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Our Combaticon intermission kinda sorta rolls back around towards the Combaticons as we take a look at Shockwave, the Legends figure intended for use with the team. Since we're still waiting for Onslaught to show up, we'll go over Shockwave's interaction in the Onslaught and Bruticus videos and focus on Shockwave mostly solo here.
The first thing I notice is how much better this conveys the image of Shockwave than the previous Generations entry, the Fall of Cybertron Deluxe. Different design styles and different priorities, of course. But the net outcome is this Legends figure doing a really great job of looking like a G1 Shockwave.
The legs diverge by necessity from the classic gun handle look, but that's about the only detail majorly changed.
Even the backpack junk this figure has feels like it's there as a call back. I may be reading too much in to it, I'll admit. But I think the backpack only helps solidify the G1 look.
The arms are a little messy as a concession to transformation, and I think the thick layer of glossy paint is probably making the forearms fade in to the surrounding material in a way that hurts the look
The paint is necessary though, because Shockwave is special. You see, Shockwave is the first Combiner Wars toy to feature clear plastic parts. And there's a lot of it here. The forearms are both clear plastic, which is used to have a translucent fist as well as the blaster tip on the left arm.
The chest is obviously a clear plastic chunk.
And the entirety of the shins is clear, with just the top edges - and inner surfaces - left unpainted.
I'm not worried about the arms as the clear plastic is not placed where it will endure any particular high stress. The legs are probably going to be fine too. The knees are pinned, which I think has more chance of going wrong, but otherwise the worst they have to endure is getting these tabs fitted together for transformation.
I think in a situation where they decided this had to have clear plastic, its use was worked out as best as was possible. I won't say I'm not looking forward to G2 Bruticus and its Shockwave that will apparently be all opaque plastics, but I'm not afraid of this one shattering in the meantime.
Shockwave has some nice poseability, starting with a ball jointed neck with a fair range of movement.
You get double joints in the shoulders thanks to the transformation design.
The elbows look like they could be double hinges, but the bicep hinge is specifically blocked from moving forward for some reason I can't work out. You still get nearly 90 degrees of bend out of the ball joints, plus swiveling of course.
The hips have wide ranged ball joints. My copy has these joints a little looser than I'd like, but they're still okay.
Also, the pelvis is designed the same way as Breakdown, with the ball joint stems on swiveling joints to facilitate transformation.
The important distinction is that Shockwave is made so these things can lock open for robot mode, so you won't even realize they're here at first. In my experience, the locking points soften quite a bit after transforming a few times, but even so they're not going to pull with every movement of the leg like Breakdown.
Moving past the thigh swivel, you get a deep bend knee thanks to how the transformation is engineered.
The ankles hinge for transformation, but don't really have any utility for the robot mode.
I already talked a bit about the paint as a consequence of clear plastic, but what I didn't mention was that they got a pretty solid match between opaque purple plastic and purple paint. The camera sensor may disagree with me, but trust that when just looking at the toy directly the difference is incredibly minimal.
I'd have loved if the chest piece could have had its edges painted over, but given how much paint there is on the toy otherwise, I can live with this sacrifice. More than I could fully clear forearms, for instance.
There's a very nice silver accenting the abs and picking out the head wings. Those are the only places it appears, and it keeps it nicely downplayed.
My single favorite part of the deco though has to be the eye, which features a tiny dot of yellow, the only instance of yellow anywhere on the toy. So happy they got that right.
Oh, one more thing on the clear plastic. The fist is of course 5mm compatible, but I kind of want to suggest not lending Shockwave any weapons. If the tolerances are off just a bit, there's some thin spots that I could see starting to crack. It's a risk I'd rather avoid.
Shockwave's transformation has a surprisingly satisfying complexity. Changing the legs to a gun barrel can pose mild problems between the hinged hip joints and making sure to swivel the thighs at the right point, but it all comes together without much fuss.
Shockwave's alt mode is still sort of made to seem like it could be a ship or something the way Fall of Cybertron went with it. But it's really a gun. This is kind of like Buzzsaw having a tank mode just to act like it doesn't really need another figure to work fully.
Shockwave's only moving part is the gun handle, which can flip up and out of the way if you want to pretend like this is something other than a gun.
Everything else plugs together solidly. The only part that doesn't is the back panel made from the arms. But the transformation hinges for those parts are more than stiff enough to hold position on their own with no problems.
The styling for this mode is simple, but it does the job well. Most of the forward section is relatively smooth, with just a few raised edges and panel lines suggesting physical complexity.
Even the underside where a lot of robot details are hanging out manages to not look so cluttered that it seems out of place.
I like the inclusion of the targeting screen, which could have been omitted entirely without impacting the robot mode at all.
The ends of Shockwave's thighs facing outward from the barrel have detailing to look like functioning parts of the gun rather than robot bits to be ignored.
This mode is where you can really see how good the paint and plastic color match is where the painted barrel meets with purple plastic. It takes some serious scrutiny and just the right angle of light to start to see the difference between them. Again, this is all in terms of how it looks in hand, so don't worry if the camera makes it seem more obvious.
All on its own, there's not much to do with this mode. But Shockwave scores a lot of points by being able to be carried by many figures with 5mm friendly hands.
It's not going to be universal since a hand needs to fit between the peg and the square bit in front, but that's still a sizeable field.
The gap between is sized just right for combiner hands, and the square end is probably meant to look like that's the grip the combiner is holding.
There's a mild flaw, thanks to the handle being made to fold in. The hinge goes toward the back, so when you're pushing Shockwave in to a hand, the grip tends to want to bend away from it. It makes equipping Shockwave take a little more effort, and while small it can still be kind of an annoyance to have to finesse the connection together. But even so, I like having a Shockwave gun that almost anyone can carry around.
I like Shockwave a lot. Overall the figure comes across feeling like a miniaturized Deluxe. This may not speak highly of the kind of Deluxes we've been getting, but it's definitely a mark of praise for this figure. It benefits a lot from Shockwave being able to be pretty abstract in alternate mode, so the robot design was a lot more free to be what it needed to. It's a shame the double elbows are blocked. It still wouldn't be perfect with them, but it'd be another step toward really great.
And of course the option of a gun mode Shockwave that other figures can use is all kinds of fun, especially if you're the kind that likes taking advantage of 5mm posts to mix and match accessories. It's a huge value boost to Shockwave, I think. There is of course slightly more focused interaction with Onslaught, but we'll have to wait a bit still to decide what that contributes to both toys.
Anyway, I'm really impressed with Shockwave and definitely recommend getting at least one instance of the mold. If the clear plastic puts you off, first I don't feel too worried about its use here. But the Shockwave to come with G2 Bruticus should do as a good substitute since it's still majorly in normal Shockwave colors. Either way, you have an option to get this mold and have it looking like Shockwave. Or get both! What would be better than a combiner dual wielding Shockwaves?
|Date||December 15th 2015|
|Score||(8 out of 10)|
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