"Transformers Universe 2.0" Prowl Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: June 2008
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Gun

*Images and text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
As the right hand man to OPTIMUS PRIME, PROWL is right at home in the thick of the battle against the new DECEPTICON armies. Confused AUTOBOTS are scattered across the universe, easy pickings for the gangs of more organized DECEPTICONS. As a dedicated administrator and logician, PROWL feels it is his duty to whip them into shape, and get them ready for a fight. It’s only a matter of time until the DECEPTICONS get themselves a real leader, and the AUTOBOTS need to be ready.

“Fire” this raging robot figure’s shoulder-mounted “acid” blasters and prepare to take on DECEPTICON forces! Convert the weapon-wielding robot figure to vehicle mode to reveal a rough-and-ready police car speedster!

Figure comes with a weapon.

If there's one name that qualifies for overexposure in the last couple after Optimus Prime, Megatron and Starscream it's definitely Prowl. Between 2003 and

2006 there were well over eighteen Transformers figures using that name ranging from Alternators to Mini-Cons to Spychangers. With their firm grasp on the "Prowl" trademark, it was only a matter of time until Hasbro would introduce the logical Autobot into the Classics based "Universe" line.

Vehicle Mode:
One of the key design themes in many Classics/Universe 2.0 styled redesigns of characters are modern day reinterpretations of not only the robot mode, but vehicle modes as well. Since the G1 Transformers were largely based on real life vehicles, this leads to Universe 2.0 vehicle molds also being based on real life vehicles with some modifications. In this case, G1 Prowl was a Datsun Z, so the logical follow up to this is the modern day Nissan Z, the successor to that popular vehicle. The Z is characterized by a compact, curved form with the front being slightly longer than the back. The back window and canopy section angles down at a very low slope, giving the vehicle a very elegant look. Its use of angled head and rear lights adds to its very sleek appearance.

Of course, some details need to be modified to avoid trademark infringement, so the headlights aren't just angled, but also have a horizontal extention at the base. The rear lights have the same. While the Nissan Z has distinctive vertical door handles, the ones on Prowl are the more conventional horizontal handles instead.

Prowl features two details that are definitely not part of the standard Z package. First is the lightbar on the top of the car. Instead of a traditional rectangular bar, this one is a wide V shape with five small bulbs sculpted into each side. The other detail is his spoiler, which is dual layered and looks

much sportier than what the real life Nissan Z comes with. Another detail that differs from the real life Z is the front end of the vehicle, which comes to a vertical point in the center on the front end of the car. The real life Z curves in that place. Here the front end has a grille that runs almost the

complete length of the front of the car whereas the real life Z's grille is focused more in the center. Extra details are added by two sets of twin exhaust pipes in the back (different from the real life Z which only has one on each side).

Prowl is cast in four primary colors: white, clear plastic, translucent red and black. The hood section nand the rear section are white. The wheels are black. The sides from the front to the doors and the front half of the canopy are cast in clear plastic. The lightbar is translucent red. The parts of the

clear plastic that form the windshield and side windows have been treated with a brownish frosting, blurring out the interior (a nice move since it's all robot bits). To match, the rear windows have been painted light brown. The top of the lightbar has silver triangular details, adding a bit of detail to

them. On the hood, an Autobot symbol is painted in orange (it looks like it may have been meant to be a deeper red, but the effect is that of a light orange color instead). A bit of orange can also be found on the sides of the front grille. Red is used on the rear lights. The most widely used paint colors

however are black and white. Since most of the canopy and the sides of the vehicle are clear plastic, a lot of white and black are used to color them. White makes up most of the top side of the vehicle with black making up a line that starts at a point in the front of the car going all the way to the back. On the doors, the words "Highway Patrol" and "Police" are written, a carry over detail from G1 Prowl.

There have been some reports of the paint on the canopy being gummy or even rubbing off. I ran my finger across this section quite a few times on mine and

the paint is all still there, nor has it smudged and there is no "gummy" feel. I suspect this is an early manufacturing defect that was later corrected, but save those receipts just in case you need to exchange this guy.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip the car over and detach the gun from the front end. Fold its halves out and set it aside for now.
  2. Swing up the panels at the rear of the vehicle.
  3. Swing back the rear of the vehicle.
  4. Swing the roobt feet pieces forward, and swing out the heel pieces.
  5. Pull the sides of the vehicle out and rotate them around on the ball joint (if it pops off, just snap it back on).
  6. Swing the robot arms down and then out to the sides.
  7. Fold the two halves of the car sides together.
  8. Swing the center of the car's front section forward and the robot head will swing up automatically, push the section back down.
  9. Swing the robot chest down.
  10. Swing up the rocket launchers over the shoulders.
  11. Straighten out the arms and put the gun in one of the fists.

Robot Mode:
Prowl's robot mode is a 21st century update on his classic G1 form. The basic shape of the robot mode is perhaps one of the most classic Transformers designs. The doors of the vehicle form "wings" in the back, the car's front end becomes the chest and the rear of the car forms the legs. However, thanks to the more complex transformation scheme, Prowl winds up looking a lot less squat and compact than his G1 predecessor and instead winds up looking very sleek and much more like his G1 cartoon portrayal with longer limbs and a sleeker center body. One of the ways this is done is by having the sides of the vehicle fold out and the arms swing out from the chest. This reduces the width of the chest piece and makes it look more in line visually with his waist and hips. By having the shoulder pieces on the arms be rather bulky, this adds to the more proportionate feel of the robot mode.

Some of Prowl's "borrowed" G1 elements include the head design, which has the familiar high central crest, horns sticking out to the sides and a standard robot face with two eyes, a nose and mouth rather than a mouthplate. The front of the chest includes a five sided design coming to a point in the center that mimics the shield design used on some of G1 Prowl's stickers. His lower arms are also designs borrowed from G1, looking like a series of armor strips over a rectangular base. His waist features a long triangular detail with cross hatching inside that calls back to a triangle found on G1 Prowl's waist.

His leg design is also reminiscent of the G1 Prowl, with the windows from the rear of the vehicle being prominent parts of the lower legs and angled line details on the upper legs. Even Prowl's weapons are styled after his G1 weapons, with the shoulder mounted weapons featuring a fin and a curved section on

the bottom and his rifle featuring a "handle" (albeit on the underside rather than the top to accommodate folding it in half).

Among Prowl's newer details are the designs of his upper arms, which have layers of line and tube details that look much better than the original's simple curved shape. While the front end of the vehicle is reminiscent of the original, its extra line details and grille lines give it added depth. His waist plate is not just flat, but angled and raised slightly to give it a triangular shape.

Prowl's newly revealed parts include his rocket launchers, head, arms, waist and legs. These parts are all cast in black or white plastic with the addition of translucent blue for light piping on the eyes. The only new paint apps revealed are on the head with the horns painted orange (it looks like a very bright, almost neon color) with silver and red on the waist. The upper arms and legs and fists are cast in white while his feet and lower arms are black. I am mildly curious why more unifying colors were not chosen for the upper body and why the rocket launchers were not given an deco at all. I would have loved to see silver on the rocket launchers and the red used on the triangle on his waist used on the horns on his head. My guess would be that the designers wanted the horns (and Autobot symbol on his chest) to stand out more, hence the neon colors but I think a dark red would have stood out just fine.

Prowl has twenty two points of articulation, beating the proverbial pants off almost any other incarnation of the character. These include five in each arm, four in each leg and the rocket launchers. I love the way the designers were sure to include side rotation as a point of articulation, giving more opportunities for posing the figure.

Final Thoughts:
I consider this a strong figure, but a few things keep me from giving it a grade of "highly recommended". First is the aforementioned paint issue. Something like that simply should never get past the Q/A stage in my opinion. Also, I'm not crazy about the orange (or bright red, whatever you want to call it) colors being used for the Autobot symbol and horns on his head. Finally, there is the problem with the side panels popping off the ball joints way too easily during transformation. Still, both modes look fantastic and the robot mode is really nice and posable. Overall this is a good figure and some minor tweaks would have made it much more desirable. Recommended with reservations.

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