"Generations" War for Cybertron: Earthrise Soundbarrier Toy Review

in 2020, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Battle Master, Generations, War for Cybertron: Earthrise

Generations

War for Cybertron: Earthrise

General Information:
Release Date: January 2020
Price Point: $5.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blast Effect

Soundbarrier

Official images and text below in italics are from Hasbro.com:
Build the Battlefield Beyond -- The siege is over, but the War for Cybertron has just begun. The Autobots and Decepticons have left Cybertron, but their battle rages on as they speed through space in pursuit of the Allspark. Now, fighters must instantly adapt to battle anywhere in the cosmos. With the highly advanced A.I.R. (Adaptable Interconnection Retrofitter) Locks system, the fighters don’t head to the battlefield -- they become it. Bots capable of converting into Modular Battle Stations can A.I.R.-Lock together in custom configurations to fit the needs of battle.

This ecosystem of collectible figures allows fans to build out epic space battle scenes, featuring figures that can convert into Modular Battle Station modes. (Each sold separately. Subject to availability). Battle Masters Soundbarrier toy converts into shield accessory mode and comes with a Fire Blasts accessory. Weapon mode doubles as a small Modular Battle Station module that connects Battle Stations together. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

  • DISCOVER EARTHRISE: The siege is over, but the War for Cybertron has just begun. The Autobots and Decepticons have left Cybertron, but their battle rages on as they speed through space in pursuit of the Allspark
  • BUILD THE BATTLEFIELD BEYOND: This ecosystem of collectible figures allows fans to build out epic space battle scenes! The line features figures that can convert into Modular Battle Station modes and connect together to expand and customize the battlefield (each sold separately, subject to availability)
  • CONNECTOR PIECES FOR MODULAR BATTLE STATIONS: Battle Masters Soundbarrier toy converts into a small Modular Battle Station module that connects Battle Stations together
  • CONVERT INTO WEAPON: Converts into cross-compatible shield accessory. Comes with Fire Blasts accessory
  • INCLUDES PIECE OF TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE MAP: Every pack includes a piece of the Transformers Universe map. Collect other Earthrise figures to piece together the full map! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability)

Includes Transformers Generations War for Cybertron: Earthrise Battle Masters Soundbarrier figure, Fire Blast accessory, and instructions. Figure scale: 1.5 inches. Ages 8 and up. Warning: Choking Hazard - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.

A majority of the figures coming out in 2020 are modern day reinterpretations of G1 characters. However, there are a couple new characters popping up here and there. One of them is Battle Master Soundbarrier! This unusual character is not your typical "robot turning into a gun" Battle Master. Instead, Soundbarrier's alt-mode is dual purpose, serving as either a shield or a ramp of all things depending on your needs. As someone who loves the play pattern of connecting Transformers bases to one another, I have been looking forward to Soundbarrier ever since he was revealed at last year's New York Comic-Con! Even his name is a play on words. Since he transforms into a shield, he is a "sound" (meaning "in good condition") barrier, so even his name is kind of fun.

Packaging:
Soundbarrier is packaged on a small bubble card that is about the same size as Siege Battle Masters. The card features a large chunk of artwork featuring Soundbarrier avoiding an explosion on the battlefield. Under him is a piece of the large map that is formed from the inserts on Earthrise packaging. To the right is the vertical Transformers logo and the Generations logo above that. The "unified" branding between Hasbro and Takara Tomy continues with the Takara Tomy logo set above the Generations logo. To the left is a chyron with Soundbarrier's name inside.

The back of the card features Soundbarrier in both modes with a graphic showing how he can connect to other ramps. Off to the side is a callout for his 4 step transformation. Below thatis a ton of legal information in several languages.

Accessory:
Soundbarrier includes a Blast Effect piece. This is a relatively small one that looks like weapons fire impact. This is a new piece and it is meant to attach to Soundbarrier in shield/ramp mode. This piece is made of the same rubbery plastic as previous Blast Effects and it is cast in orange.

Robot Mode:
Soundbarrier's robot mode is a pretty generic looking one (for a Transformer, that is). His head has an angled helmet with a crest in the middle. His face has visor eyes with a nose and mouth under it. His body design is mostly made up of angled and blocky parts with the most sleek looking parts being the chest and knee armor. Then the robot basically has giant shield/ramp panels on his back. They do not look as obtrusive as you would think. Indeed, it looks like he either has some type of cloak or back pack on, and I kind of dig that given what this guy needs to become in his alt-mode. The somewhat generic look of his robot form also helps reinforce the idea that there could be multiple Soundbarriers running around as support troops when acting as shields or ramps.

This figure is made up of blue, translucent blue and white plastic. The blue and white make up most of the body, with the translucent blue used on the ramp/shield parts on his back. Red paint is used on the chest while the face is painted silver. I think the contrast between the white and blue colors looks great.

There are four points of articulation on this figure: the arms (at the shoulders) and the hip joints. Each forearm has a small 3mm port on the sides, allowing you to detach the weapon barrels from Siege Battle Masters and attach them to Soundbarrier as weapons! I appreciate "backwards compatability" so this was a fun surprise.

Transformation to Shield/Ramp Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Push the feet together.
  3. On the back, swing the shield/ramp panel down.
  4. Connect the tabs on the back of the robot forearms to the slots on the shield/ramp pieces.
  5. The white part of the robot chest swings out to reveal a peg for the shield mode.

Shield/Ramp Mode:
It would be fair to say that Soundbarrier does not have the most dynamic alt-mode, but it is certainly a useful one! As a ramp he has connectors at both ends to act as a bridge between bases released in Earthrise (and Siege Astrotrain). I tested this out with Ironworks and the connection is very smooth. I confess I am slightly worried about how well this will hold up over time because the connection points are made of translucent blue plastic. For now at least I saw no stress marks of any sort when I connected and disconnected him from other bases.

Flip the peg on Soundbarrier's chest down and now a larger figure can use him as a shield. This is where the pegs on the back panels come into play. He has three pegs to attach Blast Effects to make it look like he is getting hit by weapons fire (let's not dwell too much on how much his life must suck in these moments). However, Soundbarrier is a Battlemaster, so he is not content to just take hits for his allies. Hold the shield with the bottom end pointed forward and you'll see blaster barrels on either side! Attach Blast Effects to these sections and Soundbarrier goes from a shield to a weapon!

This mode mostly shows off the translucent blue plastic with a ton of silver painted on top (really, this is a lot more paint than any Siege Battle Masters had). This gives the ramp/shield a very 'scifi' appearance and I love it.

Final Thoughts:
My love for the G1 Micromaster bases and their ability to connect to one another has extended decades later to Soundbarrier. I love the idea of a little guy who can help build up connections between the bases that will be released in Earthrise. That said, I totally understand why some fans would find this an odd figure. In my book this one is highly recommended and I intend to own at least ten of them! For the record, I have five already!

Pros:

  • Nice sculpt.
  • Fun play factor.
  • Good deco.

Cons:

  • Some fans will find the idea of a transforming ramp/shield bizarre.