The newest US release Transformers Masterpiece figure is Soundwave and like the last few is also Toys R Us exclusive. For some reason the box says MP-02 but the figure is clearly a variant of Takara MP-13. I know Masterpiece Acid Storm who comes in the same case is labeled MP-01 but this makes little sense considering MP-10 Optimus, and even MP-08 Grimlock were released at TRU not all that long ago along with other retailer exclusives like Wal-Mart Starscream.
The short of it is Masterpiece Soundwave is excellent. I was skeptical that this guy could even be done as a worthwhile Masterpiece figure but the end result has exceeded my expectations. As a bonus you not only get Soundwave but 5 of his cassette minions and some other neat accessories seen in the G1 transformers cartoon. Everything is solid in every configuration, certainly a must have if you are into this type of adult collectable. More pics and commentary below the cut.
Seeing as the original G1 Soundwave with its simple yet satisfying transformation into a realistic cassette player is regarded by many fans as a masterpiece in itself, little room for improvement exists. MP-13 (MP-02) Masterpiece Soundwave Toys R Us Exclusive actually improves upon most aspects without departing too much from the original. While this sounds boring, the transformation certainly is not with a very good balance between simple and complicated. it is well executed and improved in most areas. Very similar to the original with just the right amount of differences to give that high end well engineered feel.
First off the cassette player alternate mode is fantastic looking… from the front. The back side leaves a bit to be desired. The original G1 figure is much better in this regard but really, who cares about the back when every other aspect of the figure is near perfectly executed. Even with its shortcomings, the back of the alt mode isn’t noticeably bad and good effort has been made here to harken to the original.
With the bad out of the way lets talk about the good stuff:
The cassette tape minions are AWESOME! Included in the box are Frenzy, Rumble, Lazerbeak, Buzzsaw, and Ravage. Frenzy and Rumble share a mold and are identical except for coloring, the same goes for Lazerbeak (red) and Buzzsaw (yellow). Ravage is unique in the set. Close ups of each mold:
Lazerbeak and Buzzsaw are impressive in the fact that all parts are attached and integral to the transformation. In the past separate pieces were added after transformation to complete the look, which is not the case here.
The same can’t be said for Rumble and Frenzy which have several additional accessories to tailor the figure to your liking. Included are two sets of color matched pile-driver arms and two pistol/jetpack weapons. I’m deliberately avoiding the debate on who is who because the colors and names of these two brothers have been switched up so often. The figures are identical, its your preference which is which.
As you can see the pile-drivers can attach to the arms of either figure, or store on the back but this makes the figure tend to fall over unless you extend the drivers for a bit of support. The pistols can store inside the pile-drivers or in compartments located in Soundwave’s feet. There is only room for one pair of weapons in the feet. The pile-drivers can also attach to the back of cassette player mode or the forearms in robot mode.
The bird minions can perch on a clear tab on each of Soundwaves forearms or on his shoulders:
The cassette tray can hold up to three cassettes (even the originals are a perfect fit!). What is really cool about this is a mechanism that springs the tapes forward by sliding the back wall of the compartment. This is activated by a switch on his back which is also the reason the weapons do not store in the same way as the original figure. You can see both the switch and the weapon storage in the last of the following three pictures.
Just like the original figure, one of his batteries can transform into a gun.
Also included is the scanner/weapon accessory which stores on Soundwave’s lower back when not attached to his hand.
Rounding out the gimmicks and accessories is a combined mode for the pile-drivers and arm scanner/blaster that forms a data jack to plug into the side of the tape deck, an overlay grid for the tape door (I printed some backgrounds that sandwich in between), a clear energon cube ((printed pink inlay shown), and a non transforming mini Megatron in pistol mode. Some molded in details like the flip out speakers behind the hands and simulated effects like media card slots and dials and switches add to the realism and accuracy. Oh and the packaging is collector friendly with NO twisties at all!
A whole lot going on here and definitely worth hunting for.