Time to rinse the bad taste of Sideswipe out of my mouth by looking at another of my favorites in the Armada line. The big and bad Decepticon Tidal Wave. There are so many interesting things going on with this figure that I can’t help but love the ingenuity at work, but I think it’s ultimately his awesome robot and battle cruiser modes that make him one of my favorites of the Armada years. He was featured pretty prominantly in the cartoon, where he was even bigger than his toy suggests. He also talked like an idiot, because in the Transformers universe every giant Transformer has to talk like he has a brain injury. Remember Computron? Five of the smartest and most sophisticated robots the Autobots could muster and when they combined their power the resulting robot sounded like he was retarded. Wow, that was quite a digression, let’s get back to Tidal Wave.
To start with, Tidal Wave actually has three separate alt modes, all of which are ocean going vessels and that right there puts him in the TF minority. Sure we’ve seen a Transformer boat from time to time, but they sure haven’t been plentiful and I can’t remember the last time I saw a Transformer made up of three separate alt modes. Reflector? No, he was one alt mode and three robots. Anyway, Tidal Wave consists of an Aircraft Carrier, a Hovercraft and a Battleship.
None of these individual ships are all that great, but I’m willing to forgive that because of what they become. All three of these craft merge together to form Tidal Wave’s giant battle cruiser mode, which not only looks right at home in the ocean, but works well as a Battleship-Yamato-style spaceship. I seem to recall him being depicted flying in this mode quite a bit in the cartoon, but then I spent a lot of time watching the cartoon while burning my arms with a cigarette lighter to help improve the experience, so I could be remembering that wrong.
In his alt modes, Tidal Wave has a few worthwhile and well thought out gimmicks. The hovercraft portion has seats that fold down so that some Minicons can sit there and these also work while he’s in his larger battleship mode. Placing Ramjet in the active Minicon port and pressing down makes all of Tidal Wave’s turrets shift back and forth. But best of all, his Minicon, Ramjet, fits nicely into a little elevator in the Aircraft Carrier section and can be stored in there until ready to launch.
Transforming Tidal Wave is pretty easy, and what you end up with is one really big and really cool looking bot. The head sculpt is pretty classical and foreboding looking, his hands are powerful claws, and he has gun turrets for nipples. Not too shabby. Since his arms are made out of his Aircraft Carrier mode, he can actually launch Ramjet while he’s in robot mode, which is a pretty cool design element. His color scheme is somewhat of a hodgepodge, but there’s a ton of great sculpted detail all over the figure. His articulation is surprisingly good for anArmada figure, as he has universal movement in the shoulders and hips, and hinges in his elbows. Alas, his head does not turn.
Ramjet is tiny, even for a Minicon he’s really, really small. He looks nice in jet mode, but he’s not the best in robot mode. This may be partially because of his smaller size, and also because he needs to fold up a bit in jet mode in order to fit through the elevator. Ramjet’s legs are just one solid piece and they aren’t really broad enough to look like separate legs, so he winds up looking like he might have to hop everywhere.
As with most of the molds in Armada, Tidal Wave was repainted and re-released, but in his case it wasn’t until the subsequent Energon line. Instead of becoming Powerlinx Tidal Wave, he became Energon Tidal Wave. I owned that one for a long while, but ultimately wound up pawning it on Ebay, probably for booze money because I needed the space. Either one are great toys, but the Energon version was a little more out there in that he had lighting bolts all over him, making the original release my preferred keeper. If you don’t have this guy in your collection, he’s definitely worth checking out even if you aren’t a huge collector of the Armada figures.