Alternate Mode: Stealth Jet
Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Soundwave for this review
Height: 2.5cm Length: 9cm Width: 6.5cm
A blue jet which is more robot kibble than stealth jet, Soundwave is a triangular vehicle with gold on the leading edges of his wings and some grey robot kibble on his fuselage - including very visible robot arms. The cockpit window at the front is painted a dark metallic purple colour, and while the idea is good, it needed to be brighter - the arms are far more visible, which is not a good thing. The larger toy has more visible jet details, and looks much better as a result. There is a Decepticon symbol visible at the back end - the gold robot chest - but it's upside down in this mode. Don't look from the back - the face is also visible.
There's no play value in this disappointing vehicle mode. I wouldn't expect anything at this scale, but it would have helped offset the fact that this is a folded up robot more than a jet. There are three bumps underneath playing the role of undercarriage, and he holds together well enough, but these are fairly minor positives.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Unclip the canopy, swing the legs out from underneath the canopy, straighten his legs and torso. Fold the wingplate down onto his back and pivot the canopy out to the left side.
Height: 9cm Width: 6.5cm
Again mainly blue, although this time Soundwave has a lot more colour - as is typical of this size class. The chest is gold and purple with that Decepticon logo, his face is gold with a purple eyestrip and the arms and thighs are grey. His kneecaps are painted red and his ankles silver, rounding out a satisfyingly detailed paint mask which is quite faithful to that on the larger toy - sans Laserbeak, of course. This is easily the more appealing mode, and not because there's more paint - the fact is the robot detailing dominates, pushing the awkward cockpit kibble on one side to the edge out of your mind.
The wingtips sit behind his shoulders as a cape, and this works well. The larger toy uses the canopy as a shield underneath the left arm, but this version wears it awkwardly on the side, like a broadsword hindering the movement of a knight in a fistfight. Soundwave's poseability is disappointing for a toy with six ball joints. His head, elbows and waist are fixed while the shoulders, hips and knees are ball jointed. The tailfins on his shoulders impact on the cape, limiting his arm poseability, while the hip joints are designed so that you don't get more than wiggle room. The knees are fairly useful, but the effective range of poses is limited by the hips. His pointy feet and heels anchor the poses available quite well, mind you. As is typical of the Legends class, there are no weapons here - no bombs on this version.
A decent robot mode with a good paint job and a range of relaxed poses. I'm not happy with the choice to hang the cockpit on the side as kibble - it doesn't work as a shield at all, and would have been best tucked behind. The weird hips are another problem which could have been easily avoided. He displays fairly well, but these problems needlessly hold back the robot mode - which is his better mode nonetheless.
None that I'm aware of.
With an awful jet mode and a detailed but limited robot mode, Soundwave is mediocre. Legends typically focus on the robot mode (because that's how they're packaged), but Soundwave's vehicle mode is almost token - I get the feeling the deisgner just made sure he folded up and did little else. The robot mode has some design choices which hold it back, but it displays well thanks to a great paint mask. I'd recommend the larger toy instead of this, despite the added cost, because it has a respectable vehicle mode, and some nifty weapons to boot. Only grab this one if you're getting the set of Legends - 3.5/10