Soundbarrier (Transformers Generation 1)

Transformers Generation 1 Soundbarrier

Autobot faction symbol
Name: Soundbarrier
Allegiance: Autobots
Function: Highway Maintenance
Sub-group: Protectobot (Honorary)
Timeline: Generation 1

If life is a highway, then I'll make sure my friends have a smooth ride!

Profile:

Transformers Earthrise Soundbarrier robot mode
During the Functionist period of Cybertron's history, thousands of 'bots like Soundbarrier were constructed as maintenance units - quietly and diligently maintaining Cybertron's buildings and infrastructure. Soundbarrier is a rare survivor of this class of Cybertronian. While most of his fellow maintenance class either were destroyed, fled Cybertron or reformatted into weapons, Soundbarrier retains his original form and function. Now as then, he can be found diligently maintaining infrastructure, be it Autobot bases or human highways. Soundbarrier has a good amount of knowledge about what makes a sturdy structure - and he puts that knowledge to good use ensuring that Autobot fortifications are resilient enough to repel even the most determined Decepticon attack. Since arriving on Earth, Soundbarrier has taken it on himself to stay behind after battles and help repair any collateral damage, which has made him extremely well-liked by humanity's leaders and earned him honorary membership of the Protectobots. Soundbarrier is very good at what he does, and rarely seeks credit or makes a fuss, simply getting on with his work. And while most Autobots barely notice Soundbarrier, Optimus Prime personally recognises the good Soundbarrier does not just for the Autobot cause but also for Autobot-human relations.

Powers and Abilities:

As a maintenance 'bot, Soundbarrier is equipped with a suite of tools and other equipment for carrying out maintenance to structures and other infrastructure. These tools include fast-setting adhesive dispensers and laser cutting tools. For more extensive repairs, Soundbarrier is able to transform into a panel that can patch a gap in a road or wall. Soundbarrier does this ungrudgingly and without hesitation, as if it is an everyday thing to turn yourself into a piece of road and let other people drive over you.

Soundbarrier possesses magentic clamps in the palms of his hands and his feet, which enable him to scale metallic structures - including the metal superstructure of most skyscrapers. This function was primarily intended to enable Soundbarrier to efficiently reach areas in need of maintenance, however it also allows him to exert a repulsion pulse to deflect magnetic objects or leap greater distances, provided he's got a metallic surface to push off from.

Additionally, Soundbarrier has been upgraded with sonic generators, which can create a barrier that can shield Soundbarrier and anyone within a fifteen foot range from most light arms fire for a duration of ten minutes. Soundbarrier sometimes combines these fields with his ramp mode to form a makeshift shield for Autobot allies.

Weaknesses:

As a maintenance 'bot, Soundbarrier lacks any sort of notable offensive capabilities. His defensive upgrades can short out if they are used for a prolonged period or put under heavy stress - and without the protection of his sonic barriers, Soundbarrier has an incredibly fragile body.

Ramp mode:

Transformers Earthrise Soundbarrier Ramp mode Transformers Earthrise Soundbarrier Ramp mode with Hot House

(Improvised) shield mode:

Transformers Earthrise Soundbarrier shield mode

Author notes:

Soundbarrier is an original character without a bio, so he's pretty much a blank slate for me. It's like virgin fresh-fallen snow where no-one has yet walked in it - there's a satisfying crunch as you leave footprints on a surface nobody else has yet walked on.

Soundbarrier's main challenge for me is coming up with a convincing reason for the character to be a ramp. Fortunately Transformers has established there was a period before the Decepticons went to war and I asked myself how would a guy who turns into a ramp fit in there? One concept that came to mind was fleets of ramp guys making roads, and I remembered some characters called the Carpenters in King of Braves Gaogaigar - essentially hordes of tiny guys who flew around after battles and fixed cities. That inspired me to make Soundbarrier a maintenance 'bot. I then needed to explain why there aren't more of him around, which was also fairly easy - such characters wouldn't be built for durability and would probably have been wiped out in the early days of the war - or fled into the far reaches of the galaxy where they helped build colony worlds.

The rest of the bio more or less wrote itself. I did ask myself how this character might function on Earth, which led to him becoming part of a post-battle cleanup crew and the possible Protectobot connection.

Toys of Transformers Generation 1 Soundbarrier

Transformers Earthrise Soundbarrier

As toys go, I think Soundbarrier is about as unexciting as it gets. He's a guy who turns into a ramp! ... yay?

Joking aside, Soundbarrier has this cool but very generic look to him. He's this everyman type of design, so on balance it's a good thing I decided to make him a kind of character who is generic.

The toy's poseability is very limited. The arms move forward, and they swing to the sides. You'd think the legs should move, but their design means they can't swing forward very far before catching the hips, and I've heard of broken balljoints on these sections, so I'd really not recommend forcing the legs. Essentially, Soundbarrier is a toy who is for completionists only. That said, I'd still like a bunch of them to make some constructs or wild long roads made of little guys.

More information on Transformers Earthrise Soundbarrier at TFW2005