Transformers Generations War for Cybertron Trilogy Soundwave with Laserbeak and Ravage Action Figure Hasbro, 2020
Day #2,275: February 9, 2021
Soundwave with Laserbeak and Ravage Heavy remold with two slightly remolded buddies
Transformers Generations War for Cybertron Trilogy Walmart Exclusive Netflix Voyager
Item No.: Asst. E9490 No. F0708 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:2 battery blasters, 1 regular blaster, 3 transforming figures Action Feature:Transforms from Robot to Tape Deck Retail:$39.99 Availability: December 2020 Other: Just as good as you would hope
Wave one had some neat figures, while wave two had some figures that are almost criminal as store exclusives. SEts like Soundwave with Laserbeak and Ravage should have been sold everywhere in massive quantities, and likely would be a huge hit - generally exclusives are one or two runs and done, but Hasbro has made some exceptions lately. Hopefully they'll keep cranking out sets like this one, and also the recent Bumblebee. Even at $40, it's a very good update and the kind of Soundwave your average fan will want to keep on their desk to futz with. Also collectors, also probably the weird kids who like retro toys. (You know who you are.)
For the first wave - and much of the second - Walmart's War for Cybertron-themed toys were a few clever repaints, and a lot of same-character-but-grayer repaints. Wave two brought some excellent remolds, which will undoubtedly be in demand for quite some time. This set is so good, Hasbro could throw it in a retro G1-themed box and sell it again next year with no changes - and I bet it'd be a tremendous success. If you aren't already looking out for this one, what are you even doing? (Oh right, avoiding disease.)
After the Siege toy was loaded in strange detail and silver splatter damage galore, this toy is much simpler. It looks closer to the original toy and animation model, with a new head and the cartoon's red eyes. The figure retains the double-jointed elbows from Siege so he can push his own eject button, but I was surprised how much of Soundwave is new for the Netflix release. The forearms are the same, the batteries and weapons are the same, the door doesn't seem too different, but things like the shoulders and legs were all smoothed out. The weird colorful knee lights are gone. The light-up eyes seem just a smidgen better. He has no problems standing or holding his gear, plus the back of the figure has a bunch of 5mm holes to store the accessories if needed. That's handy. The body is also largely free of the 3mm pegs for C.O.M.B.A.T. blast effects - I don't really miss them, as long as they still plug into the weapons.
The reason this will excite most fans is the microcassette recorder mode, which Hasbro rarely brings back. We've had boom boxes, spy satellites, space ships, Cybertron cars, but the 1984-style tape player is a rarity. Fans sussed out that the 2019 space ship Siege toy could contort to a convincing tape deck, so this remold isn't exactly a huge surprise. It's not as good as the original, but it's the best non-masterpiece interpretation to date. It's not too big, and the arms hang off the back, but from the front it looks fine. Until further notice, this is the best Classics/Generations Soundwave alt mode you're likely to see. Hasbro has a tough act to follow - the original toy could pop open to store batteries and everything fit together with minimal visible kibble. This one... there's a lot to hide.
The only action feature is the pop-open chest, which works well. What doesn't work is the tape compatibility - Laserbeak fits nicely, Ravage can gum up the works and stop it from popping open when you push the eject button. The Siege toy had similar tape compatibility issues, and on the whole my original 1984 Soundwave did not. Again, Hasbro has a lot to live up to with the original - it's possible the next redesign in a few years may need a tiny bit more time in the oven. The form fit issues are unacceptable for kid toys, but this is probably aimed mostly at older fans who have beaten down by life enough to accept more disappointment.
Ravage and Laserbeak are redecorated and slightly retooled from before. Laserbeak's wings have a bit more color and a more bird-like robot head - it's a big improvement. Ravage's head isn't obviously altered, but the tape deco has been improved greatly. If you liked the previous releases, these are both slightly better. If you have the previous releases, they're perfectly fine - if you missed them, these are great replacements. They can also peg on to Soundwave as armor, but that's just ridiculous. Both are excellent little toys and great sidekicks to Soundwave, but Ravage could use some improving. I'd be happy to re-buy Laserbeak in Buzzsaw colors if Hasbro were so inclined.
For the new-ish collector, this set is essential - and I'd say long-haul fans will find a lot to like too. The robot mode of Soundwave is great, his buddies are good, and the cassette recorder is as good as we've seen in a non-reissue non-masterpiece toy. I expect Hasbro will do another attempt and it'll probably be even better, but until further notice this is the one you'll regret skipping. I hope Hasbro reissues it, or Walmart orders a bunch more.
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