*Disclaimer: these figures were sent free of charge from Hasbro for review purposes, but all opinions here are my own*
Recently, Hasbro released a brand new sub-line of their Studio Series, featuring characters from the 2018 Bumblebee movie. The designs from that film are unquestionably my favourite of all the live action movies, so lets dive into a couple of the plastic offerings and see how they measure up, shall we?
Transformers Studio Series 83 Voyager Transformers: Bumblebee Soundwave
(RRP: £34.99, ORDER HERE)
For the few seconds he was on screen, Soundwave really made an impression as one awesome rendition of the character, and the designers of this new release captured the look perfectly. The sculpting on this figure is incredible, featuring so many mechanical details and crisp paint applications to make it all pop, with parts such as the head and hip skirt being the highlights of the details.
This figure is also almost entirely kibble free with only a small slab on his back. Soundwave’s articulation is on point with above 90 degree knees and elbows, but he has the weird Studio Series 86 Hot Rod shoulders, which seriously limit how good he looks when these are raised. Plus, the lack of wrist swivels is annoying. The hip skirt is a single piece too, and looks hideous when moved out the way of the legs. Worst of all, Soundwave can’t even push his shoulder buttons to open his door!
On that topic, the chest door opens smoothly and satisfyingly and, in most cases, can fit Core Class Ravage in it, but your individual mileage may vary. Just make sure your don’t look in the chest, as inside you can see a faux chest designed for the vehicle mode. That’s just sloppy.
As for accessories, Soundwave has an articulated shoulder canon, which is fine, but could really use some red paint for the missiles. He also has a rifle, which is fine enough, although it’s cast in blue and painted gunmetal – could it not have been cast in black so the paint budget could be used elsewhere? The rifle is also more useful as an add-on for other figures in this wave, and honestly, I would’ve preferred Soundwave’s other weapon, or even a Cassetticon.
[Size Comparisons – Click to Enlarge]
Soundwave’s transformation is atrocious. There is very little clearance between the parts and nothing wants to hold together. The legs are an absolute nightmare, they took me 15 minutes of fiddling to get them to line up and tab in. There is one enjoyable step in this entire conversion, where the backpack swivels and gives, just to reveal a faux chest. It’s rather telling that on a transformation already this lazy, they couldn’t even figure out a way to get the chest to where they wanted it to be. The level of frustration this transformation gives me is comparable to X-spanse, to the point where I dread transforming both of them to alt mode. But at least in X-spanse’s case, the vehicle mode is actually worth getting to.
Soundwave on the other hand turns into a blue slab. Yes, I get that it’s referencing a Marvel Comics cover, but Soundwave has had so many cooler alt modes, like the tank truck from war/fall of Cybertron, a figure that this toy shares a heavy robot mode resemblance to. There’s nothing even resembling a landing gear or thrusters, it’s just a slab with a cockpit. And speaking of the cockpit, while I hate the faux nature of it, I can at least applaud the excellent seat and control detail on the inside of it. But by far my favourite detail is the fact that you can fit Titan Masters into the chest as pilots – how disappointing, my favourite detail feels like it’s entirely unintentional.
Transformers Studio Series 81 Deluxe Transformers: Bumblebee Wheeljack
(RRP: £21.99, ORDER HERE)
On the other hand, Wheeljack is amazing. His Bumblebee movie design shares a heavy resemblance to his Prime design, and is a look I have a strong affinity for. This figure captures the film design perfectly, with all the necessary mechanical details and a healthy dose of paint to make details like the chest and shins pop.
My favourite detail is the head, the painting and sculpting is excellent, capturing every detail at such a small scale. He is relatively low an kibble with only small sections on his calves. Wheeljack has above average poseability, with well over 90 degree knees and elbows. Thee only issue is that the shoulders have no proper locking points and can come loose when you splay the arms.
In terms of accessories, Wheeljack only comes with a rifle, which is a good size and features a lot of detail, but a blast effect or even an optional G1 shoulder cannon reference would’ve been nice.
[Size Comparisons – Click to Enlarge]
Wheeljack’s transformation is amazing. Everything twists and turns, and the highlight has to be the chest, where everything accordians out to form the roof and windshield. And, after all is said and done, you end up with a lovely space Lancia.
While I will always love the space truck G1 Wheeljack turns into, this is his definitive space alt mode in my eyes. This amazing cyberpunk space car is exceptionally well detailed, much better than the Earthrise figure.
While in past years the clear plastic roof would’ve been a cause for concern, it feels reasonably thick and seems durable, although I guess we’ll have to see how it stands the test of time. The wheels are reused parts, the front off of B1-27 and the back of Siege Prowl. I actually don’t mind this as it gives the Cybertron alt modes a consistent design keeping them somewhat uniform, and frees up Wheeljack to have his budget spent in other places. There is weapons storage in this mode, it tabs between the spoiler, and, whilst it’s quite ridiculous, at least it’s an option.
OVERALL VERDICT: Wheeljack is amazing, so much better than the Earthrise figure, and if you are even vaguely considering picking this up, I feel that you won’t regret is. He’s great value as well at £22.99, and it’s fair to say that Hasbro is really crushing it with the Studio Series deluxes.
On the other hand, you are basically going to be buying Soundwave for his robot mode, and not really much else. If you feel like your are willing to pay the £34.99 for a RED figure and a plastic depiction of the character then he will suffice, but quite honestly, he’s subpar at best and I would advise against purchase.S myth’s often randomly put stuff on sale so keep an eye there, and if you can find him on sale, for £20 or so, then I think you’d feel that Hasbro hasn’t robbed you.
The writer of this piece was: Daniel AKA BrickBuiltDengar
You can follow Daniel on Instagram at BrickBuiltDengar