Click the image above to see the alt mode, or view more photos here
First/Last Comic Appearance (US) - Issue 1, September 1984 / Issue 77, April 1991
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) - Issue 14, March 23rd 1985 / Issue 289, September 29th 1990
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - Episode 1 (Season 1 #1), September 17th 1984 / Episode 94 (Season 3 #29), February 24th 1987
First Toy Appearance - 1984
Click here to see Figure Details and review
Manufacturer - Takara
Toyline - Music Label
- Added a large Decepticon symbol to the chest (covering the white tampographed one)
Soundwave, the loyal and dependable yang to Starscream's cowardly and treacherous yin. Megatron's most trusted lieutenant who made sure that his leader wasn't left behind after that battle in Autobot city. His enduring popularity as a character saw him outlast pretty much every original transformer, as he made it all the way through the US cartoon run and even got a nice new paintjob in the Japanese Headmasters series. Soundwave has no official 'classics' figure, so you are left with a few choices. You can either use the wholly repellent Cybertron release, the laughable Titanium figure, the pretty nice but Aesthetically jarring WFC figure, or 'Music Label' Soundwave. I plumped for the latter.
Appearance (Robot Mode) 8/10
This Takara Tomy release is a very faithful copy of the original figure, scaled to fit in nicely with the 'classics' line of figures. He has a pretty simplistic deco, unencumbered by the masses of stickers the original had. This makes Soundwave look fairly sparse to some, but I think he looks very 'chic'! I am quite disappointed with the head sculpt though, which just seems pretty undefined when compared to other classics figures. There is no light-piping which is a shame. Also, the head is mounted on a spring, and does not sit completely flush to the neck area (on mine, at least). Overall he is pretty impressive-looking, though, and will have you feeling all nostalgic in no time. He also comes with his original weapons plus 3 sets of hands (2 closed fists, 2 with open trigger fingers, 2 with extended trigger fingers). My favourite set of hands to use is the pair with slightly open trigger fingers, as these fit into the alt mode as well. There is nowhere to store the spare hands other than the box.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 9/10
Again, this is a direct copy of the original alt mode, but scaled down. It looks wonderful, if a little plain. The best part of this alt mode though (and the single best part of the figure) is that this is a functional mp3 player. All of the buttons are real and actually perform their corresponding actions! As an mp3 player it is very simplistic, especially because it is a few years old. There is no screen for one thing, but then who cares. It works, damnit! The casette window ejects and houses a micro-SD card and away you go. Just plug in the supplied ear buds. Make no mistake that this is a thing of beauty, and illustrates how far Transformers has come since the days when a working transforming watch was awesome. Actually, a working transforming watch is still awesome.
This is an intuitive transformation which you will pick up immediately even if you don't have or remember G1 Soundwave. One word of caution though is that the elbow/bicep area needs to be positioned correctly to allow a snug transformation back into 'casette player' mode, otherwise there will be gaps and the arm joints placed under continuous tension. Not good!
When I first bought this guy I was disappointed because he kept falling over backwards, then I read the instructions and spotted the extended heels, which fold down. D'oh! These long feet give Soundwave some much-needed stability and allow for some great poses. In terms of articulation Soundwave has it good, with a full range of motion at the shoulder, ball-jointed hips, bicep/thigh swivel, elbow/knee joints and ball-jointed wrists. The extra hands even allow for more dynamic poses (he can press his own eject button, how cool is that.) I'm slightly disappointed that his head isn't ball-jointed, and he has no waist swivel - but that is understandable due to the fact he hosts a working mp3 player in his torso.
I've had this guy for several years and all of the joints etc still feel tight. As I have mentioned, exercise caution with how you transform his arms back into the alt mode, and you will be fine.
Overall - 42/50
In most cases, I like to see a bit of re-invention when assembling my modern-day Transformers cast, but in this case I can make an exception. G1 Soundwave was one of the finest Transformer toys of his era, and his overall look still feels very fresh, despite his alt mode being long-obsolete. When you compare the likes of Optimus Prime and Megatron to him, their robot modes feel very dated indeed, so I was very glad with the modern spins HasTak put on them. But here Takara have used the faithful mantra 'if it ain't boke, don't fix it' to great effect.