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Soundwave and Thunder Machine GI Joe Transformers Crossover In Hand Review

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Crank up those boom boxes cause we have the Soundwave and Thunder Machine GI Joe Transformers Crossover for an incredible in hand review! Keeping in the same tradition of the previous GI Joe Transformer Crossovers; HISS Tank and Awe Striker, the new Transformers X GI Joe Collaborative Thunder Machine Soundwave comes in the same type of packaging. With incredible artwork of Soundwave on one side, and the Thunder Machine with Zarana and Zartan on the over side, this new collaborative set is incredible! The fact that this set comes with a vintage inspired O-Ring Zarana and Zartan is so freakin amazing! Finding a complete and intact vintage O-ring Zaratan alone is very hard to do, so getting a fresh brand new one is fantastic news for ARAH collectors! And this fresh on the heals of rumors that the O-Ring line is on hold, it’s great to see that at least this way we can get a vintage style vehicle and 2 O-Ring figures! So let’s dive into this Soundwave and Thunder Machine GI Joe Transformers Crossover In hand review!


Here we can see Soundwave in his robot form! He looks so classic, I just love his blue color with red and yellow accents. You can see that Zartan is holding a transformed pet dog, which is his cassette! We also have an image of Soundwave transformed into the Thunder Machine, and he makes a great GI Joe vintage style vehicle! I love how Ravage includes a dog collar so Zarana can take him out for walks!


GI Joe Transformers Crossover Packaging

Packaged in the same style as the previous HISS Tank and AWE Striker GI Joe Transformer Crossover sets, this one has incredible artwork of Soundwave on one side, and the the classic GI Joe burst explosion with the Thunder Machine with Zarana and Zartan on the over side. The back features product images highlighting the amazing features of this new Crossover Transforming vehicle!


Here we get a close up of the incredible artwork on this set! With Soundwave and Ravage on the one side, featuring it’s classic Transformers logo and purple grid background. Then on the other side is Zartan holding on for dear life as his sister Zarana pilots the Thunder Machine as it is blasting it’s way through battle, with of course the classic GI Joe red burst explosion in the background. We also get illustrations of the Zartan and Zarana figures, mocking the vintage style window displays showcasing the o-ring figures within. The box opens at the diagonal at the center, just like the previous cross over releases.


The top shows Soundwave in both his robot mode and transformed vehicle mode as well.


Inside the box you will find a large inner white shipper box with a “Top Secret” image on one side. If we look closer at the Cobra Intelligence transmission, you will see that this is yet another tease of the SGT. Slaughter Leatherneck Triple T GI Joe Transformers Crossover coming to the line next year! ” Cobra Intelligence reports a Joe Transport en route with a formidable escort. Do not underestimate their forces. Terminate the threat like the marauders they are.” So we see here that it is indeed a Joe vehicle and teases the “marauders” so we know it’s Sarge!


The top side of the inner box has the Hasbro, GI Joe Transformers crossover logo in black and looks really nice. Once you open the box, you get an incredible pack out of Soundwave, Ravage in cassette form, his gatlings gun, cages, and sound blaster nicely displayed. Then you can see Zarana and Zartan peeking out of the corner on their gorgeous card backs!


Here is a closer look at the stunning way Soundwave , Zarana and Zartan come packaged! I have to tell you, seeing these two figures on their card backs like this, it was very hard for me to open them up for this review.


Soundwave and Ravage

Soundwave was the perfect Transformer to pick for use of the Thunder Machine! His bright blue color was perfect for when he transforms into vehicle mode! I just love the bright colors on Soundwave, and the red accents on his back pack and rear of his legs which of course make up the canopy and rear portions of the Thunder Machine. Soundwave wouldn’t be complete without his cassette pal, Ravage. Of course Soundwave has his classic popping open cassette player which you can place Ravage into in his cassette mode. Ravage comes packaged in cassette mode and you transform him into beast mode.


You also get an included gatling gun with bullet array made out of a soft pliable plastic. There is also a knife he comes with him as well. You can place the gatling gun and knife in his hands. He also comes packed with his incredible sound blaster which perches on his shoulder. The two included cages attach to his legs.


Some incredible details on Soundwave, I love his big bright Decepticon logo on his cassette player!


Here we can see his awesome face sculpt! Also his sound blaster comes with some really cool tampo’d stickers like the large “danger” one on the end.


His hegs even include some really cool detail and a Dreadnock logo as well! The gatling gun has some really nice detail to it!


In the back of Soundwave is the Thunder Machine’s canopy cockpit which acts as a backpack to Soundwave.


Similar to how the Baroness rode on the back of Megatron, here we see that both Zarana and Zartan can ride on the back of Soundwave!


History of Soundwave and Ravage

Soundwave is one of Megatron’s most reliable troops, and he has positioned himself comfortably and irreplaceably in the Decepticon upper command structure. Though “only” Communications Officer, Soundwave stands at Megatron’s side as a confidant, comparable in rank to Starscream and Shockwave, but unlike them, entirely loyal to his leader.

Soundwave G1 Transformers Figure 1

Soundwave G1 Transformers In Box
Soundwave G1 Transformers Loose with Cassettes

Ravage is one of Soundwave’s most reliable spies, Ravage believes unwaveringly in the Decepticon cause, and Megatron embodies that cause. To better serve Megatron and the Decepticons, Ravage has become the most efficient and deadly war machine under his command. He hides himself in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to strike with grim accuracy. His name is synonymous with stealth. His survivors are few.

Ravage G1 Transformers Loose
Ravage G1 Transformers On Card

Zartan and Zarana

This is the first time we are seeing a vintage O-Ring style Zartan on card as the version from the 80’s came boxed with the Swamp Skier! The card illustrations pay an homage to the original Zartan card back art from 1984 as it was supposed to look on if he had single carded release in 1984. Zarana’s illustration pays homage to her prototype as this is how she was originally supposed to be designed with no sleeves and a tattoo. So that card art predates the one we got in 1985. The original illustrations were drawn by the artist Hector Garrido.



Never released on a single card in the US, the only way to get Zartan back in the day was with his swamp skier back in 1984. Zartan was an awesome figure that came color changing skin and a really cool ride to boot! I love the art they have chosen for Zartan’s card back. It reminds me of the image used on his single card release in Japan back in 1986 as you will see in the history section below. There is a file card in the back with a very brief description because it is also translated into 4 other languages. The bottom of the card back features some incredible artwork of the Thunder Machine!


This is an all new version of Zartan, not a recreation of the vintage original, as he does not have color changing skin, and new chest and thigh armor that is not removeable.


He comes included with his pistol, backpack and disguise face that can stow in his backpack.


History of Zartan

Released with his swamp skier in 1984, The Chameleon, Zartan was a cool figure for the time and came with a color changing skin! According to Joepedia, “One of the more eerie operatives in the employ of Cobra, Zartan unnerves both colleagues and opponents alike with his ability to alter his appearance and blend in with the environment. As a master of disguise, he has employed both practical and technological means of deceit, utilizing makeup and holographics. In addition to disguise, he is an expert in ventriloquism, a versatile linguist and escape artist. Zartan is a difficult man to capture and hold as he has shown to be proficient in several martial arts, some of which are believed to be derived from ninja. Cunning and intelligent, Zartan is the complete opposite of the band of biker miscreants he leads, the Dreadnoks who tend to rely on brute force.”

Zartan Vintage With Swamp Skier Box Front 1984

Zartan Vintage With Swamp Skier Box Front Profile 1984
Zartan Vintage With Swamp Skier Box Back 1984

Zartan Vintage With Swamp Skier Pack Out 1984
Zartan Vintage Pack Out (Source: Transformersland)
Zartan Vintage Color Changing Skin 1984
Zartan Color Chanring Skin (source: Stories From the Toy Shelf)
Zartan Vintage With Swamp Skier Loose GI Joe 1984

Origins of Zartan’s Illustration

Acording to 3DJoes, “In 1984 Hasbro unveiled artwork of Zartan running alongside his floating mask. This art was shown on the cover of the U.S. catalog and on the back of every carded figure in the cross-sell section. This cross-sell space was reserved for single carded figures, and did not traditionally promote vehicle drivers or pilots. Zartan is the only exception to this rule in the 1980s. Zartan was not released as a single carded figure, and instead was released with his Chameleon. In 1986, Hasbro again released this artwork as part of the 1986 “Action Cards” Trading Cards (by Milton Bradley), and Takara (a Japanese licensee) released Zartan on a blister card and used the U.S. artwork, making this a highly desirable figure. Zartan photo courtesy of Phillip Donnelly.”

Source: 3DJoes

Below is Zartan’s Japanese release which features the artwork for the single carded Zartan, which features the illustration that is being used Soundwave Dreadnok Thunder Machine crossover.



Zarana, Zartan’s cool sister comes packed on a vintage inspired card back which pays beautiful homage to her original release 1986 including the digitized burst explosion. Zarana also includes a file card in the back with a very brief description because it is also translated into 4 other languages. The bottom of the card back features some incredible artwork of the Thunder Machine!


Zarana’s face sculpt looks stunning and they did a fantastic job with her makeup! Sporting a cool fauxhawk redhead hairdo and is wearing earrings. She came packed with a backpack and her knarly sawblade rifle! She has black wrist bracers and brown gloves. Her pink crop top looks great, and she has a brown knife sheath over her left shoulder. There is also another knife sheath molded to her right thigh.


Her face sculpt looks great with blush on her cheeks and lipstick, how cool is that! I just love her dragon tattoo on her left shoulder!


History of Zarana

Zarana is a master of disguise just as much as her elder brother Zartan is. Whereas her brother uses holographics and depends on physical aspects of the art of disguise, she prefers to use makeup and method acting to deceive her targets. As a method actor, she deliberately assumes herself in the role of her disguise. She goes to the length of thinking, feeling and reacting as the object of her disguise does. In fact, she was so good at it that she could have been a successful stage actress. Her weaknesses, though, far outweigh her skills. As good as she can act, it doesn’t take long before her natural tendencies start to rise out. She is smart and ambitious but short-tempered, cruel and greedy. Zarana’s head had earrings (Right). Early in her release, the head sculpt was changed and the earrings were removed (Left). The earlier version with the earrings is much harder to find.”

Zarana Vintage GI Joe Card Front
Zarana v2 (source: 3DJoes)
Zarana Earrings Vintage GI Joe Card Front
Zarana v1 (source: 3DJoes)

Zarana Earrings Vintage GI Joe Card Back
Zarana Card Back (source: 3DJoes)

The Thunder Machine

You can transform Soundwave into the Thunder Machine. Originally released in 1986, the Thunder Machine was the Dreadnoks heavy forward strike vehicle from the vintage ARAH line. Now I am not the savvy’s at Transforming these robots into their vehicle mode, and reading the included instructions to me is like a foreign language. So to be honest with you, I had to watch a youtube video to transform Soundwave into the Thunder Machine. here is a good one below by the Freakin Geek Reviews where he shows you how to transform Soundwave into the Thunder Machine!

Let’s take a look at some of the cool details of this vehicle. Zartan and Zarana can either ride in the cockpit piloting this vehicle or can peg onto the outside and hang on! The gatling gun pegs to the front of the vehicle and looks very menacing. The cages peg into the front as well and make up the grille of this vehicle.


You can see how Soundwave’s sound blaster attaches to the back of this and makes for a really cool cannon! The bright red and blue colors on the Thunder Machine look amazing!



Some close up details of the cock pit and how you can stow the figures inside. There are also clips on the doors to stow their weapons.


Where to Buy

You can purchase this amazing crossover at the following retailers:

Soundwave Thunder Machine

Complete Your GI Joe Collection

Be sure to check out our GI Joe shop pages where we’ve curated figures from Classified Series all the way down to the 1980’s Vintage line and more so you can find the figures you need easier!

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