Transformers Masterpiece MP-13
Soundwave Review (36 Pics!)

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.

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73 thoughts on “Transformers Masterpiece MP-13
Soundwave Review (36 Pics!)

  1. More mp reviews please. It kind of wounds me that I haven’t pulled the trigger on them but I can collect vicariously through you.

    1. Will do. I at least want to get to everyone from MP-10 onwards soon and then try and stay caught up after that (if I can afford to keep up, yeesh…).

  2. Hey, hey, a review on a Sunday! I like it! It helps me get through the normal drought of weekend reviews. Seeing this Soundwave makes it all the more painful to have to wait a few more days for Toy Fair (come on, Adam West Movie Masters!).

  3. He’s so beautiful…. :'( They really need to make a new Megatron. I don’t care if they have to paint the whole darn thing blaze orange! (Okay I do, but if the giant one can get buy with a little orange cap on the barrel a new one could too). I JUST WANT A MEGATRON THAT IS MP SCALE! IS THAT TOO HARD TO ASK???

    1. You might want to look into the ToyWorld “Hegemon” figure. It’s a 3rd Party Megatron fig, but it’s the best I’ve seen.

    2. I know this may be kind of anti-productive, but what if they did an MP-Megatron that just didn’t Transform? I would much rather see a definitive “Megatron” that doesn’t have to sacrafice sculpt or articulation because of engineering limitations necessary to transform him into a gun.

      1. Hrm. I don’t know. As cool as the MPs look as robots, a lot of the fun still comes from Transforming them. MP Sideswipe gets turned back and forth near daily. I think if they absolutely had to to make a a good-looking Megatron, then I’d go for it, but I’d like them to try really hard to do it right first.

        As Paul noted, that third party Hegemon from ToyWorld did a nice job. Is it IP theft if Takara upscales that to MP? 😉

        1. Hahaha! It would blow my mindhole if Takara upscaled a 3rd party toy. Mind-boggling on so many different levels.

          Yes Hegemon is just under MP scale. I believe he’s about a head shorter than MP Soundwave, but it’s the closest I’ve seen as I really don’t like MP Megatron (though he was released during the earlier parts of the line).

  4. Excellent review, outstanding pictures, and funny comics, as usual! I look forward to your MP-10 review, especially finding out how you think it’s better than the MP-04 version of Optimus. I didn’t pull the trigger on MP-10, and when I found out it was smaller than MP-04, I never looked back.

    I was going to review MP Soundwave myself, except 1) you already did such a good job on it, and 2) mine is still in a warehouse in Wisconsin, waiting to be shipped.

    Looking forward to the inevitable Soundblaster and Shattered Glass versions, now! And bring on more cassettes! Woo-hoo! 😀 Like you, this was one of those iconic 1980s toys that I never had as a kid, but a friend did. Now, thanks to that psychological scarring, I am (amongst other things) a Soundwave focus collector.


  5. After the thoroughly poor showing of MP Rodimus, and the “okay but nothing amazing” MP Sideswipe/Red Alert, Soundwave is a great figure and a splendid toy to add to the collection.

    He’s one of those toys that doesn’t even need other figures. Like MP Grimlock he looks fine on his own, lording it over lesser beings.

    Now if only the extra casettes weren’t so expensive…

    Great review as usual. 🙂

  6. All gonna say if I buy any MPTF it will probably be Soundwave. Always liked him as a kid and this is perfect. The energon cubes are a nice bonus. Gotta start saving up and hope a thought about a Hasbro one thatbcomes with the tapes happens.

    1. Oh and forgot Lazerbeak. Another nice homage and love that camera. All my classic birds had the neck to snap in one place. Would take better care now indeed.

  7. Noisy, Your parents were clever folks in regards to your play habits and as such, I salute them.

    I only have Prime and Megs from the Masterpiece line since I spend too much on vintage stuff as it is, but Soundwave looks like a must have. It’s a beautiful homage to the grand character with the radical voice from the TV cartoon. Great review and dio pics as always!

    1. Thanks, Clutch! My parents were wily that’s for sure. 😉

      Soundwave is probably the first MP in awhile that will be a must have for more casual TF fans. Hopefully, TRU orders plenty if they do pick him up.

  8. Would sooo love him standing next to the G1/G1 repro just for the size ref . . . and if i may ball all out and get me this guy! Or shall i better invest in the Blaster repro of years ago? hmmmm.

    1. I’ve seen another review that had a G1 size comparison. In tape deck mode, the MP is about .5″ taller, 1″ wider, and 1″ deeper. In robot mode, the MP is significantly taller. The G1 shoulder only comes up to the bottom of the MP’s tape container. It’s almost 2 inches taller.

        1. Which also reminds me that it’s a shame they didn’t do interchangeable visors or a Grimlock gimmick for the yellow visor. He does look great with red though.

  9. I cannot afford the MP figures currently (I’ve got the original Prime/Convoy, Skywarp, and Grimlock), so I haven’t really been paying much attention to the releases, but… when the hell did they get so small? I’m not even talking about Soundwave. He’s fine next to the Seekers, Grimlock, and Prime, though woefully out of scale with the original Prime and Megatron. This is the first I’ve seen of Red Alert and Sideswipe next to the others and… what the hell? Those guys are tiny. Like, way smaller than Binaltech tiny, judging from that picture. That’s hugely disappointing. I fully intend to go back and pick up some of the releases that I’ve missed once my cash flow improves, but I might skip some of the Autobot cars if they’re going to be so dinky.

    1. MP-10 Prime reset the scale (you can see both in the group shot) and the cars are now scaled to fit him in regards to the old animation height charts. Some have been upset with the size because they’d rather have a larger toy than a scaled one, particularly for the $60, but I’m happy with the better attempt at scale.

      1. I’m sort of (but not really) glad they rescaled the line to fit with the Seekers, but I’d rather they’d worked out any scale issues before they went further than MP-01! And are the Lambos really smaller than Binaltech / Alternators? Chiz!

        Did not think it through.

        1. I for some reason can’t find any reviews that show the MP Lambor in robot mode next to his Binaltech counterpart, but there is one here that shows them in vehicle form. The size difference is staggering:

          For reference, though, here’s one that shows him next to his Classics counterpart. The $100 MP Lambor is maybe a half inch larger in robot mode that the $15 Classic figure (which was $10 when it was released a couple years ago, but I put the current price of Classics/Universe/Generations toys in there for fairness’ sake, since that’s how much it would retail for if it were on the shelves right now).

          1. For fairness sake’, I don’t know that comparing the marked-up, imported price (and adding $20 to it on top of that) to a domestic MSRP makes much sense.

            If we were able to pick up Sideswipe off the shelf in Japan, he’d retail for about $55 and a Generations Deluxe is around $17-18, so there is an admittable price difference. If Hasbro would import him we could probably snag him for around $35-40. It’s no contest to me that he’d be worth that. I mean, I’ve had all three of the Sideswipes we’re talking about. The MP is heads above the other two. He’s an on-model Lamborghini, on-model and properly scaled in robot mode, and has great articulation. They’ve got me onboard with the cars for awhile to come.

            1. Kee-RIPES! Now I’m not sorry at all that I passed on paying over $80 for him (not counting shipping to England, VAT, Customs, & processing charges)!

              Thanks for that comparison!

            2. I based my comparison on what I would have to pay to get either of these figures. I did a quick comparison shop, and MP Lambor is going for $100 most places. Even if Hasbro did import this figure, I doubt if they’d drop the price by more than half.

              I’m not denying that it’s a nice looking, functional figure, I just don’t personally think he’s worth the price. Even at your estimated $35-40 domestic (which I don’t know if that would be correct, but let’s assume for argument’s sake that it is), he’s still barely bigger than a $15 deluxe, and in my eyes doesn’t scale well with his supposed line-mates.

              1. If we’re using what it would take to get the figures now, then the ol’ deluxe Sideswipe tends to sell for about double on eBay, so he’s a $30 figure. If Hasbro imports Sideswipe and drops him under $40 (MP-10 dropped from $250 to $100 so it’s not out of the question), then I’d definitely have to recommend going with the MP.

      2. It really depends, I would say, on how you look at scale. If you look at the shows/comics, the cars should be a head or two shorter than Optimus, not waist height. If you want the vehicle forms to stay in scale to one another, the Seekers shoot that right out the window. You’d need one the size of a coffee table to get them in scale with the rest of the MPs.

        1. Yeah, scale in Transformers is a gigantic joke. The robots don’t stay the same height in the same episodes. It’s an awful reminder of how bad those cartoons really were! Takara is working off some animation sheets that gave dedicated heights though. I went looking for it earlier, but it’s lost somehwere in a 700pg thread at TFW. I’m happy with how they’ve interpreted the scale all the same.

  10. Would love to collect these, but sheesh, so much stuff out there, I just can’t spend the bread. And I think I’d be even more uptight about these around my kids than I am with regular toys. Don’t need that.

    1. Yeah, I had to make some budget sacrifices to afford this line for sure. Is Soundwave worth a wave of Marvel Legends? That I don’t know… (Then again, he might be worth the Hit Monkey wave for sure… LOL)

    2. If I get Soundwave, he’s going straight into the detolf. I will be the only one who handles him. I let a friend see my MP-01 Optimus Prime once and it was like I was letting a stranger hold my baby. After I swore NEVER AGAIN.

      I’d say that even when I do I’d be wearing rubber gloves, but that sounds a bit too extreme. I usually try to wash my hands before I handle most of my collectibles anyway. Not that I’m dirty, just want to wash off any oils or whatnot before I handle my plastic meat.

  11. A wonderful review with some really great pictures! I’m pumped that you’re going to review the MP line on the site as I really try to do my research before spending that much money on a toy. This is such a gorgeous figure that it’s almost impossible for me to wait, but I think I’ll have to wait (and hope) for the American release.

    The ONLY nitpick that I have (and it’s minor) are Soundwave’s hips. I’m not crazy about how they’re connected. Visually, I wish they would have connected higher up in his crotch area. At certain angles, it almost looks like the legs aren’t integrated into the figure. The body just kind of sits on top of the legs. I would totally rather have the better articulation that this setup provides, so this is just a nitpick.

    1. Thanks, Paul! One of my 2013 resolutions was to get the Transformers back on the site. I think I was avoiding them because they’re so much more involved than the standard 6″ stuff I usually look at. Soundwave’s review here was spread across three days! I’m hoping the American release is awesome (just not awesomely different)!

      I can see what you’re saying about the hips – had the lower torso just covered the ball joints a little better, but he can move realy well and I’m not what impact that might have had on the articulation.

  12. Admittedly, I’m still waiting for shipping confirmation, so I still don’t have this guy in hand yet. But I believe I can think of a way to make him even cooler.

    Remember those COMM*Tech chips and readers from the Episode I toys? What if Soundwave were a COMM*Tech reader, and the cassettes had chips in them? Press the PLAY button, and you’d hear a snippet of “spy recording.” Press the EJECT button, and Soundwave recognises which tape(s) he has inside him, and instructs them (by name) to “EJECT!” FF plays “Transform Up” sound effect, REW plays “Transform Down” sound effect, STOP activates laser battle sounds, and REC plays snippets of typical dialogue such as “AS YOU COMMAND, MEGATRON” and “SOUNDWAVE SUPERIOR.”

    Yup, I’d drive the price of this toy up to $300 if I were a brand manager. };D

    1. SOLD!

      and count me as another who wanted, but never had the original 80s Soundwave. I think the only opportunity I had to get him, I passed for a slightly cheaper toy, which I can’t recall what it was at the moment? the first time I had an opportunity to buy him (and Megs. and Shockwave.) later was the Action Masters version, which did NOT transform. Every version since has been tanks or planes, which is NOT really Soundwave! urg. (No, I don’t count tank Megs, either!)

      1. That’s why I love reissues, mate. When I finally got a reissue Soundwave (the Toys ‘R’ Us version), I was amazed to find that he’s the same age as me. Now all I have to figure out is how to get that Electrum-plated Linkin Park Soundwave . . . .

      1. The $300 is a bit of sarcastic hyperbole for comic effect, taking into account inflation since 1999, standard price-gouging on imported Japanese toys, and my own less-than-astute business savvy. Heck, I don’t actually know what such a Soundwave would cost, but I’ll take a crack at guessing . . . .

        The COMM*Tech readers went for $20 or less back in the day, and each figure that came with a chip and accessories was under $8. Reckon on an extra $25 – $30 for Soundwave and all his button wirings, and another £5 at most per Casetticon for the chip. I’d still pay that, but I’m a Soundwave fanatic. But probably not $300.

  13. Great review! I hope you continue to hit on more MP and third party Transformers because you got them on my radar a few months back and that’s when I discovered this guy and had to have him.

    Just don’t review the cassette two-packs, because I CAN’T spend $70+ on two of those, as awesome as Laserbeak is. 😛

  14. Vangelus made a PDF with the instructions screens as well as the takara papercraft pink energon lining for the plastic cube.

    Also Hasbro HAS to change something or add something. By making it different there will be at least a few owners of the TT version that will now double dip when they would have passed on the domestic release if it was exactly the same.

    Also possible there are budget/safety issues requiring a change of tooling or paint, etc.

  15. Wanted Soundwave & his cassettes but *$130 for MP Megatron was my absolute limit and I only paid so much for him because I knew there would never in a million years be a domestic release. Hasbro will probably come through for me again. (But let’s not have it take years like it did for Thundercracker, please!)

    *No, my $350 Fort Max preorder doesn’t count. He could eat Masterpiece Transformers for breakfast.

  16. This Soundwave has doomed me.
    When I first saw the grey prototype, I began a slow decline into madness. It looked amazing and I had to have it. I was a bit too old for He-man and GIJoe, but I still watched Transformers. Animation was iffy but the ideas and the history behind it were solid. So for almost a year I have been obsessing over Transformers. Watched every one of the G1 toons and then started in on the Headmasters series. I bought a bunch of toys that could go in the Masterpiece scale I have going. I used to be happy with my MP-01 Coonvoy, the Wal-mart Starscream and the BT-01 Smokescreen – now I have triple that amount.
    But then the root of all this arrived in the mail and I marveled at the beauty and majesty of MP Soundwave. It really is fantastic and yes, I could have waited for the domestic relese, but screw that, I have him now and I’m still giddy as a schoolgirl whenever I look at him. Soundwave is technically inferior to MP-01 (that one being larger, mostly metal, lights up) but although MP-01 is still the best toy I own, Soundwave is a very close second. Heck, I’m getting him Ravage and Rumble too, damn the cost. He’ll be hard to beat as toy of the year.

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