Transformers Soundwave
Transformers Soundwave
Transformers Soundwave
Transformers Soundwave

Soundwave was the Big Name missing from the first Transformers film. After months of speculation as to precisely what kind of music-playing device he'd turn into, the character didn't show - his planned role from various drafts ending up split between Barricade, Frenzy and Blackout (possibly the closest analogue to the original cartoon version, with his sonic attack, taciturn nature and loyalty to Megatron).

The character was then incorporated into the sequel, which featured him taking over a satellite and overseeing events from space - a very good re-imagining, even giving him a valid reason to launch Ravage. Toys were made in Deluxe and Legends form. The former was also available coloured like its' Generation 1 namesake - as ever a handy way for designers to turn out recolours without having to actually do any work.


The Deluxe figure was marketed as a Triple Changer, with satellite, space ship and robot modes. The problem is that Soundwave was only seen from odd angles in darkness in the film before taking over a satellite. So Soundwave's toy turns into something he's seen taking over, which is a bit weird. However, while it's missing the central drum the satellite mode isn't too bad once you've fiddled with it. The biggest problem is that it can't stand up on its' own. There's not really much else to say about the thing, really.

Spaceship mode is basically the satellite mode on its' back with a few parts moved around. Cybertronian spaceships are always a good wheeze for the design team, basically being the robot folded up into something pointy; it's a godsend for characters not seen to have an alternate mode in the films (cf. The Fallen and Ravage). I suppose it gives you an alt mode that can display a bit more easily, though the question is why would you want this thing on show?


In addition to inventing a space ship mode, the designers also seem to have basically made up a robot mode too. After another fairly simple transformation (the most dramatic change comes from simply turning him around) Soundwave has a short, wide robot mode that looks weirdly reminiscent of something from Beast Wars. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and it means Soundwave fits in with the unusual look of the Decepticons from Revenge of the Fallen without being too mad. The big arms make him look a little square and the brawler proportions don't really fit with what we see of Soundwave, however. It doesn't exactly look much like what little we see of Soundwave in the film either.

What's bizarre is the satellite mode reproduces the film's head design nicely - albeit as a non-moving part - but the robot mode uses a different piece, bearing a head of a totally different design - much more like a stylised version of the original figure's head. Indeed, the insistence at referencing the original character stretches to blue and gold additions to the colour scheme. This is what happens when the design team are a bunch of fanboys. What Soundwave does have though is some excellent articulation, which for once is matched by enough balance to make use of it. The figure is possibly the most dynamic Deluxe from the whole range. The weird look isn't bad in its' own right, it just doesn't feel much like Soundwave from the film.


Soundwave is quite strange and doomed to failure from an accuracy point of view due to the toy-unfriendly nature of his appearance in the film. All three modes are basically so similar (if Soundwave stood with his back to you, his arms down and his legs together, he'd be most of the way towards one of his alternate modes) that calling him a transforming toy, let alone a Triple Changer, is pushing it. It's difficult to know what to make of Soundwave - the robot mode is fun, but the transformation is a little disingenuous. Shame they didn't work the silver head into the robot mode, really.