Vault Review: Transformers Prime
Soundwave (Robots in Disguise)

Last week I was lucky enough to stumble upon a fresh case of the new Transformers Prime: Robots in Disguise.  I say lucky because my favorite character, Soundwave, is apparently only one per case and I was able to snag him.  Yeah!

One of my favorite aspects of Transformers Prime is Soundwave.  I’ve always been a fan of the character, but this show raises him to a whole new level of dangerous and even scary.  His robot mode alone is pretty imposing with all its pointy edges, long razor-like arms, and spindly needle fingers.  Not to mention the fact that he only has a blank emotionless screen for a face.

But what’s even more intimidating than what Soundwave looks like, it’s how Soundwave acts.  Constantly looming in the shadows, he doesn’t just watch, but monitors everyone and everything around him.  More than once Starscream has turned around to find his emotionless face staring back silently.  And when he does finally choose to talk, it’s not his own voice but a recording of what someone else has said.  This mimicry seems to not only be a bit mocking, but also serves as a constant reminder that Soundwave records everything and erases nothing.

Prime Soundwave was an imposing and perfect spy, but it wasn’t until late in the season that we learned he wasn’t just a surveillance bot.  Sure characters like Starscream and Knock Out were always cautious around him, but I just assumed it was because he’s Megatron’s right hand man.  It wasn’t until the homicidal Arachnid (Black Arachnia) tried to usurp command after Megs was thought dead that we finally got to see Soundwave in action.  It’s definitely one of the most badass moments of any version of the Decepticon.

Soundwave vs. Arachnid

Aside from the size issue, Soundwave’s sculpt is fantastic.  His robot mode is just as sleek and angular as the character design.  I was really surprised with how well they were able to incorporate those long fingers into the wing design without it looking too strange.  I also love his head sculpt, and the fact that it resembles the Decepticon’s symbol.  Soundwave also has some interesting sculpting on the inner parts of his body that resemble energy conduits.  Most of them are unpainted, but the one’s under his arms/wings are colored purple.

One of the coolest bits of sculpting on Soundwave is his chest area, which is where Laserbeak attaches to him like a piece of armor.  This is exactly how the two characters interact in the show, and the figure really did a great job of making it work.  When removed, Laserbeak can easily slide off his chest and rest in the peg hole on his arm.

Interestingly, with his pointed wings and tiny head, Laserbeak looks much more like a bat than a bird.  I’m kind of curious if we’ll see a repainted version named Ratbat later on.  There’s not a lot to his sculpt, but Laserbeak’s larger wings are on hinges for a nice flapping or even a resting effect.  The wings also swivel back to give Soundwave his shoulder spikes when the characters are combined.  Continue to page 2…

24 thoughts on “Vault Review: Transformers Prime
Soundwave (Robots in Disguise)

  1. Vault, I dunno. As a freaky looking alien transforming robot I dig it, but Soundwave? Man, Soundwave is a Walkman, baby! Or a boombox if you prefer to upgrade his size some.

    Maybe I’d feel different if I could ever find any of these in a store.

    1. I dig what you’re saying. WFC tank Soundwave was enough of a variant for me, but I never did get his G2 tank version.

      This guy does nothing for me. I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t seen a single frame of Prime or not, but these designs leave me cold. Maybe it’s the constant turn-over of formats the last decade, but I guess I’ll be sticking to the Classic/Generations line.

      I don’t keep up with the announcements, but the early Toy Fair preview pics of BRUTICUS has me a bit giddy, even if they are barely recognizable.

  2. The fact Hasbro cancelled the First Edition wave and the smaller overall size of the RID figures made me want to stop buying Prime figures, but Soundwave looks great! And the upcoming “Powerizer” Megatron looks fantastic, too!

    Now, if Mattel can deliver a compatible Optimus without a huge truck-panel backpack, I think I can get into this line.

      1. I think he meant Hasbro. So glad I ordered this guy on TRU when I had the chance. Prime Wheeljack is also an incredible figure, don’t let RID Cliff and BB fool you into thinking otherwise!

  3. I’m liking the new RID figures more than the First Edition figures, with the exception being Voyager Prime. Hopefully they’ll start showing up around here.

    Fingers crossed somebody stateside will be distributing the little target master mini-bots stateside. Japan will be getting a slew of little TF: Prime mini-bot capsule toys. That’s something else I’m hoping BBTS will be able to distribute as well.

  4. EEEeeeh… he looks okay. I dig the drone alt. mode. Much better than the satellite. Still, I don’t know if I really need it. I do love the head though. I thought the WFC Soundwave was a nice upgrade that can even fit in with the Classics figures. I think if I was planning on collecting Prime figures I would want this a lot more, but this just leaves me a lot to be desired.

    Is the Human Alliance Soundwave ever going to come out, or is that scrapped?

    1. there is a lot of things i like about the whole WFC toys/game mainly the fact that they looked like the transformers I know and love with a modern twist. All the spikes and angles on the prime figures look like they are from cartoon that was too heavily inspired by the movies. transformers seems to move in cycles so i’m sure some bots I like will come around again and until then there is always IGear those boys sure do make some killer stuff

    2. I ended up ordering the Takara Human Alliance Soundwave from BBTS. A bit costlier, but as a Soundwave-focus collector, I thought it was worth it. Bloody cool toy, too.

  5. Soundwave has always been one of my favorite Transformers, and Hasbro continues to impress. I have Takara’s Encore Soundwave and the two Cassette 4-packs, as well as the WFC Deluxe figure, but I’m also eager to pick this version up.

    I like to think I’m a pretty rational Transformers fan. No Transformers series is perfect (Beast Wars is close, though the TRUKK NOT MUNKY crowd may disagree), but you gotta take the highs with the lows. Each new attempt to reinvent the franchise–no matter how much fans may think it will RUIN TRANSFORMERS FOREVER–is a “necessary evil” to bring new fans in. A fan may hate the movies with a passion, but what about those older fans who moved away from Transformers over the years, saw the films, and they reignited a passion for the G1 series in them?

    And what are you going to do 25 years from now when today’s kids are fondly remembering “Dark of the Moon” as “the best Transformers, because those are the ones I had when I was a kid, and all this new stuff sucks.”

    1. Perfectly stated. He-Man never did fully respect your intellect.

      No Animated Soundwave for your shelves? As a fellow Soundwave fan, I’d have thought the idea of a Soundwave with his own musical instruments to be irresistable.

      1. I know there was a reason I didn’t pick up Animated Soundwave, but I can’t remember what it was. I passed on him several times in stores and even turned down a friend when he was selling off his Animated collection. It may have been an articulation issue or something, I don’t know.

        1. really? i thought you gotta take the highs with the lows! i love the TFA soundwave. i even picked up soundblaster or whatever it was called just for the keytar! tbh i don’t really consider articulation when buying tfs. as long as they have the big five. the head is the only minor letdown, but that is more due to character design than anything.

          personally i’m just not jazzed by this figure.

          1. Of course you have to take the good with the bad, but by no means was I calling Animated Soundwave “bad.” He just didn’t interest me, and I’m not going to buy a figure of a character I like “just because it’s there.”

            Like those 4″ Street Fighter 2-packs they have at TRU. I love Street Fighter, but that alone isn’t enough to make me want to plunk down the cash for some average-quality figures. I’d rather save up the cash and buy the SSFIV Play Arts. But I know not everyone can/would want to spend $75 on a single import figure, so if you buy the domestic figures and love ’em to death, hey, more power to you.

            I’m not going to say “you’re wrong for liking something I don’t” (unlike some Power Rangers/Transformers/GI Joe fans out there). Liking the Star Wars prequels doesn’t make you “inferior” to a fan who hates them; hating on the Bayformers movies doesn’t make you “better” than someone who enjoys them. When you take a step back and look at the big picture, doesn’t matter if your favorite Optimus was voiced by Peter Cullen or Gary Chalk, we’re all TRANSFORMERS fans.

            The yin and the yang, y’know?

  6. I like this figure a lot. Everything about him seems to add to his function (spy) and creep factor. He has no face, and as a UAV is silent, is always watching and is always a precursor to something more ominous to come. The matte texture of the figure is a nice touch to complete the whole stealth look.

    Someone on the TFW boards made an interesting point that the best RiD figures so far are the ones that DON’T have First Edition counterparts (Soundwave and Wheeljack); I certainly agree that both those figures are the standouts of this wave. I’m hoping that the upcoming RiD Arcee and voyager Starscream buck that trend. FE Arcee, like most of the FE figures, will be a hard act to follow.

  7. WANT! NOW!

    Excellent review, as always. As a Soundwave-focus collector, I look forward to getting one of these. Somehow. Living in a shopping-deprived area of England, that’s going to be tricky. Also, chances are good I’ll never see the “Prime” show, either, so I’ll have to take other people’s word for it that it’s cool.

    1. Having said all that, I then found this flimsy-but-nifty Soundwave (as well as Cliffjumper and Wheeljack) first thing in the morning after work on the 15th, in a supermarket of all places. So, if anyone in Britain is looking for this guy, try the toy section of a Sainsbury’s superstore.

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