Toy Tragedy: Soundwave, a Love Lost and then Found

The most bad ass of the Transformers.

The most bad ass of the Transformers.

I had several phases of toy obsessions in childhood. As a child of the ’80s a love of Transformers, even a temporary one, was practically mandated by law. My favorite Transformer was by far Soundwave. While his transformation was sort of lame (cassette tape player), he was far from lame. He was intelligent, didn’t fuck up all the time like the rest of the Decepticons, and he had a cool ass voice. And while the tape aspect was not as cool as a jet or a gun, he could basically carry around an army of smaller robots to do his bidding. I clearly remember running around the playground hitting my shoulder and yelling, “Eject!” in the best Soundwave voice I could muster.

I wanted the toy version of him so badly.

This is the story of a love lost and then found. Get out your Kleenex folks, this one is going to tug at your feels. Well, probably not, but keep that Kleenex handy just in case. (This post sponsored by Kleenex: Better than Socks When Masturbating!)

The funny thing about this obsession with the Transformer known as Soundwave was, I’m not sure if I told my parents any of this. In fact, I’m pretty sure I never mentioned it. I guess that’s the danger when you make your kid think that Santa is real and that he knows everything, your child might just skip the middle man (you) and try to go right to the source.

"Do you even lift, Bro-bot?"

“Do you even lift, Bro-bot?”

At this time I had a friend named Jeremy that was a bit of a trouble maker. He wasn’t so bad that my parents didn’t want me hanging out with him, but dude came from a broken home and wasn’t the best behaved. Since he lived a fairly close we were kind of tight for a little while, he became a defacto best bud for a brief period. In regards to my Soundwave problem, Jeremy told me that one time he wanted a toy for Christmas, so he wished really hard and got it! After I heard that, that Christmas I wished so hard that I must have blown out the portion of my brain that does math.

All my hard work at wishing was wasted though, I still didn’t get a Soundwave.

After a certain point, it became unfeasible to ever get a Soundwave toy. In all it’s brilliance, Hasbro would stop making a figure, even though the characters were still featured prominently on the cartoon series. There was no eBay at the time and the only other source of second hand toys were yard sales, but they never had them either. Now days when collectors bitch about too many Darth Vaders or Storm Shadows or what have you on the shelves, I realize how lucky kids have it in that they won’t be missing out on a core character.



Anyway, my luck really changed when Jeremy made the offer of a lifetime. Jeremy’s parents would try to buy his love and he had a lot of amazing toys. Somehow he ended up with two Soundwaves. The first one was in great condition, the other one was pretty beat ass up. This second Soundwave had no weapons, cassettes, and his cassette deck cover was broken. I’m not sure why, but he offered me the beat up one for free. At that time any Soundwave was better than none, even one in such bad shape, so I gladly accepted his offer.

He brought it to school and gave it to me. The rest of that day I was happier than a pig in slop. I finally had a Soundwave! That night I was kicking myself though, because I forgot Soundwave in my desk at school! “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just pick him up tomorrow when I’m back in school.” I spent that night dreaming about my Soundwave.

Tomorrow didn’t come.

Well technically the next day came, but I was sick. Not pretend sick to skip school, but real sick where you miss school and don’t have any fun. The aching in my little heart was intense, but I knew I just had to wait it out and I’d be reunited with my busted up Soundwave.

You can probably see where I’m going with this. When I got to school the next day, Soundwave was not in my desk. He was stolen. I was so naive at the time that I didn’t automatically assume that Jeremy had probably had gotten cold feet and took it back. Which, I had heard later from some other kid that ratted him out.



I was alone and adrift in a Soundwave-less world once again. Kids have a limited scope of what is the worst thing ever, but at that time the worst thing ever was having the one figure I really wanted for a single day and then having had it taken away.

Back then eBay hadn’t been invented, so there was no secondary market to get one. You would have had to find a used to you wanted at a rummage sale or at a swap meet and my town was so small that there were no swap meets, at least any my parents ever took me too. The only replacement I could get was during the last year of the G1 run they had these action figure like Transformers. I got the Soundwave, but it was pretty lame considering he couldn’t transform and was only about three inches tall.

Toys R Us did me a real solid with this Soundwave.

Toys R Us did me a real solid with this Soundwave.

Soundwave burned in my heart as one of those missed opportunities, but it hurt more because I had had him for such a brief time. It wasn’t until much later that I got a Toys R Us re-issue that the hole was kind of filled.

It wasn’t really filled until I got this sucker:

I never, ever thought I'd own this.

I never, ever thought I’d own this.

Resident guest writer Chris Piers sold me his Transformers collection and in it I got a MIB Soundwave. The box isn’t mint, but Crom I never imagined I’d be able to get a G1 Soundwave with a box before! It only took me over 20 years, but I finally got my Soundwave.

Oh yeah and before you feel too sorry for me, I finger-banged Jeremy’s sister. Boo yah!

Link: Super cute Soundwave by this guy.

  • Lamar The Revenger

    SCORE ON BOTH COUNTS!! The TRU one great. It’s almost a Soundblaster repaint. But NOTHING compares to the original. I got one a couple years ago, but who ever had it broke the head off. So I gave it to my son. He’s definitely the next generation of Soundwave lovers. Oh, and yes. I do not feel sorry for you after fingering his sister.

  • Best ending ever.

  • First of all, yes, best ending ever.

    Secondly, your Ahab-like quest for a Soundwave is eerily similar to mine. “I clearly remember running around the playground hitting my shoulder and yelling, “Eject!” in the best Soundwave voice I could muster. I wanted the toy version of him so badly.” are two sentences that pretty much describe me as a kid.

    Unlike you, I did go to the middle man and tell my parents I wanted Soundwave from Santa for Christmas. I did this for three consecutive Christmases (which for a kid is like an eternity) and though I got plenty of cool ass toys, I never got a Soundwave, which is pretty much how I learned the reality of Santa (and like you said, at the time, I had no idea I was dooming my parents to failure before they even tried by asking for a toy Hasbro had stupidly cycled off the shelves years before).

    Like you, I acquired some lackluster Soundwave fill-ins over the years, but I didn’t get the real thing until I was an adult and attended a BotCon the one year it landed in my town. I managed to score a complete (though not mint) Soundwave for a decent price, and now he sits on my desk, reminding me that sometimes, dreams do come true (though you usually have to help them along yourself, and not wait for a jolly fat man to hand deliver them).

  • It’s nice to be the hero in this story.

  • Teebore, dude thanks for sharing that!

    Chris, for once in you’re life you’re the hero!

  • My brother had Soundwave, but I didn’t, so I made one out of papaer. It actually Transformed and could hold the cassettes. It was pretty basic, but actually sort of looked like him. I also made a boat Transformer out of paper. I did have Blaster though and now I have the Takara Sound wave reissue. All my Transformers are packed up until I get some more bookcases though.

  • I love a story of loss that ends in sweet revenge. It is cool Chris was able to hook you up after all those years. My Food Fighters were stolen by some kid in grade school, I still vow to deliver the mightiest of haymakers to him if I ever spot him.

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  • Chris Piers

    I’m super glad it went to someone who appreciates it!

  • ikki

    Nice story. I’m glad you could get one eventually.