Intended release date: 1995-96
In 1995 the last gasp of "Generation 2" was released, mostly going on discount at retailers such as Kay Bee Toys. While "Generation 2" had helped keep the Transformers brand on life support, Hasbro had decided to radically change the brand into what became known as "Beast Wars Transformers". However, in that transition there were several planned figures that never made it into mass production.
Among these unreleased figures were six "Go-Bots", small Hot Wheels sized vehicles that transformed into small robots with limited articulation. Years later, four of these figures would make it into mass release in two packs as Daytonus and Side Burn and Prowl 2 and Side Swipe. Two other sculpts never made it into production in any way (possibly due to the tooling being lost).
Over the years, early production samples of these figures made it onto the collector market via a former Kenner employee who sold them off many years before. In 2017 I was able to purchase a set of these figures at a (relatively) reasonable price so of course I had to be sure to write up reviews of these rare pieces. This review will take a look at one of the sculpts that did see release eventually as "Robots in Disguise" Prowl 2, "Spychanger" Prowl and "Universe" Prowl. This was one of the sculpts that did not have a clear cut identity. However during the Botcon 1996 auction where a set was sold, this figured was identified as "911 Police Car" so that is how I will refer to it for the purposes of this review. Fun note: the package art for this particular figure was shown in the "Transformers Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging" book released in 2014 (and still available via Amazon.com).
"911 Police Car" is not just a nickname, that is exactly what this vehicle mode is. The sculpt includes a cage in front, lightbar on top and a sleek looking spoiler in the back. There are some other nice details including exhaust pipes in the back and rear lights with horizontal lines in the back.
The vehicle form is mostly cast in dark metallic blue plastic with black wheels. A really good amount of white paint was used in the middle section to paint the cabin section cover and the doors offering a nice contrast with the dark blue plastic. All the windows are painted black. The lightbar on top is red on the left and blue on the right. For some reason, there is a spot of blue missing on the right side of the lightbar. My guess is that it was a simple factory error. Not surprising considering this was an early production sample. Each of the doors has the word "Police" on it with "911" in huge text underneath. Like all the Go-Bots figures, the sides of the wheels are vacuum metallized. In this case they are silver. With three other releases of this sculpt, it is kind of cool to see what the original intent was. It is also cool to see just how distinct each release has been from the others.
These early production samples sometimes have odd issues that are fixed for later releases. In this case the hood of the car has a curious chip near the windshield in the middle. This came right out of the plastic like this and it does not look like it was snapped off, it looks like this came out of the factory like this. However, later releases of this sculpt would not have this small defect.
Go-Bots were created with "high speed axles" designed to allow the vehicles to roll super fast in smooth surfaces such as Hot Wheels tracks.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Flip the figure over and detach the blaster.
- Pull the back of the vehicle back to form the legs.
- Pull out the doors to the sides to form the robot arms.
- Swing the front of the vehicle down to form the torso.
- Attach the blaster to one of the hands.
Keep in mind that this is an early production sample that did not go through full quality control checks yet. As a consequence, there appears to be one aspect of the design that had not yet been perfected: the way the front of the vehicle swings down to form the torso. This relies on the torso piece being connected to the main body by two hinges. Unfortunately the way they fold down they are a bit tight, so there is a "snap" that occurs which skirts the edge of my comfort level when transforming figures. Compared to the other releases of this figure I have, the chest hinges are a lot tighter and I do not plan on transforming this figure a lot.
This design is pretty straight forward as Transformers characters go. The head has a crest, thin eyes and a mouthplate. The chest and arms are all blocky and the legs have some details that look both like robotic details and mechanical bits of a car. It's a cool design and part of me wonders if Hasbro would have called it "Prowl" even back then.
In terms of colors, this is the weirdest color combination used on this sculpt out of all its releases. The arms and torso are dark blue since those parts carry over from the vehicle mode. However the piece that goes from the head all the way down to the thighs is green. On top of that? The lower legs and the blaster are purple. Even by 90's standards this is an odd combination of colors. To round things out the face is painted purple. Of all the "unreleased" Go-Bots this one has the strangest deco in my book.
Go-Bots in general have two points of articulation: the arms. On my copy of this figure the weapon can fit in either fist without a problem.
This is an unusual review in that I am not recommending anyone seek this figure out given how expensive and rare it is. Instead, I will say that had this figure been a mass release for only a few dollars I would definitely tell anyone who wanted to round out their "Generation 2" collection to add it to their army. I am very happy to own this odd piece of Transformers history. Since I do have other versions of this figure it is really cool to see the "original intent" of the sculpt. If you want to pick up any of the other versions, I'd recommend seeking out the G1-based "Spychanger" Prowl which is my favorite variation of this design.