TOY REVIEW: Transformers 3 Dark of the Moon Voyager Shockwave
At Botcon 2009, I stood in line for 3 hours psyched out of my mind for the opportunity to purchase the Revenge of the Fallen toys a day early (with little gold First-Day-of-Issue stickers, no less). Given how excited I was to purchase those toys, you’d think I’d love them forever. Instead, I haven’t touched a single one in nearly two years. I find the movie toys in general to be unimpressive, ugly, and ridiculously difficult to transform. So when the release date for the Transformers for the new movie came May 16th, I was determined not to buy any. This bout of abstinence lasted all of two days, as I saw the Decepticon master logician Shockwave at Wal-mart and purchased him a few minutes later. And thankfully, I’m fairly certain that two years from now I won’t regret having bought this toy.
Shockwave’s two most iconic features are his intimidating crimson red eye and his blaster cannon right arm. Both those features have been executed absolutely perfectly in this movie toy rendition of Shockwave. Hasbro did a stellar job with the lightpiping on his eye, and it looks truly terrifying when lit up. Meanwhile, his removable Mechtech weapon is a battle cannon that can be attached to either of Shockwave’s arms and faithfully represents his G1 cannon, even down to the power cord that connects the cannon to his back! The way that his hand can be folded up to “disappear” when you attach the cannon is a brilliant detail.
In addition to the aforementioned eye and cannon, this is pretty much an all-around fantastic homage to G1 Shockwave. The colors are a deep purple and silver that look great, and his removable arm blade looks like a lethally impressive weapon . Articulation is acceptable–not perfect by any stretch (see “The Bad”), but certainly more than we got in the 1980′s Shockwave. Plus, despite being a movie iteration of Shockwave, the “realistic” stylizing is benign and unobtrusive. We didn’t get a Shockwave in the Classics line, but this Shockwave really does look good enough to place in a Classics display.
Although one of the things I usually dread about movie toys is the overly complex, convoluted transformations, I’m thrilled to report that I had no such problems here. Once you’ve transformed Shockwave to vehicle mode and back, you’ve pretty much mastered this toy.
As far as vehicle mode goes–it’s pretty okay. Considering that G1 Shockwave was a giant flying ray gun, it should come as no surprise that Michael Bay shot that down. Instead, Shockwave has a “ground assault mode” which is essentially a tank. It’s not the most exciting vehicle mode I’ve ever seen on a Transformer and it looks kinda small for a tank since Shockwave is only a Voyager, but the “ground assault mode” is stable and looks good mowing down Legends-class Wheelie figures. With the cannon and blade attached to the top, Shockwave’s “ground assault mode” looks like it could cause some serious devastation.
I must be getting spoiled by the Transformers Universe/Classics line because Shockwave’s articulation slightly underwhelmed me. His legs are restricted by ratchet joints instead of ball joints, but even more frustrating is that his wrists can only fold in one direction. It sounds like a nitpick, but when you have the figure in your hands and you can’t get a natural-looking pose because of the wrist articulation restrictions, it’s really frustrating. In addition, the shoulder joint isn’t strong enough to hold up Shockwave’s arm when he has the cannon attached, which is a big disappointment since it greatly reduces the number of action poses you can get Shockwave into.
The Mechtech battle cannon’s conversion to particle wave blaster mode is cool, but there’s absolutely no way to lock it into this mode. In “ground assault mode” I think Shockwave would look much better if the particle wave blaster mode was locked in permanently. (EDIT: Thanks to Falconhood and 2017 for pointing out that the particle wave blaster mode can be locked into place by forcing the little grey peg into a hole! I didn’t even see it! Thanks, guys!)
Finally, I would’ve preferred a Leader class version of Shockwave. I’m not giving hope on Hasbro surprising us with one at Botcon next week, but thus far there’s been absolutely no evidence or rumors of a Shockwave larger than this one being in the pipeline.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
Shockwave remains probably the most difficult of the Transformers Dark of the Moon movie toys to find at retail, months after his initial release.
However, Amazon.com has him in-stock right now and pretty consistently with free shipping for BELOW RETAIL PRICE, so if you want him, you might as well save yourself some trouble and just buy him from Amazon for less than it’d cost you to pick him up at your local store.
Overall: Shockwave surprised me by being an excellently worthwhile purchase. The light-pipe eye and arm cannon are fantastic, the colors are spot-on, the transformation isn’t frustrating, and the sculpt looks really cool. Shockwave’s just enough of a homage that he can fill that role in your Classics display, and great enough of a toy that he’s worth purchasing even if you typically dislike the movie toys (like I do). I have some minor issues with the articulation on this figure and I really would’ve liked a larger version, but for the $17.99 I paid, this is an outstanding Transformer and certainly the best Shockwave toy ever made.