Friday, 13 September 2013

Review: Masterpiece Soundwave

In the UK we had to wait a million billion years for MP-10 aka Optimus Prime to make his way across the Atlantic. Many - me among them - had completely given up ever seeing him, but earlier this year, a little after Christmas (that was well timed) he finally arrived on the shelves of Toys R Us.

Due to this, when it was announced that MP-02 aka Soundwave (yeah, the numbering is completely messed up) was going to be released in the UK, everyone expected this to be in 2025. But no! He actually arrived in Toys R Us only a couple of weeks ago - barely a few months behind the US. It was a miracle indeed.

The Hasbro version of Soundwave comes with the 4 cassettes which were sold separately for the Japanese Takara release. Everything in one package, for half the price of the Japanese version. Surely this is a must-buy, right?

Well, yes. But it's not all roses for Soundwave, but we'll get to that later.

First some description. Soundwave is the height of (new version) Prime, Grimlock etc, which means he's a good size for a Masterpiece. As you'd expect, as a robot he looks as though he's walked straight out of the TV screen (albeit with his yellow 'toy' eyes instead of the red ones seen in the show - you'll need to buy the Takara version if you want those), along with all the touches of the original toy.

Poseability is limitless. Well, not limitless, but it's pretty darn close. You can get some fantastic poses out of him. Thankfully, as opposed to Sideswipe, Soundwave has a tight grip on his gun. Lazerbeak (/Buzzsaw) can clip onto Soundwave's shoulder (not too well) or his wrist (much better), so you can get some nice 'talking to his birds' poses.

And of course he can do the essential 'pushing his own eject button' pose.

I think the cassettes actually outshine Soundwave. The only disappointing thing is that there's no Ratbat. Amazingly the tapes are exactly the same size as the G1 originals. Vastly improved and more detailed, but exactly the same size. This means you can use them in G1 Soundwave (or Blaster or Device Label Blaster for that matter), or use the G1 tapes in MP Soundwave. The updates are fantastic, though it must be said I'm very happy I didn't pay Japanese prices for these. They're so not worth £50 a pair.

Besides the cassettes, Soundwave comes with a few extras. Among them is a clear box, which, while sounding terrible, is really good for 'making energon cube' poses. Like seemingly all the MP Decepticons he also comes with a little Megatron in gun form and finally there's a silver...thing. The instructions offer no help as to what it is and it took an Internet hunt to find it's to attach the Rumble/Frenzy piledrivers to Soundwave like a sort-of external storage device. Hmm...

So now to the problems. None are major, but there are a few things I don't like.
  • Most alarming are Soundwave's hip joints. They may turn out to be fine, but they are a little too delicate-looking for my liking. There's always a 'argh! It's about to snap!' panic just before it moves (and doesn't snap).

  • The chrome isn't as well done as it could have been. I can't decide or not whether it's already starting to wear on his buttons. Quite how I can have perfect C3POs from the early 80s and then terribly peeling modern stuff, I do not know.
  • Not long ago I commented on how Quake Wave's fingers were all individually poseable. Only Soundwave's first finger is separate from the rest and has a joint at the knuckle...and keeps coming off. If a 3rd party product can have good quality, non-falling apart fingers, why can't this official one?
  • The silver paint on his left knee is a bit of a mess.
  • The box is stupidly oversized.
  • The multiple-tape ejection system doesn't work very well and tapes tend to get stuck inside Soundwave.

What's going to get a proper, non-bulleted discussion are the instructions. They're terrible. They cover the basic transformation of Soundwave and his minions, but that's it. None of the accessories are described at all. None of the action features either. To find out all the things this toy can do you're going to have to trawl the internet. This isn't something I should have to do. A piece of paper describing this would not add anything to the cost.

Overall, Soundwave is a really great figure. I know people are moaning that his £ price is actually the same as the $ one, but then Transformers have always had a $1=£1 exchange rate. And think of it this way, you're saving yourself a hell of a lot of money on this than if you'd gone for the Takara version. I am extremely glad I hung on and waited for the Hasbro version instead.

I much prefer Quake Wave, however.

No comments:

Post a Comment