Alternate Mode: Station Wagon Car
Height: 4.5cm Length: 8.5cm Width: 4.5cm
A midnight blue with black windows and ceramic green painted details, Soundwave sports a gold Decepticon logo on the right side of his hood and and gold a "power button" logo on the roof. The tyres and hubcaps are black and there's a gold button console like detail on the front (like you'd expect on a remote control. The colours don't really fit into the classic Soundwave concept, but the music player theme does. At any rate, the very light ceramic green and very dark midnight blue compliment each other well, and the colours are quite similar to the deluxe, without the transparent windows. Unlike many Activators, there's no obvious red button here - which is a good thing since it would have disupted the theme.
Wagons are rare amongst Transformers - we usually get coupes & sedans - sports cars, basically. He's a hot rod wagon at that - not quite the surf wagon of the deluxe, mainly because he lacks the roofrack designed to hold Laserbeak. There are faux boomboxes on either door in ceramic green and unpainted sculpted headlights. The back has a massive gap. The level of detail is what you'd expect of an Activator.
There's not much play value here - Soundwave rolls and that's it. I don't expect any more at this level. The side panels (the robot arms) don't lock into place, but the springs keeping them in place do a very good job.
A nice theme and a consistent colour scheme (they've learned that bright red buttons don't always work) make Soundwave a good looking wagon from three directions, but the unsightly gap at the back is something you'd expect from a G1 toy. It's still a decent little vehicle mode, mind you, since the theme is well executed. Well, that and the fact that Wagon Transformers are so damn rare.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Press the middle of the raised blue section at the back of his roof which will cause him to transform and end up laying face down on the table. Split the front to form boots, fold out the feet and stand him up. Rotate the forearms and you're done. The basic layout of the robot mode resembles that of the deluxe, but this is a very different transformation.
Height: 111cm Width: 8.5cm
A midnight blue robot with pea soup green discs on his upper arms, matched by green feet and faceplate. The false tape door on his chest are is painted a glossy black, and features a gold Decepticon logo in the centre and gold bordering. His eyestrip is red. The face and its colours are clear tribute to G1 Soundwave. The pea soup green discs are a less successful attempt to simulate the wheels on the arms of the deluxe - especially since the rear tyres are quite visible at the back of the arms. I also fail to see why this extra shade of green has been added in the first place - it's not found on the deluxe. Surely using gold would have worked better (at least on the face), and probably cheaper since there's one less paint involved. The colours are still relatively close to those of the deluxe, but the tribute is weaker and the overall colour scheme a little less attractive.
The proportions are typically weird although less so than the deluxe - and many Animated toys. Soundwave as a character lacks the long chin of many Animated toys. The arms extend down to the ankles however the chest panel isn't so wide on this toy. There's a tall kibble block behind his head, which is the back end of the roof (including the transformation button). The musical theme is still present albeit weaker. The tape deck door on his chest is the main aspect we see, although there's also a button console on his waist (sadly it's unpainted, unlike that of the deluxe), while the discs do look like speakers.
Poseability is pretty good considering how many springs are in this toy. His head turns through 360° although his waist is fixed. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows are hinged with rotators. Like Activator Bumblebee, Soundwave's forearms are sculpted inside the door panels, but the elbow rotators make them much easier to see (and more successful as a result). His hips are ball jointed while the knees and ankles are hinged, the knees also have rotators. The range of stable poses is a little limited by the backpack, but Soundwave has better poseability than you'd expect of robot at the end of a spring loaded transformation.
Despite the kibble behind his head and misjudged use of pea soup green, Soundwave has a good robot mode. The musical theme carries over and the colours work well, even if that green dilutes the tribute a little. His poseability is impressive and his proportions are more "normal" (and satisfying in a way) than most Animated toys.
None that I'm aware of. He does not come with a Laserbeak accessory.
The Activator concept has been a well executed gimmick throughout, and Soundwave is no exception. Sure he has his problems, but for the relatively low price there's a lot happening here. The character is innovative - the colours, musical theme and choice of a wagon alternate mode are all very different, and while this toy comes well after the deluxe, it still makes the character refreshing. The vehicle mode is probably his weaker mode, thanks to that gash at the back. While the robot mode has the flaw of that needless pea soup green, the poseability is good enough to offset this. The transformation works well and frankly, both modes work well. While the larger toy came first and has the inherent advantage of the accompanying Laserbeak, Soundwave is a welcome addition to the Activator line, and a toy I'd recommend if you like Activators or passed on the larger toy - 8/10