Saturday, September 8, 2007

Music Label Soundwave, Rumble, and Frenzy

Image Gallery for Music Label Soundwave, Rumble, and Frenzy

I want to put together galleries of my figures, so I started tonight with Music Label Soundwave, and the companion Rumble and Frenzy headphones. With the exception of the Convoy iPod Dock, I love the direction Takara has taken with the Music Label series. In keeping with the times, Takara redesigned Soundwave as a fully functioning MP3 player that runs on Mini SD memory cards. The figure is available in Spark Blue and Sonic White, however I chose the blue variant for it's obvious homage to the original G1 design. Stylistically, Soundwave stays very true to his original design, with his chest opening to store his memory, and his controls are located on his waist. I like the fact that his shoulder cannon plugs into the headphone port on his shoulder, which makes sense for him to use the audio waves as a weapon. Speaking of, he also comes with his traditional hand-held weapon, though this time around there's no firing projectile. Interestingly enough, Soundwave's weapons are printed with their names, and his hand held gun is mislabled "wave bluster" instead of "wave buster." Also, the figure comes with two sets of hands, one with his index finger extended for use as a trigger finger or to push his eject button, and a set of closed fists.

What makes this figure is the fact that it is fully functional, however it's the most barebones MP3 player you can imagine. There's no menu interface or display of any kind, so your songs are played in whatever order you put them on your card, and you have to go through them all to skip ahead. The volume controls are also on the weak side, with big gaps between the incremental volume levels. Structurally, Soundwave is pretty solid in his alternate mode, but since he's all plastic, I can't imagine him taking any real world abuse the way an iPod or other MP3 player might. In the end, the MP3 function is a great feature, and creates the possibility of plugging Soundwave into a stereo or wireless speaker system and playing some G1 voice clips from his memory, but it's more of a novelty than a worthwhile choice for an MP3 player.

Released alongside Soundwave were Music Label Rumble and Frenzy, who have been redesigned as a pair of headphones. Like Soundwave, these are functional headphones, but as you can imagine the sound quality is less than spectacular. Also, the transformations on these guys are simpler than most minicons. I like the idea in place, but the execution wasn't nearly as impressive as the Soundwave figure. For clip-on style headphones these are a little bulky, but it's understandable considering there has to be enough mass to conceal the robot parts. The Alt modes aren't seamless, and you can definitely tell there are moving parts, and once transformed they don't have a whole lot of poseability to work with. On their own, Rumble and Frenzy are a good idea with a mediocre execution, but partnered with Soundwave, they make for a pretty solid team, and the concept carries over very well.

In the end, Music Label Soundwave, Rumble and Frenzy are great figures, but I'd definitely say that most of their value lies in their displayability. The set looks awesome displayed together, and It's nice to have a line geared more towards adult collectors with some thoughtful features thrown in.

Image Gallery for Music Label Soundwave, Rumble, and Frenzy

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