AdamFett wrote:Updated Deluxe Soundwave. Like a figure paying direct homage to G1, but completely modernized.
The problem with a modern Soundwave is that pretty much all audio processing functions can now be done on a chip, meaning that the outer shell of an audio device can be made to look like anything - there's no form-follows-function any more. Sure, there's still identifiable audio equipment such as headphones and speaker stacks, but they're not signal sources.
Not to mention that the Cassetticons have an even worse problem. Audio today is mostly medialess. People swap music files on generic data media instead of having physical items which are specifically associated with music storage. The CD was the last mass generic format of any note, and it doesn't really lend itself to toyetic transformations.
Soundwave has the problem that he has several established aspects. His altmode is associated with audio, it's nonmobile, compact, and something humans might pick up, carry around, and generally overlook. It carries the altmodes of the Cassetticons internally, in a format which again is expected by humans.
There just isn't anything on the market at the moment which is sufficiently widespread enough to be able to hit all these targets. Sure, you could make a Soundwave who was a comms van, or a hypersonic tank, or a satellite or spy plane, but there's no way Hasbro would release any of those in Masterpiece format, because they're not G1 enough. In fact, only a 1980s walkman-format microcassette recorder would work for any toy aimed at the high-end collectors, and even then they'd lose the more recent market. There are still trucks and guns and planes and sports cars around even now, but Soundwave's classic altmode is irreversibly associated with the 80s.
Honestly, the closest match today would be a smartphone - but there just isn't a single iconic smartphone 'look', and the external details change from year to year so often that you couldn't even make him something like this year's iPhone, because he'd look old in six to twelve months, let alone another 25 years. Likewise, signal processing equipment of any kind is all about the microchips and internal circuitry - their external appearance is solely the demesne of the marketing department and is not linked to their inherent abilities.
It's the same reason you don't get mainstream Transformers which turn into computers (Device Label editions not being mainstream, and Real Gear being a short-lived movie tie-in line). The external appearances of real-world equipment simply change too rapidly. Plus, of course, most electronics gear these days is solid-state, meaning little in the way of action features.
Finally, Transformers' altmodes tend towards the category of "cool things that kids don't generally get to use". There's no point in making a Transformer which turns into this year's games console if a kid already has
that console - they may as well just play with the real thing. Making a Soundwave which turns into something kids use every day (smartphone, computer, tablet, games console) fails to engage the imagination - kids who get such a toy wouldn't need to imagine themselves playing with the real thing if they already have it.