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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Ganon578's Review: Shockwave

Name: Shockwave
Function: What does the character do?
Subgroup: Prime Beast Hunters
Size Class: Voyager

The cunning and brutal Decepticon scientist Shockwave plans to clone an unstoppable Predacon army!

With Megatron gone missing, Shockwave makes the decision to end his Predacon cloning program. A force of Predacons, united under Predaking could spell doom for the Decepticons as well as the Autobots. He is in the middle of shutting down his Hyperevolution laboratory when he spots an Autobot spy hiding in the shadows among the still-occupied chambers. A plan forms in his precise and brilliant mind: Destroy the Autobot and the lab, and lay the blame for the annihilation of the cloning program at the feet of Optimus Prime and his soldiers. Such an event would drive Predaking into a rage that would doubtless utterly consume the Autobots in its fury.

Shockwave’s Hyperflux Cannon:
* Spinning panels gather ambient cosmic energy to power blast.
* Missiles create miniature black holes on impact, totally destroying any target.
* Energy collection vortex also creates a heat shield around Shockwave that deflects incoming fire.

Always a fan favorite, Shockwave has had quite a few toy iterations over the years, though mostly he retains his emotionless logical self. Debuting in 1984 in the Generation 1 cartoon, the original Shockwave toy didn’t make its way to market until 1985. The character would take a personality detour for the 2004 Energon line, and was renamed Shockblast. The toy was a strikingly Classic-type version of Shockwave, but didn’t hold much else in common with his ancestral brethren. The Shockwave name wouldn’t resurface again until 2006 as a Mini-Con during the Cybertron line. After that, Shockwave logically crept his way into the live action movie universe beginning 2007, and finally made his film debut in 2011’s Dark of the Moon as a mobile artillery unit that rode on a large robotic worm. A very nice Voyager class Shockwave was made for the movie (sans the worm). Most recently, Shockwave has a Deluxe class toy modeled after his appearance in the Fall of Cybertron video game in the aligned continuity. And now we welcome a fantastic Voyager class Shockwave from the Prime series (also in the aligned continuity). Though I’m not much of a fan of the Prime toys (I’m a Classics guy), this version of Shockwave has replaced both my Energon Shockblast and FoC Shockwave as the Shockwave on my shelf. Read on and you’ll find out why…

Alternate Mode:

Shockwave’s alternate mode is (or is supposed to be) a mobile artillery unit. This basically falls into the same category of generic Cybertronian Tank or generic Artillery. For the most part these alternate modes have been relegated to the likes of Shockwave and Megatron, or anyone else with a large cannon arm. What this essentially means is you flip and twist Shockwave’s arms and legs into some sort of random position that resembles something that can move and shoot a large gun. I’m not particularly fond of the generic tank-ish artillery modes, and I wish the brains at Hasbro could have come up with something a little more interesting. I’m not even sure this beats out an oversized handgun. But, it is what it is, so I guess we deal with it. As a ‘mobile artillery unit’, Shockwave’s alternate mode has an H-Tank feel to it. His legs make up the front ‘treads’ and the back treads come from his backpack in robot mode. His torso makes up the middle, and one arm is tucked underneath while the cannon arm makes up the artillery gun.

As for colors, the main palette consists of purple, black, and grey. A vast majority of the color is purple from the molded plastic, and the black and grey comes in at various spots that nicely break up the monotony. Some silver paint apps can be found on the front ‘treads’ (which are actually rounded wheels underneath the feet) and on the cannon. The only other color is translucent red, which is on the front of the mode (from the chest piece). Molded detail is rather simple, but it does a wonderful job of giving the flatter parts of the mold some depth. Curving lines and sharp points are all over, and fit the Prime aesthetic well. Oddly, the cannon has some wing-like protrusions off the back, that almost make it seem like the cannon has ears. It’s not atrocious, but I wish you could remove them much like the beast armor. Speaking of which, Shockwave comes with three pieces of removable armor that are done up in red with some purple and yellow thrown in. They’re rubbery, but durable, and easy to take on and off. Personally I don’t like the armored look, so those pieces have immediately found their home in a storage container. Shockwave rolls along the floor pretty well (not so much on carpeting), and the Hyperflux Cannon works just fine in this mode. All it take is a simple push of a button to get the gears moving and start the side panels-a-spinning. It’s a neat little gimmick, and the best part is that it doesn’t take away anything from either mode (like largely useless gimmicks such as Universe Cheetor or anything with a Cyberkey). Overall the alternate mode is decent, if a little lacking in the originality department.

Robot Mode:

Star of the show right here. Honestly, does anyone buy a Shockwave figure for the alternate mode? Nope. Everyone just wants a big purple robot with a giant cannon arm and Cyclops eye. And you get both, done very well, in this version of Shockwave. Aesthetically, Shockwave looks fantastic. Powerful, deceptive, and creepy all come to mind while looking at this beast. The coloration remains the same from the alternate mode, with purple making up the majority and black and silver thrown in here and there. The translucent red chest panel is done well, and in this mode you get the full force of the red Cyclops eye. The light piping on Shockwave is done surprisingly well: though none of the piping is visible directly from the top of the head, it catches enough light through the back as to not need a direct source of light. The Cyclops eye is rather large compared to previous Shockwaves, but I think the design aesthetic pulls it off well. Again, molded detail is noticed in the sweeping curves all over and pointed ends like the knees and elblows. There is some added robotic detail in the chest and torso. As for articulation, Shockwave pretty much has it where he needs it. Neck, shoulders, elbows, wrist, hips, and knees. Sorely missing are true ankle joints, which leads to some balance issues depending on the leg position. Other disappointing joints are in the hips: the ratchets in the hips are spaced far enough that the legs are either straight up, or angled quite far out. This makes it rather tricky to hit some really good positions, and I wish the hips didn’t ratchet like they do. On the plus side, at least the cannon arm has an elbow joint (Energon Shockblast, I’m looking dead into your eye!), and it isn’t weighed so heavily that it throws off balance (Again Shockblast, you poorly balanced fellow). You can get the cannon into good positions, though for more range of motion you will need to disconnect the ammo chain (not a bad thing, as the ammo chain coils up inside the backpack anyways). In my opinion, Shockwave looks appropriately bulky and imposing, and to me at least, has an oddly beautiful blend of Classics and Movie styling with a Prime aesthetic. Lastly, the aforementioned beast armor can be attached here as well, with one piece on the chest and the other two going on the shoulders. Again, I personally don’t like the look, but they’re removable so if you don’t like them you’re not suck with them. Overall, Shockwave has a beautiful and brutal looking robot mode, and is definitely the main reason to pick this one up.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 5. There isn’t much going on here. You’re basically folding arms and legs into a different looking body that passes for some sort of tank. It’s not a bad transformation, just lackluster.
Durability: 8. Pretty solid all around. The ammo chain might crack with use, but there haven’t been any stress marks on mine.
Fun: 8. The tank mode may be a little passable, but the Hyperflux Cannon is one of the better gimmicks in recent years and it does nothing to hinder the toy. He’s got some armor you can take on and off too.
Aesthetics: 10. My personal opinon, but I love the look on this version. Everything is well proportioned, the colors are nice, and he’s got a fantastically mean and powerful look. Also fits in well in a Classics collection though he’s definitely not made as such.
Articulation: 7. Quite a few joints, some ratcheting, some not. There’s a lot of movement, but the lack of true ankles creates some balancing issues. The gun arm is also hindered if you’re using the ammo chain.
Value/Price: 9. I ordered him online, so he was a little more expensive than usual. I don’t regret the purchase at all though. And some stores are currently carrying a price of $19 USD. That’s really good for a figure this nice and in this size class.
Overall: 9. I absolutely love this one. A classic character, a fantastic looking toy, durable, and fun. The gimmick doesn’t hurt the toy a bit. Tank mode aside, this is the definitive version of Shockwave to have unless you can afford a pricey third party Masterpiece-type figure.
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