Clay's review of: World's Smallest Transformers Soundwave
There's been a certain premium to the World's Smallest Soundwave ever since it debuted a few years ago: partly because it's Soundwave, and partly because it's a Soundwave that is nigh in-scale with some other figures in alternate mode (mass permanency be damned!). When I caught a chance to pick up all the figures from wave 2.5 at once on the cheap, I jumped at it, and I've been both pleased and amazed ever since.
Tape Deck mode:
Soundwave, as a tape deck, is still pretty convincing even at such a small scale. The front buttons are non-functional as always, but the eject button has been omitted because of the small size. No matter! The play here is in the mind, not the toy! Actually, I take that back... it's in the toy, too. Even though some of the fancier mechanisms have been stripped for reasons of scale, the battery cover still comes off and the tape deck still opens up to reveal a cassette inside.
The positive aspect of this version of Soundwave is something that doesn't really carry over to the other World's Smallest (aside from Megatron): the alternate mode is reasonably in-scale with larger, vehicle-based Transformers. Most notable are the Alternators and Binaltechs, which have only come out since the demise of the WSTF line. Of course, the scale is definately not exact (Soundwave is still a bit too large, even with those figures), but as a tape deck, he's much smaller than the cars, and that's close enough for me.
Soundwave's robot mode is a perfect reproduction of the original. The transformation is unaltered, though a few minor twists and turns were omitted in favor of making the figure less fragile. What's truly remarkable about the figure is the level of detail crammed into such a small space. Soundwave retains his forearm markings, back panel details, and molded leg circuitry, along with a perfectly downscaled head sculpt.
As if just making the figure's visual detail fulfilling wasn't enough, Takara took the time to install a couple of gimmicks from the original as well. The back cover comes off, and reveals the batteries/weapons. One can be held while the other is shoulder-mounted as it was on the larger versions.
The other gimmick is, of course, the cassette minion. Ravage is included with Soundwave, and is definately the smallest Transformer made so far (about half the size of the average keyboard key). Ravage's selection was probably due to the original transforming in only one dimension, as opposed to, say, Laserbeak, who has to have extra bits sticking out in all directions. Given the toy's size had to be extremely small, its complexity is minimal: it's made of only four pieces of simple black plastic. Also because of its size, those four pieces are not secured to each other very well. Permanant damage is not the issue, though: losing
pieces that pop off is. Because of this, I'd advise to leave Ravage in Soundwave's chest, and only bring him out for special occassions.
Despite the diminuitive size, Soundwave still has most of the articulation the original had. Elbows, shoulders, hips, and reverse knees are all present and lucid, so it's not hard to have him sitting in the passenger seat of an Alternator Ravage. An important bit of movement - the neck - was omitted though, as the mechanism to have it both fold back and rotate around would've been too much for such a small piece, apparently.
10. Same design as the original, and it's a great way to have both a convincing alternate mode and robot mode with everything in proportion.
5. He's really very tiny, and could easily break with too much pressure. Ravage is something so small that it's destined to be lost if you take it out of the cassette deck too often.
10. A tiny Soundwave that's reasonably proportioned to the ultra-nifty Binaltech figures. Yay!
X. I honestly can't comment on this one. I bought mine as part of a whole set of Wave 2.5 for $20, so his net price was only $4. I've seen the wave go for double what I paid for it, though, so I'd be leary of buying Soundwave as a single.
7.5. Definately one to get if you're a Soundwave fan. However, because of the somewhat iffy price for such a miniscule figure, and because of how easily it could be damaged or lost, it's not something for every collector. If you lose things easily, your money will be wasted on this figure. The World's Smallest Soundwave is definately a conversation piece, though, and one of my favorite figures under three inches.