Since Energon is released in the year we are celebrating twenty years of Transformers, several figures in this line are clearly inspired by Generation figures. One of these is the figure of Shockblast who seems to be an updated version of G-1 Shockwave (a name Hasbro may no longer use and Takara has already used for our Tidal Wave). When the first pictures of Shockblast appeared it created quite a stir. Finally, after so many years, we had a new Shockwave. Does the figure live up to expectations? According to most reviewers, yes. Not one to confirm to the great masses, I have a slightly different opinion. (For pictures use the link to visit Remy's site.)
Shockblast is a nicely detailed figure with purple as the main color. Other colors include gray, military green, black, silver, and fluorescent green. The dirty looking dark metallic gray on the threads, really add to the figure. The figure is what I consider to be a nice size for a Transformer: not too small, nor too big. Itâ€™s kind of interesting that the figure doesnâ€™t allow any linking with Mini-cons. The gigantic left arm (more on that later) holds a battery and the electronics for some sounds.
Alt mode 1: armored vehicle
This is the mode the figure is packaged in, so Iâ€™ll review this mode first. Since Hasbro is not allowed (or frowned upon) to create alt modes that are weapons, they wisely chose to make it some kind of armored vehicle. Itâ€™s clearly very futuristic, but nevertheless very functional. The double-barreled gun on top is actually just for decoration, because it can only fire when the big gun is completely lowered. The big gun fires a single missile. However, by firing this you also deploy the parts that belong to the satellite or base mode. By rotating Shockblast upper body parts, the guns can make a 360-degree turn making no place safe.
What I donâ€™t like about this mode is the lack of realism. Not only can you see his head (although itâ€™s better tucked away than several other Energon figures), but his legs are very obvious as well. For some reason the legs donâ€™t seem to fit properly. With the feet joined one of the legs is cramped for space making it twist around its own axis. When looking at this from the side, the (fake) threads donâ€™t touch the ground. Kinda sloppy! Another problem I have with this mode is the apparent fragility. For such a powerful looking armored vehicle, many of the parts just rattle when you shake him.
Alt mode 2: Base (or satelite)
When I first saw this mode, I thought it was supposed to be a satellite, but the instruction manual calls it a base. Whatever. Of all his modes, I think I like this one best. This mode shows most of the details (nine solar panels and many nice little touches) that really make this visual the most pleasing mode. It really is a space thingy (I still think itâ€™s more satellite). The mode is also pretty sturdy with the parts that appeared to be fragile nicely clicked for more stability. Very nice!
There are two things I donâ€™t like about this mode. 1) When deploying the solar panels on the big gun, the missile automatically fires and now I have to crawl on the floor and search for this missile which landed somewhere behind my desk -- a place where I never vacuum because itâ€™s so inaccessible. 2) (serious again) When Transforming him from vehicle to satellite I noticed that the aft-threads (which form his backpack in robot mode) are extremely fragile. Itâ€™s a piece of soft and thin plastic, which I doubt will survive many transformations. I really had to put some strength in it to get the parts moving. Really scary!
(Alt mode 3: Futuristic Gun
Okay, this mode does officially not exist, but pictures of this mode have been circling the fan boards. You basically take the armored vehicle mode, twist the upper body 180 degrees, bend the legs downward and voila, youâ€™ve got some kind of futuristic gun mode. Nice that itâ€™s possible, but the gun is pretty hard to hold with all the rickety problems of the armored vehicle mode.)
Seeing him in Robot mode thereâ€™s no doubting that he was inspired by G-1 Shockwave. The colors are about right (the fluorescent green and the army green are of course off) with many distinct typical Shockwave features among which are the chest mold, the singly eye (which â€˜lights upâ€™ when light falls on top of his head and is guided towards his eye. Even the threads on the side of the legs (which looked so small in vehicle mode) are reminiscent of the gray areas that the original Shockwave had. They really took a good look at the original Shockwave when they designed this one.
Shockblast is a powerful looking robot with great pose-ability. The robot mode is well balanced in appearance. Itâ€™s a great figure well worth the purchase, exceptâ€¦ There are four things that I really donâ€™t like. 1) Again the backpack thing; when transforming it I really had the distinct impression it could tear off at any moment. (The right arm also feels kind of fragile.) 2) I think his feet are too big. 3) The upper body doesnâ€™t really connect to the lower body. Especially when you point his left arm forward, the upper body tilts ever so slightly forward -- and thatâ€™s without a battery in the arm! Some kind of peg to connect the two wouldâ€™ve been great. 5) His left arm is Simply Way Too BIG !!! The guy canâ€™t even stand with both arms straight down, because his left armâ€™s too big for that. I have the arm pointed one click to the side, making the entire figure tilt to the left. I really do think Hasbro/Takara shouldâ€™ve found some other way of doing the left arm (I plan to correct this one flaw myself by removing this arm and replacing it with a smaller one which can transform in a facsimile of the current arm), but of course they needed someplace to put the electronics and the battery.
Thereâ€™s also a hyper mode version of the robot, in which the solar panels are flipped out from his backpack and just sit there. I think itâ€™s rather redundant and have done this only once.
Although itâ€™s nice to have a new Shockwave (even though heâ€™s called Shockblast) and in many ways a better one than the original G-1 figure, I do believe they are many ways this figure couldâ€™ve been improved upon. Making the tank mode sturdier and the legs fitting better, making the backpack/aft-threads less fragile, adding some kind of peg to better attach the upper body, and making the left arm smaller, are points that really should have been attended. These are shortcomings that simply bring the figure down, from what couldâ€™ve been a great figure to an average.