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Old 12th August 2008, 12:31 AM
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Default Classics 2.0/Universe Prowl Review

Just a note, I stuffed up and took pictures of Prowl forgetting that I wrote the Sunstreaker review first. So I do make a few comparative references that might make little sense. I'm a bit too lazy to take and upload all of Sunstreaker's pictures right now so my apologies if it makes for jarring reading

(and fyi, this is why the Soapbox hasn't seen a new entry in the past two weeks)
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Classics 2.0 Prowl Review

Another highly recognizable G1 character, Prowl was always easily identifiable because of his police persona which stood out among the remainder of the Autobot cars. He is a perennial favourite of mine, I’ve been very eager to find toys of him since returning to collecting less than three years ago. Unfortunately few have done him justice.

Alt Mode:



Where to begin, a cursory examination of this toy makes it look very good. However, a closer inspection reveals some very frustrating flaws. The first are the two black pegs that allow the head-flip mechanism to work. Really, if they should have been there, the least they could have done was make it white. But then again, there’s a reason why it’s black which I will touch on later. That said, the black stands out too much and really interrupts the visual aesthetic of the toy.

On top of that, the lackluster gray on the back windows really hurt the toy. It’s such a flat and poorly selected colour that drains the life out of what originally is at the front end a very visually pleasing toy.

That though all could and would very likely be negligible if not for the worst design flaw I’ve seen in many moons. See, while I take issue with weapons like Animated Bumblebee that don’t fold out properly, I can understand those mistakes b/c the weapons are extras. However, when a toy fails to align properly in an alt mode leaving massive gaps that you could probably slip a washing machine through, that’s utterly unacceptable. That is one of the dominant modes being affected. With Prowl, the gap between the front windscreen and the front sides of the alt mode are appalling. They should’ve been rectified earlier and quite clearly were not. From the pictures, it does not seem that Bluestreak will be fixed up either which is severely disappointing. And if you go by the pictures, you can see that alignment will indeed be a very frustrating issue when you acquire this toy.

So what is good about the alt mode? The police motif, the car mode as a whole is a very stylish one and generates a very strong Prowl mode. Its nod to realism is very nice but it is let down by a lack of detailing which could enhance its realism. Play value is above average since he’s a police car and that’s always a bit more fun to fit into a display than just another car. Scale works very well too in terms of size with the other Classics 1.0 toys.

Score: 185/230

Robot Mode:
I like the toy. Certainly there’s a high nostalgia undercurrent but the robot mode stands up very well on its. It’s a wonderful modernization of the G1 form with new modern curves and grooves added. The toy is solid with the wings which isn’t surprising given they are folded out doors. The legs are where you feel let down. It just seems so flat and bland but that’s more of a paint applications issue.



The robot mode really shines. The head mold is a serious, brooding look Prowl. The only negative I see is in the future as the same head is going to be used for Bluestreak and, very likely, Smokescreen. They don’t fit as well with those personalities but that’s another issue altogether.



The robot mode is cleverly designed so you can elect as to whether you want Prowl with mounted rockets or Prowl without shoulder mounted rockets. Then there is the front windscreen which you can use to alter the visual appeal of Prowl by either lowering out of sight behind his shoulder of slightly above. My personal preference is to have it just peeping over the back a little though I’ve included images of both versions. The gun folds out very nicely. I was afraid of a small pistol like gun like Alternators Prowl when I first heard of the figure but that was fortunately not to be. The rockets are nicely shaped but the lack of colour to differentiate the missiles from the launchers does lower the visual appeal it radiates. The wings are also great too. You can choose the angle you want to raise or lower them too which is a very nice extra option. In robot form, you’ll find these wings are much more sturdy and unlikely to pop off.

Articulation is immaculate. Hopefully I’ve captured just some of what it can do with the pictures. The problem with the toy is its balance. It is hard to balance right if he isn’t flat footed. Thankfully, the feet are formed by two moveable tabs which you can fiddle around with so as to make the figure balance. I do think though that does make it annoying for you if you’re trying to pose him and that lowers his play value score.

The major quibble of the robot mode, and I’ve only got one, is the gap between the head and the body. There’s a 3-4 mm gap that is jarringly obvious. It’s just so frustrating and irritating looking at it. It’s very hard to escape and is especially obvious when the rockets are folded back. And that’s one reason you’d prefer Prowl with rockets showing rather than not. This is also a good time for me to bring up with there are those annoying little black paints on the alt mode. The reason they’re black and not painted white is b/c in robot mode, the black serves the useful purpose of giving him a neck. If the neck plate were white, the lack of contrast would hurt the figure even more.

Score: 313/350

Transformation:

I’ll start out with outlining the conventional and, by far, principal criticism thus far of the transformation. Many people complain vehemently about the fact that the process of folding and twisting side doors is an utter pain. They complain that the side doors easily fall pop off and irritate them. And I can see that’s the case when I first transformed the toy. It really does annoy you and then the worst part is that because of the particular angle of the ball joint, it isn’t easy to fit right back in.

Personally though I like it.

I think that it’s quite fun and intuitive in terms of the folds and the twisting. I’ve pretty much mastered it now and rarely face a problem and I like the challenge it provides. It’s a moment where you take a bit of care rather than being reckless. But that’s my personal take in it and there are some people on the international boards who hate it with a vengeance. This is why I’ve lowered the score somewhat for the review but in my personalised statistics I’ve retained a higher score.

As for other parts, the head flipping mechanism is really neat. The rest of the transformation is fairly straightforward. It’s as you’d expect at first sight. That’s not to say it’s overly simplistic. It isn’t but it’s nothing especially original apart from the side doors which really appeal to me.

Score: 122/140

General:

Under this category there’s a whole lot of sub-criteria which I’ll walk through individually.

Character Appeal: It’s Prowl. Definitively. It shoots. It scores.

Nostalgia: It’s G1. Nuff Said.

Paint Applications: I don’t mind it. I think there are more applications that could help the toy. The gray on the back of the alt mode are glaringly sloppy in robot mode because they’re dominant colours on the legs. Such sloppiness could’ve been avoided. The worst part is I’ve heard of paint smearing on the alt mode. I wasn’t aware of this at first and played quite freely with Prowl until I was told that apparently the black paint smears and is a common problem . Ever since, I’ve been much more wary in handling him. Again, this hurts the paint application score of the toy.

Durability: Not as solid. The arms do pop off easily if you don’t master the transformation of the “wings”. It also lacks the solid feel because the arms are much like the G1 toy’s arms. They require the joint to stay good in the long run otherwise you’ll have “drooping arms” G1 toy Prowl.

Price: Very similar to Sunstreaker. Above my usual Deluxe price point but I am compensated by having this toy early.

Score: 264/330

Overall: 841/1050 or 80.1%.
I love this toy because it is Prowl. It is strong from a nostalgic point of view as well as robot play value. In all, it’s a very decent toy but it is marred however by poor quality control and some poor design choices. The jarring gaps in alt mode and between the neck and the body in robot mode just stick out like a tie on a monkey. This lowers the grade and no matter what Takara do with the Henkei version, this toy will always be remembered for what could’ve been rather than how good it actually is.
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Last edited by STL; 12th August 2008 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 12th August 2008, 12:39 AM
Pulse Pulse is offline
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It looks as though your Prowl got some nice paint app's on his front quarters & doors (The reason I brought this up is because my Prowl's paint app's there went to sh#t so I've got another one on the way... ).

I hope you pulled his feet all the way down. Quite a few Yankees have been whinging about his stability issues & the feet-extension thing seems to improve his balance somewhat...
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Old 12th August 2008, 12:38 PM
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IMO the chrome on the Henkei version and hopefully better quality paints will help to improve this toy a lot... I would still pick the Henkei ver. over the Universe one myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by STL
Prowl was always easily identifiable because of his police persona which stood out among the remainder of the Autobot cars.
Except for Machine Wars and Energon where he was an F-1 racer or in Beast Wars where he became an owl. Then there was the RiD Spychanger who was a fire chief car (so meant to be Red Alert, but called Prowl).
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Old 12th August 2008, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoktimusPrime View Post
Except for Machine Wars and Energon where he was an F-1 racer or in Beast Wars where he became an owl. Then there was the RiD Spychanger who was a fire chief car (so meant to be Red Alert, but called Prowl).
Well apart from the Owl or Lion (who may or may not have been G1 Prowl) the toys you mention are different characters with the same name. STL's statement about the G1 Prowl standing out among the other Autobot Cars is true.
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Old 12th August 2008, 06:31 PM
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Haha!

It's possible to consistently transform the doors without them popping off! it's just a matter of when you start to do it!

Mine (that I've received from the RK) is going to become Jazz...oh fun funfun!
I really like the figure. hate the paint!
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Old 12th August 2008, 06:50 PM
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Can't wait to get this guy! Actually - I'm really looking forward to Bluestreak ("Silver"steak )!!

I hope that they eventually re-tool the head on this figure to give us Jazz, and do the same with Ironhide to make Trailbreaker!... (unless we get brand new moulds of these 2 characters of course )
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Old 22nd August 2008, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoktimusPrime View Post
Except for Machine Wars and Energon where he was an F-1 racer or in Beast Wars where he became an owl. Then there was the RiD Spychanger who was a fire chief car (so meant to be Red Alert, but called Prowl).
And in Animated, whose Prowl is a superbike.
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