MP-02 Soundwave

Masterpiece Soundwave

"Behind his impassive expression, Soundwave is as cold and ruthless as they come. He cares nothing for right or wrong or the welfare of his fellow Decepticons. All he cares about is wielding the power of information to emerge victorious from battle. He spies on everyone, from the lowliest Autobot scout up to Megatron himself. He hoards information the way a miser hoards gold, sharing it sparingly, if at all. No noe knows what the true purpose behind his obsessive data collection is, but all fear him for the secrets he keeps."

That exact same, or a very, very similar, text was also in the good old Transformers comics, in the character pages (and damn, were they cool or what?). Sadly I didn't have any magazines in my hands anymore, so I couldn't go check but that's what my impression was.


Strength      **********
Intelligence  ********** 
Speed         ********** 
Endurance     ********** 
Rank          ********** 
Courage       ********** 
Fireblast     ********** 
Skill         **********

Whatever the hell is going on in here?

Perhaps I should open this post a bit to explain so all this might make a bit more sense. In the early March I ordered, after a ludicrously long and iterative back-and-forth decision making process, a Transformers toy. I had somehow encountered these Hasbro's Masterpiece series toys (or collectable display pieces, whatever you feel like telling yourselves), naturally via lord Megatron himself, of course. If money, space and reason itself weren't on the way even as speed bumps, I'd bought quite a few of them at a time. My queue contains - at the time of writing this - at least the following: Megatron, Starscream (why not also Thundercracker and Skywarp to round up the original Seekers) and maybe even Optimus Prime, as Prime is just cool.

After less than two weeks later the box had ended up in the uncaring hands of the Finnish Postal services and after yet another week I received a note from them telling me that I had to do a customs declaration. I really wasn't in the mood of paying a sick sum of money to them (and losing a few more extra days) so I did that myself in about five minutes while saving almost 60€, because my own work is always free... Surprisingly and astonishingly, even, Posti carried my packet to our front door the very next morning at eight, instead of dropping their typical "we claim that we tried to deliver something to you even though the deliverable has been sitting on a shelf but how could you know and prove us wrong so come pick it up whenever it's convenient for us" paper slip.

Open it already!

The postal box was enormous. The real box inside it was also somewhat insane and I was told I grinned like an idiot while fondling it. And I din't doubt it for a second!


The first thing to catch my eye in the box was this small extra-looking cardboard box. It just didnt' feel like it belonged to the normal contents, so I checked it first.

Hah, it was one of these collector's bonuses. A metallic, small Soundwave in his cassette-player form. Cool, but I could've lived without it as well.

But now to the core of the business. Aaaah! Soundwave, five cassettes, Megatron in his gun form, an empty Energon cute, a arm-cannon tip (from the movie) and then the piledrivers for Frenzy and Rumble. These were just great for wasting away some time. Of course my Project Assistant tried to "borrow" them from me but for a change I stayed firm (though I have to say I'm happy she's into these cool things still :P )

About half an hour later...

Yes. My first "let's transform Soundwave" took almost half an hour. The original G1 toys were both sillily simple to transform and also much blockier. Now the price of posability, amazing articulation and great details was that the transformation process was also much more complicated. But my, he was awesome!

The cassettes

Of course the next thing was to pla... I mean test out how the different cassettes transformed. I had had a G1 Frenzy back in the day (bought from Italy, on the same trip where I got Blitzwing) and that one had been many classes beneath this one in its flimsiness. Now the first three cassettes/minions seen in the cartoon (Rumble and Buzzsaw are, as everyone knows, just different coloured variations of Frenzy and Laserbeak).


The first of Soundwave's minions we saw  was Laserbeak, a robotic bird. I guess it was called a condor or a vulture, most typically. The toy itself was amazing, just like real! That hatch on the forehead was horribly difficult to open, by the way.


I admit that I was lost with the names/faces of Frenzy and Rumble. The aforementioned souvenir Frenzy was blue but in the cartoon (More Than Meets the Eye part 1) the blue dude was called Rumble. I decided that I'd go along the cartoon, because why not?

Both of these little guys had their own piledrivers that they could use to make earthquakes. The instructions told to turn the arms upwards for the piledrivers but that led to a bit of a silly pose you can see here in the photo. They looked much better and made more sense - not to mention true to the cartoon - when the arms were turned downwards.


Soundwave's third minion / pet / friend (still in More Than Meets The Eye Part 1) was the robotic jaguar, Ravage. Ravage was the strangest of the three models to transform, but after a couple of iterations it made more sense. He was nicely poseable, too.

Test poses

Of course I had to spin and fool around with them. And to check out a few poses.

I even carried the whole set to work, because I knew my coworker Kimmo would definitely know how to appreciate this stuff. That was truer than I had even guessed, as he started pondering that "Damn, now I feel like getting one of those for myself... Hey, the S&H is relatively cheaper if you buy more than one at a time!"


A change in plans - again

I changed my mind yet again in the middle of a project. Surprise of all surprises. Anyway, I decided to use a couple of the decals from the set so I applied a layer of gloss varnish (Vallejo 70510) just about all around, just skipping the tail ends of the wings.


I actually ended up using all the decals, but somehow one of the bottom Balkenkreuz got partially ruined (the tips pointing towards the hull). Don't ask me how that happened. Other than that the damn things went on decently, even the two-piece swastikas.


As you may have noticed, I had left some details unpainted, maybe a bit sillily. I just hadn't remembered to do those before I went applying the gloss varnish. So I painted the wingtips red (VMA 71085 Ferrari Red) and then used that to the rocket's nozzle as the instructions dictated. Then I painted the steering vanes black (VMA 71073 Black).  Then I deviated to my own direction by painting the edges of the rocket's nozzle metallic (VMC 70863 Gunmetal Grey) because they looked better - or made more sense to me - that way.

With a matt coat

I took a few photos after the matt varnish layer (Vallejo 70520) had dried, from various angles. I thought that I should've washed it at some point, but as I hadn't thought of it then it clearly wasn't that important.

Finally I set the missile on its launch pad to pose a bit. As a whole I thought it was a bit underwhelming compared to something hefty, a heavy launching facility or something (the Meillerwagen would've given a nicer base for this). Or maybe my image came from the flat backgroudn of the cutting mat that really didn't work as a substitute for a forest clearing or something.


Camouflaging an early IRBM

Choosing the camo colours

I decided to use the RLM colours that the instructions suggested but the pattern I pulled from my own hat. I checked my paints and picked two that looked just like what was needed: grey, grey violet and Dunkelgelb for the launch pad.

The first draft: top surface

I started by airbrushing the grey violet (VMA 71128 Grey Violet (~RLM75)) liberally around the model in nicely wide bands, on the top half of the missile. Then I switched to the lighter grey paint (VMA 71103 (~RLM84)) and filled the gaps and redefined some lines to look a bit more pleasing to my own unartistic eye. As a whole it looked pretty functional.

While observing my own work I thought that the fuzzy lines just didn't sit well with me. So I decided to take another go at the pattern and for that I'd mask the edges to get some nicely sharp, clear borders. If that one didn't look good I could always revert my changes with little effort.

Securing some lines and refining them

The next evening I sat down to cut strips of masking tape and did what looked good to me.

Then I airbrushed the edges with the grey violet. After the paint had dried enough I tore off the masking tape and observed the results. Somehow this splinter pattern did look better to me.

Then the base with the same idea

To speed the process up a bit I started by airbrushing the whole bottom half with the lighter of the two paints. This way I'd also avoid getting any silly strips of primer showing between badly or stupidly laid masks.


I guessed what sort of shrapnel shapes would be nice and then applied the masking tape strips semirandomly all around. I tried to make the splinters a bit more irregular on this side but still to keep to the main lines of the top half.  All this was very quickly done, I just laid tape here and there at weird angles and without paying too much attention to any of that. Of course, in my rush I forgot to take any photos of that stage.

And then the rest

Then I charged my airbrush and painted over the uncovered surfaces. Pretty quick and simple stuff.

As soon as the paint had dried I tore the masking tape strips off to see the results. I also removed the canopy masks to avoid any unnecessary stickings. It looked amusing.

The launch pad

While doing everything else I painted the launch pad with the suggested dark yellow (VMA 71025 Tank Dark Yellow) that had a pretty clogged up nozzle. I squeezed it a bit too strongly and guess if the top rocketed into the paint cup and then splashed paint all around, including my face and hands. Funnily and luckily enough I didn't make a mess in the house (wall, floors or furniture) because I could've ended up getting some displeased feedback.

Thanks to my nonsense the first application came up a bit short. But  no worries, I was just doing this by hand while the airbrushed bits were drying. I really didn't think I'd gotten this flimsy setup masked and done without spending a mindbending amount of time and effort.

At this point I realized I had ran out of Vallejo's Dunkelgelb. After a bit of digging I found a jarful of somehow different, in my opinion much sandier-coloured Tamiya's paint (XF-15 Dark Yellow). I didn't feel like fighting with that and the airbrush so I repainted the whole launch pad by hand.

Then I painted some bits (those suggested by the instructions) black. I deviated with some other models I saw in the net and used more Dunkelgelb and less black. Those support bits I also messified up a bit with black but for a proper sootage I would have to look elsewhere.


The A9's canopy and general priming

The deathtrap

Sometime earlier I bragged that I had painted the cockpit's interior and a bit of the outside. Before priming the first (the bottom) half of the missile I mengeled the vacuformed canopy piece off its material piece and whiteglued it on. Somehow, at this point, the missile looked quite a bit more like a Beagle Boys' vehicle than a German Wunderwaffe.

Snow white and her one metric ton payload

As usual I did the priming in two stages. Even though I feel that this bottleful of Vallejo's white primer is not that good I used it as I'm both too lazy and cheap to buy more before I'm done with this one. Priming is not spectacular work so I was mostly pondering on how I'd paint the model whenever I had the time to get to it. I decided to use the RLM colours that I had bought for my Fw-190 project. It'd work out just nicely, I thought.

Of course I had to try if the missile actually fit the launch pad or not. Yes, it did and it looked... interesting. I had feared that it wouldn't fit and even if it did, it'd fall down more or less immediately. For a change I was wrong.