Review - MP29 Destron Laserwave/Shockwave

 
 

Takara Tomy have pulled off what many fans thought impossible; an official release of Masterpiece Laserwave/Shockwave based on the original G1 Toy and Cartoon design! This was completely unthinkable only a few years ago! Between the unlikely event of another “gun” alt mode transformer being made and the fact that the entire toy design of the original Shockwave belonged to another toy company fans were positive that an official Masterpiece Shockwave was an impossibility. I’m speaking for myself as well! I bought Fanstoys FT03 Quakewave back when he was first released and told myself “This is the closest we will ever get to a Masterpiece Shockwave”. That being said Quakewave is a marvelous toy well worth the money and I don’t know that I would classify MP-29 as a replacement so much as a G1 cartoon referential alternative. Let’s dig in and check out MP-29 Destron Laserwave aka Masterpiece Shockwave!

 
 

The eye sees all...

Alternate Mode
 

Not only did Takara surprise us all with a new gun mode Transformer, they even shipped it in alt mode! Shockwave looks very clean and sharp with a lot of straight lines and angles making him look appropriately alien. From the rear there are a few gaps that I feel could have been resolved with a little more thought put into it. The feet at the bottom of the grip don’t bother me and they lend to a couple different display options. Conversely I don’t feel the gap in the rear of the gun is acceptable. There is a giant hole that could have easily been filled with a couple fold out flaps or even a parts-forming rear cover which would have been preferable. This is not the quality and level of finish that attracted me to the Masterpiece line.

Seriously... I don't think I'm being petty... that giant hole in the back is ugly.

The flip up targeting reticule is nicely sculpted and looks good, but as with most clear plastic it does make me a bit nervous when thinking about the longevity of that hinge. Most MP figures have one or two features that when you see them you think “That’s it, that’s how I know this is a Takara Tomy Masterpiece figure” and for me one of the biggest moments on Shockwave is the power supply hose. It’s a painted purple spring. That is brilliant! It solves the mobility issue of having a fixed length plastic cord and also removes any worry about the long term resilience of a rubber hose! Some owners have found that the paint may flake off of the spring over time. While I haven’t experienced this issue myself I know it’s been a pretty prevalent concern among other fans. Maybe a third party company could recreate the hose with an anodized finish to prevent flaking. Could be something to look into.

Mmm...Space firearms.

The muzzle of the gun is nicely detailed without going overboard. Looking at it from the front there is a beveled step pattern leading into the center of the gun. The gun actually has light up LED features! I don’t think we’ve seen this in the Masterpiece line since the original MP-01 Optimus Prime! The LED is incredibly bright and activated by pulling the slightly underwhelming gun trigger. There is a noticeable “click” that you can feel when pulling back the trigger. There is a sliding switch on the side of the gun mode that changes the LED from an active mode - holding down the trigger turns on the light, to a programmed sequence, pressing the trigger once results in a series of about 10 “blasts” of light fading in and out. The automatic mode is nice for display and was of course very enjoyable when it came to photographing the toy and trying to capture the effect of the LED without pesky elastic bands. Be careful pointing this gun at other people as the LED is bright enough to obstruct vision.

LED action! Fantastic to see electronics make a return!

The last thing to mention about the Gun mode is that there is an included stand. The stand can become Shockwave’s backpack in robot mode. In alt mode it creates a very sturdy display stand that clips in to the bottom of the gun barrel. It’s a nice display option and while it is technically parts forming, I like that they found a use for it in both modes. Personally I think it would have been nice if it could somehow slide over the rear of the gun to cover that obnoxious hole!

The gun mode has some great aesthetics and playability with only minor shortcomings; The baby sized trigger and the giant hole in the back are issues that need to be addressed. The toy feels great in hand and has just enough heft to feel like it belongs in the Masterpiece line up.


Robot Mode

Cartoon accuracy ahoy! Takara Tomy you magnificent wizards Shockwave looks fantastic. He's a little on the short side, close to the size of the MP-11 Seeker mold and noticeably shorter than MP Soundwave. He absolutely looks the part of G1 cartoon Shockwave. The violet and pastel purples with a touch of clear plastic on the chest look wonderful with a great, cohesive, and well balanced color scheme. There are no visible paint flaws on my copy. To be honest I don't think there is very much paint on this figure to begin with. Only his feet, ears, and the side panels of his calves appear to be painted with almost everything else being molded in the final colors. The good news is that this figure should hold up really well to regular play if you like to pull your toys off the shelf and mess with them from time to time.

 
 

Ever been beaten by a one armed man?

Due to how he transforms his thighs have some very distracting panel breaks and visible pins. While I recognize this is necessary for the transformation, which I'm happy to see seems to have been implemented in a new way compared to G1 and Third Party attempts, However I don't think they do any favors for the final look of the figure. The leg armor has quite a few panel lines and breaks in it as well due to it's compression in alt mode. I appreciate that Takara Tomy went out of their way to engineer a unique transformation and fore go the typical “collapse the thighs into the lower legs” method but I do feel that it hurt the final aesthetics of the robot mode. Even if they had just been able to get those broken up thigh pieces to land on the inner thigh in robot mode his appearance would have been that much improved. 

 
 

Obligatory "Are All Dead" shot.

In what I think is a first for the Masterpiece collection, Shockwave actually has light piping! A large clear yellow section in the rear of his head allows light to shine through his single unwavering optic module. The effect looks great and the plastic allows a ton of light through. I think it would have been nice if they were able to incorporate an LED feature in the head since they already included electronics in the figure but I imagine it would have been a tough job fitting electronics into his head without having to run the batteries from the main body and risk people severing the connection while rotating his head.

 
 

Look into my eye...you are getting very sleepy...

I really like how the backpack was engineered to work without parts-forming for the smaller backpack, but with the option for the larger show accurate backpack utilizing the alt mode stand. Running the spring hose from his shoulder instead of the backpack was also a good idea as it severely limits the chance of damaging the spring. The way the elbow joints and arms are designed you can flip Shockwave's cannon arm to have the hose on the top or the bottom, whichever you prefer.

Pack light for a hike, or heavy for an Autobot massacre!

Articulation is on par with most of the recent Masterpiece figures like Ironhide and Hot Rod. He has the now familiar ball jointed neck which allows for a great range of movement. His shoulders are on double outward ratchet joints; one in the body and one on the outside of the shoulder with a 360 degree ratchet in between. These are used for the transformation but one happy side effect is that you can adjust his shoulder line to be a bit higher allowing for a more intimidating stature. On my copy the outward ratchet joints are quite tight and have a tendency to flex a little more than I like so I make sure to brace them when adjusting. So far so good.

 
 

Prepare for extermination Autobot Scum!

The elbow joints are on a single hinge with spring loaded ratchets. The arm is able to swivel at the elbow and is able to bend 1 click past 90 degrees. As usual I am left disappointed that there are no double elbow joints but by this point I'm over it. I don't expect them anymore and just let myself be surprised when they show up on figures like Hot Rod. Shockwave's hands and cannon slide onto the front of his forearms and the fit is tight and clean looking. They are easy to change and don't cause any trouble. The hands are mounted on a ball joint at the wrist. The fists/open hands have very little movement but enough to add some realism to a few poses. They have a single hinge at the first knuckle allowing for an open or closed fist. The saluting hand looks good but the limitations of his arms and elbows make it very tricky to try and pull off a salute similar to the one seen in the G1 cartoon.

That's as good as it gets. Kinda looks more like sightseeing than a salute!

Shockwave has a limited waist swivel and ab crunch. In order to access the ab crunch and waist swivel you have to pull up on the torso until you hear a click and you will be able to see a very slight separation at the waist. The ab crunch is useless on my copy when it comes to leaning forward as it immediately springs back rather than locking in at the first click. It will lock in one click backwards. Activating the ab crunch almost always guarantees that the panel that slides over Shockwave's stomach to cover his alt mode trigger will slide upwards so you have to keep an eye on that. The waist swivel is able to turn left and right about 1/8th of a turn. It's not much but enough to add some variance to his posing and allow for a fairly natural looking walk or run.

Seriously... How did Megatron ever promote Starscream above these two?

Shockwave's hips are universal joints with a ratchet on the forward/backward movement. Due to the targeting apparatus from alt mode on his butt you can only move his legs back one click. They can swing out all the way to the side thanks to the adjustable waist flaps. He also has a 360 degree thigh swivel at the hips. He can do a full flat on the ground splits which is impressive but the lack of outward ratchets leads to his feet sliding if posed on a slippery surface with his legs at an angle. His knees are incredibly underwhelming only able to bend about 75 degrees. Shockwave isn't known to kneel often but with these limitations he couldn't take a knee for Lord Megatron if he wanted to. The best you can do is pull off a fairly exaggerated lunge. Shockwave's feet are made of die-cast metal with a ratchet joint for the forward/backwards movement. He has about 30 degrees of inward ankle tilt, only hindered by the outer layer of leg armor that the feet hit. While his feet do appear small, the die-cast content and length allow for a fairly solid base for any standing poses and they look much better in person than in certain angles in photos. 

Female Autobots?! I thought they were extinct! Just like my hip ratchets!

Accessories

Shockwave comes with a limited set of accessories with the majority of them being made up of replacement hands. He comes with a matching set of left and right lavender hands if you want to depict him pre-cannon arm, as well as a translucent purple right hand. He comes with 2 versions of his cannon in solid and translucent plastic and lastly he comes with 2 saluting hands, one in lavender and one in translucent purple plastic. I am very happy that they included options for translucent toy accurate hands and solid cartoon hands. This was great thinking on the part of Takara Tomy. There is a button on the side of Shockwaves left arm that activates an LED light. Unfortunately I still haven't been able to track down some batteries for that feature.

Need a hand? (hur hur I'm funny)

The real star of the accessory show is a smaller version of Shockwave in alt mode. The paintwork is crisp and it looks fantastic. This was an awesome piece to include. The pistol has the standard MP tab on the handle that can slot into Shockwave's or other Masterpiece figures hands allowing them to wield a vicious purple space pistol. I was particularly impressed with the way they represented the power supply cable with a piece of purple thread that works perfectly. 

 
 

Oh come on! It should be illegal to look this cool!

There is a sticker sheet with 2 different Decepticon insignia designs. One is the sharp, crisp, final design of the Decepticon insignia, the other is the kind of squished, simplified Decepticon badge from the TV show. It's cool that they give you 2 versions of the symbol but when ever other MP figure has the cleaner version I can't really see much point of using the cartoon accurate badges. Of course he also has the usual instruction manual and tech spec card. Nothing new in that category.

 
 

Box 'n' stuff.

The accessory count is fairly light when you consider Shockwave's price and that the majority of it is made up of replacement hands but honestly I can't really think of anything else that should have been included with a Masterpiece Shockwave. If you think of anything let me know in the comments I would love to hear what you wish was included with MP-29!

I'm actually impressed how close to the G1 cartoon scale this turned out to be! Onward my steed!

Final Thoughts

I'm a bit torn on this one. MP-29 looks great and fits in incredibly well with my existing Masterpiece figures. He is incredibly expensive when compared with similar releases like Ratchet and Ironhide who are overflowing with accessories and gimmicks. Depending on where you pick him up he may even be more expensive than Fanstoys Quakewave! Electronics account for some of that but I suspect there was a hefty back end fee required to get this design sanctioned for release as an official Masterpiece Transformer. That would really be the only other reason I can think for his high price considering he isn't a licensed vehicle, nor sporting any sort of premium materials or finish.  I am a bit underwhelmed by his articulation but then again Shockwave was never much of an agile character so maybe I'm just asking for engineering for the sake of it? I've owned FT-03 Quakewave for a few years and I had been prepared to keep him as my Masterpiece Shockwave representation for the foreseeable future. I wasn't expecting a Takara Tomy release and if one did come along I certainly didn't expect light up LED features and a G1 accurate pistol alt mode. I went into this experience with MP-29 fully expecting to come out the other side, packing him back in the box, and putting Quakewave back on my Masterpiece shelf. I can't say that's what happened. In fact it's Quakewave that's sitting in his box right now and I'm debating what to do with him. To be clear, that's not because I feel that MP-29 is a superior toy. In fact, if we're strictly talking about toy and materials quality I think Fanstoys Quakewave is still a far superior specimen but seeing the cartoon accuracy of MP-29 on my shelf next to Soundwave and Starscream I can't help but look at Quakewave with a sense of... superfluousness. I don't need 2 Masterpiece Shockwaves! I might keep Quakewave on a different shelf though as he is a fantastic toy and in my opinion makes for a better Marvel Comics version of Shockwave.

You're trapped in this form Megatron... And with you out of the way leadership of the Decepticons falls to me!

To tie it all together simply, MP-29 Destron Laserwave AKA Shockwave is a fun, interesting figure with some great aesthetics and mid-range articulation. I would have liked to see him a bit taller, matching MP-13 Soundwave, but that could just be my preference. At the end of the day MP-29 is a solid B+ figure in my books. I would only recommend it over FT-03 Quakewave if, like me, you are mainly interested in a cartoon accurate display. 


What do you think? Leave me a comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts on Takara Tomy MP-29 Destron Laserwave/Shockwave!


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