Articulation: 13 total points - swivel neck; 3 points each arm: Universal joint shoulder, ball joint elbow; 3 points each leg: Ball joint hip, pre-knee swivel, hinge knee.
Colors: Molded purple, clear purple, black; Painted silver, purple, pink.
Accessories: Arm Cannon/Rifle
Release Data: Released in July 2012 in the US at a retail price of US$14.99
"Classics Shockwave" has been a sticking point for fans of the G1-reimagining toylines for a long time. That it took until the start of the fourth such cycle to see it realized is fairly surprising, but I guess let's just be happy there was a major game launch to help motivate it this time. Shockwave is probably the most anticipated individual from this first assortment of Fall Of Cybertron derived Generations toys, but debuting at the beginning of smaller sizes and higher prices may be curbing the enthusiasm of some. My advice: Don't let it.
Shockwave may appear to be loyal to Megatron, but in reality he serves only one master - pure logic. Behind his emotionless face rests the mind of a brilliant strategist and mathematician. He calculates constantly, and enforces his solutions through the precise application of the vast power of his laser cannon.
(Translation: He shoots math in the face until it obeys him. I can dig
Well, it's more of a vehicle than Energon Shockblast at least. And a gun-ship is probably the best way to adapt and modernize the original space-gun alternate mode without using the once typical battle tank substitute. What grabs me with this is how despite using a lot of robot elements front and center, it doesn't look like a folded robot. The lines and panels cleverly disguise that when arranged correctly, so it reads very easily as a flying cannon. The illusion is less solid from below, but that's often the case anyway. The wings are intended to be angled down and forward-swept in order to hide some of the only visibly-obvious robot elements from clear view, but if you really prefer they can be rotated back to reverse the angles. It can make the alternate mode look a bit more aggressive, and has the benefit of a solid stopping point to keep the wings in place; Otherwise they have to just be placed where they're meant to go and float there on the joint friction alone. In either case, I kind of wish the wings were bigger. A longer wingspan and maybe with some little guns on the wingtips seem like it would suit the rest of the vehicle form.
Similarly to the wings, there's rotating panels on the robot legs which help change the shapes between modes. They have tabs that seem meant to fit in the stress relief groove on the outside of the hip joints to hold them in place, but I haven't been able to make them fit in, they just don't reach quite far enough. So it's a case again where you have to find the position that looks right and kind of trust them to stay there on their own. The swivels are tight, so it's not a huge thing, but I do wish the tabs had worked out the way they look meant to. Finally, the front end won't stay completely closed together while the gun is integrated in to the vehicle body. The legs are supposed to close around it and tab in to form the front section of the vehicle mode. But tabbing the gun in there prevents the legs from fitting flush at the very front end no matter how much you try to adjust and massage things around for a better fit.
But those are the only bad points I can latch on to. On the greater whole I actually like the way this came out, and with a mind to the simplification these are seeing compared to the last batch of Generations toys, it does a lot to establish this vehicle mode as its own entity with very little in specialized parts. The way the drive section is formed from the upper chest block and the forearms is particularly satisfying somehow because it all just fits together and works visually while never looking like parts tacked on the top of the vehicle. It's not an easy thing to accomplish, and I think the minimalism in the build works in its favor this way. One odd bit of detailing to be found though - there's a sculpted element just before the thruster block that looks quite a lot like it would be the top of Shockwave's head while it's retracted. ...except of course the real thing is on the opposite side of the block and not in remotely a similar relative position. Maybe it ties back to how the game model itself works. In any case, going unpainted it's pretty easy to miss this. Took me a few days to catch it myself.
One thing I can't fault here is a simple transformation. Shockwave can be
converted between modes in just a few easy steps, and it has never felt like a
chore to go from one to the other. That's a lot more than I can say for a
number of Transformers lately, and it's actually fun to do. Off the top of my
head I can't even think of the last time I felt that way about a Transformer
for an extended period. I especially like the way the torso comes together,
topped off with a nice "dynamic head reveal" action when the chest is snapped
down in place.
It's kind of fun the way this calls back to the G1 toy, contrasting a big, blocky chest with thin limbs and an overall wide set. Shockwave takes after Megatron a bit with the very narrow waist relative to the shoulder width, a trait that doesn't really present itself in other figures from the game series. With Shockwave picking that up, it starts to make it feel like a style of Decepticon design, which makes me interested to see it continued as the line progresses. Shockwave's lower torso reminds me a bit of movie Shockwave's design, partly in basic shape, partly for things like "ribs" and other semi-anatomical elements being present. It's a strange kind of fusion with the other more square, "Classic" stylings.
Shockwave does have two hands - the way the forearms form the engines in vehicle mode doesn't really leave room for an integral arm cannon. (Not to mention that might be bad for later reuses of the mold that way!) While there's two joints at the elbows, I don't exactly count it as a double jointed elbow since the one hinge goes sideways and has really limited utility outside of transformation. Reaching across the chest is about the only useful function I've found for it, and that's kind of a stretch.
One - well really two disappointments with the head. First of all, the neck is only a swivel. While not the worst possible thing, it limits the options for expressive posing. And when your face consists of one light up eye, you need all the help you can get. My other complaint is that the eye is not yellow. All the clear plastic has to be one color, I know, but Shockwave never looks right with an eye that isn't yellow. The lightpiping works really well, so the eye will glow really brightly ...but it glows really brightly in the wrong color. The head is glued together too, so it's not even like it can be easily taken apart to cleanly paint over the eye. For a hexagon block, Shockwave managed to get some attention in the design of the head. It's fittingly simplistic (which again stands in some contrast with the complex sculpt of the lower torso) for Shockwave, but gets just enough dress-up like fins, and a mohawk strip that help tie it in to the rest of the aesthetic. Of course, then the cables and tubes molded in the neck panel just below really stand out against the head's simplicity...
The legs are thin, surely with thought given back to the original toy that had very skinny legs indeed. However, the hollow inner faces of the legs are the biggest indication of cost cutting measures being undertaken in this series of Generations. It's an unfortunate but necessary measure, and it's clear that doing it on the legs was an attempt to minimize the visual impact on the toy. I've definitely seen worse examples on toys made by less caring manufacturers. The articulation doesn't feel hurt very much here. The one thing I expect to be most evident is absence of any meaningful ankle joint. The tow can point, but that's a transformation leftover and has no use in robot mode. My thinking is a figure with thin panel legs like this would have lacked an ankle anyway. While the knees are single hinged, I don't feel like it hurts the figure at all. I won't pretend that the legs don't feel a little limited compared to even other figures that came out this year already. But in the context of the figure, I don't find myself really looking for more than they can do. If anything, I'm kind of looking for a waist more than any addition to the legs, and I don't even consider a waist joint essential.
I can't decide whether it's helping or hurting, but Shockwave does gain big, wide heels from the face of the vehicle mode cannon. It does probably give more stability given how narrow the feet are. But I can't get over how ugly it looks since the heels aren't symmetrical; the panel points entirely inward and ends up looking really out of place. But I imagine wide stance poses would probably be a lot of trouble without them. It does occur to me just now that some of that is painted though. I hope standing on those surfaces isn't going to gradually damage the paint...
Shockwave's cannon has a couple uses. There's a 5mm peg, so it can be hand held. The butt extends a ways back though, so it pretty much has to be used with a straight arm. What it's really supposed to do though is replace Shockwave's missing arm cannon. Either hand can flip back in, and there's a slot on the outside of the wrist that fits a peg inside the cannon. Either arm can take the cannon, though left is of course traditional. It snaps down with a solid click, and once attached looks fairly integral. And feels integral. This thing is a pain to actually take back off once it's in place. Thankfully all the connection elements are solid chunks of plastic, so it'd be difficult to have something break in the process. But man, I almost don't want to equip the thing just because I know I'll eventually have to take it off again!
In either use, the silver end can slide off (and often will whether you meant to or not) and leave behind some wacky three-barrel rifle that may or may not be based on an in-game weapon. The problem - other than it looking really goofy - is there's no good place to keep the silver cap. Some people think it should plug in the square hole in the lower back, but absolutely do not do that. That's where the weapon attaches for vehicle mode, and even though the targeting sensor on the silver cap looks like it should fit, and even can be forced in there, it's not supposed to do that. You'll find the corners of the hole with stress marks - if you're lucky. It can and will crack with repeated attempts to store the silver barrel end there, which will probably ruin the ability to correctly store the weapon in vehicle mode. If you have to remove it from the gun and must store the cap somewhere, the hole in the middle of the upper back is a great fit and nothing will break. It will just look really goofy.
Shockwave is a little smaller, so you may have trouble integrating it with a Classics display if you're really dead set on Shockwave being a particular relative size. But don't let anyone falsely color your view: Shockwave is most assuredly a Deluxe toy and feels every bit like one in hand. I'm not sure it's 100% the Classics Shockwave I always hoped for, but I like it a lot. I certainly am pleased enough with it to easily score it as Very Good on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating.
If you're unsure about the age of $15 Deluxes in the US, pick Shockwave up. It's probably the best way to get a feel for what the new Generations can offer you, and it doesn't have the automatic bias Jazz or Optimus carry in having other similar toys still in recent memory. Love it or hate it, just don't make your decision based on buzzwords being thrown around.
|Date||August 24th 2012|
|Score||(7 out of 10)|
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