As an MP, Soundwave also comes with plenty of accessories. His classic rifle that folds into a key part of his alt mode is included. It looks great and it’s simple to transform, but it somehow ends up being a little awkward. Soundwave also comes packaged with Megatron in gun mode which is a nice addition even though I haven’t done much with it.
Also included are a few more specific items like a “sensor” that can replace either hand (and stores on the figure, love that!), a clear energon cube that clips to his chest, and a clip-on grid view for his chest to be used as a display screen. I was a little disappointed that the inserts for the display screen have to be cut from the instructions (I didn’t do it), but there will surely be places to download and print off new ones before too long (or I’ll just make a color copy myself). Transformers fans are an enterprising bunch (Takara has already has provided an insert for the Energon Cube here).
The crucial accessory here is surely Laserbeak though (and his clear purple case). Since my affinity is more for the toys than the cartoons, I’m not as hot on Laserbeak as I am Soundwave. That said, Laserbeak is very well done. He’s all one pieces instead of any annoying clip-ons and he looks as mean as bad as he ever did in the cartoon. The transformation is pretty straightforward, though I often have a little trouble getting his head to fold out. The neat thing about Laserbeak though is actually on Soundwave – specific footholds that blend in with the design on both shoulders and forearms. These let you get Laserbeak (relatively) secure in some classics poses. I did have some minor paint issues on Laserbeak, most notably the silver paint coming off in little bits here and there during transformation. I view these as toys and I want to play with and transform them, but the scratches in paint give me a little pause here. That’s not a good thing when I’m about to be asked to pay around $30 each for the other cassettes in the near future.
Finally, after I inspected everything and got my thorough enjoyment out of it, it was time to transform Soundwave. It’s relatively straightforward with the visual instructions serving more as a guide. That’s actually something else about the recent Masterpiece releases – Takara has gotten much better about getting the look of the bot mode and alt more right without weird or complicated transformations in-between. That is greatly appreciated. Anyway, once you get through the simple stuff, you get… a box!
If there’s one thing that amuses me about the MP line to no end, it’s that recreating the 80s toys gives us some great alt modes for the 21st century. 80s Lamborghini’s and Fairlady Z’s are one thing, but Soundwave’s forever stuck in the 80s. I mean, I can’t even remember the last time I used a cassette player! But, hey, that doesn’t mean Soundwave can’t be cool!
In his alt mode, you’ve got a pretty sweet cassette player. All the little hallmarks are vestigial, but they’re here: the headphone jack, the volume button, the on/off switch, and a dozen other little ports and switches that I’ve long forgotten what they would do on a real cassette player. It looks sharp even if a cassette deck isn’t the best disguise in this day and age.
Overall, I know I’m going to sound like I’m overselling it here, but Soundwave might just be one of the best Masterpiece figures yet. It’s hard for me to say that because I haven’t shared my thoughts on the previous releases (but I will soon), but Soundwave is the closest to being a perfect update as we’ve had yet. The only real drawback here is the price – if I was sitting at Toys R Us and he was on the shelf for $160, I would’ve had a harder time pulling the trigger.
The good news is that, if the rumors are true, Soundwave will be coming to TRU and he’ll probably be good deal cheaper. The only risk in waiting is that Hasbro might change something – they really shouldn’t, but I kinda expect for them to at this point.
While I have reservations about the amount of money being spent, I don’t have any about Soundwave’s value. If you love Soundwave and have the money, he’s worth picking up. I may be kicking myself in a few months if he’s at TRU for cheaper, but I’ll just chalk that up my ability to have him now instead of whenever he might see a domestic release.