Prowl: Vintage, Reissue, Frankenstein, or Knockoff?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Lunar Archivist, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. Lunar Archivist

    Lunar Archivist Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I'm pretty much stumped with a problem I'm having and am appealing to the Transformers-collecting masses on this message board for help. :) 

    I recently acquired a really nice condition Prowl on eBay. Unfortunately, upon closer examination, several things don't seem to add up and I have a sinking feeling that he's a knockoff. Opinions from my Transformers-collecting seller friends run the gamut from "he's a reissue that's been tinkered with" to "he's an original with overspray". I personally think he's a knockoff because:

    1. There's a "misalignment" of the colors and outlines on the police shield stickers on the hood and side doors. (Admittedly, they could just be poor quality reproduction stickers.)

    2. There's a rather conspicuous "overspray bleed" of the black paint areas on the hood. (Though this could be the result of a poor restoration paint job.)

    3. The Autobot symbols on his hood and back door are rather fuzzy and possess poorly-defined details. (Again, this could be attributed to shoddy reproduction stickers.)

    4. The copyright stamp on Prowl's underside does not appear to match any known variant that I've been able to find. (Of course, the uneven paint wear and different paint applications on the bottoms of his feet could point to his having been frankensteined together from at least two different Prowls.)

    Here are some pictures of the culprit:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Just to clarify, the level of detail seen here was not even close to discernable from the auction listing's pictures, so I had absolutely no way of being able to tell any of this until it was physically in hand.

    So, the question stands: is this an original vintage Prowl with no mods, a vintage Prowl assembled with parts from several versions of the figure and given a poorpaint job, a reissue, or a newfound Chinese knockoff (even though my research has shown that there are no known bootleg versions of this figure)? Thanks in advance to anyone who can help! :) 

    The Lunar Archivist
     
  2. Incesticon

    Incesticon WUBBA LUBBA DUB DUB

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    Not a clue mate! :) 
    Don't think it's a KO as I've never heard of one...
    Looks like an original or a reissue to me but it's hard to tell which. Also looks like someones had a crack at painting parts of him to me. Can we see him in Robot mode?

    Also, I haven't seen an original close up for over 20 years but the stickers look very similar to my Hasbro reissue.
     
  3. Malikon

    Malikon Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, he looks pretty good except for the paint. (*yech, overspray*)
     
  4. Easterling Capt

    Easterling Capt I am Vern Schillinger

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    with 99% sure, he is a reissue, either Takara or Hasbro. There is no known KO of Prowl.
     
  5. Sidecutter

    Sidecutter Evil Dealer Scum TFW2005 Supporter

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    I don't think any of the official releases of Prowl has paint on those hood vents, did they? Just off the top of my head mind, so I could be wrong.

    It seems possible that this is one of several foreign versions. Perhaps the European gold-box release, or a South-American release?
     
  6. Gingerchris

    Gingerchris Telly-headed Tyrant

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    Looks mostly like someone got paint-happy with their TF at some point before selling it.

    I think the vents were painted on the original.
     
  7. jametron

    jametron Release the Kraken!!!!!!!

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    Yeah, they were... on the original and the TRU reissue.
     
  8. Peanut04

    Peanut04 Under Construction

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    I'm 99.9% sure its a reissue. To bad it looks like someone "tinkered" with it.
     
  9. perithimus

    perithimus Well-Known Member

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    I doubt it's a tru reissue as those were stamped 2002ish
     
  10. Mark94

    Mark94 Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm.... I'm not sure what to make of it. My original G1 Prowl that I got brand new at age 8 has the same stamp markings as yours on the bottom of the feet.

    The Autobot symbol on mine looks exactly like yours - it has no defined lines and looks very "messy".

    While the black lines on mine don't have as much overspray as yours, mine does have overspray in the same areas (front of the hood and the hood vents).

    One difference I see between mine and yours is that the square areas around the screws on the bottom of the feet appear white or silver in your picture. Those areas around those screws on mine are painted black.

    One other difference is that the underside of the foot that doesn't have the stamp marking is completely blank in your picture. That foot on mine has a large raised circle that is part of the bottom foot mold. This circle is about a 1/4 inch in diameter.

    I also have the TRU reissue Prowl and that foot has Hasbro 2002 stamped into it so I don't think you have G1 foot transplanted on a resissue. The black paint lines on the TRU reissue is very crisp and the Autobot logo is very crisp.

    With all that said, I think you definitely have an authentic G1 Prowl that is a slight variation to my original G1.
     
  11. Lunar Archivist

    Lunar Archivist Well-Known Member

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    I'm somewhat comforted to know that I'm not the only one confused by this. :) 

    Not sure if it'll help, but, as per your request, Incesticon, here's a picture of him in robot mode:

    [​IMG]

    I compared this Prowl's accessories to those of vintage versions of Bluestreak and Smokescreen. By all appearances, the weapons are genuine but the missiles don't fire from their launchers. I know the reissues were "neutered" in this fashion, but still...

    The results I got from Crazy Steve's Stampings Collection just raise more questions than they answer. None of the four known Prowl copyright stamp variants match mine. :(  Even more puzzling: none of the Prowl variants has an unmarked left foot like mine does. Every known version has either a raised circle or a copyright stamp.

    A Seibertron forum member by the name of First Gen seems to be on to something, though. I compared my Prowl's copyright stamp to what was visible in Maz's "Joustra Diaclone Fairlady Police" review...

    Article joustrapol

    ...and it seems to match (from what I can see). So the question remains...what the hell is this? A Joustra Diaclone Fairlady Police with crap stickers applied to it that's possibly been airbrushed? o_O 
     
  12. Cascadia

    Cascadia Ion Storm

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    I do not think that there is a South-American version except for the Mexican one, which I have. My vintage Prowl is a rubbed one so it has Hasbro and Takara stamps on it. My reissue is a TRU one and it has 2002 on it. My Mexican Prowl has Hasbro and Takara stamps on it. So, I am leaning to either it is a pre-rubbed, European gold box or the pre-TF/Jostra version. The copyright for the Joustra release, as is standard for these European pre-TFs, is the same as the pre-rub Transformers Prowl copyright. If the stickers were from pre-TF or a European release, the arm and door stickers would say Diaclone. Are the chevrons/horns glossy or matte in appearance? Also are the stickers shiny or matte in appearance? Because, the Prowl Classic/Gold box has "Diaclone" written on the shield stickers, and some of the units horns are matte red(stickers, in some odd cases) instead of shiny red paint

    The vents have always been painted black except for the Mexican Prowl.
     
  13. Lunar Archivist

    Lunar Archivist Well-Known Member

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    To answer your questions, Cascadia:

    1. The chevrons/horns are shiny red. They might actually be stickers, but I'm not about to start picking away at them to find out. I really don't want to risk damaging my figure, whatever the heck it turns out to be. :) 

    2. The stickers have a glossy finish, like photo paper, and feel just as thick. They're certainly not of the tinfoil thickness of the original vintage stickers or even Reprolabels.

    It's possible the stickers were acquired elsewhere and may be a red herring. As for the copyright stamp, are you sure this is the same as the pre-rubsign Prowl or his Diaclone incarnation? I thought that those had a Takara stamp under the right foot and a raised circle under the left one. Mine has the former, but not the latter.
     
  14. TM2 D-bot

    TM2 D-bot Forsight Into the Future Veteran

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    Remember that the mexican Prowl actually was sold in more than 1 variant, each with varying black paint apps. I still don't think this one is a mexican though, it looks more like a reissue, or a cobbled up original G1.
     
  15. Cascadia

    Cascadia Ion Storm

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    so we can rule out the gold box version. I have 2 Diaclone figures (Bluestreak & Jazz) and they have a circle that says Takara Japan on their left foot so you would be correct I also have 1 pre-rub figure and its stamp has Takara 1980 1982 on the right foot--when the figure is transformed into its robotic mode. However, with Prowl....the pre-TF has one similar to pre-rub version. So, you either have a pre-TF or no-rub....based on the copyright stamp. It does not appear to be a Takara reissue because the stamp is incorrect. But the stickers look like they are from somewhere else.

    TM2 D-bot.....there are about 4 variants of the Mexican version, however, as far as I am aware of, none of them have red chrevrons/horns.
     
  16. Lunar Archivist

    Lunar Archivist Well-Known Member

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    First of all, thanks to everyone in both forums I posted this topic on for their advice, especially Cascadia and First Gen. Oddly enough, a bizarre coincidence may have provided us with an answer to this mystery today...and from a pretty unlikely source.

    Last week, I won a spare parts lot off eBay for a little over three bucks. The lot included, among other things, three busted Prowls and a busted Bluestreak, and I just received in the mail earlier today.

    Two of the Prowls were unremarkable...but the third Prowl and the lone Bluestreak made my jaw drop. And you're about to see why!

    Here are three Prowls. The one on the left is a prerub G1 version, the one in the middle in the enigmatic one that started this thread off, and the one on the right is one of the G1 junkers from my lot:

    [​IMG]

    Take a look at the black curved triangle and vents on the hoods of all three Prowls. The one on the prerub G1 on the left has cleanly defined borders while the mystery one has overspray of the black paint (as we previously established in this thread). Now take a look at the junker. While his vents are clean like the prerub, the curved triangle on his hood also has a combination of overspray and smear on it. The real kicker, however, comes when we turn the three Prowls over. Here they are again, the top being the prerub G1 version, the middle the enigma, and the bottom the junker:

    [​IMG]

    While the prerub G1 version has the expected "Takara Japan in a circle" copyright stamp under its right foot, both the junker and the enigma have the same, thus far unique combination of copyright stamp under the left foot and nothing under the right foot! Pretty strange coincidence.

    Now here's an additional wrinkle. This is the junk Bluestreak from my lot. By the look of things, he's a prerub G1 version:

    [​IMG]

    Now look what happens when we flip him over. From top to bottom, the prerub G1 Prowl, the mystery Prowl, and the junk Bluestreak:

    [​IMG]

    This Bluestreak also has the unique combo of copyright stamp under the left foot and nothing under the right foot! Strange...!

    So what does all this mean? My best guess is this implies that, at some point, a line of prerub G1 Prowls and Bluestreaks were released that had the same copyright stamps as the Joustra Diaclones, i.e. a combination of "(Japanese kanji) ┬ęTAKARA CO., LTD JAPAN 1980,1982" under the left foot and nothing under the right foot. Though less likely, it's also possible that at least some of the Prowls from this line may have had a problem with black paint overspray on their hoods. The latter assertion's admittedly kind of iffy since mine are the only ones of this type we've seen so far, but if more examples of this Prowl variant surface one day, we may get a definitive answer. :) 
     
  17. Maz

    Maz Square One TFW2005 Supporter

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    Hi there,

    I finally received your email, I do apologise, my tf-1.com email hasn't been operative for a little while now :) 

    As for the copyright, it's not that unusual. The timeline of copystamps for a majority of G1 cars is as follows...roughly (not exact):

    - Japanese Diaclone - TAKARA JAPAN in circle
    - Italian Diaclone - Same as yours, Takara only stamping but not circle. Kanji with dates.
    - Joustra - Usually the same as Italian Diaclone, again, same as yours.
    - Early pre-rub TF - TAKARA JAPAN in circle
    - rubsign TF - Takara + Hasbro copyrights
    - Classic gold box TF - Hasbro only, Takara copyrights blocked off
    - Mexican TF - just like rubsign TF
    - Reissues - Chinese stamped.

    So already it places yours as either a GiG Diaclone, Joustra or prerub, assuming there has been no cannibalisation in its past.

    What most people don't realise and is a false assumption is that Diaclones were made to a high standard. They weren't. Almost all the diaclones I have had consisted of some dodgy paint application, easily-peeling stickers with bad placement sometimes (factory of course). For example almost every Yellow Sideswipe Diaclone I have seen had terrible door and roof stickers. Quite frankly, the quality of some of the chrome Powered Convoys and the Diaclone trains is downright awful which explains why they are rare. They probably broke very quickly and were thrown out, hence few perfect specimens these days.

    Looking at my Joustra Prowl, the pain application on the hood grills isn't quite as misaligned as yours, but it is bad and not entirely straight, there is some tiny overspill in all the places you mentioned. Yours is just more pronounced and that is to be expected.

    Also consider that all Joustra toys are basically pre-rub TFs. They share waaaaay more characteristics with pre-rub (not early pre-rub) Transformers than Diaclones. My joustra also has the same sort of factory stickers as yours, they don't look perfect at all.

    In conclusion, I think with the Autobot (and non Diaclone) stickers I would say you have a standard pre-rubsign Transformers Prowl, also I feel the non-firing launchers are a non Pre-TF giveaway usually. If not, then maybe a Joustra with Transformers stickers. Mould-wise, they should be near-identical anyway.

    I hope that helps, and I could well be wrong as I've been out of the game for some time, but this is what I recall.

    This is also worth a thorough read:
    Variations: Everything Else Autobot

    All the best
    Maz
     

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