Cliffbee.com: Binaltech Laserwave Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Laserwave (a pseudonym for Shockwave)
Series: Binaltech
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Military Operations Commander
Alternate Mode: Mazda RX-8 sports car

Thanks to Griffin for loaning me Laserwave for this review (I have since acquired Laserwave).



RX-8 MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 18cm Width: 8cm

   A dark purple two door sports car, Laserwave has a slight metallic finish prevalent on both the die cast metal and plastic areas. This is a very realistic vehicle mode, complete with transparent windows, rubber wheels and Mazda badging on the hood and boot. The grille on the front, windowseams and wipers are painted black, along with the bumpers, while the wheels are also black, rather than the chrome seen on Meister. The headlights, taillights and side indicators on the front are transparent plastic, with red plastic underneath the taillights. The colour scheme is much darker than either version of Meister, giving Laserwave a different free to those toys.

   There are several mould differences that separate Laserwave from Meister in car mode. The front grille section is redone, giving him an airdam as well as a taller grille. Laserwave has gained a rear spoiler, has different side mirrors and wheels - although both Laserwave and Meister have five-spoked wheels.

   As mentioned, Laserwave's windows are clear plastic, and unlike previous some BTs his front side windows are wound up. The demister lines on the rear window are no longer present. The five-spoked black wheels make Laserwave look a lot darker than most BTs, and make him look rather sporty. As usual, the insides of the lights are moulded with bulbs and parabolas, the side mirrors are chromed and the exhausts are chromed, along with the muffler underneath the rear of the car. He sports the word "Mazda" just to the left of the logo on the back, with "RX-8" on the right, both in silver. The Mazda Logos and other markings are a light grey colour.

   There's a fuel cap cover above the rear left wheel, moulded doorhandles and a rear license plate bearing a Decepticon logo and "LWAVE". There are grey brake pads moulded inside his wheels, which don't really stand out underneath black wheels.

   The insane level of detail is continued inside this vehicle. Open one of the two doors and you'll see moulded seats - front and back - for the first time in this line. The insides of the doors have been moulded, along with the dashboard, steering wheel, trip meters, handbrake and stickstift. The adjustable steering column is right hand drive and unlike on the previous BTs the movement is not necessary for transformation. Lift the hood and you'll reveal some engine details. They're not as complex as some other BTs, since the engine block isn't his weapon as on most of the previous BTs. His boot also opens, revealing a small cavity.

   Laserwave has typical play value for a BT vehicle mode - the doors open, the wheels roll and the front wheels are on a rack and pinion mechanism. The boot and hood open and the steering column adjusts, as mentioned. The front seats can actually fold forward as on a real two door vehicle, which is impressive, even if it's needed for transformation.

   Binaltech is aiming for a level never before reached by the Transformers line, and Laserwave's car mode hits the mark. There are some lessons learned on previous toys that benefit him - notably the back seats, helping a visually appealing Mazda reach a great level of detail and making this a good RX-8 model in his own right. The realism is great, thanks to the extensive detailing, chrome and transparent plastic. I prefer the brighter, more traditional colours of Meister, but there's a evil feel about this dark car which works in its own way. I am glad to see that there are quite a few mould changes, giving another reason to buy this third Mazda BT.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Quite similar to Smokescreen and Streak, with some changes for the better. While the rear of the vehicle becomes his feet, the formation of the waist makes for a more poseable robot mode, although on Griffin's this waist is quite loose. The arms fold out easier than on his predecessors, thanks to redesigned shoulders. Lastly, the gun is stowed as the muffler under his rear, rather than as the engine which is the norm for Binaltech.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 18cm Width: 15cm
exact height depends on pose, width is his wingspan

   Laserwave is again dark purple, although now with considerable black sections. The right hand, waist, groin, legs and elbows are black. The head has been completely redesigned to resemble Shockwave's head, complete with silver antennae and the single yellow eye on his face. The yellow eye is transparent and there's a yellow patch on top of his head, giving Laserwave a lightpipe if there's a light source above him. There are lilac patches on his hips, while his black groin has a light copper centre and the shinplates are painted lilac as well. There are Decepticon symbols on both shoulders and a transparent purple cannon hand on the left arm, just as on the original Shockwave.

   The front of the car is the robot chest, a feature borrowed From Meister, but the grille on the front of the chest bears some resemblance to the window on Shockwave's chest. The doors form wings while the feet are the back edges of the car. The front wheels sit on the back of his shoulders. The head and left hand cannon are the only features distinct to Shockwave, but the chest does a decent job (by chance), making it obvious Laserwave represents that character.

   Not only does Binaltech incorporate scale model vehicle modes, it also features poseable robot modes. This is one of the most poseable BTs, too. Laserwave's head is on a ball joint, his shoulders are double swivels, his elbows are double joints, his wrists are ball joints and his fingers open and close, the index finger by itself and the others as one unit (allowing him to grasp his gun). Laserwave's poseability is well above that of Shockwave, who was quite poseable for G1.

   The waist swivels for the transformation and is also available for posing. The ball jointed hips work slightly better than those on Streak and Smokescreen, thanks to some minor improvements in their design, while the loss of the rear window panels on the Subarus allows Laserwave to have double joints in his ankles - hinges and now swivels. The knees are ratcheting hinges. His toes (ie the car bumper) are poseable, lifting up and down and rotating so they can sit flat against the table in poses - again an improvement over the Subarus. Along with the heelspurs under his feet, his means his feet are stable in most poses, which a little work. I'm actually struggling to think of any joints that would realistically need extra movement this mould seems to have all the options covered. After about two minutes of thinking, all I can come up with is swivels around the elbows that would allow him to point his gun out to the side.

   Laserwave's robot mode changes I've already covered - the head and left hand. There are some paint mask changes, but the other changes on this mould relate to the vehicle mode. The head and hand are enough to make sure this figure is distinct from Meister.

   In terms of engineering, this robot mode is so close to perfect it's not funny. The heelspurs could have been a little sturdier and the elbows are slightly limited, but really this is clutching at straws compared to most Transformers. The colours work quite well, the layout of Mazda parts works while the conversion to Shockwave has been handled well. Considering the vehicle mode this emerges from it's a fantastic effort. I'll admit that I prefer Meister, but that's largely because of the character.

VARIATIONS

   There is a plastic Alternators version named Shockblast, which I believe has shocking quality control.

OVERALL

   One of the strongest BT moulds, Laserwave has a good if dark vehicle mode, with quite a few changes compared to Meister. Some of these changes are very slight, something that isn't helped by his colours. The robot mode is good, and while the changes are minimal the head and laser-arm nail the character, making this robot mode work. While I believe that the two versions of Meister are better toys, Laserwave is a great toy in his own right, so if you only have one (or none) Meister, or a fan of the character, I'd recommend this toy - 8/10

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