Thursday, July 18, 2013

Shaken by the Shockwaves from the Shocking Shockwave Show (Part 1)

Shockwaveshockwaveshockwave...ugh.  The word lost meaning.  "Shock" doesn't even look like it's spelled right anymore.  So hey; you wana see how many versions of Shockwave I've managed to shovel into my shtunning shpile of trashformer shoup?  SHHHHHHH

No sherioushly...ah ga BUH I mean seriously, I love Shockwave.  It doesn't take much to impress me when you're a robot, but a monoeye and an arm cannon can go a long way.  Also if you turn into a gun, but lets get this outta the way: I never got the original Shockwave (though I'd like to at some point).  I found out about him after the fact when I got back into Transformers around the time of Energon (around 2004).  Energon brought many translucent weapons, which in turn perked my head up like a meerkat sensing trouble.  It also brought my first version of Shockwave, though the main event for this sectional piece is the newest version of him:

We'll hit him last, though.  As our size comparison, I figured I'd invite everyone's favorite one-of-the-Techno-Vipers to provide horrified reactions to the awesome power of Shockwave...s.

Before we get into it though - A little info on Shockwave:

Shockwave came into the Transformers toyline back-in-the-day, as in the 80's.  He turned into a gun!  I'm told it was cool.  I'd have to agree; looking at the pictures.  I would have LOVED that monster!  Not only did he turn into a gun, but one of his arms was a gun as well!  The love just didn't stop!  Top that all off with an emotionless monoeye and you've got the makings of a badass that rivals Megatron. 

In fact, he DID rival Megatron, depending on your choice of fiction.  I won't delve into it, but he's been a bit different depending on the show or the comic.  For the original guy, he was either Megatron's most loyal (in the cartoon) or the guy who kicked Megatron to the curb and took over for a bit (the comics).  I've gleened all this from the Transformers Wiki (linked above), so go on and get yerself sum learnin' from there if you want the whole story.  I didn't watch much of the cartoon, and my only knowledge of the comic came from the very first issue mysteriously sitting in my Dad's old boxes of mostly DC comics.  SOOO...goes without saying that most of my interest comes from my love of action figures.

One way or another, Shockwave is known most of the time as cold and logical - as you might expect just from looking at him.  I like that, but as I said, my interests come from the cold and logical visual facts: most of his toys look awesome and are awesome.  Even his original figure sported more articulation than your average 80's Transformer!  You just can't go wrong with Shockwave if you want some cool toy robot action *cough* unless you're transforming him, but it's not always bad.  I'll get to that.

Now lets move on to our first guy and my first

Shockblast (Energon, 2004)

If you are an avid collector of toys, then perhaps you've run across the situation where a toy company loses the trademark on a name.  Hasbro lost the trademark on Shockwave for a bit there, so he had to be Shockblast for the duration of Energon (and a tiny bit afterward).  Not like it matters anyway; this is a different dude from a different universe.  This Shockwave sounds like a violent nutball.

He looks the part as well!  Shockwave is usually kinda big in the torso, but this one is built like a football player all around.  AND DAT GUN!  Whew!  Other Shockwaves can get some basic things done, but this one has to rely on one giant claw hand with an obtrusive shield (also with guns) and one massive chunky tumor of an arm cannon.  Of course I love it.

Shockblast is made for wrecking the place.  I don't think he can help it.  It's also my favorite part about him - just the pure look of WAR about him.  The only hand he has is pretty much just for crushing, and covering it is a nice shield with two smaller cannons on either side.  Something tells me those cannons alone are more powerful than most hand-held rifles that other Transformers carry around.  Then, if his size, ability to crush, and his big cannons don't take down the enemy...well...

...then there's big papa lefty!  Obviously there's no articulation in that arm outside the shoulder, 'cause that sucker holds all the action features.  One: You push that slider forward and it fires a missile.  Two: it also opens up parts on the gun.  Three: IT MAKES NOISE.  And neat noise as well!  There's this garbled electronic noise when you push it mostly forward, and then a big BOOSSHHEEEWWW when you push it all the way!  It's actually pretty dang cool, and you can keep pushing it forward for multiple blasts.  You know, in case you need to reduce the whole battlefield to glass.

This figure marks one of those few times where noises and and action feature make me overlook the lack of an elbow joint.  The gun just works with his massive size and imposing nature.  Plus, true to the Energon toyline: Translucent parts!

They glow real nice in a blacklight, but it appears they don't photograph so well under the same light.  In any case, I think translucent green is one of my favorites, and it works well here.  Shockwave is normally a shades-of-purple kinda bot, and this one uses that idea and rolls with some grey and adds this green to make 'em POP.  Also you'll notice a sort of gold solar panel look inside the open panels on the gun...we'll get to that.

Naturally though, we should get to what he Transforms into.

This is sort of an unintentional running gag, 'cause it seems Hasbro just can not figure out what the heck Shockwave should turn in to!  Megatron has had various planes and tanks (and a truck, more recently) and somehow it always works.  You need to work in a big gun, and they always manage (though Energon Megatron is curiously wielding a smaller version of his own tank form from the previous toyline...yeah, so like I said: they find a way to work it in.)  One way or another, Megatron doesn't do the gun thing anymore, and Shockwave sure as heck can't either.  I don't know why...'cause Megatron turned into a real gun and Shockwave turned into a spacey ray gun thing...but I'm sure they've got reasons. 

Of course it's not like this is terrible!  It's a real long and skinny tank-like thing, but it's still kinda neat.  Like one of those railway cannons.  On tank treads.  Still, it's the first of a long line of only tank-like things that Shockwave gets to turn into.

This particular Shockwave however, is a triple changer!  I'm proud to say that I Transformed this all by myself without the directions (wherever those are) and I'm fairly sure it's correct.

Well okay, I think the tank treads might be in the wrong place, but sue me it looks like a satellite of some sort.  Good enough.  Oh, that's what he's supposed to be, by the way.  A satellite.  Or an orbital railgun.  So yeah, I'd say that's pretty cool!  If the tank doesn't get you, anyway.  An orbital cannon might not be exciting for play, but it sure as heck is a neat idea.

So that's Shockblast!  I'd say he's one of my favorites.  The whole setup works well: he's large and imposing, carries heavy firepower (no choice in that area), well articulated, sports fun noises and action features, and at least has somewhat interesting alternate modes.  This is a good one to track down for toy fans!  Not so much if you're looking for a definitive Shockwave. 

Now, my next Shockwave is another big favorite.  In fact, until the most current one he was my TOP favorite. 

Shockwave (Animated, 2008)

Indeed, Techno-Viper.  What gives?  This isn't a Shockwave.'s Longarm!  And an Autobot to boot - look at the insignia! no, none of this adds up at all! 

Yes folks, Shockwave in the Animated continuity is a spy!  He can transform between the Autobot Longarm and his good 'ol scary-ass self.  I hope I don't need to explain why this is a top favorite; LOOK AT HIM.  Tall, lanky, claw hands, unsettlingly long face still only sporting the single eye.

There is absolutely nothing I dislike about this figure.  When I originally got him I was in the middle of collecting Sigma 6 figures, so I was delighted to find that he lines up with them in size.

So he covers a lot of bases!  He's just an all-around freaky robot toy, and any toy that can be used in multiple settings instantly becomes a favorite.  The impressive part is how much he works for his own setting of Animated.  I mean GEEZE.  He turns into two different characters!  Believably!  If you got the Longarm figure and didn't mess with him too much you might not even know he was Shockwave.  It's a toy that's a REAL SPY!  Not even any snap-on parts to help him along.  Maybe it doesn't impress you, but it should!  I can't think of many toys that pull off this same feat. 

Now as if that weren't enough, he of course has alternate modes for both characters, though they are much simpler. 

Shockwaves turns into possibly the most believable tank out of all of them.

And then if you shift the treads and transform the gun, you get Longarm's pansy-ass hook thing.

So this makes Animated Shockwave a quadruple changer!  Four toys for the price of one (and I suppose it also costs you the time it takes to switch between them, but it ain't much).  I don't care what kinda fan you are: You gotta get this figure at some point.  It's so much fun.  He's exaggerated, but that just makes him more terrifying.  You don't even know you have a Shockwave when he's Longarm!  Plus you add extra height as he changes to Shockwave, and you can just imagine him shifting and rising up behind you as his eye glows *shudder* JUST AWESOME.  Drop what you're doing now and find one somewhere.

Now since I'm going in order of when I got these figures, next we're going back in time...

Shockwave (Action Master, 1990)

Yes!  It's a Joe-sized Shockwave.  And Joe-style articulation in the legs to boot!  "WHAAAAT?!" you scream wildly while waving your arms and spitting crumbs of Fritos.  To that I respond: Ew, dude.  And pass the Fritos.  Also: You ever heard of Action Masters? 

It was an ingenious toyline.  Get this: Transformers...that don't transform.  Now now now hear me out!  There won't be a lack of transformations!  No, it's just that the Transformers won't transform!  Their weapons and vehicles will!  But not into robots.  Just armor and stuff for them.

I know what you're thinking, and yes, of course I love the idea.  Or maybe you were thinking "THAT'S STUPID!"  and perhaps "AND YOU'RE STUPID FOR LIKING IT" to which I will reply: "Didn't I ask you to pass the Fritos?"

Honestly it was probably a bad move, but the toyline lasted...well okay, it lasted for a year.  I dunno if it did poorly, but I imagine it did.  I just wish I had heard of it back then 'cause they're awesome.  Little articulated cartoon-accurate versions of your favorite characters!  'Course I didn't know much about Transformers back then beyond Optimus and Megatron, but who the heck cares?  Cool Joe-Sized robot toys!  AND SHOCKWAVE OH MAN!

This particular Shockwave came with some sorta thing that turns into a gun, I guess. I bought this guy off Ebay so I didn't get anything but a small hand-held double barrel gun.

Didn't even get that pipe there!  I added that from a Duke figure.  I highly suggest doing the same if you've got this Shockwave - it fits perfectly as if it were made for the holes!  It needs it too, because apparently this figure never originally came with the pipe at all.  Who knows why it got cut?  If I had gotten it as a kid I probably would have thought I'd gotten a bum figure.


And for the robot with a gun for an arm, we have - of course - another gun for his only hand.  Wouldn't want Shockwave to run out of options, would we?  It's supposed to attach to his extra transforming thingy, but it also fits on his hand.

I'm not sure how easy it is to come across these guys on a regular basis.  I got this one for ten bucks and he's practically new, save for the missing junk.  I think I got lucky, but who knows?  I really think these are great representations of classic animated characters, so I'd track down a few favorites and see how they look.  You never know!  Might get lucky.

As far as durability goes...I'm not sure.  The other ones I have (from flea markets) are really worn, and one of them keeps having his leg pop off.  Nothing broken, though.  I've heard this Shockwave often is missing the tip of his gun arm, so perhaps I'm more lucky than I thought.  In my low experience however, it seems these stand the test of time for the most part.

Now to cap off Part 1, I'll end with one of my first Kre-O figures:

Shockwave (Kre-O, 2011)

Not much to say about this one!  If you're not familiar: Hasbro started their own Lego called "Kre-O."  Pretty sure I did a post on some other blind-bagged Transformers Kre-O before.  Anyway, this was one of the early ones and it came in a big package with Megatron and some mooks.  The building set was also Megatron, and it was...well it was okay.  Too heavy and the joints didn't support his weight well enough.  On top of that, building him was tedious rather than fun, like most Lego sets.  They've improved, though!  The G.I. Joe stuff is worlds above so far. 

Anyway, Kre-O Shockwave is like any other, I suppose.  Same basic details mostly based on his classic look (though curiously with the orange chest like the Action Master above.)  The only difference between how he comes and the one pictured is the arm gun.  He normally comes with a grey one, but I swapped it out with the purple clear one 'cause...I dunno.  Looks better.

And that's that for Part 1!  Stay tuned for Part 2 where I'll cover the more current ones from the movie versions on up to now.  Also, tell me what station to tune into 'cause I wana stay tuned too.  I didn't know I had a radio show.


  1. Whoa bro. Don't bogart the Fritos.

    1. Eh, the Frito Bandito already stole them all anyway...

  2. I am going on record saying that Energon Shockwave(blast) is My favorite version of our purple monoeyed freak. His repaint Sixshot (despite only have three forms, ruining his name; we did come up with some fan forms for him, though: a spacefighter, a scorpion, a requisite gun, and a t-rex form were some of them) was equally bad-ass. The camo made him look like a Desert Storm decepticon.

    I'm passing on both of the Prime Shockwave, but will be getting the remold of the cyberverse Shockwave, Bludgeon.

    1. Yeah, Energon Shockblast was certainly a favorite and I'm never lettin' him go. My only gripes lie with the waist area and how thin everything is there...always worried I'm gona break something. It's part of the reason why I haven't transformed him much. The other part is that his other forms just weren't as fun as his crazy badass robot mode. I do remember the Sixshot repaint, but I'm cool with the normal version that I got.

      And if you're passin' on the Prime one then the gushing at the end of part two will not affect you! But I'm totally getting the Bludgeon repaint - just wish the tiny version of that mold was a little better.

  3. He returns!

    Shockwave is just one of those Transformers that has had a pretty damn consistent and badass look. Animated had a really nice twist on the norm too and always looked like a fantastic toy, pity Animated got the short shift down here with retail support.

    Love that Energon Shockblast, such a fun Voyager class figure... I'll never part with him.

    1. Good to know two of ya have Shockblast as well! Energon was moving into the relm of great articulation, but it was just short of it at the time (I think Cybertron really kicked it into high-gear with articulation) so Shockblast really was a shining beacon in the Energon toyline. They could continue to repaint and use that mold nowadays and I don't think anyone would bat an eyelash (indeed, I think some would love another shot at that mold).

      Animated overall was a pity, 'cause it just didn't get to thrive. Once the next movie came out Animated got the shitcan regardless of being one of the few to break a mold and do something different. It was funny and well written, and had some real interesting ideas (in both the show and the toyline). It's too bad. At the very least, Shockwave is so unique that I doubt we'll ever see anything like it again, and Animated can call that it's own. They remade some Animated guys (Lugnut, technically Blitzwing with a homage) but Animated Shockwave will probably be left to shine on his own.

  4. Man, I loved the Action Masters line! I still have most of my old ones, though they are well worn. I always wanted that Shockwave, but never got him. If I could travel back in time for some retro shopping you can bet the Action Masters would be high on my list. You've also totally sold me on the Animated version.

    And hey, who doesn't love a massive chunky tumour of an arm cannon?

    1. Yeah, they always do classic reissues, but I'd Totally go for a reissue of the old Action Masters.

  5. Action Master Shockwave was one of the first and only TF toys I was able to find at retail when I was a kid and I did, indeed, find it very strange that he didn't come with a hose for his gun arm. IIRC, the 1990 catalog that came with the figures actually showed a hose on the prototype. (I remember a lot of the figures in that catalog were very different from the photos, though.) I used one of those GI Joe rubber hoses - which didn't work very well - as a placeholder.

    As for G1 Shockwave...I dunno if I'd recommend him. You seem like a person who would want to take him down and play with him, but the toy tends to be fragile in really annoying ways. I've owned three and all of them broke. My current one broke at the knee, but I was able to glue it back together and keep the articulation intact.

    1. Thanks for the heads up - I've never even held a G1 Shockwave in person. He just always looked like a cool toy. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, since I owned only a few original TFs and they could barely stay together (granted, one was Ironhide and he never made any sense, and the other was Grapple, who lost his head at some point and then also didn't make any sense).

    2. I should add, he IS a cool toy. There are reasons I've owned him three times. He's huge and imposing and pretty well-articulated for a G1 figure. He looks a lot like his media appearances and he's really fun to wave around in gun mode. If you get one with working electronics, the sound he makes is SUPER loud.

      Just get ready for inevitable frustration.

      (Side story: The first G1 Shockwave I had failed when the screw shafts holding his upper body together stripped. His chest popped out and his head literally flew off. I attempted to fix this by dissecting him and re-gluing the shafts, all while tiny springs were flying out of his joints. It did not work very well. Later, for some reason, this Shockwave sold for around $40 on eBay...and I made a point to describe how shitty it was.)

    3. Fair enough! I probably won't hunt one down, but I'll probably take the chance if I ever run across one. At least I'll know to be careful. Is it possible to change batteries in an old one? I'd totally want to hear the sound effects.

    4. Yeah, he takes a 9-volt battery that's simple enough to change. But some of them the electronics simply stopped working for whatever reason - maybe somebody left a battery in and it got corroded, or whatever. It's the same issue for all of the electronic G1 figures like Galvatron, Sky Lynx, Trypticon, etc. I think the one I have, the sounds work, but the flashing lights don't.