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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Generation 2 Laser Cycle Soundwave

After recently coming to terms with my collecting habits and changing them drastically for the first time in over twenty years I am beginning to look for a different type of figure to collect. Something that isn't part of the mainstream, something unique and that would really stand out in my collection. How fitting that the first item in this category is none other than the unreleased Generation 2 Laser Cycle Soundwave.



I say fitting because Generation 2 really brought me back into the fold, even though I was only twelve years old at the time. I happened to see a child younger than me playing with a yellow Constructicon Scavenger at a fast food restaurant one day and it reignited my interest. I had been out of Transformers for over two years, since late 1990. Keep in mind when you are only twelve two years is a sixth of your lifetime, and thus a very long time. A couple days later I went to Toys R Us to find nothing but Generation 2 on the shelves. I subsequently purchased everything I could afford that day.
Please excuse the watermark, but due to the rarity of the figure I decided it was for the best.

So I believe that this figure represents a new beginning for me, almost like a re-ignition. Except in this case I've only been gone a scant six months. And six months for a thirty-three year old is literally nothing time-wise. (Actually it's 1.5% of my current life span, as opposed to the 16.6% I alluded to earlier). Needless to say, this figure is special.

The tech spec is priceless.

For those who do not know the story, Generation 2 was released in an attempt to restart the Transformers franchise. After being off the shelves for two years, Transformers came back in 1993 with new decos and new figures, but just re-shelling Generation 1 was not enough. The line waned in popularity and by 1995 was on the chopping block. However quite a few figures made it to the pre-production stage before the line was cancelled and subsequently replaced with Beast Wars the following year. These items include (but aren't limited to) re-decoed Stunticons, Protectobots, Go-bots, Unreleased Auto-Roller molds and of course, Laser Cycles. While most of these figures were nothing more than recolors in order to cut cost (and many would argue recolors in the worst sense of the term as the figures were downright ugly) the fact that many made it to the packaging stage but remained unreleased has made them highly desirable in the collector community.

Compared with the 1992 Inferno there are a lot of design differences. Most noticeably the "Generation 2" has been dropped from Soundwave's title.

Just recently there were a slew of eBay auctions showcasing many of these rare figures, including what may be the most expensive eBay auction for Transformers in history; a near complete set of the aforementioned G2 Stunticons, selling for over $26,000. These items had come from a former Hasbro employee, who also had ATB Megatron & Starscream, a set of six Go-Bots, Laser Cycle Jazz as well as Laser Cycle Soundwave. However this figure you see here is not the one in the auction. I will not reveal how it came to be in my possession, but suffice it to say I did not win the one on eBay (thankfully, as that one was insanely expensive, selling for over $3,500).

The design choices are much more apparent with the mass-release Space Case, they are near identical. Hasbro also chose to color-code the different "types" of figures in order to differentiate them, green for Laser Cycles, blue for Cyberjets.

But now that I have it, I am overly satisfied with it. To own a figure that never quite made it to market is something special as I have never been one to collect prototypes or hard-copies. In fact, this is the only type of pre-production item I think I would want in my collection, and Generation 2 is almost unique in the fact that it contains so many unreleased items that made it to this stage. I love packaged items however the only downfall to this figure is the instructions completely obscure the character art, which is a strange design choice in my opinion. Perhaps this is a result of the pre-production process where the packaging may not have been 100% finished, but it is a shame I'll never be able to see Soundwave in his full motorcycle glory.

The reverse of the packaging matches much better as well.

So now Soundwave is off to be graded for protection purposes and when he returns he will have a central spot in my sealed G2 collection. I very much look forward to more items like this popping up in the near future as I've caught the pre-production bug and I don't think I can shake him off. :)

 ***Update***

Fresh back from AFA, Soundwave scored a 90. For anyone unfamiliar with the scale, it is quite rare to have a grade of this magnitude. While it doesn't really affect my opinion of the figure (I still hold it in very high esteem) it is nice to know it is protected from any future damage. Here a few more pics.



4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful piece!

    I find it interesting that you are sending it off to be graded, though I can certainly understand why. Personally, I have never had anything graded, but for me that's because I would be upset if it came back with a score lower than what I thought the figure deserved. Have you ever had any issues of that sort or heard of any negative storied from people grading items?

    Any chance in the future you can do a photo piece of your G2 sealed collection?

    Cheers,
    Joe

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    1. Glad to do it! Yes, the grading is really more for protection of the figure than the actual grade. Grading is so subjective anyway but I certainly don't want something to happen to it so it will be nice that it is protected in an acrylic case. I have heard plenty of horror stories associated with grading, mostly people didn't get the grade they thought they deserved. Occasionally someone will break open the case after it has been graded, send it back and get it with a different grade, so you really can never tell.

      The G2 collection is a great idea for a post! Expect it soon and thanks for the idea!

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  2. awesome piece, G2 is also a soft spot for me, when I get to the end of Japan, they're going back on the radar as well

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, yes the older I get the more appealing G2 becomes, but I've always loved it.

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