A cross between a fat heavy metal bassist and Sparky’s Magic Piano, Animated Soundwave is an interesting hybrid of those two sources with none of the musical ability, simply using sound as a weapon, in much the same way Rick Wakeman does on many of his noodling prog-rock albums, both solo and with the preposterous Yes (to which the sane response is ‘No’).
A squat, mostly blue chunk Animated Soundwave isn’t the most attractive of figures, his slightly simian gait over-ruling what looks like a generally muscular frame. He’s got a great amount of articulation, and making his legs move in running positions is guaranteed to make you smile as making Soundwave run is akin to cheering on the fat kid in an egg and spoon race – his frame simply isn’t designed for it. His arms are the main weak area, being a slightly flat set of paddles below the elbow, his hands poking out of his sleeves in a half-hearted pankcake flat manner only of use for directing traffic. Some cunning post and hole action gives him the ability to hold massive guitar-bird Laserbeak, which whilst looking pretty cool does make you think Laserbeak is ever so slightly out of scale. Or Soundwave is a midget. Because Soundwave is inextricably linked to his 1980s bodyform (not, er, Bodyform – that’s something else entirely...), we also get the ‘cassette deck chest’, for no real reason other than no one being brave enough to release a Soundwave toy without it (waits for pedant to point out the various Universe and other figures to bear the name Soundwave that lack this feature). It’s doubly redundant for this Soundwave as Laserbeak is a gituar and wouldn’t fit into a cassette deck anyway.
Laserbeak himself is a nice bit of kit, swiftly converting from a flying-V guitar to falcon and back! (exclamation mark copyright excitable Hasbro on pack waffle) proving that it is possibly to update Soundwave’s cassette minions into other forms. I can picture it now, with an Animated Frenzy and Rumble transforming into a drum kit... Some clever design on Laserbeak’s feet allows him to properly perch on Soundwave’s arm without falling off.
Soundwave’s alternate mode is a mini-van. It looks a little ‘Pimp My Ride’ and there's the cute touch of the cassette motif carried over into the livery and it’s nice enough, just not terribly exciting. Laserbeak can attach to the roof, which looks pretty silly.What is terribly exciting is Soundwave’s transformation which is very clever indeed, with parts swivelling here and there and vehicle parts folding up to form the robot mode. It is impressive and one of the best efforts out of the Animated line.
Were it not for his utterly dull paint job, Soundwave would be an excellent figure. But the few daubs of light blue and gold fail to liven up such a tedious palette. Really, Soundwave’s colours should be in stereo rather than mono.
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