Series: Machine Wars
Alternate Mode: Rocket Tank
Height: 8.5cm Length: 17cm Width: 8.5cm
A silver tank with four burgundy outriggers, all four of which have black painted treads. There are teal camouflage lines painted onto the burgundy and silver elements, although they're hard to see on the silver plastic. There's a burgundy rocket platform towards the back, while at the front Soundwave has o olive green airlock hatch on the right and a cockpit on the left, complete with black windows. By far the most distinctive feature is a giant (16cm long) rocket that sits on the mount, which is white with a black booster at the back and transparent blue nose. The silver and burgundy makes for a better combination that those found on Stalker, the first toy of this mould. Having said that, the colours aren't exactly inspiring and don't really fit the character that this toy is meant to represent.
Soundwave's biggest selling point is his most obvious feature - the giant rocket on top. Sadly, it's been stripped of the main gimmick that Stalker had - which was a sight gimmick. You can still look through the back, but there's no longer an image incorporated. If you have Predator jets you can clip them onto the top and view their images, but Machine Wars toys wont help. There's a black sliding door on top you'll need to open to let light in, and you can flip his Rotorstorm slide up and down, allowing other slides to take over. While the sight gimmick was fairly silly, it was Stalker's biggest selling point and Soundwave misses out thanks to Hasbro not including one sticker.
There's a small silver radar dish that can attach to either rear outrigger, which doesn't add much, but at least they included it (makes you wonder why one sticker was too much to ask, though). The only other play value here comes as small wheels underneath, but he tends to roll on hard surfaces anyway.
While the giant rocket is impressive, this is a disappointing tank. Without the rocket it's a silver and burgundy lump with painted treads, and even with the rocket it's little more than a rocket on a transport. Soundwave lacks most of the play value this mould once had, and the tank mode hardly fits the character in these rather random colours.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Detach the rocket and missile launcher, set aside. Fold out panels underneath the front of the tank, flip over the front to form the boots, fold the panels back down as calves. Rotate the lower half and the legs are done. Swing down the arms from underneath the rear outriggers, fold out the forearms and rotate the outriggers into place as shoulderpads, which will drag the arms down to the sides. Rotate the rocket platform away, which will reveal the chest. Flip out the head, attach the missile as a giant shoulder cannon and give Soundwave his missile launcher in either hand.
While it's a fairly simple transformation, there are some nice aspects - such as the calf panels, something we rarely see on flip-over legs. The head is well concealed and the rocket well dealt with. Of course, released during the Beast Wars era, this transformation is extremely simplistic and dated.
Height: 19.5cm Width: 8.5cm
Again based on silver and burgundy, with silver on his torso and boots and burgundy arms. Soundwave's head, groin and very short thighs are black while the mouthplate is a bronze colour. The eyes are transparent blue but the lightpipe is lost thanks to the rocket platform behind the head. The silver radar dish will sit on one shoulder and the rocket on the other. Again the colours are okay if uninspiring, and the name reuse looks even less logical now - this is meant to be the original cassette deck, but looks absolutely nothing like him.
The rocket on his shoulder looks pretty good, I have to admit, and you're still able to mount a Predator jet on there, which is nifty. The radar dish also works well, although I'm disappointed that there's nothing to replace the handheld missile launcher - which was left out to comply with US toy safety laws.
Poseability is limited to swinging shoulders, which isn't much, but the rocket will stay attached if you lift the arm supporting it up 90°, which is pretty impressive when you consider the weight of the rocket and the small post anchoring it. Nothing else moves in a meaningful way, although there are some transformation joints which allows movement (if no stable poses).
The play value is poor - the arms lift up and that's pretty much it. The scope gimmick works on the condition that you have a Predator jet to attach, but that's a fairly significant proviso. The rocket can swing from side to side to some degree, doing its bit as a targetable shoulder cannon of sorts.
Again the robot mode is fairly underwhelming, and utterly fails to convey the character it's meant to represent. The shoulder mounted rocket is very cool, being able to mount smaller Predators on top or swing it back with the shoulder without it falling off are definite pluses, although since the Predators weren't sold in all markets (IE not the USA), the gimmick is a luxury. The colours are an improvement over those of Stalker, without really being memorable.
None as such, although as I've mentioned this is a stripped down Stalker repaint. There is a later TFU repaint (again called Soundwave), which is just as uninspiring.
While the colours are an improvement over those of Stalker, Soundwave is a regression simply because most of the play value is gone. The mould is limited and by the time Soundwave came out it was quite dated. Neither mode really inspires and the only real highpoint is the rocket, which has lost a lot of its fun this time around. Get Stalker if anything - 3/10