A Transformer review? On my site? Get out! Yeah, okay so I might be the last place to go to for Transformer reviews because I just haven’t been all that into them for many years. However, recently I read a review for a third-party UFO Transformer over at IAT and this got my interest piqued. While keeping my eyes on the third-party market waiting to make my first purchase I noticed that Masterpiece Soundwave (MP-13) was up for preorder. I got stars in my eyes, because I had always wanted a really well done Soundwave. This would have to be an exception. This was going to be one my few big purchases of the year and replaced my Avengers Agent Coulson Hot Toys preorder, my apologies to Mr. Clark Gregg.
I was never a big vintage collector of Transformers because around that time my parents were getting me Masters of the Universe toys. I really got into Transformers in my late teens/early twenties around the time of Robots in Disguise which I believe was the early 2000’s. Quite a few of my friends were buying them and I thought they looked great. This was the gateway drug that eventually led me into the Alternators, then onto the Takara reissues, then after discovering Japan I got into importing the Binaltechs for the diecast parts, and topped it all off with MP-01 Optimus Prime. I remember the final Transformer I bought before getting out cold-turkey was Camshaft from Alternator or Binaltech, not positive on which line.
The G1 figures never held much importance to me so through time I purged them, though I did really like the book-like presentation of the reissues. I always enjoyed the Alternator/Binaltech figures because I thought it was an awesome idea so I kept them . I actually sold my MP-01 Optimus Prime in 2012 because he had a bum-leg that would pop out of the socket, similar to putting an old dog down I just didn’t want him to suffer anymore. I only say this because some might find it odd I have MP-013 and none of the other twelve in the series … or any other real Transformers to speak of.
I’m coming into this fresh now. This is a new collection I will very carefully supplement because I am not the guy I was in the early century who had more money than brains. Soundwave I had to have, however, because I have always been a huge fan of his look and I don’t think any toy has ever really done him justice. The other really fun thing about Soundwave is that his alternate mode is something my kids do not even understand. It makes me appreciate how my dad felt when he tried to explain to my brother and me how great nickelodeons were.
Robby (my son): What’s that Transformer?
Me: It’s a tape player, with a cassette tape.
Me: You put the tape in and music plays!
Me: Yes Robby?
Robby: … do you want to play baseball with me?
While baseball is timeless, old technology is not. He’s a cool robot but his alt-mode is not going to be grabbing the youth of the world. Then again it doesn’t have to grab the youth of the world because the audience for MP Transformers is probably age 30 and up. So it works perfectly for its audience, and there would probably be revolts if MP Soundwave transformed into anything but a tape player.
I was seriously pumped for this guy as he started shipping I was in a fever pitch to get him to my house. When he finally arrived the first thing I noticed is his box is HUGE. Unfortunately it is really just the box that is huge as there is a lot of open space inside of there, which mentally can make him look small my comparison to his packaging. However, I like the packaging because it is extremely collector friendly since you can place him in and pull him out with ease. If they had shipped him in his alt-mode they could have used a much smaller box, but that might have taken away from the grander of the release. I think the bigger box is also supposed to make you feel better about the $160 – $180 price you just paid for the figure, but we can get into price later.
Soundwave is incredibly made. He’s everything you would want in a Transformer. He can hit just about any reasonable pose you can think of, and on top of that he has the ability to eject his own cassette player. His large feet and ankle tilts give you a large range of poses you can get him in and still keep him standing. His arms and legs are very expressive and evenly proportioned.
He is surprisingly easy to transform, I say this as somebody who has recently attempted to transform my Alternators. He comes packaged in bot-mode which I am willing to bet a lot of people will just leave him in after releasing him from his packaging. However I wish to see how the tape player looks so I pulled out the instructions and got to work. After going through a bunch of Alternators from memory, this guy was a piece of cake. The transformations just seems so much more logical and flow better. The other nice thing is that all of his essential parts such as the battery and sensor all can be carried on his person. This is a feature I like because I am notorious for losing accessories. Any character that can hold all his essential stuff on his person is a good toy in my book. Sure he has the cassette box and clear energon cube but I consider them more optional accessories which actually are pretty easy to store in the box (just don’t throw it away if you do this!).
I’m thoroughly impressed with Soundwave up and down as a figure. The only negative I really have for him is his price, between $160 – $190 depending on who and where you buy it from. That’s a fairly large bill for this figure. That’s not to say he isn’t worth it, because to me he was. Getting a definitive Soundwave is a pretty satisfying thing, so even if I overpaid slightly for it I can make a mental exception this time. Will I be upset when Toys “R” Us has one domestically for less? I wasn’t disappointed when the MP-01 Prime came to TRU, I still felt my Takara version was superior. I’m also glad to have it now instead of waiting and speculating, then hoping they eventually show up at my actual store. So yes, he is a little overpriced and I will probably not be getting the tape-packs unless they come to the US … I love Laserbeak, but two of him is not worth $70.
Where can you get Soundwave? He’s still an import-only so if you don’t feel like waiting you can spin the wheel and check out Amazon. They may be a bit on the high-end but most options are fairly close in price as well. I grabbed mine off BigBadToystore and the still have some in stock if you want to go that route. If you are a Transformer fan, I would say grab this guy because he really lives up to the “Masterpiece” moniker put on him.