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Transformers Classics
by yo go re

When we said that Prowl could be counted on to show up in every new Transformers continuity, we really meant it.

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.

Blah blah blah, Prowl is a security officer, blah blah blah, he's often Prime's second in command, blah blah blah, he's a brilliant tactician. We've said it all before. You want something new? Here, how about this: Prowl totally loves order, so he's perpetually annoyed by Grimlock. He's also obsessed with following the rules, which means he'll stick to existing guidelines even after the situation has changed, which can get him in trouble if the enemy moves faster than expected.

Prowl's altmode is based heavily on the Nissan 350Z, which is appropriate: the original toy turned into a Datsun Fairlady Z, and the 350 is the modern version of the same car. Way to keep it in the family, Prowl! Even more appropriately, the car has been used by actual police forces in Tochigi Prefecture, so he's totally legit. The car is a little more than 5" long, 2¼" wide and 1¾" tall. All four wheels roll, but don't expect any other features.

Prowl's windows are smoky translucent plastic, which means the vast majority of the car's body is molded from the stuff, then painted whatever color it's going to be; that caused some problems when the toy was released. The paint on the first wave of Prowls interacted badly with the plastic used, and so never dried completely. Most Prowls were tacky, and others smeared when you touched them. The problem was corrected with later waves, thankfully, so you don't really need to worry about it if you're buying Prowl now, but people who got the early versions got hosed.

Changing the car to a robot is a very good process. There have been a lot of real clunkers in this "Classics 2.0" Universe line, but Prowl isn't one of them. The change is easy to master, but still offers a minor challenge. The pieces go where they're supposed to easily, and everything fits into place the way it's meant to - you certainly can't say that about Hound or Ironhide.

Prowl stands 5¾" tall, and has 26 points of articulation: swivel neck, swivel and double-hinged shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, balljointed hips, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel and hinge ankles. The waist is particularly surprising, because it looks like it should be solidly locked in place. The instructions do omit one step, though: his feet pull out from the legs slightly, so they're not blocked by the shins. The door kibble is mounted on balljoints, so you can flex the pieces as if to reflect Prowl's moods.

The figure has one accessory, his gun. Stored in the car's undercarriage, it pops out and unfolds into a respectable little blaster. The G1 Prowl had two removable missile launchers that mounted on his shoulders, but this version doesn't - instead, they're actually built into the design and fold out while you convert him! How cool is that! The weapons rise up to sit on his shoulders, just like they used to, but now they're contiguous parts of the toy, not kibble to be lost.

This mold was also used, with just a few minor changes, as both Silverstreak and Smokescreen, so you have three different chances to pick it up. This second iteration of Classics isn't as good, overall, as the one we got before the movie, but Prowl is easily among the best of the bunch.

-- 05/05/09

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