FOC Soundwave w/ Discs
As much talking about this guy on Twitter as I’ve been doing, it’d be nice that I had an outlet in which I could review Transformers figures like FOC Soundwave. Oh, wait, that’s right, I do! Read on for the review.
Maybe I’m alone in this, but I think FOC Soundwave is a brilliant Transformer. This toy fixes every issue I had with the War for Cybertron deluxe figure. The proportions are spot on, and the feet are no longer small boats. I’m also really happy with the amount of paint used, highlighting nice details here and there in gold and purple, the purple paint, combine with the translucent purple wheels helps convey the energy glow that tend to emanate from the video game designs. The figure is also big, like really big, like bigger than most voyagers in recent memory. I don’t know if that’s mainly due to the amount of space needed to house the gimmick or not, but if it is, this is one of the few times a gimmick has come to the benefit of a figure! I can also pretty much say that the robot mode is very tidy with little to no kibble depending on how you define kibble.
Transformation and Alt Mode
The transformation is identical to the deluxe toy, so if you have that you’re not missing much. The only differences are the chest plate slides up and the existence of the roof that replaces the deluxe’s roof-feet. The alt mode is good and chunky, and commands a nicely-sized presence on your table/desk. I do have one issue in that I have a bear of a time trying to get the head-covering panels to stay together. I usually have to force it together, and then never touch it again if I want it to stay connected. The roof of the vehicle also moves to allow for the gimmick to function in alt-mode, though there’s not enough clearance to the ground to work properly unless held aloft.
It’s been awhile since I’ve been outright impressed with a Transformers articulation. His legs do all that you’d expect, though he lacks an ankle tilt, but the arms are where this figure shines. Eight different joints comprise the arms, and all of them are free-moving enough to allow for a lot of posing potential, even including the ability to press his eject button to deploy his minions! I’m even pretty sure that if his chest were not in the way that he’d be able to cross his arms in front of him. I’m really happy with him as an action figure.
The Data Disc Minions (Gimmick and etc)
I also managed to pick up both sets of Data Disk Minions, and they come as a mixed bag of satisfaction. Laserbeak (included with Soundwave) and RatBat are the stars of the show and really show off the effectiveness of the disc launching gimmick. Their transformation is simple enough that it doesn’t intrude on itself when being deployed. I also find myself fiddle-forming the two of these a lot while doing other things. I’m also surprised that Ratbat is a complete reshell of Laserbeak, head, wings and tail are all unique sculpts. The Frenzy/Rumble mold sits solidly in the middle of the pack. They transformation is fun, and they execute the flip-change easy enough, but you have to do a few extra steps to ensure they can stand, so they’re more in line with a Transformers Animated Activator. Also they have the 3mm(?) clips for hands that all Legend class figures seem to have nowadays, so I’ll be surprised if a Third Party company doesn’t come out with a set of piledrivers for them someday. Ravage sadly is the weakest of the lot. If it was just a Transformer that you manually transform from a cat to a disk I would call this guy absolutely genius. However, he utterly fails at the gimmick, the back end doesn’t deploy fully and you have to manually move a lot of pieces to get him fully transformed, including his tail. I also find my Ravage near impossible to trigger using Soundwaves gimmick, but it seems all these discs have can have tolerance issues, so that may be self-contained.
For me, the activation of the transformations is easy. Placing the discs button side into the chest of my Soundwave seems to work the best. All of the discs insert tightly but I’m pretty sure that’s to the benefit of everything working properly so you can have enough pressure to trigger the button. Also of note, you have to make sure you push on the plunger correctly, there’s an extra millimeter of push needed to fully eject the discs, and I find myself moving the “spinal rod” moreso than pushing on the roofplate to activate the transformations. Maybe if I’m feeling ambitious I’ll throw up a quick video or something to better explain this.
I’d easily say that Soundwave is one of the best Transformers Voyager figures we’ve had in a long time. Many would argue First Edition Bulkhead and I probably wouldn’t fight that point. But where Bulkhead falls short in being posable, Soundwave excels, and this is probably the only time I’ve not been annoyed at the presence of an outside gimmick.