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TRANSFORMERS TOYS AND MERCHANDISE SECTION

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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Savannahtron's review: 2009 reissue Soundwave

Name: Soundwave

Function: Communications.

“Cries and screams are music to my ears.”

It is said Soundwave can hear a fly sneeze. Uses anything he hears for blackmail to advance his status. Opportunist. Despised by all other Decepticons. Sensors can detect even lowest energy radio transmissions. Able to read minds by monitoring electrical brain impulses. Acts as radio link for others. Locates and identifies Autobots, then informs Decepticons. Carries a concussion blaster gun. Often target of retaliation by his comrades.

Str 8,Int 9, Speed 2, Endurance 6, Rank 8, Courage 5, Fireblast 6, Skill 10

Alternate mode:
Soundwave turns into a stereo micro cassette recorder. For the time when he was first released in 1980s, this was relatively new technology and the Sony Walkman was soon to come. When he was released in Transformers, he was still very current as a micro cassette player, and a very interactive one at that.

In micro cassette player mode, Soundwave has a working tape player chest compartment that opens for storage of the his tapes minions. He also has a working battery cover which doubles as a belt clip. Soundwave’s missile launcher and shoulder gun double as AA sized batteries and gives the toy the illusion of being a real tape player. Of the various Transformers of any series, Soundwave’s alternate mode is very realistic and as close to an actual sized replica possible.

Robot mode:
Soundwave is rather large for a single sized G1 figure. He has a lot of articulation for a G1 figure as well. His head rotates, which is very rare for any G1 figure, his shoulders and hips rotate, giving him more poses than a normal G1 figure as well. Last but not least his chest compartment opens when he beckons his minions and tapes start flying out like crazy.

This 25th anniversary edition is released under the Transformers Universe line, and was released during the 2009 Comic-Con exclusive (Transformers Club, 2009) along with four tapes: Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Ravage and Ratbat. I was really excited to hear about this release because the last version I picked up of Soundwave was the Takara #10 Soundwave that came with Condor and the alternative chest hinge which is kind of like a modified version of what Soundblaster (Japanese Soundwave reborn) had. I really did not like the chest piece, but when I heard this version had the regular chest piece, I had to have it.

He comes in the box in robot form holding his laser and surrounded by his tape minions. The 25th anniversary is the Transformers Universe design, which looks great. The box art show Soundwave in a battle ready stance with Laserbeak on his shoulder. What is interesting to note about the box is on the back of the box, the picture of Soundwave has the chest piece I was talking about earlier, but as you can see, Soundwave has his normal chest piece instead, which really makes a difference.

Oh yeah, so we covered a lot of stuff, but how about joints? Are the joints tight, can he really hold his arm up and have Laserbeak hanging? Do his legs flop forward and leave him stuck? Does his arm fall down slowly whenever you point his laser at Optimus Prime? He has really tight joints and his knees have clicking joints. They have added some stability to the toy because most of us G1 collectors really want tight joints for some peculiar reason.

Transformation: 8/10 Soundwave has a great alternative mode and turns into a realistic looking micro cassette recorder.
Durability: 8/10 This is an improvement over previous versions of a G1 Soundwave release.
Fun: 10/10 I’ll admit Soundwave is one of my favorite Decepticons. Ever. Period.
Price: $49.99 was the original price at the 2009 Comic-Con release. For the rest of the known world who could not attend 2009 Comic-Con, we have to resort to second hand dealers or if you were one of the lucky ones, Hasbro Toy Shop had it up for about a day before it was sold out. As for me, I paid $75 including shipping on eBay and was very pleased.
Overall: Soundwave is a core figure of the G1 series. Throughout time, Soundwave has come to be a persistent character that everyone loves. What makes him really cool is that he was a really articulated G1 figure and how can you beat a Con that has tape minions that he can summon for whatever diabolic plan he has? The 25th Transformers Universe anniversary edition Soundwave is one of the best G1 releases I have seen and recommend that everyone try to get it.

Name: Laserbeak

Function: Interrogation

“The only point I like in Autobots: melting point.”

Laserbeak takes pleasure in hunting his prey—usually the straggling survivors of a battle. Noticeably not brave. Will run for safety if threatened. Flies at speed up to 250mph. Uses two independently targetable laser cannons with extreme precision to get information from captives. Shortage of ruby crystals that powers the laser can panic his systems into shutting down.

Str 5, Int 6, Spd 8, End 5, Rank 6, Courage 2, Firepower 8, Skill 9

Alternate mode: Micro cassette. Moving along.

Robot mode: Laserbeak turns into a flying robotic condor. His tape body opens up to make the wings, the head comes out, and the feet flip out. Then you attach his laser cannons to his back and Bam! You got Laserbeak. Laserbeak was one of the first Decepticons that shows just how crafty Soundwave can be. At one point, Laserbeak is chasing Cliffjumper and Hound. The two split up, and Laserbeak takes them both out by following Hound and sending a laser drone from his rocket pack after Cliffjumper.

Transformation: 7/10. Laserbeak turns into a realistic looking micro cassette tape, which fits nicesly into Soundwave’s chest.
Durability: 9/10 Metal version. G1 beefy metal. You know it.
Fun: 9/10 Laserbeak is a lot of fun to play in addition to Soundwave.
Price: Came with 25th anniversary Soundwave.
Overall: 10/10 Laserbeak is definitely one of the classic Soundwave minions. He was always Megatron’s favorite pet and was not afraid to mess up any Autobot’s plans.

Name: Buzzsaw

Function: Spy

“My bite is worse than my bark.”

Civil and sophisticated yet very cruel and destructive. Approaches his lethal tasks like a fine artist. Each deadly mission is like working on a new masterpiece. Can pinpoint and photograph a thumbtack from 20 miles away. Flies at 250mph. Carries twin mortar cannons. Diamond-hard, micro-serrated beak can carve up almost any opponent. Due to large ego, will often sulk rather than proceed if his plans go astray.

Str 5, Int 8, Spd 8, End 4, Rank 6, Courage 7, Firepower 4, Skill 9

Alternate mode: Gold micro cassette tape. Moving along again.

Robot mode: Buzzsaw is a gold version of Laserbeak. The primary difference is that Buzzsaw’s chest is gold painted and the wing stickers are gold background instead of silver like Laserbeaks. Identically the same toy otherwise. I always felt that Laserbeak used more of Buzzsaw’s characteristics in the cartoon. As it was, Laserbeak was the one with all the glory, while Buzzsaw got a few minutes of fame.

Transformation: 7/10 Buzzsaw and Laserbeak are both very cool bots.
Durability: 9/10 G1 metal goodness again. Yay!
Fun: 9/10 While the cartoon and comic give both different personalities, the toys are identical other than coloring (Buzzsaw and Laserbeak). Both are great!
Price: Came with 25th Anniversary Soundwave.
Overall: 10/10 Buzzsaw is a cool Soundwave minion.

Name: Ravage

Function: Saboteur

“Today’s Autobots are tomorrow scrap metal.”

Ravage operates best alone. A creature of the night. Craftiest of all Decepticons. Adept at devising deadly strategies. Remains aloof from others, but his deeds command their respect. Can virtually escape detection—emits and electromagnetic emission shield, has a soundless walk, disappears in subdued light or shadow. Carries 2 powerful heat-seeking missiles. Light-sensitive. Can be blinded.

Str 5, Int 8, Spd 5, End 6, Rank 6, Courage 4, Firepower 7, Skill 10

Alternate mode: Micro cassette tape. And we are off…

Robot mode: Ravage transforms into jaguar. Equiped with hip missles, Ravage was one of the coolest Decepticons and was always ready for a fight. This G1 robot comes with metal legs, tight joints and lovely chrome accessories. The toy is very narrow and looks better from the side than the front, but never the less, Ravage is an awesome Soundwave minion.

As an aside, I picked up the Classics Hound that came with Ravage which is an awesome version of Ravage. All plastic and the hip missiles are part of the mold and a lot smaller, but the tape bot rox.

Transformation: 8/10 Ravage looks really cool with his missiles and turns into a good version of micro cassette tape.
Durability: 9/10 Again, G1 metal goodness.
Fun: 10/10 Ravage is a lot of fun either alone or with Soundwave.
Price: Came with 25th Anniversary Soundwave. Seeing a pattern yet?
Overall: Ravage overall is a great release and for anyone that never had either the tapes or Soundwave, this version is great! Very true to the original release.

Name: Ratbat

Function: Fuel scout

“The road is my dinner plate.”

Has no friends, only business partners…his only allegiance is to himself. Refuels by plunging his mecha-fangs into new cars’ gas lines—the better the car, the better the gasoline tastes. Maximum flying speed: 65mph. Carries two radar-guided, free-electronic lasers that detect the presence of an object as small as a fly. Wings contain mechanical sensors for locating fuel sources. Has one foot wingspan that can enlarge to ten feet. Wings are vulnerable to artillery.

Str 3, Int 9, Spd 4, End 3, Rank 6, Courage 6, Firepower 2, Skill 9

Alternate mode: Micro cassette tape. Nothing to see here, move along…

Robot mode: Ratbat turns into a robotic bat with a black and purple body and gold chrome lasers. One unique feature are the little ears that would often break making Ratbat with good ears extremely rare up until the Encore 17 release. Now everyone can get a Ratbat with good ears, just remember the move them up you are transforming him from tape mode into robot mode.

Ratbat is just a normal cassette toy, but his personality in the comics made him epic. At one point, Ratbat assumes leadership of the Decepticons and proves to be quite an evil leader. Scorponok ends up killing him, but Rattbat held his own throughout his time in the comics and is one of the more notable Decepticons.

Transformation: 8/10 Ratbat turns into a micro cassette tape and a robotic bat.
Durability: 9/10 G1 metal goodness again. Yummy!
Fun: 10/10 Ratbat makes a great addition to this release.
Price: Came with 25th Anniversary Soundwave.
Overall: Ratbat is one of the more unique tapes and is given a great role in the comics. His character embodies what it means to be a Decepticon and is definitely one of the more unique Decepticons from the G1 era.

Reference:
Transformers Collectors Club. (2009). 2009 Comic-Con exclusive: 25th anniversary Soundwave special edition. Retrieved August 2, 2009 from http://www.transformersclub.com/sdcc-tf09.cfm
 
 
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