Soundwave, Blaster and the Cassettes

in 1984 Hasbro released as part of Transformers: Soundwave, a Robot that transformed into a simple Micro cassette recorder, like all Transformers from that first line he was originally from the Japanese company Takara’s toy lines. He was from the Microchange line and was known as MC-10 Cassette Man. Both Hasbro and Takara versions are very similar except for a couple small variances. Hasbro changed a few things. first off they went with a slightly lighter shade of blue, they remolded the cassette door to remove the molded “Cassette Man” name along the bottom and “MC-10” along the top. They chose not to include a set of headphones and a microphone, both non-functioning that went with the Takara release. Back in the early 80’s walkmans were big and Soundwave looked very similar so it hit with kids who may have not known what a micro cassette player was. The popularity of Soundwave and his interactive tape gimmick was evident from an early stage: his toy continued to be sold throughout 1986, after the vast majority of the other 1984 characters had been removed from toy shelves, and Mini-Cassette partners continued to be produced for him even after this, through 1988. Soundwave was subsequently reissued several times over the years with some changes to his alternate form. sometimes a car, truck, minivan or even a satellite or spaceship due to the decline of Walkmans. But his initial success brought out a rival in 1985 named Blaster who was also from the Takara Microchange line known as MC-21 Radi-Cassette Robo, Hasbro chose only one of the two colors (red and left the blue color behind) to contrast against Soundwave. They also did not include a functioning head phone and a working AM radio that could be put in his tape deck and could be listened to by pair of batteries in the toy’s right leg that would amplify the signal and could be controlled by buttons on his chest (Hasbro release also removed this function). If you think about it the “Boombox” or “Ghetto Blaster” was the direct opposite of a Walkman, one was loud and in your face and the other was silent and hardly knew it was there. He was not as popular but would suffer the same changes in alternate modes over the years as his rival,, becoming a car and other vehicles, often sharing the same mold as Soundwave. Now both had opening tape deck doors with a space for a cassette and this meant more toys and we will now dive into the long list of cassettes that came out. The most popular Decepticons Cassettes are Ravage (a black panther or puma), Laserbeak (a bird recolored as Buzzsaw) and Ratbat (a bat), Rumble in red and Frenzy in blue (both robots of the same mold). Many other cassettes came out such as Overkill and Slugfest (both dinosaurs, different molds) and a special two creature combiner Beastbox (an ape) and Squawktalk (a bird), who can combine to form Squawkbox (a robot). For the Autobots came the cassettes the most recognizable are Steeljaw (a loin) Ramhorn (a rhinoceros) Eject in blue and Rewind in black (both robots of the same mold but different then Rumble and Frenzy). Other cassettes also came out such as the special two creature combiner Grandslam (a tank) and Raindance (a plane), who can combine to form Slamdance (a robot). Blaster never got the fame Soundwave did but he and his cassette minions have a special place in Transformer history and really show the 80’s culture in it’s full glory. I own quite a few versions of Soundwave but my favorite is Takara’s MC-10 Cassette Man who came with G1 Laserbeak when I found it at my local store for cheap (he was missing the shoulder gun and headphones, I did replace the shoulder gun with a G1 part and this is how I know the difference in color). I bought the encore version of G1 Blaster who came with three cassettes (Steeljaw, Ramhorn and Eject) in a special San Diego Comic-Con 2010 exclusive that later was available at Fanexpo that year.

(this was a special request from my friend Scott Shannon, I will take requests if I have not done the character already)

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