This is Transformer Encore 21 - Soundblaster produced by Takara Tomy of Japan.
Soundblaster was available again as part of TakaraTomy's Transformers Encore series of reissues in 2012. This release includes two new cassette partners: Enemy and Wingthing. For this release Soundblaster features additional silver paint on his face plate and sides of his head (in which I "modified" a bit later on), red metallic eyes instead of yellow, and the removal of the silver paint on his crest in an effort for animation accuracy. In addition he has a large Decepticon logo tampographed on his chest. All the label stickers from the previous releases of Soundblaster have been reproduced via tampographs as well, with the exception of the stickers for his weapons which come preapplied. The coloration of the blue labels has also been altered to replace some of the blue (but not all) with black.
Now, first and foremost, I'm a big fan of Soundwave and obviously even though this is Soundblaster, I still bought it coz eventually it is the "reincarnation" of Soundwave and in fact I'm gonna "treat" him as Soundwave LOL....
Anyway, let's get started - first the box;
Out of the box;
You will also get these character cards;
For now I wanna focus on the mini cassettes - one of the thing that I like on this toy is the "retro value" - those cassettes - that brings me back to the 1980's era when I was still a little kid who don't have money to buy all those Transformers toys back then. If you are one of those kids of the 80's I'm sure you remember those days when we are so expert in recording our favorite songs from the local radio broadcast with those cassettes and we did the same with VHS video tape as well - those were the days...
So back to this toys, the cassettes comes with their boxes to "protect" them from dust and dirt;
Now the transformation result - these again the cassettes;
And this is their other mode after the simple transformation process - the orange creature that look almost like a bat is called "Wingthing" and the red/blue little robot that looks like a humanoid robot (LOL) is called Enemy.
These are their additional weapons/accessories;
This how they look like once you attached those things;
Wingthing with his weapons;
And Enemy with his weapons attached at the back but we can also attached it onto his arms but I just don't know how to do it LOL;
OK, now let's have a look at the big guy - Soundblaster in his micro cassette recorder mode;
One thing cool about this classic stuff is those "battery" thingy which later will become the weapons in his robot mode;
So just like in "real life" - you should put those "batteries" at the rear compartment - like this;
That is quite cool as a gimmick. I like it a lot!!! It's fun....
Now the Soundblaster in micro cassettes recorder mode and the 2 cassettes all together as a set;
We can also insert those cassettes into the cassettes compartment accordingly;
You can put not just 1 but also both of them into that compartment;
On this side of the recorder, there is this slide-able ON/OFF button (or so I believed);
And on the other side, you can find this volume adjustment wheel - you can rotate them freely as you please;
On the front lower part, you can see the "REC" (Record) and "STOP" (Stop) button and also other button like "play", "rewind" and "forward" - or so I believed - but they were not labeled. Anyway, the button is just static - it's not a "real" button where you can press for fun;
Finally now, Soundblaster in his robot mode;
A little bit of close up look - if you observe the head part - it is really look different than from what you can see in the box - that is because I have done some simple painting work with black color - I don't like the too much silver color scheme - this now feels more like "Soundwve" - or so I believed LOL;
Articulation is pretty much poor - the only "articulated" limbs are the arms and elbow part. The legs can't do much apart from standing straight.... I guess this is why they call this as "old school";
The weapons - remember the batteries we stored at the back just now - in robot mode we need to take it out and use them as the weapons;
This "Wave Blaster" have the "missile-shooting" gimmick, something like this
So this is now Soundblaster with all his weapons, Wave Blaster on his right hand and Electric Launcher mounted on his right shoulder;
Side by side with the other Soundwave that we have in our collections;
Now, I like the Soundwave Music Label so much because it has good articulation (thanks to the ball joints) which translate into good play value and most of all, you really can use him as music/MP3 player.
However, if you have this Soundwave Music Label, you wont really like to do the transformation process over and over again - maybe you will do it once a while but to do it quite often is not really good because eventually the paints on the hip/pelvis area are tend to come off easily and none of us like that or want that to happen. Thus most of the time, I leave this Soundwave Music Label in his robot mode, he looks cool in his robot mode, no doubt about it.
At the end, I will use this "Encore 21" as a compliments to my Soundwave Music Label by keeping him in his micro cassette recorder mode alongside the Soundwave Music Label.
Overall, if you want a Soundblaster (or Soundwave for that matter) with all the "retro" feel and look this is a decent addition into your collection but if you hope for modern articulation and great play value then this is not the one for you. I have some complains about the finishing quality of this item as well, the plastic feel so cheap and awful - there is ugly cutting marks/knobs here and there. The painting job finishing is just average and nothing great if compare to the modern version we could get nowadays.