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Series: War for Cybertron: Siege
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Voyager
Year: 2019

Prelude: If we’re talking Transformers bad guys, one of the first names that comes to mind is, of course, Soundwave. He whose face inspired the Decepticon faction symbol. He of the cool voice. So it does not come as much of a surprise that he is part of the Siege line, too, giving us only the third Voyager-sized Soundwave figure ever. And, spoiler: the best Voyager-sized Soundwave figure, too.

Robot Mode: Now the first thing one notices about this figure – I mean apart from how awesomely Soundwave-y it looks – is the sheer amount of battle damage detailing on it. His legs and his entire chest compartment are scratched up to high heaven. Now I could maybe have lived with that if he were to still transform into an 80s era tape recorder, allowing one to imagine that this thing has been worn down by over 30 years of constant use. As things stand, I find it a bit overdone. I mean, I’ve seen G1 Soundwaves on eBay in played-with condition whose chest plate was less scratched up than this. I might, for the first time ever, look into removing that detailing. We’ll see.

Apart from that, we have an awesome Soundwave figure here. Despite the different altmode, this is clearly Soundwave, no doubt about it. He has the look, he has the guns, and he has the tape deck in his chest, too. No cassettes included, but Ravage and Laserbeak are available as a Micromaster two-pack. Soundwave can store a single cassette in his chest (which almost manages to hide those battle damage scratches there) or use them as shields attached to his shoulders or arms. He does come with an additional weapon that kind of looks like an emaciated gun barrel. While it can be used as a gun by itself, it’s really there for connecting Soundwave’s two classic weapons into a much bigger one. Which looks... yeah, not that great. This one you can easily leave aside, as it’s not needed in either alternate mode, either.

Articulation is as good as we’ve come to expect from current-day Generations figures, very good, and Soundwave even has his left hand sculpted with an extending finger for pressing his own buttons. Very nicely done. Finally it is possible to give Soundwave a kind of “Hypermode” by flipping out the grey struts on his shoulders and forearms, as well as the big pods on his back (see picture 15), making it look as if he’s firing from a very large number of weapons simultaneously. Would have been even better of those pods on his back could flip forward as actual shoulder guns, but then again, that would interfere with his actual shoulder gun.

Bottom line: this is Soundwave! An excellent robot mode. I’d have given it full marks if they’d just gone a little easier on the battle damage detailing.

Alternate Mode: Much like Shockwave, Soundwave also suffers from having had a brilliant yet outdated alternate mode in his original incarnation. So whenever Hasbro tries to give Soundwave a more up to date, different alternate mode, the results are mixed. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some great car-mode Soundwaves (War for Cybertron, Robots in Disguise 2015), and I wouldn’t have minded Siege Soundwave becoming some kind of ground vehicle, either. Instead, though, he becomes a kind of space cruiser. Something that worked nicely for Shockwave, mind you, but for Soundwave? Yeah, not so much.

The space cruiser tries to look like some kind of space-born aircraft carrier, I guess, but really it looks like a robot lying on his stomach. It doesn’t look entirely bad, mind you, there are some nice elements such as the cockpit and the engine pods, but overall the whole thing just looks blah! So... yeah, Soundwave becomes a space cruiser thing. Moving on.

Soundwave does come with a semi-official third mode, too, which harkens back all the way to the original pilot of Transformers from 1984. He transforms into something that is supposed to be a Cybertronian street lamp, the shape of which is hinted at on the packaging and visible under black light or at certain angles, too. The result is... well, interesting. It’s still basically the robot mode standing up, just with the arms and head tucked in, but it’s fun somehow. And better than the space cruiser mode, anyway. Finally, it is possible to somewhat approximate Soundwave’s tapedeck mode with this figure, too, though the result doesn’t look all that great. So bottom line for the alternate mode(s): best to leave Soundwave in robot mode.

Remarks: There isn’t really much about Soundwave I can write here that I haven’t already written in half a dozen other reviews of Soundwave figures. There are a lot of them by now. Still, the Siege Soundwave figure has done something no other Soundwave has ever accomplished, namely giving us Soundwave’s original Cybertronian altmode... somewhat. The street lamp he transformed into in the very first episode of G1 looked a bit different than it does here, but bonus points for effort and sheer obscurity. Apart from that, yeah, he’s Soundwave. You know the drill.

As a toy Siege Soundwave has a great robot mode, a pretty bland “official” alternate mode, and a nice little extra in his street lamp mode. He’s certainly the best Voyager-scale Soundwave I’ve ever seen (the competition isn’t that numerous, though) and while I would have wished for a better altmode, I’m still mostly satisfied. The figure isn’t perfect, but everyone who wants a Voyager-scale Soundwave for his CHUG Decepticons won’t go wrong with this one.

Rating: B+

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