Ah, more fun with the adorable Robot Heroes toy line.
Here’s some history before we get into this: Soundblaster is obviously a black repaint of Soundwave. Soundwave was a modified release of the character, Cassette Man, from Japanese toy manufacturer Takara’s Micro Change toyline. Cassette Man was a micro-cassette recorder that resembled the original Sony Walkman.
When Hasbro licensed toy molds from Takara’s Micro Change and Diaclone to become the first couple waves of the original Transformers toy line, Soundwave was amongst the very first of those toys released in the United States. With his very distinct speech patterns and the fact that he had OTHER Transformers who turned into cassettes living inside his chest, he became one of the most recognizable and popular Transformers of all time.
When his toy in that navy blue paint scheme was finally discontinued in 1986, Takara saw no reason they couldn’t make some more money off such a popular toy. When The Transformers ended in the ‘States in 1987, Takara kept the cartoon going in Japan, with a further 3 seasons, the first of which was known as The Headmasters. Early in the season, Soundwave and his Autobot rival Blaster fought to the death — Literally, they battled until both characters exploded into pieces. The Decepticons picked up Soundwave and rebuilt him, with a new, cool, black color scheme. With his new, more powerful body, Soundwave was re-dubbed Soundblaster. And nearly every Soundwave toy has gotten a black repaint in Japan to celebrate this alternate look.
However, while Takara takes care of all the Transformers releases in Japan and other parts of Asia, Hasbro deals with TF toys here in the United States (and Europe). And since Soundblaster was from a Japanese-exclusive season of the cartoon, we never got any of the black repaints, Stateside. So I made one!
Fast forward nearly two decades later, and in 2019, Hasbro released their first Soundblaster toy in the United States, as part of the War for Cybertron: SIEGE toyline. This iteration of Soundblaster was a failed clone of Soundwave, who left the Decepticons to become something of a mob boss. He’s featured in the 2020 SIEGE animated series on Netflix, with the new MERCENARIES faction symbol on his chest.
Anyways, Soundwave is neat, and unless I wanted to repaint my Robot Heroes Soundwave into purple like the original Marvel Comics line, I didn’t have many other options but to make him into Soundblaster.
Side note: Hong Kong-based Omni Productions did an English dub of The Headmasters cartoon, using some strange naming choices. For example, Blaster was called “Billy,” Metroplex was called “Phillip,” and, comically, when Soundwave was destroyed and rebuilt, he wasn’t known as Soundblaster. Instead, he was known as… “New Soundwave.”
The following YouTube clip has some… what’s the opposite of “highlights”? Well, anyways, it has some of those.