one that reflects current design of Transformers as seen both on film and in the video games. Other awesome details include a bit of his "spine" exposed in the back and a series of tubes and wires connecting his neck to the head. Unlike his G1 counterpart, this Shockwave has two regular fists, however his blaster accessory can be attached to his forearm to create a "gun arm", but instead of just one small barrel, this blaster looks like it has three barrels all focusing energy into a wide barrel. It's a very impressive sight and I appreciate the design homage to G1 Shockwave with a modern touch. Perhaps the least "G1" feature on the figure are the wings on his back. Since his alternate form is a mobile weapons platform and not a "space gun" (though one could argue the two are the same thing) he has wings for "flight". Indeed, a redeco/retool of this sculpt will later be made into the Aerialbot Fireflight!

Shockwave uses all the traditional colors associated with the character. Most of the figure is cast in a dark purple with a finish on it that makes it almost sparkle under certain light. Smaller parts such as the forearms and feet cast in black. His eye and chest planel are translucent purple plastic. Most of the paint details are silver, including the barrel of his weapon, the sides and front of his lower legs, parts of the waist and the head. A small purple and silver Decepticon symbol is found under his chest and pink is used for some "glowing" details on his torso and lower legs. Overall Shockwave looks great, and the fact is he's not one of those characters that needs a whole lot of deco. He's traditionally had a very "solid" color scheme without extra bits of paint everywhere. Overall he looks fantastic!

There are nineteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes five on each arm and four on each leg. I am including the ability of each fist to turn in, but that doesn't diminish the ability for his shoulders to swivel up and down and his ball joints at the elbows. This is one nicely articulated figure. As mentioned earlier, Shockwave's weapon can be held in his fist, or if you swing the fist in, it can be attached to his forearm via the tab on the underside of the weapon. It fits perfectly and looks like an integrated part of his arm, not something slapped on top of it. Interestingly, the designers gave Shockwave an "alternative" weapon. Detach the silver barrel piece at the end of the weapon and you reveal a three barreled weapon! I love this extra touch and I appreciate that the barrel piece that slides off sits nice and tight when attached and doesn't go flying off. In the weapon storage department, Shockwave has a hole on the back that allows you to attach the weapon, freeing up his hands to hold other weapons or just punch out Autobots (your choice).

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon if attached and attach it using the tab at the end to the corresponding hole on the back in between the legs.
  2. Swing the fists in on each forearm.
  3. Swing the shoulders down.
  4. Push the robot head down.
  5. Rotate the chest back.
  6. Swing each of the shoulders up and attach them to the area where the chest/head piece was just sitting.
  7. Rotate the arms around on the shoulder hinge and then connect the two forearm pieces together.
  8. Move the forearm pieces (now thrusters) up so the tabs at the end connect to the corresponding holes on the piece formed by the back and chest sections.
  9. Move the robot legs so they are over the weapon and connect them together in the front.
  10. Rotate the panels on the sides of the legs around so the angled points face downward.
  11. Swing the wings forward.

Vehicle/Cannon Mode:
It's kind of funny, Shockwave's "vehicle/cannon" mode is described as a mobile artillery unit on the packaging, but at the end of the day, Shockwave still manages to look like a giant space gun. Sure he has lots of angled, jagged details and he doesn't have a handle sticking out the bottom, but with the front end basically being a gigantic blaster barrel, the image is hard to escape. It is countered a bit by the fact that he has wings on the sides now (though not very large ones) and the thrusters on his back. A case can definitely be made for Shockwave being more of an aerial vehicle than a gigantic blaster, but I'm glad the designers kept just enough of that design element in to pay homage to the G1 version of the character.

With all his armor panels condensed, this mode focuses a lot more on the purple plastic colors. The translucent purple panels are prominent as well. The clear panel from the robot chest winds up on the top here, looking almost like a cockpit or if you prefer to view this as a weapon and not a vehicle, a gigantic targeting scope. A bit of black plastic shows through here in the center, on the tips towards the front and on the thrusters in the back. Silver provides coloring from the front to the back, focusing on the edges of the wings, the sides of the cannon barrel section and the middle in the front. In the very front you'll find pink paint on the ends of the barrel reflecting similar details on his cannon weapon in robot mode. Just based on the colors alone there's no mistaking this vehicle/weapon for Shockwave!

Oddly, Shockwave's vehicle/Cannon mode has no attachment points for additional weapons. I grant that he is basically one gigantic weapon by himself, so he doesn't necesarily need more weapons, but still it would've been cool.

Final Thoughts:
Shockwave looks fantastic in both his modes. He also has some fun play factor with the blaster weapon and I appreciate the way the sculpt merges aesthetics from G1 and the "modern" day era of Transformers. Highly recommended.

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