Sunday 27 June 2021

Soundwave 17 (Transformers Collection, 2003)

Collection 10
17 Destron Chief Information Officer Soundwave

Function: Chief Information Officer
Transformation: Stereo Cassette
Ability: Can monitor electrical brain impulses enabling him to read his opponents minds. Has a Vibration Blaster Gun.
Character: Can hear the most trivial of sounds and records them to advance his own ambitions.
STR…7.5; INT...9; SPD...2; END...6; RNK...8; CRG...5; FPR...6; SKL...10; TTL...53.5


To date, G1 Soundwave has had many reissues but this is the first which was released in September 2003. Rather than a straight reissue of the 1985 version Takara released in Japan, this is almost identical to the version Hasbro released in 1984 in terms of included accessories although this comes with Condor (Laserbeak) rather than Buzzsaw. 

Takara's original Soundwave (like the original Micro Change release) came with the headphones and microphone as well as a wire to connect the headphones to the cassette player. Unfortunately these were omitted for the reissue. The reissue did however come with a cassette case for Condor which is an accessory that Hasbro did not release.

The original Hasbro and Takara versions of Soundwave feature the cassette door with an internal hinge but later releases of Soundwave were retooled by Takara to have a stronger external hinge. This retool also included a new mould of the chrome buttons which have a "thicker" look. Only Takara released the external hinge version whereas Hasbro kept with the internal hinge for their later releases of Soundwave. 

1986 Takara release of Soundwave with the updated external hinge. Source: Yahoo Auctions

Soundwave comes boxed in cassette player mode whereas Condor is in his robot mode. Soundwave comes with his two battery weapons and three missiles which are loose and not on a sprue. Condor comes with his two chromed weapons and the cassette case.

Soundwaves iconic cassette player is very loosely based on the 1979 Sony Walkman TPS-L2. The Walkman originally came in blue and silver, colours that would be borrowed for the Micro Change "Cassette Man" who would later become Soundwave.

Sony Walkman TPS-L2 (first generation pictured left)

The Sony Walkman as seen in Guardians of the Galaxy 2014

Unlike the Sony Walkman which plays full size cassette tapes, Soundwave can only accommodate a Microcassette. Pressing the top chromed button will open the cassette door where you can insert the included Condor. On the rear of Soundwave is a removable belt clip, when removed you can insert the two faux AA batteries. These details give an overall authentic feel to the cassette player alternate mode and the similarities with the Sony Walkman are probably the reason many fans remember Soundwave so fondly.

Transformation into robot mode is very straightforward with the sides of the cassette player folding down to form the legs, the arms folding from the back and the robot head flips up and rotates around. One of the batteries fits on the right hand side shoulder and the other battery extends and you can insert one of the three missiles.

The Decepticon insignia is based on Soundwave's head sculpt. Although it's hard to imagine Soundwave with any other head, early Micro Change concept designs show Cassette Man with the Diaclone 4WD Hilux (Trailbreaker) head.

Cassette Man Concept

Compared to the original Soundwave, the blue colour is noticeably darker but it doesn't detract from the overall quality of this figure. If you were wanting to choose between the various Soundwave releases, other than going for an original, I would opt for the 2007 Encore version. The Walmart 2019 Soundwave reissue has an excellent box recreation of Hasbro's original 1984 release but the figure itself does not that that quality feeling of the earlier reissues.


20 Destron Aerial Attack Soldier Condor
Function: Aerial Attack Soldier
Transformation: Cassette Tape
Ability: He can fly at super speed. Uses two independent laser guns.
Character: Uses his lasers with skilful precision on his prey but he stops functioning when the crystals that power his lasers run out.
STR…5; INT...6; SPD...8; END...5; RNK...6; CRG...2; FPR...8; SKL...9; TTL...49

Destron Condor
○ Function: Aerial Attack Soldier
○ Motto: “The only point I like in Cybertrons: melting point."
○ Profile
Takes pleasure when hunting for his prey. Condor can fly up to speeds of 400km/h with a range of 2400km. Equipped with two independently targetable laser cannons. Can fire a laser beam which will penetrate an iron plate 5cm thick from a distance of 48km. Condor uses these beams like a surgeon uses his scalpels - with extreme precision. He employs this talent when extracting information from his captives. When he used to appear on the battlefront on Planet Seibertron, it usually meant the Destrons were victorious and it was his turn to pick off the survivors. On the other hand however, should his prey strike out, Condor will run for safety. He makes no attempt to hide his cowardice but is still appreciated by Megatron, Emperor of Destruction. It is not uncommon for Cybertron warriors to use Condor’s lack of bravery for their own advantage. He has a serious dependency on ruby crystals which power his lasers. He is so terrified of this weakness that when his supply runs out, he will shut down.

  • Released January 1983 “Microman / Micro Change” MC-03
  • Western release in 1984 “The Transformers” Laserbeak
  • Released June 1985 “Transformers” No.20 Condor
  • Released March 1986 “Transformers” D-60 Condor
  • Released September 2003 “Transformers Collection” No.10 Soundwave / Condor
There was a different version of Condor in the Microman series which also featured different stickers. Overseas, Condor was sold in a set with Frenzy but was sold individually in Japan. The initial Japanese release came with a cassette case like the “Microman” version. When it was reissued in March 1986 in a blister package (now numbered D-60) the cassette case was omitted. Condor was scheduled to be released once again in 1987 as D-105 but this release was cancelled.


Destron Soundwave
○ Function: Chief Information Officer
○ Motto: “Cries and screams are music to my ears.”
○ Profile
Beneath Soundwave’s affable tone beats the generator coil of a blackmailer (bully). Those who are aware of his duality pay close attention to their choice of words. Soundwaves sensors can detect even the weakest of wavelengths. If someone is standing nearby he can “read their mind” by monitoring their brain's electrical impulses. Serves as the Destrons communications relay station and can keep them all in radio contact within a radius of around 160km. His recordings are stored in the magnetic disks housed in his chest. Soundwave does not care what others think as he is well aware that he is indispensable. Although the other Destrons despise him, they pretend to like him to stay on his good side. A Rumble says “Soundwave always has the last laugh.” On the other hand, his hateful personality has sometimes resulted in retaliation from others.

  • Released September 1983 “Microman / Micro Change” MC-10
  • Western release in 1984 “The Transformers” Soundwave
  • Released June 1985 “Transformers” No.17 Soundwave
  • Released September 2003 “Transformers Collection” No.10 Soundwave
The domestic and overseas releases of Soundwave were quite different. Firstly the Western release included the cassette warrior Buzzsaw whereas the domestic release came with Rumble (the Microman and Japanese versions also came with additional equipment such as cassette cases and headphones). 1986 saw the release of a new cassette warrior, Ratbat. In both Japan and the west, Soundwave had a relatively long sales period in the “Transformers”.

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