Transformers Sideswipe
Transformers Sideswipe
Transformers Sideswipe
Transformers Sideswipe

Soundwave was introduced to the live action Transformers universe in 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen. The film came up with a rather smart answer to the "what to do with a guy who turns into something obsolete twenty years ago" dilemma by reinventing the character as a satellite. Obviously this had a cost as Soundwave simply didn’t interact with other Transformers - beyond firing Ravage at Diego Garcia, anyway.

So for 2011's Dark of the Moon the film makers defaulted to the old solution of just making him a vehicle and assuming he could still do communications stuff without having to transform into something explicitly linked to his job. The car chosen was a Mercedes SLS AMG, dramatically revealed to be the same example gifted to Carly by Dylan Gould (well, the usual gaggle of joyless nerds decoded it several months ahead of the film’s release, but no-one real cared). This resulted in a new batch of toys, with Soundwave being made in Cyberverse (i.e. Legends, though Cyberverse is less portentous and thus slightly less disappointing), Deluxe and Human Alliance forms. Only the former actually came out in the West as Hasbro cleared the decks for Prime so be prepared to spend a little bit more if you want the Deluxe or Human Alliance versions.


Soundwave’s car mode isn’t bad looking. The SLS has clear lineage with the classic Merc gull-wing designs rather than the executive block used for Que and as a result is quite a looker. It does suffer very badly from join lines all over, but robot parts are generally well hidden. The toy also benefits from one of the better MechTech weapons of the line – relatively speaking, anyway. Soundwave’s accessory is a large gun – an oversized version of the one he brandishes in the film as best as I can work out – that can temporarily fall a rather apposite satellite dish. I’ve actually managed to break mine just right so it actually stays in dish mode but it would have been nice – and more dramatic – if it had been built this way in the first place.

Not for the first time in recent Transformers history the mode is hamstrung considerably by tight purse strings. Soundwave is rendered in the flattest grey imaginable – presumably Hasbro and/or Takara had a bulk order in for the stuff as it seems to be the same shade used for the updated Sideswipe and Jolt figures. In silver it would have been very punchy, but as it is the effect is of an unpainted plastic model kit rather than a smooth no-fuss finish. Detailing is also very low beyond the transparencies – even the grille and famous three-corner star are unpainted. It all basically makes the car very boring to look at.


Soundwave's transformation is best described as irritating. There are some neat touches in places - the doors folding up to become the inside of the thighs is great - but it's largely frustrating, especially the torso. The shoulders especially suffer from a resurrection of an old HasTak favourite - that it's okay if things fall off as long as they clip back on. Even with all the fiddling (largely contrived to get the front wheels onto the shoulders as on the computer model) they have to resort to using a dummy chest.

When you get there Soundwave is tiny. Alright, so he's not much shorter than the other Dark of the Moon Deluxes, but the kibble really crowds out the robot mode. That big back piece especially is unforgivable. Soundwave doesn't even have the squat look of the RotF figure, here he's just small. It's a bizarre mix of the great and the banal - the arms are overlong but retain the speaker-style discs; the shoulders look great but completely hamstring articulation; the head looks fabulous but only shows up how bland most of the colouring is. There are some baffling touches too - none weirder than the panels on the outside of the legs that can peg into the thighs but only if you keep the legs absolutely straight, otherwise they just flap there. The MechTech weapon is troublesome too - while it can connect to either shoulder and on paper look good in either radar dish or cannon configuration its' oversized nature just serves to make the robot look even smaller. Soundwave can hold the gun in either hand as well, though once again the size is an obstacle to plausibility.


Of the three Asia-only Dark of the Moon Deluxe moulds, Soundwave is probably the most disappointing. He's possibly a better figure than Que but there's so much wasted potential here - Soundwave had a cool look in DotM that isn't converted here, Que was always going to look stupid. But a bit of work here on detail, a reworking of the shoulders and breaking that back panel up a bit could have made Soundwave a decent addition. As it is he's not worth the trouble of importing.