Transformers Prime Shockwave’s Lab [SDCC 2013 Exclusive]

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Fairly certain this is the first San Diego Comic Con Exclusive I’ve come to own, without ever actually having attended SDCC before. This particular piece was released only this past year in 2013, so it’s a relatively recent exclusive.

Picked this one up at Robo Toy Fest last year, not because I particularly cared for the SDCC exclusivity, but mostly for who was at the convention – Shockwave’s voice actor, David Sobolov. Normally, I wouldn’t have paid $50 for a voyager class Shockwave with an infant Predaking figure that I could care less about, but unfortunately the standard voyager Shockwave wasn’t available. And given this was a golden opportunity with Shockwave’s voice actor sitting right there, I simply had to grab the box set and have the gentleman sign it.

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The box is like…triple-layered. There’s a sleeve that slides off the outside, velcro tabs on the sides that pop down, and the whole topside comes off as shown above. It also has a handle at the top to be carried in a suitcase-like fashion. Upon stripping it all down, you get a diorama-looking display right out of the box.

Shockwave

I’m not gonna lie though, Mr. Sobolov aside, I was actually quite attracted to the Shockwave figure alone. It’s supposedly a repaint of the original, in G1 colors rather than the darker shade of purple the Prime version is colored in. The deep purple highlights have also been changed to yellow on this figure.

I gave up on Prime figures a long time ago, after a few samples to get a feel for the line’s quality and value. I almost regret selling those figures now, since Shockwave doesn’t have any Autobots to beat the scrap out of.

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As I mentioned above, this set does come with an exclusive (and as far as I know, original) figure – an infant Predaking in a diorama vat, representing Shockwave’s laboratory, as seen in-series.

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I’ll delve into the exclusive infant Predaking later – for now, it’s all about this purple badass.

I’m very impressed with Hasbro at actually having gotten Shockwave this screen-accurate. With what I saw with Bumblebee, I wasn’t  very optimistic for much of the Prime line, but Shockwave is a surprisingly pleasing figure to play around with.

The entire figure feels very solid – not crazy flimsy with loose joints or anything. I’m honestly loving the detail on areas such as the chest and feet. Very well done paint apps.

A very unique (and innovative) feature on Shockwave is his blaster-arm coil. When I first took him out of the package and didn’t find a separate piece in the box for the coil, I was more than a little disappointed – I thought Hasbro had skimped on a key feature of the character deliberately. But then a quick trip through the instructions unveiled it – the coil is actually one of Shockwave’s rear treads in tank mode! It was folded up in packaging, and I didn’t even realize it could come apart until after consulting the manual. Nice job on re-purposing vehicle kibble into a bipedal feature, Hasbro.

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The cannon coil actually kind of restricts the movement of the left arm, and it pops off rather frequently at the bicep. Not anything fatal of course, just the usual joint pop that can easily be inserted back in place.

Shockwave is rather versatile in articulation overall, though given the character’s reserved and calm nature, I can’t see him in any extreme poses.

The fingers are not articulated on this figure, but that’s normal. I’m not sure what Hasbro was thinking making the thumb point so far inwards towards the palm though. Kinda looks funky. In addition, there are many PVC pieces used throughout the figure, Shockwave’s head antennas and the “spikes” on the cannon and back being primary areas.

The cannon, of course, can arguably be Shockwave’s most defining feature. It sports this funky gray protrusion at the top and base of the barrel, which is actually a big ‘ol button one must press to activate the gimmick.

Check out the video above for an in-motion look at what the button does.

When I first tried this feature out, I actually found it rather unique and interesting, in contrast to many of Hasbro’s hashed-together silly excuses for figure gimmicks. To appeal to younger audiences, I suppose, they have to throw in some funky and interesting gimmick in their Transformers, even if it means sacrificing screen-accuracy. (A large reason to why I prefer my Masterpieces).

No light-up barrel to accompany the opening, splitting, and spinning of it though. I must admit, it’s a fun and interesting feature to play around with. It actually looks really cool when fully split open; too bad it’s held together by springs and therefore impossible to keep open.

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I did mention above that I had Mr. Sobolov sign both the Shockwave box and the actual figure – in the latter case, I had him do it on the outside of the legs, with “David” on the right and “Sobolov” on the left.

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Very privileged to have this done; I was rather apprehensive and cautious this entire photoshoot not to touch or rub the signature too much, lest the Sharpie comes off.

Shockwave Tank

And then of course, tank mode!

Not gonna lie, while I am very fond of Shockwave’s biped form, the vehicle mode is more than a little lacking in aesthetics. It looked so much more badass in-series.  I can see where Hasbro actively tried to make it match what was on-screen, but their rate of success can be debated.

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Shockwave, like Megatron, takes on a strictly Cybertronian vehicular form, though while the latter is a spaceship, our Decepticon mad scientist takes on the shape of a burly purple tank.

Shockwave does have mini-wheels in his rear treads to help him roll out, along with nice glossy black tires in his front fork.

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Unfortunately the turret does not rotate, but you can still activate the spinning cannon gimmick in this form.

Transformation in general is fairly simple and open-ended, much like Megatron. Unlike the Autobots, there’s no strict block of a car form that one must fit all the panels together into.

Predaking Beast Mode

Now onto that infant Predaking I mentioned earlier. I’m fairly certain this little thing was the driving point behind this even being an SDCC Exclusive.

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My apathy towards the thing was so great I had originally intended to not even remove it from its original packaging; I only cared for Shockwave in this set after all. But then I figured for the sake of this review, it would only be complete if I gave a complete run-down of the full package.

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In essence, I’m fairly certain this is supposed to be Predaking in his infancy, while Shockwave is still curating him in his lab (which technically takes place before the series proper).

The figure is tiny, roughly half the size of Shockwave. Roughly the size of your average Scout-class figure.

Predaking

Transformation to robot mode is quick and simple. Predaking shouldn’t even be able to transform at this stage of his development but whatever…

There’s clearly a lot of clear ice-blue plastic used throughout, with the darker almost metallic blue used for key features. It would’ve been a lot nicer had the head/face been molded in the dark blue, since with the clear, you can barely make out any features at all.

Legit, I can’t even make out eyes or a mouth.

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Predaking’s beast-mode tail does pop right off and convert into his hand-held pew-pew gun of doom. The missile is not of the spring-loaded variety; rather, it’s the ball-in-the-middle-of-the-missile-shaft-pop-out-with-finger variety.

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Granted, the little thing doesn’t look too bad, but in the realm of canon, it’s rather pointless.

There’s a nice purple Predacon tampo on the left shoulder as well, for those of you who didn’t notice.

I should also note that the clear ice-blue plastic is rather brittle, as clear plastic always is. Be careful when handling it; I’ve already begun to spot some hair-line fractures in some of the jointed pieces even after transforming it the once for this ‘shoot.

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And of course, putting the two pieces of this set together, along with the supplied diorama base, gives you the iconic scene in question.

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Only thing missing is the clear yellow CNA liquid. The base is rather sturdy, but the little black control panel is not. It’s made of very thin black plastic, and crinkles easily. Best not to pick up the contraption via that.

The clear cylindrical vat that serves as Predaking’s home is actually well-made; it easily pops off when desired, and generally adds to the overall display nicely. It could probably be re-purposed as part of another diorama or display easily.

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Shockwave itself is actually a surprisingly well-to-do figure; I like it. The infant Predaking, on the other hand, is a little less spectacular, but a good inclusion nonetheless. If you’re the type that’s interested in dioramas and replicating scenes from the show, then this is a good place to start.

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At the end of the day, I gotta say this was a worthy buy, if only for the priceless signature of a character’s voice actor on their character’s figure. As much as it pains me to do it, I will most likely actually end up reselling this figure, hopefully to turn a profit with the signature attached.

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