Alternate Mode: Police Car
Thanks to Pulse for loaning me Prowl for this review (I have since acquired Henkei Prowl).
POLICE CAR MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 13cm Width: 6cm
A white police car with a black lower section, very slightly transparent purple windows and red strobelights on his roof. The colour scheme is very faithful to that of G1 Prowl, down to the inverted black widow's peak on the front. The rear windows are actually painted, the shade matches the windows well. The headlights are colourless plastic, the taillights are painted red while there are small red indicators on the front bumper. There's a red Autobot logo stamped on the front of the hood. On either door Prowl sports "HIGHWAY PATROL" in black on white above "POLICE" in white on black - as on the G1 version. Overall it's a simple but focussed colour scheme, and one which is remarkably faithful to the Prowl we saw in G1.
While Prowl is no longer a 280ZX, the shape of this car is fairly similar, since he's based on a Nissan 350z, with some changes to avoid trademark infringements (thanks for FortMax Reed for this info). There's a spoiler on the back and twin double exhausts at the back, providing some new aspects. There's a sunroof panel underneath the stroberack, similar to the targa panels on the original, for use on the Bluestreak version.
Sadly there are some quality control issues here which ruin what should be a great homage. The front two thirds of this car are actually composed of the transparent purple plastic, and the paint on the doors and front fenders rubs off far too easily on many examples of this toy. The top edge of the fender pieces is sloppily painted as well, creating the look of wide seams. The black plastic wheels, which are unpainted, look a little cheap and really needed a grey or silver on the hubcaps. As with most Classics toys, there's minimal play value here. The wheels roll and that's it.
A very focused tribute and a well designed vehicle mode are to some extent undone by poor execution. Prowl holds together fairly well but the paint on his doors and fenders isn't up to the high standard of the Classics line. It's still a fairly decent police car mode, but should have been a really good one.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Lift up the rear bumper panels, flip out the rear to form his boots. Pull out the feet and flip out his heelspurs. Pull the doors out and fold the front fenders inside the doors, pull the arms out to the sides. Detach the gun underneath the cabin, lift up the widow's peak, flip out his head and push the widow's peak back down. Lift up the roof, flip out his shoulder cannons, fold the chest down, swing the arms down. Unfold and give him his gun.
Height: 13.5cm Width: 13.5cm
A white robot with black here and there, Prowl has a silver face with red horns and blue eyes. His chest is the front of the car, complete with headlights and bumper. The red Autobot logo is on his chest and the doors - complete with writing - are wings behind his shoulders. Again this colour scheme and layout are very similar to G1, and work well visually. I dislike the fact that his shoulder cannons are unpainted white plastic, not silver as on the original - they have quite a lot of detail, and seem like they were designed to be silver, with that paint later left out. The blue eyes have a very poor lightpipe. The colour scheme is generally good, despite some cheap elements.
The layout here is quite faithful to G1, with the chest, shoulder cannons, wings, arms and head all closely matching the G1 version of this character. The boots are different, with the bumper on the knees now rather than the toes, but the effect is essentially the same, since the rear window forms the shins. I really like how well executed this layout is - especially the integrated shoulder cannons. His black gun looks nothing like that of the G1 version, but this is a fairly minor issue. The sides of the torso are hollow, since the fenders fold back behind his doors, which looks a little odd if you look at Prowl from an angle.
The play value here is fairly formulaic, but by no means poor. His head and waist turn while his shoulders swing and lift out to the sides. His elbows bend and there are rotators above the elbows, as well as in his wrists. His hips are ball jointed while his knees are hinged with rotators. There are an extra set of hinges - part of the transformation - below the knees which can help with poseability. The ankles are hinged, while the feet can wiggle from side to side. Prowl has very useful heelspurs which fold forward, anchoring poses very well.
While the gaps on the sides of his torso are a flaw, and the unpainted shoulder cannons are a very avoidable flaw, this is still a good robot mode. The tribute is again well done, the integrated shoulder cannons are a great feature and I'm a fan of the redesigned boots which allow for more poseability whilst still looking like the boots we saw in G1. Prowl is very poseable, especially when you consider that he has only two ball joints. This is his better mode, despite the cheap unpainted cannons.
The Henkei version has a resculpted stroberack, chrome silver on his gun, shoulder cannons and spoiler, and a more durable paint on the doors. There are Bluestreak and Smokescreen versions, sans stroberack.
A really good idea with a great design, Prowl is a great update of the original concept, with excellent poseability. The colours are very similar to those of the original and the facial sculpt, shoulder cannons and markings in vehicle mode are all retained. It's such a shame that the paint job on this toy is so cheap - he should have been a wonderful toy, but falls short of his potential. He's still a good toy, but there are far too many out there with sub-par paint on the doors, which really dampens my enthusiasm. The Henkei version features a much better paint job - 7/10 (8.5 for Henkei)