People are still scrambling Toys "R" Uses this week to get their hands on Masterpiece Soundwave. He's scarce and tends to be bought up in the first five minutes of whatever store he appears at. It's been a mad dash, and hopefully more will continue to filter into stores. I got mine at Comic-Con, from Entertainment Earth's booth, thanks to some help from Phillip Donnelly and his magical mug. (Brandon Bird also owes PD some thanks, as the mug was not only magical but transferable.)
How is the toy? Well, long story short, it's the best robot toy you'll ever own that folds up into a box. And man, does it fold up into a box! I know there's something in my brain that pumps happy juice through my body when I know a robot can transform into something, but damn if that Box Mode ain't superfluous. It's not like you can't do all the stuff you can do with his box mode in robot mode! That mini-cassette door still opens and everything. And it's not like Box Mode actually looks like a micro-cassette recorder -- he looks like a box with a very tiny window in it. This is entirely because his cassette door is still the same size as the original's to accommodate identically-sized micro-cassette toys, but the robot mode which surrounds that door is a chunk larger, and so you have this ridiculous... thing. Like Soundwave's altmode got elephantiasis.
The door still opens when you press the eject button on the top/shoulder. This time around, there's room inside him for three Recordicons. The back wall of the cassette storage area can slide in by pushing on it, and a button on Soundwave's backside will reset this wall to the usual one-cassette-deep width, so long as he's not full of dudes at the time. The arrow buttons on his crotch also depress, but those don't accomplish anything. There are ridges on both Soundwave's shoulders and his forearms that Buzzsaw or Laserbeak's feet can plug into, all perch-like.
He transforms about as simply as you'd expect -- very similarly to the original toy -- but with a few added wrinkles of some additional fold-out panels to cover up his articulation. His shoulder-mounted missile launcher and hand-held rifle are also included, but this time they don't transform into his batteries and store inside a battery compartment. Mind, they still transform into the same battery shape, but you don't put them inside him like batteries inside his battery compartment anymore (that's where his head goes) and instead they kind of just peg behind him and fill up space easily viewable from behind. D'oh well.
Soundwave also comes with a plethora of additional accessories, other than the five Recordicons and their stuff. He has a little vacuum cleaner attachment for his wrist, he has a digital-readout screen which you can plug into his chest door to make it look like he's computing stuff, he has an energon cube which you can pull the lid off of and plug into his chest door to make it look like he's making energon cubes -- all things he did in the cartoon. I'm not a big cartoon guy, so those won't get much play from me. He also comes with a nontransformable Megatron rifle. I think it's the same one that came with earlier MP toys.
Unlike the Japanese release, though, this Soundwave has yellow eyes instead of red, which reflects more his original toy and early comic book appearances. I welcome this change! I was happy to learn he was getting yellow eyes. On the other hand, his Frenzy seems to be purpler than the Japanese Frenzy, in order to make him look more like cartoon Rumble, even though the packaging still calls him Frenzy. Buzzsaw's accent color is now more yellow than orange, and I think there may be some other very slight color differences all around.
IMPORTANT: Be careful with Soundwave's dang index fingertips. Seriously, this piece will drop from him like ripened fruit. The only thing keeping the fingertip on the rest of his finger is the tiniest bit of friction, and trying to articulate it without it sliding out of "joint" (I use this term loosely because there is barely a set of bumps in there to keep it in place) will almost always cause it to go diving for whatever floor or table or couch you're over at the time. You will be looking for this finger constantly. Years from now, there will be no Soundwaves with complete index fingers. I prophesy this.
G.I. Joe Ravage is a newly-molded nontransformable Ravage for Baroness to keep on a leash. This pairing homages an OTFCC 2004-exclusive cover to Devil's Due's Joe Vs. Transformers #3by Mike Nortonand an unreleased First4Figures statue based on that cover. Both Baroness and the leash are removable from Ravage, and Ravage's articulation consists only of a balljointed neck (at the shoulders).
Masterpiece Ravage is also newly-molded, surprise! Like the other Masterpiece Recordicons, he still transforms into the same-sized microcassette tape as the original toys, and so he works in either MP Soundwave or either of the original Soundwave or Blaster toys. He looks great from the front, but the back isn't terribly great. It's kind of a mess back there, beyond what you usually expect from a Transformers Mini-Cassette guy. Usually it's at least flat back there, if not obviously an arrangement of animal parts, but here the backside is mostly a hollow pit surrounded by legs. MP Ravage does not have a very pretty backside, no.
It's in service of a fully articulated, as-cartoon-accurate-as-possible-at-the-scale jaguar mode, though! Like Buzzsaw and Laserbeak, Ravage's previously-removeable weapons are integrated into the transformation itself. He's pretty damn intricate! He kind of has to be, at the size he is. Lots of overlapping skinny parts and, really, he's a jungle of hinges. He's not bad, though, other than the aforementioned pit at the back of his cassette mode. He certainly aims to do what he aims to do. He's just not terribly fun, though, and despite how fully-articulated he is, he doesn't feel as fun to me as Universe 2008 Ravage (the guy who came with Universe Hound). I like transforming that Ravage back and forth, but this guy's got way more steps (and a foreboding feeling of fragility) that keeps that fun from happening. Maybe if he had a articulated jaw.
But hey, he can do his stock art pose, so hurrah!
Now all we need is Masterpiece Skids, I guess, so Masterpiece Ravage can get knocked into an abandoned mine shaft and be forgotten in American comics for like fifty issues.
Currently, Harmony Gold is famously trying to sue Hasbro for this year's Jetfire, claiming it infringes on their ownership of Robotech. I don't know how that'll go down, but the stated terms of their suit is kind of over-reachy. They seriously want everyone to return their purchased toys to them. You do your best, guys, we'll see how that works out. But the event raised my interest in this Giant Thing I Happened To Buy With My Bludgeon enough to try to start putting it together Wednesday night.
Immediately I had regret. This thing is so huge. I mean, I have some huge toys, but there's this algorithm in my brain where the size of a toy needs to match my desire to possess it, and my desire to own this giant Jetfire thing was almost zero, but its footprint in my house was titanic. I actually started to feel a little claustrophobic as the damn thing took up half the couch as I stickered it. Halfway through the process, I texted my friend Ron to please remove this thing from my house for me. (He gladly accepted, but he's currently out of town.)
The jet itself is a Skystriker. A big thing! It's even bigger with the newly-tooled jet booster pack that you attach to it, which makes it look more like Jetfire. There's even room for a new seat in that extra part section. Seriously, this thing is large. The stickers are... well, they fall in line with Metroplex's stickers, but less fit-where-it's-supposed-to-go-y. There're some mislabeled things and some stuff that doesn't exactly fit, and the paper likes to come up along with the sticker part basically always, so it helps to have fingernails. Don't even try to get the striping around the cockpit to match up. It won't. You're just gonna have to agree with yourself that it's gonna be imperfect.
It's actually a pretty neat giant-ass Jetfire. If you have room for a giant-ass Jetfire.
I do not.
No, you can't have my Baroness. Stop asking.