Tuesday, 6 September 2011
P is for Samurai Prowl
The Winning Toy
"With Lockdown returning again and again to plague the Autobots, Prowl is determined to take him down, once and for all. To combat the Decepticon bounty hunter, he upgrades his body to its ultimate limit, adding weapons and armor until nothing Lockdown can do will stop him.
*Dedicated to the defence of the weak.
*New armor can deflect blades and high-intensity lasers.
*Can disable most machines with a single blow."
Toyline: Animated US
Size Class: Deluxe
Quote: "The road to enlightenment is paved with deactivated enemies"
Prowl's basic robot mode is mostly black with gold trimming and some beige-ish parts as well (such as on the upper legs). Prowl also has a light blue translucent chest window, eyes and wrist weapons. His whole aesthetic is meant to evoke the feel of a Police Officer, with gloves, knee high boots, his rank markings on his arms and of course his alternate mode.
His upper arms are connected to his upper torso by a combination of hinges and ball-joints that gives him an amazing amount of articulation for his shoulders. The upper arms are connected to the lower arms by a ball joint on his elbow area. Sadly, although understandably, his hands aren't articulated at all, although he does have sculpted fingers. Although not designed for this purpose, his outer forearms are able to be lowered over his hands to act as shields or boxing gloves. On his "shield" Prowl also has his vehicle mode emergency lights, which can be used as a light-based sword or gun if desired.
Prowl's waist is connected to his upper torso by a ball-joint which enables it to rotate fully. The upper legs are connected to the groin by a ball-joint and pivot combination, giving it great articulation as well. The upper legs are connected to the lower legs by a hinge joint enabling it to bend backwards by about 90 degrees. Prowl's lower leg is able to bend forwards and backwards fully on the part where the wheels are stored. His feet are able to be repositioned slightly at the front on a ball joint.
Prowl's head is mostly black with a dark grey face, including a sculpted mouth an nose. Oddly Prowl's face has a suspicious look on his face, with one eye wider than the other. He has a gold quarter moon chevron on his forehead right above his eyes. The head can be repositioned by a series of ball joints on his neck.
Prowl's vehicle mode side-car is able to combine with his robot mode to give him samurai armour, which includes back armour, side skirt armour, large shoulder guards, a helmet and an Energon sword. All of this armour is in one piece and clips onto the back, except for the sword which you attack onto his arm. These attachments share the same colour-scheme as the main robot. Interestingly Prowl's eye expression from his base robot mode is retained in his helmet's eyes, no idea why exactly.
This version of Prowl also comes with the throwing star weapon from the older Prowl toy, however this version has been neutered so it can't fold outwards (but it can still be removed), however the throwing star from the other Deluxe Prowl toy can be placed in his wheel cavities and used just like the other version does (except the colour-scheme is a bit different to the other molded wheel hubcaps, being fully gold instead of a black, silver and gold combination.
Prowl's alternate mode is a mostly black with gold trim police motorcycle. The alternate mode can either mount it's side car extension or not (totally up to the owner). If you don't have the side car on however, you will need to use his kickstand to keep him upright.
His wheels are dark grey and able to rotate fully(like a real wheel) and also includes black, gold and silver detailing. Prowl also features translucent blue wind0-shields on both components, the headlights on both components, and the siren on the rear of the main motorcycle component.
The front of the vehicle features movable handle bars, fuel intake cover an sculpted speedometers etc, giving it quite an authentic feel.
Something quite fun though is that you can actually place a Deluxe figure on Prowl's motorcycle mode and make him look like he's being ridden on. Also, in turn toy can place a smaller figure, like a Mini-Con or a Legion/Legends class figure inside the side-car.
Throughout the course of the Animated series, Prowl had quite an attitude change. At the start of the series he was somewhat of a loner, but gradually learned to count on others and work as a team, even gaining the respect of the more experienced Cyber-Ninja Jazz. It's revealed through flashbacks that Prowl was trying to avoid the war towards it's end but was taken by Warpath to see Yoketron, who managed to calm down the rebellious Prowl and taught him the ways of the Cyber-Ninja. However Master Yoketron was one day killed by Lockdown, which badly affected Prowl. Prowl eventually went into solitude to try and continue his training himself but ended up being found by Optimus and his crew, and reluctantly joined their team so he could get a ride home. Prowl continued to learn more Cyber-Ninja techniques and even gained his Samurai armour by stealing it from Lockdown's ship, throughout the series but during the final battle on Earth Prowl, sacrificed himself to constitute the destroyed All Spark, thus helping to save the day. Prowl was later taken back to Cybertron in an open casket. Prowl's basic character model was also used for the comic only characters Horsepower and Sparkride.
Prowl's name has been used many times in other fiction as well, such as the G1 character who turned into a police car. In G1's cartoon Prowl had a minimal role in which he did nothing really of worth, up until his horrible death in the animated movie (though he did appear again in the later Headmasters cartoon, despite also being stated as being dead in the Japanese continuity as well). Prowl had more o a role in the Marvel comics, acting as one of Optimus Prime's second in commands, but again ends up dying a couple of times (such as in the Underbase Saga) until Grimlock revives him and load of other Autobots using Nucleon.
Prowl has appeared in most later comic series in some form or another, with his most recent incarnation being from the IDW series, where he is portrayed as an amoral Autobot who is willing to sacrifice others or do bad things as long as it suits the greater good, such as sending Ironfist to Garrus-9 just so he could kill himself, or modifying Kup's mind to make his views more akin to his own.
Some other versions of Prowl that have existed are 2 Beast Wars characters, the lion component of the Magnaboss team and the Transmetal II owl, with the first one meant to be the actual G1 character, and the other as his clone (the retconned character who appeared after his death in G1). Prowl also appeared as a character in Robots in Disguise as a heavily law abiding Auyobot who is strict with his brothers Side Burn and X-Brawn. Prowl also appeared in Armada as a Mini-Con Police Car/Rifle who was part of the Emergency Team.
Most of Prowl's toys use a police theme as the basis (with the Beast Era toys as the obvious exceptions) Most of Prowl's toys tend to use a white and black colour-scheme (the main exceptions being this very version I'm reviewing here, the Beast Era toys and the Armada Mini-Con). However even saying that, there has been a Japanese exclusive repaint in the G1 colour-scheme under the name of Elite Guard Prowl, which is also somewhat similar to Prowl's early design, which did use a G1 colour-scheme rather than his final one.
Is he Cool?
Personally, I'd say yes, Samurai Prowl is very cool. He has a wonderful level of articulation, and good look, and is still very cartoon accurate (although not fully accurate as it had to edited for toy purposes). Due to his high articulation he is able to be put into many fun poses, which is very useful for a ninja/samurai character to be able to do.
Another really incredible part for this toy is that, whilst he is an update for the earlier normal Prowl toy from the Animated line, he doesn't have many shared parts (except for the legs) and despite being a mostly new toy, he still retains the same transformation scheme as the original (with with added side-car love). As with the earlier release, this figure features the incredibly clever Motorcycle transformation scheme that places the vehicle mode wheels into his legs, whilst still remaining symmetrical, something not seen in most motorcycle transformers, where they have to split their wheels in half (like HFTD Brimstone or LAM Arcee, Energon Arcee etc) or they just hang elsewhere (like Armada Sideways). This very unique transformation scheme is shared with Prowl's other Animated molds and Transformers Prime Arcee.
A few issues are apparent on this figure however, due to his high usage of ball joints for his articulation his joints can easily wear down and make him floppy, but then again that's the case with most figures who use ball-joints. Some other issues I have mentioned before in this review, such as his slightly being off model and his neutered throwing stars gimmick.
Overall however, I think the pro's far outweigh the cons on this figure. He's fun to play with, looks good, and can of course be placed with the other Animated Autobots and not look out of place at all. If you can find him, then I suggest you buy him over the original Deluxe Animated Prowl toy, just purely for the side-car and added weapons.