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Click to see!Takara's Soundwave G1 Re-issue
SoundBlaster variant
by Mr. Stinkhead

The Lowdown:
Back in the 80s in Japan, Takara re-released tape player Soundwave with black plastic in place of the blue and called him Soundblaster. He also has a puffier tape deck allowing him to hold two tapes at once. Sweet.

In recent years they've been breaking out the old molds and re-releasing (so this is a true re-re-release) the original G1 Transformers in kick-ass packaging full of Japanese crap I can't read. It's also in a sweet window box with a little booklet full of art and specs.

The real (blue plastic) Soundwave reissue came out last year or so, it was too expensive to get at the time, it sold out, and I never found it again.

Click to see!I go to NYC a few weeks ago, and I needed a reward to quit smoking, so I splurged (a little persuasive talk from Jager) and it's now all mine.

Soundblaster also comes with Ravage, and Buzzsaw, who looks a lot like Laserbeak. Variants have been a part of our hobby for quite some time.

Well from now on I'm talking about Soundwave in general. I don't want any e-mails from you guys trying to correct me. I have loved Soundwave from the beginning. His design was both elegant yet cool. Throughout the show and movie, his character remained the same. He had the coolest voice, and the fact that he could hold another Transformer inside of him, almost doubled his coolness. Oh, and he made Energon cubes.

Click to see!Talk about expanding in coolness, Soundwave's shoulder mounted cannon, and his hand-held missile launcher were designed to resemble AA batteries and to fit in the battery compartment on the back. This got lost in the Japan-English translation, and it was never described that way when Soundblaster was originally released in the states. In fact, I don't remember any of my friends who had Soundblaster thinking his weapons were batteries. I thought his shoulder cannon was a mini microphone or something. Shut up, I was six.

Click to see!Except for the missile that fits into his spring loaded missile launcher, I love how his accessories pack up inside him, a companion Transformer fits inside him, and he can be stuck in your pocket or clipped to your belt. Optimus Prime is bad-ass, but you can't put him in your pocket or stick him to your belt. It would pull your pants down. And the last thing I want pulling my pants down is a robot or a big rig. Speaking of his battery compartment, it's odd that the old Soundwave I have from the 80s only has Takara imprinted in there, but this re-release has Hasbro and Takara and 1974. Weird.

Click to see!Of the two tapes, Ravage has been my favorite Transformer ever—let me check that I didn't just call Soundwave my favorite Transformer ever—ok cool. Anyway, the fact that it's a panther is sweet, the fact that it's ultra articulated is uber sweet. You can get some decent poses out of his legs. His wonderful die-cast legs. I remember sitting around the "sandbox" thinking how cool it would be if the whole thing was die-cast metal. We also thought how cool it would be to live at McDonalds. Anyway, add those cool aspects to the fact that he Transforms into his scale-model disguise. (Unlike Optimus who transforms into a toy truck).

Click to see!Buzzsaw, like Laserbeak, is also cool looking. I love the early 80's faux electronics pattern on his wings. I think I'm more impressed that you get one object, the mini cassette tape, and they change it into two radically different looking toys. Ravage looks nothing like Laserbeak. And then you have Frenzy and Rumble, awesome! If you look at the tapes that came with, Blaster, (the American red and yellow boombox), most of them are on that Ravage inspired theme.

Click to see!This particular boxed set comes with mini tape cases that the tape forms fit into. I don't recall these coming with the original toys in the 80s. Oh those wacky Japanese think of everything. Something else odd is that I think Laserbeak/Buzzsaw looks kind of naked and not whole without his chrome attachments, but I prefer Ravage without his. He looks a little cluttered, the simplicity of the design works well without those rockets on his sides. Of course the cartoon Ravage would look funny with out them too. I can't decide what I want!

Click to see!So not only is this arguably one of the best Transformer packages out there (I say one of, because 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime is pretty much the best), but it comes in that slick-ass Japanese packaging. The window box is great for those moron MIB-ers. Normally I say "To each his own." If you want to buy stuff and keep it in the package, that's cool. But you can't do that to this toy. Come on... it's freaking Soundwave. I love the book that's attached to the top flap. I can't read a word of it, and it hops around between stats on Soundwave and pictures of the, uh, Autobot Blaster. (Now that's confusing).

The downside
There's only three downsides and they pale in comparison to the coolness factor on this beauty, so bare with me.

  • It's pricey—yeah it is. Pretty expensive. It's a little bit beyond my typical toy buying range. $60. That's practically a season of Sopranos, and my wife can enjoy that with me. (She is currently not allowed to touch this guy. She contends that she wouldn't want to anyway, but whatever!)

  • Soundwave's articulation sucks—It is Soundwave, what can you do? His knees, hips and ankles all fold the wrong way, so you can't get too many dynamic poses. What I want to see is Takara go ahead and make the Masterpiece Edition Soundwave

  • With my luck it'll be $20 in about a year—The big part of the expense is because its an import. This toy really wasn't intended for American shores. So not only is it a high end collectible, it's tough to come by. I saw the Black Convoy a few years ago and thought it was bad ass. It was around $70. It was the most money I ever spent on a toy, but it was an import, and there'd be no other way to get it, right? Wrong, it was retooled slightly and released in America for around $20 as Scourge. So I'm guessing, now that I have made this purchase, it will be available soon for cheap. You're welcome.

So overall, this is, in my opinion, one of the more kick-ass Transformers ever, and if you need that little bit of childhood happiness in exchange for a chunk of your adult responsibility providing pay check, you can swing over to ToyTokyo and get one of these babies. I can all but guarantee it will sell out eventually. Speaking of selling out, my big question to Hasbro is, why haven't you done the domestic re-release of Soundwave? I see box after box after box of Transformers I barely remember blocking up the shelves at Toys R Us every time I go. I keep thinking, well no shit, people want the ones they remember. So how come? Didn't Optimus and Starscream reissues sell out pretty quick?

Check out all of our Transformers coverage.

Note: Thanks to Freddie for writing in. Even though I specifically asked not to get called out on lapses in Transformers' history, alas, I was wrong, and attempted to fix it. I'm trying to make up for the "New Optimus Prime!" Black Convoy debacle.

Soundblaster was the upgraded persona of soundwave, and it wasnt the name for the yellow and red autobot im america, he was just plain 'ol blaster. sorry, i have a rep as a transformers nerd, and i need to maintain it.

Thanks Freddy

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* I really don't like talking about this, but every toy line I fall in love with, dies. Case in point. My favorite toy line ever? Xevoz, before that was Masters of the Universe. I just started collecting Micromen, and it's rumored they're going to be phased out. Oh, and I just started collecting Mattel Batman figures right when we were getting ready for Batsignal Batman. However, playmobil accounts for more than half of my entire collection, and they're doing pretty well.

All photos and article ©2005 MillionairePlayboy.com . All characters are property their original owners.




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