Series: Prime Robots in Disguise Soundwave is absolutely devoted to Megatron. He uses his ability to intercept any electronic transmission to ensure the supremacy of his leader, and the eventual victory of the Decepticons over the Autobots.
Many thanks to my good buddy James aka Caked-Up, who gave me Soundwave here for my birthday this year.
First off, Prime Soundwave very closely resembles the character we see on the TV screen, to get that out of the way. Some details may be off, but overall the likeness is spot on. No complaints on that front. And while the resemblance to either G1 Soundwave
(the original) or War for Cybertron Soundwave
(who's supposed to be the same guy) is very much non-existent, I do not have a problem with that. Prime Soundwave is his own character and he looks very cool.
Second, who here remembers the Breast Force? Yes, there actually was an official Transformes subgroup called Breast Force. They appeared (naturally) in Japan as part of the Victory toyline and Prime Soundwave here is an honorary member. Just like those ill-named robots of yore, he has a smaller partner integrated into his chest, Laserbeak. Unlike the cassette tapes of G1 days, Laserbeak actually becomes part of his chest here instead of just being inside it. The design here is very nicely done as Soundwave manages to look good with and without the bird-chestplate. Laserbeak himself is a rather simplified version of a robotic bird and can't do much more than flap his wings a bit, but as an extra for Soundwave he works very well.
Soundwave does have some problems, though. First off, the head. It looks very nice, no doubt, but it's a crime in my opinion that his big face plate is just painted instead of transparent with light piping. It's supposed to light up, people. I have no doubt that Reprolabels will sooner or later bring out a face sticker for Soundwave (possibly several), but this was a missed opportunity right here.
Second flaw, the legs. While Soundwave has nicely articulated arms (no small feat considering they are the wings of his alternate mode), the legs are a different matter. They can move freely at the hip, but the knees are backwards-bending and move only very, very little. Which makes dynamic poses rather difficult for this guy. One might argue that Soundwave isn't supposed to pose dramatically, he's supposed to stand in the background and look menacing, but still. More leg movement would have been appreciated.
Overall Soundwave is a very cool-looking robot who nicely portrays the TV character, but with (I believe) some simple changes he could have been a lot better.
Soundwave transforms into a so-called UAV, an unmanned aerial vehicle strongly resembling a Predator drone (as seen in the first live-action Transformers movie). The positive side here are the wings, which very nicely convert from the robot mode arms, and the front portion, which is formed from the robot legs. Sadly the rest of the vehicle is not up to par, as the middle and rear of the jet retains the “alien tech” look of the robot mode and doesn’t really fit with the rest. There are no obvious robot bits, but it still looks more like an alien space craft than a man-made recon drone.
The drone has a front landing gear, but the rear end rests on parts of the robot mode. Also, Laserbeak can either remain integrated into Soundwave’s chest (now the lower rear of the drone) or be attached to the top of the drone. The latter looks cool, but makes it look even more alien than it already is. So bottom line: a functional vehicle mode that nicely disguises the robot, but with some shortcomings.
Ever since Movie Bumblebee, it seems to have become hip to include at least one non-verbal character on each team who communicates only through sound bites, if at all. Soundwave has yet to speak in Transformers Prime, though he does manage to be pretty cool regardless and established himself as a heavyweight by soundly humiliating Airracchnid during her short-lived attempt at Decepticon leadership. Here’s hoping he’ll do more of that in season 2 and less standing-around on the bridge of the Nemesis.
Soundwave as a toy is really a bit of a mixed blessing. The emphasis here was clearly on bringing the cool look of the robot from the TV series into toy form and in that it succeeds. Soundwave looks really cool as a robot and while the drone mode has some short comings, it still looks good. Unfortunately Soundwave also comes with several drawbacks that, in my mind, could have been avoided. Little things like the face-screen having no light piping gimmick, only half a landing gear in vehicle mode, or the lack of proper leg articulation in robot mode. Little things all, but they add up. So in closing I’d say yes, you should get Soundwave, but more because he’s part of the cartoon’s main cast rather than the toy’s own merits.