Series: Micron Densetsu
Alternate Mode: Battle Fleet
Note: For some reason, Hasbro added a lot of green to Tidal Wave when it was released in Armada. Since I have access to the more show accurate Japanese toy, thanks to Goktimus Prime, I'm reviewing that version.
Height: 5.5cm Length: 24cm Width: 33cm
A grey and purple ship with some orange highlights here and there, this ship is an amalgam of three different vessels, and looks it to some extent. The bow, which is the narrowest section, is light grey with a moulded and painted purple Decepticon logo. This bow section is very flat (obviously an aircraft carrier). On either side of the bow section, at the back of it, are two purple pontoons, which resemble catamaran hulls, behind the bow itself is a dark grey bridge section with lots of guns. The stern is split into two dark grey pontoons, and this is the widest part of the vessel. These pontoons have wings on the side, which are swept forward. While the colour scheme is a little disparate, the overarching theme of grey and purple brings it together fairly well.
While this vessel does look like a fusion, it's clearly a nautical one, so I'm happy enough. The various segments are all boat-like - especially the aircraft carrier on the bow. There's a small silver bridge on top of the gun area, complete with a black window, which not only gives a sense of scale but also brings the toy together here. The allegiance symbol also works towards this end.
While this vehicle is a fusion, there's still play value here. We get a total of ten hardpoints, including a red one on top of the air traffic control tower on the starboard and a live one amongst the guns. If you plug Ramjet (or whoever) in and slide forward, the four double-guns swing out, and will slide back once you release the spring-loaded gimmick. There are four small radar domes which also rotate, making this a pretty good little gimmick. While none of the others are live, the sheer quantity makes these hardpoints cool. There are red missiles which you can load into the purple hulls, launched by red triggers on the outsides of these hulls. I'm not a fan of leaving them loaded since the red breaks up his colour scheme, but I appreciate the weapon option. And of course, with the little runway on the flight deck, which is marked in purple, you can position Ramjet (or whoever) for takeoff/landing.
While this might not be the most realistic boat you'll see, the Armada/Micron Densetsu line isn't known for realistic alternate modes anyway. It's quite clearly a boat, something that many nautical Transformers have struggled with (a href="splashdown.php">Splashdown comes to mind). The play value is enough to keep you interested, and when you consider that this splits into other vehicles, which some more gimmicks, it's worthwhile. The colours are a credit here, and I really do wonder why Hasbro felt the need to add more colour on their less show-accurate equivalent.
TRANSFORMATION TO DARK FLEET
Pull out the stern section, push the grey pontoons together to form the barge-like vehicle. Pull the the purple pontoons out to the side, unclipping them (and the gun area) from the aircraft carrier. Push the pontoons together to form a gunship. Swing the two attachment points on either side of the aircraft carrier back into position.
Height: 6cm Length: 16cm Width: 11.5cm
A dark grey pontoon vehicle with a flat silver deck. The bow is a sloping purple affair, akin to a ramp for motor vehicles. There's a purple Decepticon logo painted on the portside of this ramp - yes it's painted purple on purple plastic, while there's a faint silver paint at the bottom. While I call this thing a barge, it could also be described as a floating vehicle trailer. There are two raised sections at the stern, the portside one features a small black bridge. The colours are pretty uninteresting overall, but it still works. The Decepticon logo is a nice touch, even if it doesn't end up adding much.
The play value here is minimal, but what we do have is worthwhile. There are four light grey plastic wheels underneath which roll fairly well. The wheels are actually available in the combined vehicle mode (this goes for all three vehicles, actually). There are four hardpoints on top - two on the deck and one each on the raised stern features. The deck opens out to the sides, inside the halves are four platforms which fold down (two per side). The resultant "Base Mode" is pretty underwhelming, since it's more of a cradle for carrying other vehicles. Indeed the two other Dark Fleet vehicles will fit.
A fairly bland vehicle really, since the colours are very subdued and the base mode is an afterthought. It's not a bad vehicle, but there's nothing at all that stands out.
Height: 6.5cm Length: 17.5cm Width: 7.5cm
A boat with twin purple bows and a solid dark grey block of a stern. There are some fluorescent orange painted details on the bows and at the stern, while the guns and radar domes are all on top of the stern block. The silver bridge in the centre, again with a black window, is the same one which was prominent on the combined vehicle. Behind the bridge is a Decepticon logo, raised and painted purple. While I'm not a huge fan of the orange in theory, it ends up adding a splash of colour, which actually works against the backdrop of purple and dark grey.
The play value here is carried over from the larger vehicle - the red missile launchers are embedded in the twin bows while the live hardpoint which turns the guns is at the stern. There are two hardpoints at the front, one on either bow section. There are again four light grey wheels underneath, in this case these wheels are ridged. There are two light grey brackets which fold down underneath the boat which seemingly do nothing, however they are designed to clamp around the arm of Megatron, turning this well armed boat into a huge arm-mounted weapon.
A nice attack boat, the Gunship looks quite menacing. I would have preferred a colour other than orange, but I'm glad the paint has been applied and this vehicle gets away with orange anyway. It's probably the least realistic of the three boats here, but at the same time is the most visually dynamic.
Height: 6cm Length: 17cm Width: 6cm
A grey aircraft carrier with a big Decepticon logo on the bow (the same one on the combined boat), purple runway lines running from the portside to stern and a control tower on the starboard. There's a red powerlinx port on top of the control tower. The underside features some purple and dark grey and there's a black patch on the portside stern, but this carrier is all about grey, as these things tend to be. The flight deck's sculpt is actually quite complex although the purple runway lines could have been painted better.
The play value here is simple but focussed. There's a dark grey lift on the portside, pushing it up causes a panel to flip back on the flight deck, and Ramjet can stow underneath - a folded up jet stored inside the ship! This is my favourite feature of Shockwave, because it's something that really links this toy to a real vehicle - something rare in Micron Densetsu/Armada. There are two grey hardpoints on the flightdeck to compliment the red one on the tower, and the ridged grey wheels underneath roll. Pushing the tower down reveals a clasp underneath, allowing this ship to attach to Megatron's arm as a sort of shield.
While this isn't a realistic aircraft carrier, it's the most realistic component of the Dark Fleet. The carrier is complimented by Ramjet and features a nice sculpt. While it's still fairly mediocre as Transformers boats go, it's refreshingly realistic for this line and the gimmick is very focussed.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Pull the halves of the barge out to the sides to form boots, rotate them down, positioning the thighs and groin. Flip up the ramp to form his feet and flip out the heelspurs. Plug the stern of the gunship into his groin, rotate the gun array to form his chestplate and partly reveal his head. Fold the twin bows down to the sides, forming the attachment points for his shoulders. Pull the partially stowed head up. Split the Aircraft carrier, swing in the plugs at the back of each half and plug them into the opposing sides of his torso (portside becomes the right arm and starboard becomes the left), Rotate the forearms and swing up the thumbs.
Height: 29cm Width: 19cm
A grey and purple robot, Shockwave's main colour is dark grey, which is prominent on his forearms, boots and torso. The thighs, feet, fingers, shoulder anchors and head are purple while the face is dark grey with yellow eyes. The upper arms are light grey and the shins are painted silver. There are some orange details on his chest and kneecaps. The colours come together well here - dark but fairly consistent. That's despite the splashes of orange and red, too. The Decepticon logo from the gunship is visible on his chest.
In terms of the layout, the barge forms his boots, the rear section of the gunship forms a visually impressive chestplate while the twin bows flank the torso, acting as attachment points for the arms, which are the two halves of the aircraft carrier. The profusion of weapons on his torso looks good, as do the bows on the outsides. The arms and legs are _very_ blocky, and this works on the level of a big lug - Shockwave looks immobile but very powerful.
We have access to all ten hardpoints, although the two on the purple flanking pieces are difficult to access here. The live one on his chest is still live, mind you. The pair on the outside of his forearms are the best positioned. Shockwave's poseability is good - better than you might expect when you first look at this blocky robot mode anyway. The head and waist are fixed but his shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend and rotate. His fingers fold in as one, towards his thumbs which can pivot. The hips swing and lift out to the sides. The knees are essentially fixed - the main flaw in the articulation here - while the feel and heelspurs can more around a little. Shockwave lacks any obvious weapon here which is unusual for an Armada toy. Instead he relies on imposing size (which represents brute force, I guess). The hardpoints on his forearms allow you to attach weapon MiniCons. You can plug the red missiles into their launchers, but they point down onto his knees, which is kind of pointless.
While the legs are fairly immobile and Shockwave lacks any true gimmicks here, the bulk and scale make this toy impressive, since the character is meant to tower over everyone else. The colours work well and they layout is fairly clever. A decent good robot mode, despite some limitations.
Alternate Mode: Fighter Jet
Height: 2cm Length: 4.5cm Width: 3.5cm
A small purple fighter jet with red hinges and a gold painted canopy, Ramjet has wings at the back and winglets alongside his cockpit. There are no wheels underneath, just red and grey undercarriage junk.
There's a single powerlinx port underneath what is a very small and static MiniCon jet. This represents all of the play value of this jet. It can fold up on transformation joints for the fighter elevator trick on the carrier boat.
Overall this is a very simple jet mode, on a toy which is really only designed to compliment the large toy. As a result this jet mode is very unimpressive.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Swing back the cockpit and fold up his wings. Swing back the undercarriage junk to form his legs, flip up his feet and fold down the forearms.
Height: 4.5cm, Width: 2cm
A purple robot with red thighs, forearms and a red face. His boots are silver - both the boots and the feet are single pieces, which says a lot about the design on this toy - he's purely designed to compliment Shockwave since this is not a mould you can appreciate in robot mode.
Poseability is limited to his forearms lifting up and the ability to sit, both of which use existing transformation joints rather than the toy including joints just for poseability.
As simple as the jet mode is, this mode is worse. The complete lack of a gap between the red, incidental poseability and a lack of attention overall make this a poor robot mode.
Tidal Wave, the US version, replaces purple with a light green in places (thumbs, fingers, head and thighs). The orange areas are red. For some reason the patch above the lift gimmick is dark brown rather than the lighter grey of the Takara version - which looks quite awkward. The addition of more colours makes Tidal Wave far less unified, and less show accurate. This mould was repainted, with the same names, in Energon.
Shockwave is a decent toy with interesting modes and good poseability. His colour scheme fits together quite well - Tidal Wave's is far more of a mess. The MiniCon really only exists for a single gimmick - it's not much use otherwise. If you like big, stocky bad guys, you'll like this guy. The play value across four vehicles has some great aspects. I'd recommend this version over Tidal Wave if you have the choice since this is the colour scheme we saw i the cartoon and this one is more unified anyway. 8/10 or 7/10 for Tidal Wave.