Alternate Mode: Tank/Autobot Robot/Crane
Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Shockwave for this review
DECEPTICON TANK MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 21cm Width: 11cm
A grey "H" shaped tank with some black and white elements on the legs, Shockwave has a black turret featuring a large black main cannon flanked by two smaller black cannons. There are some metallic teal elements here and there and a silver Decepticon logo on the front of the main cannon. While it's a relatively simple colour scheme there are a lot of minor breakouts, so it's not as unified as such a straightforward colour scheme should be.
As is typical for the Animated line, the shape here is quite stylised with curved lines and generally low detail - although his turret features a higher level of detail than is typical of the line. The main body of the tank is somewhat gappy, and the robot head at the front is fairly easy to discern, although there's no visible face or anything like that.
This tank mode rolls poorly on four hidden black plastic wheels - he tends to slide along and the rear treads aren't secured in place very well anyway. The turret rotates through 360° and the small side cannons can lift up to aim, although the main cannon is fixed in place.
While it's a pretty rudimentary tank mode, this is the better alt mode of this toy - because it's clearly a tank. The colours are decent despite some outbursts and the turret is easy to pick. The side weapons provide the only real play value here. It's by no means a great tank mode, but a passable one.
TRANSFORMATION TO DECEPTICON ROBOT MODE
There's quite a bit of contorting of his limbs so I'll summarise. The front treads become his shoulder pylons, complete with rotating red flashes. The head pulls out with antennae than flip out, the turret becomes a handgun. The rear treads extend as long skinny legs. The torso hunches forward slightly while there are posts holding the front treads in pace which fold away neatly under his torso.
DECEPTICON ROBOT MODE
Height: 21.5cm Width: 13cm
A grey robot with black thighs & black shoulder pylons, Shockwave has off white claw-like hands and a light grey chest panel with a metallic gold Decepticon logo. There are red and teal patches on his shoulders. The face is black while the head itself is grey, and sports two insect-like off white antennae. There's a single red eye on his face, a clear tribute to the G1 character of the same name. Overall it's a fairly subdued colour scheme with a few well placed bursts of colour - and works better than his tank mode colours.
As is usual with Animated toys, Shockwave has unusual proportions - he's very tall and lanky - but he's in proportion with himself, which isn't always the case in this line. The details are fairly simple and understated as you'd expect but he's not sparse as some of the Animated toys are. One feature I find quite amusing is that Shockwave has the distinctive chin so common in this series despite having _no mouth_! This chin block pops off far too easily, I find it's popping off every time I try to transform the toy, and it's getting annoying.
Shockwave is well articulated but this doesn't quite translate into great poseability. His head turns on an angle while the neck can nod. His shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows rotate and hinge inwards. The three claws in either hand can all move around, giving him the ability to grasp stuff (if not his handgun). The waist is fixed while the hips swing and lift out to the sides. The knees are hinged with rotators while the feet are fixed. Between the number of transformation joints in his legs, the relatively small heelspurs and an unusually high centre of gravity, Shockwave's range of poses is smaller than the impressive roll call of joints might suggest. He still has a decent array of poses, mind you.
There are no real gimmicks in this mode. The gun clips into either forearm, giving him a tri-barreled weapon - it's the same as in tank mode.
A solid robot mode despite the overabundance of joints limiting his range of stable poses. The colours are well thought out, the shape is in proportion with itself and the distinctive features such as the shoulder pylons and cyclops eye look good.
TRANSFORMATION TO AUTOBOT CRANE MODE (FROM TANK MODE)
Pretty trivial, really. The treads pivot down forming anchoring legs, the secondary cannons fold away (and integrate well) while the end of the main cannon folds underneath the base of this same cannon. The crane arm extension then springs up while off white hook flips over into place.
AUTOBOT CRANE MODE
Height: 13cm Length: 15cm Width: 11.5cm
A grey crab-tank sort of thing, this is basically the tank standing on the treads as legs, with the turret folded up as a crane arm. The colour scheme is essentially the same as that of the tank mode, since there aren't really any new surfaces here. The Decepticon logo is now marginally visible on the underside of the raised crane-arm. On the plus side, the colours are more unified than the tank mode, simply because the red outbursts of the secondary cannons are no longer visible.
In some ways this feels like an intermediate mode, there are enough dedicated joints & internal notches here that I'm satisfied this mode was always part of the design process rather than something tacked on late in the game. It's a fairly ill-defined sort of vehicle, being a fusion between the fantasy concept of a crab tank and a crane. While the concept they've aimed for works well, it's just not something you see parked on the side of the road - or on a battlefield.
The play value here is okay. The legs don't walk, but at least he'll stand on the table securely - not always the case for quadrupedal Transformers. The crane arm rotates and the off white hook can swing a little. The hook itself is composed of a soft plastic, probably for child safety reasons. There are no rolling wheels now.
Something of a forced vehicle mode, but it's genuinely different enough from the tank at least. This alt mode belongs to his "infiltration" alter ego, Longarm, and justifies that name. It's not actually that different from the tank mode, but has a different feel. It's not any better or worse than the tank, either, although it's far less realistic.
TRANSFORMATION TO AUTOBOT ROBOT MODE, LONGARM (FROM SHOCKWAVE MODE)
Tip back the chest, rotate the logo on his chest. Slide the head into his torso, which will cause the face to automorph, revealing the Autobot face. Fold down the antennae, flip away the red flashes on his shoulders. Pivot the shoulders down, rotate the forearms so the "inner" claws are to the from, fold away the outer claws and pivot the inner claws to form hands. Pivot the thighs down, slide the inner thighs up and lock in to form the groin. Pivot the legs out, rotate the boots. Transform the weapon into the crane-arm configuration, plug into his back and you're done.
AUTOBOT ROBOT MODE, LONGARM
Height: 20.5cm Width: 12cm
A grey robot with black limbs and a black forehead, Longarm has off white hands and a light grey chest featuring a chrome silver Autobot logo. His face is white along with the outside edges of his head while his eyes are teal. There's a transparent red dot on his forehead (Shockwave's cyclops eye). The feet and forearms are grey. The black crane arm peeks out behind his head, and the Decepticon logo is awfully visible here. Aside from the horrible placement of that logo, it's a good colour scheme.
While the basic layout is the same as the Decepticon robot mode, there aren't a lot of shared visible elements. The cyclops eye, shoulder panels and chest (logo aside) are shared, along with the thighs. There are a lot of minor changes which allow this robot mode to look very different. The shape is markedly different - the legs are short and he has lizard hips, giving him a very squat look rather than the lanky look of the Decepticon mode. The face is quite different and the head is hunched, contributing to the different shape. The hands instead of claws is a clever trick, since they're part of the claws and the other part is well hidden. I don't really like the squat shape here - the hips bother me - but at least the chin makes sense here.
The play value is about the same as the other robot mode - he's more stable but lacks a weapon and loses some jointing. The head is fixed while the shoulders swing and lift out to the side. The elbows are hinged with rotators while the wrists are restricted ball joints. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees are hinged with rotators. Sadly the thighs get in the way of his knee hinges. The feet are fixed but have decent heelspurs. If anything, the Decepticon mode is more playable, but this one has a lower centre of gravity, so it's narrower range of poses offer a wider range of stable poses.
The visible Decepticon logo is really, really, sloppy. Frankly it's something that should have been corrected before this toy went into production. The difference between this and the other robot mode makes this robot mode impressive, despite the glaring flaw. The play value is pretty limited, but the fact that Shockwave has this infiltration mode provides an inherent play value few Transformers can match. The lizard hips look quite weird, but then it's Animated - odd proportions are par for the course.
There's a purple repaint sold exclsuively with Activator Bumblebee. Aside from the obvious stronger tribute to the G1 character, this version lacks that misplaced Decepticon logo so visible in the Autobot modes.
While the legs are generally quite fidgety and the crab-tank crane mode is something of a stretch, the fact that they managed to engineer two distinctly different vehicles _and_ two distinctly different robot modes into one toy is enough to make Shockwave impressive. Even accounting for the fact that both the vehicle modes and both the robot modes use the same basic layout, the end result is quite satisfying. The colours work for the most part and while the play value of the individual modes isn't especially impressive, the overall effect of the two different characters built into one toy gives Shockwave a lot of play value. My main complaint is the hare-brained decision to release this toy with a Decepticon logo so damn visible in the Autobot mode. Recommended for fans of Animated, and worth a look to those who aren't - 7.5/10