As the leading Autobot to possess a logical evaluation ability, Prowl is able to immediately analyze and advise any situation no matter how complex it might seem. Because of this ability, he has become one of the most valuable resources in a world where history manipulation threats were exposed. Due to an unforeseen incident during his GT installation process, the “Laser Core”, the source of his life force, was lost in subspace. But thanks to the help of a courageous human named Chip Chase, a new life force was breathed in. Retaining all his prowess, profound devotion, gentle manners and his infinite endurance, Prowl prepares to guide the Autobots and their allies against the evil that conspires behind the temporary peace.
More Images: Toy Gallery
|Release Date||September 2005 (September 2005)|
|Wave||Alternators Wave 14 (Assortment 1)|
|Assortment #||81300 , 81328|
|Product #||81318 , 81330|
|Recolors / Reuses||Alternator Camshaft , BT-15 Prowl (Police version) , BT-15 Prowl (Blue)|
-Submitted by: Scantron | Overall Score: 9
- This review is for the Alternators release of this figure. There are significant differences between this version and the Binaltech release.
In this form, Prowl is an Acura RSX with police modifications. Black is used for the front and rear bumpers, the areas surrounding the windows, the front and rear windshield wipers and the sides of the car up to the mid-point on the doors. The rest of the body is white, including the hood, roof and upper sides of the vehicle. A clear plastic shell covers each of the headlights, which consist of three ‘bulbs’ molded into a chrome panel. A light coat of orange paint is used on the ‘bulb’ closest to the front grille. The taillights are made of thick, transparent red plastic over a chrome background and each have a silver paint application on the molded bulb closest to the hood. On mine, the paint applications aren’t quite even, leaving the passenger’s side taillight with a smaller silver detail than the driver’s side. Fitting in with the police deco of the vehicle, Prowl has a light bar on the roof, consisting of a pair of translucent red ‘lights’ with a silver detail in between. The light bar is set on a chrome background, adding a touch of realism, like the headlights. Unfortunately, on my copy of the figure, the passenger’s side of the light bar has a few specks of silver paint on the translucent red, which distracts a bit from the appearance of this detail. Silver Acura symbols appear on the front grille, just below the hood, and in the center of the trunk. The logo on the trunk is attached to the passenger’s side and just overlaps the driver’s side, but it sits a little crooked and highlights the transformation seam at the rear of the trunk, providing another minor distraction. Like most Alternators, Prowl has a rear vanity plate, this one with an Autobot logo on the driver’s side and ‘PROWL’ in black lettering on the passenger’s side. The background of the license plate is silver. Unlike many of the other figures in the line, however, Prowl has another Autobot symbol, this one located on the center of the hood (Side Swipe is the only other Alternator so far with a prominently-displayed faction logo in vehicle mode). I don’t mind the faction logo on the hood so much, but it definitely violates the ‘disguise’ element of the Alternators line by making it very clear that this is Transformer. The location of this logo is mostly for the robot mode, as the hood becomes the chest, but I would have preferred if the faction symbol were on a rotating panel (ala Hound), to allow the logo to be hidden in vehicle form. Above the Autobot symbol is a police badge logo, consisting of a yellow star on a sky blue ‘shield’ background with a yellow border. A smaller version of this logo appears again on each of the doors, close to the front wheel wells. On the upper half of each door ‘HIGHWAY PATROL’ is written in black lettering on the white background, while ‘POLICE’ is written below in larger white lettering on the black background. The hubcaps are light grey and all four wheels have light grey brake pads visible behind them. Interestingly, the brake pads on the rear wheels are smaller than those on the front tires. Chrome is used on the exhaust pipe, while the side mirrors have reflective stickers to add some extra realism to those details. Besides the lights and other molding mentioned already, there are also a number of other sculpted details, including door handles, lines along the hood and sides of the vehicle, a small spoiler on the trunk and the gas tank door on the driver’s side. In general, I think Prowl is one of the best looking Autobot Alternators in this mode. The white and black set up a great contrast, while the logos and light bar keep the white areas from looking too plain, which was a problem I had with Meister. The Autobot logo on the hood aside, the police deco is very well done and it’s easy to imagine this vehicle racing to the scene of a crime with sirens blaring. The italic lettering on the doors and the swept-back light bar, shaped roughly like a wide ‘U’, give the car a look of aerodynamics and speed that works quite nicely. My only complaints are the few instances of sloppy painting, the aforementioned issue with the light bar and a few specks of blue on the hood, and that the robot feet are clearly visible through the rear windshield. While it’s not blatantly obvious that these are feet until the toy is transformed, they aren’t designed to resemble any part of a car (such a backseat) and stand out as kibble. Although I like that Prowl’s big windows allow the driver’s compartment to be easily viewed from the outside, I think the windows should have been tinted to help conceal the robot feet. Still, it’s easy to overlook this issue given how nice the rest of Prowl’s aesthetic is in this form.
Comparing this toy to the G1 figure, Alternators Prowl is an excellent update. Although the Alternator’s hood is shorter and the passenger compartment a bit longer, the overall shape of the car is close to the G1 figure. The application of black and white is virtually identical, as is the appearance of the rear of the vehicle. Both toys have similar detailing on the hoods, with a black triangle at the front of the hood, a badge logo and a faction symbol. G1 Prowl has a thin black border around all the details on the badge logo, however, and this is a detail that I think would have also looked nice on the Alternators version. The lettering on the doors of both figures is similar, although G1 Prowl’s lettering is not italicized and that toy’s door badge logos are situated closer to the rear wheel wells. This is definitely one of the better Alternator upgrades of a G1 character; evoking a lot of the character of the original Prowl figure, while still updating and modernizing the vehicle form.
Prowl has articulation typical for an Alternator in this mode. All four wheels spin freely and the rubber tires allow the figure to roll well across most surfaces without sliding. Unfortunately, the frame is prone to warping a little with transformation, and I find that one of the tires will come up off the surface slightly if the figure is rolled without putting a little pressure on the roof (the passenger’s side front wheel seems the worst for this). I’ve also noticed that the wheels are set a little loose on their mountings and they wiggle a fair amount when the toy is rolled. The front wheels have a system of magnets that allows them to turn simultaneously although, like most Alternators, the wheels tend to shift back to face straight ahead when the toy is rolled along. The hood can be opened about 45 degrees, exposing the engine compartment. The engine itself has a blue background, with silver and black paint details and a number of mechanical sculpting intricacies. Although I don’t mind the light blue used on the rest of the figure, it just doesn’t look right on the engine and distracts from the realism of the toy; a gunmetal grey on this piece would have looked much better. Both of the doors can be opened 90 degrees, exposing the interior compartment. Prowl’s large windows and lightly coloured passenger compartment make it easy to see the details even with the doors closed, which is a change from most closed-roof Alternators, which tend to have heavily shaded interiors. Most of the passenger’s compartment is light blue, with black used on the steering wheel, gear shift and part of the central console. Silver appears on the head of the gear shift, the AC controls, gauges behind the steering wheel and another panel to the left of the steering wheel. Besides the paint detailing, there’s also an incredible level of sculpting in the interior, including a handle on the glove compartment, needles on all the gauges and one of the most detailed radio faceplates I’ve seen in an Alternator yet (including what appears to be a slot for cassettes). The use of a lighter plastic to make these details more visible was definitely a good move. Finally, the trunk can be opened about 45 degrees in a ‘hatchback’ style, raising the rear windows as well. Although there is now extra storage space revealed, this is one of the easier Alternator trunks to open and actually stays open better than most. On the negative side, though, it does reveal more kibble.
To transform Prowl into robot mode:
(1) Open the doors and hood. Remove the engine piece and set it aside. Flip the runner beside the seats down 180 degrees so they sit against the undercarriage of the vehicle.
(2) Pull out the rear bumper and split it half. Swing the bumper halves around so that they flank the rear wheels. The nightstick can be left in place, as it doesn’t interfere with the remainder of the transformation.
(3) Flip the vehicle over and open the panels on the underside of the rear section of the car. Detach the roof from the rear windshield and swing the rear end of the car back 180 degrees to extend the robot legs.
(4) Open the hatchback trunk and push the robot feet forward. Close the trunk and the underside vehicle panels, then deploy the heel spurs and stand the figure up. Rotate the hips 180 degrees and separate the legs.
(5) Swing the robot head down 90 degrees. With the head out of the way, extend the arms out from the underside of the engine compartment. The easiest way to do this is by opening the hood and pushing the arms out from the other side, as trying to pull them typically results in an arm detaching.
(6) Bring the robot head back up 90 degrees and rotate at the neck 180 degrees so the face is forward. Now, simultaneously swing the shoulders out 90 degrees and flip the hood section down against the torso. Click the torso into place.
(7) Push the steering wheel down 90 degrees and bring the seats in the car interior down as far as possible.
(8) Straighten out the limbs and Prowl is ready to make a bust!
Transformation back to vehicle mode is the reverse of this procedure, without any major difficulties introduced. Getting the engine aligned back in place is somewhat difficult, as the piece doesn’t peg in to anything and can be easily dislodged from the position where it does sit. The engine also needs to be aligned fairly accurately, as it has a raised pipe on one side that can prevent the hood from closing properly if the engine is not in the right spot. Despite a few minor issues, this transformation scheme works very well, adding a few neat twists to the general pattern that has shown up in a number of Alternators (arms beneath the hood, legs as the rear of the car, etc). Getting the chest down and the shoulders out is a bit annoying at first, but once one gets used to the tricks involved, it’s intuitive and fairly easy. It’s nice to finally have another mold where the transformation is challenging, but not frustrating or prone to bits popping off.
Although white and black are still prevalent in this form, Prowl has a much more varied colour scheme in this mode than in vehicle form. Blue is used for the feet, shins, hips insides of the calves and the collar. The thighs, elbows and fists are light grey while black appears on the hip armor and lower arms. White is used for the upper arms. For detailing, silver is used across the tops of the feet and red areas appear on the shins, groin and lower arms. Prowl also has a small police badge logo, similar to the one on the hood, on the front of each shoulder, as well as a small Autobot symbol on the side of the upper left arm. Vehicle kibble is minimal, with the rear sections of the car forming the backs of the legs, the hood making up the chest and the doors and wheels set horizontally over the shoulders. The helmet is largely white, with a red crest on the forehead and a trio of blue stripes at the center of the crest. Silver is used for the face and the eyes are blue, although this blue is darker than the typical light blue used for the eyes of Autobot Alternators. Sculpting detail in this mode consists largely of cut lines and armor plates, mostly on the arms and upper thighs. The shins each have vents and half of the transmission from the vehicle mode (may not be the transmission, but I’m not that familiar with car components, so that’s just a guess). Much of the molding is left unpainted, save for vents on the shins and bands on the wrists, but the blue and light grey background helps the detailing stand out nicely. I really like Prowl’s aesthetic in this form, even more than the vehicle mode. The distribution of colours keeps any section of the toy from looking too plain and the molding detail adds a lot of character, especially to the legs. I’m not entirely fond of the blue plastic on the legs, as I think a medium grey or gunmetal would have looked better, but the blue is a ‘police’ colour, so the use does make some sense. The red paint detailing is also a bit sloppy in places, with the wrist bands and leg vents bleeding into the background a little and not enough red on some areas of the forehead crest. By far the best part of the aesthetic, however, is the references to the G1 character. The vehicle hood forms the chest on both figures, while the doors and wheels form shoulder accents. However, though these components are in the same general location, they are aligned differently, with Alternator Prowl’s shoulder accents set horizontally and the G1 figure having these piece vertical. The design of the arms is also similar in both figures, with each having white upper arms, black lower arms and badges on the shoulders. Both toys even have a similar red detail on the hips. The heads of the two figures are virtually identical, having the same helmet design, forehead crest and even the expression on the face. The Alternator’s head also very closely resembles the G1 cartoon model, which has details, such as the ear pieces, that don’t appear on the G1 toy. Although Alternators Prowl isn’t as much a direct translation of the G1 character as other figures in the Alternators line (Hound and Meister, for instance), the toy is an excellent update that remains true to the original figure (more so with the leg modification detailed below).
Prowl has the following points of articulation:
- The ankles are set on ball joints, allowing them to rotate 360 degrees, tilt forward or back 45 degrees and tilt about 10 degrees to the side.
- There is, effectively, a double knee that can bend back about 30 degrees total, before bumping into the vehicle components on the backs of the legs. Most of this motion is due to a transformation joint which is located where the knee would be expected to be positioned anatomically. The ‘second’ knee is a joint, anatomically, that is set in the middle of the upper thigh. This ‘true’ knee doesn’t bend very well, as it is tighter than the transformation joint, and isn’t much use.
- A thigh swivel is located above the ‘true’ knee, allowing the legs to rotate 360 degrees.
- The hips are universal joints that allow the legs to be raised 90 degrees to the front, back or side.
- The waist rotates 360 degrees.
- The head rotates 360 degrees at the neck.
- The shoulders are set on ball joints, allowing the arms to be raised 90 degrees and to rotate 180 degrees.
- The elbows are a double elbow, the upper joint of which is a ball joint that bends up 90 degrees and allows 360 degree rotation of the lower arm. The lower joint is just a pivot that bends up 90 degrees.
- The wrists are ball joints, rotating 360 degrees and bending up 90 degrees.
- The fingers open about 90 degrees, with the index finger having a slightly larger range of motion.
- The doors and rear bumper halves can be adjusted and the hood can be opened 180 degrees.
Prowl has decent articulation for a figure in this line and can take on most of the usual dynamic poses expected of an Alternators toy, including running, walking and crouching. I particularly like the use of a double elbow, as it allows Prowl to aim his weapons better, especially the nightstick, which requires more arm motion than a gun for a realistic pose. However, I think there is definitely some room for improvement. For starters, the ankles are a bit loose. Although this isn’t a problem on the level of the Mustang mold hips, Prowl will sometimes tip forward or back if not steadied (usually backwards, with the legs in the ‘factory issue’ set-up). Prowl also joins the Viper and S2000 molds in having impaired knee movement. While Prowl’s hips and ankles work well enough to allow walking poses, they look a little unnatural compared to Meister and some of the other toys with clear knee joints. I would also have liked to see a rotation joint where the arms attach to the body, which would allow the arms to rotate a full 360 degrees at the shoulder, especially since the doors over the shoulders can be adjusted to move them out of the way. Prowl can still take on a variety of poses and makes a very good display or play piece, but the articulation could definitely have been improved in a few places.
Prowl comes with two accessories that can be used as weapons. The first is the engine block, which transforms into a pistol. To convert the engine into weapon mode, swing the barrel of weapon out 180 degrees from beneath the engine panel and then bring the stock down 90 degrees from underneath the barrel. The pistol has some nice detailing, including vent holes on the barrel and what may be a laser sight set just below the muzzle. Unlike most Alternators, where it takes some effort to see the weapon being constructed from the engine, Prowl’s gun is clearly a pistol, but the engine isn’t worked in effectively as a component of the weapons; it’s basically a pistol with the engine panel stuck on the back as a useless flap and doesn’t look that great. For Prowl to hold the gun, position the short peg on the pistol’s stock in the hole at the base of either of Prowl’s thumbs and close the fingers. As with the majority of the figures in this line, the gun doesn’t sit tightly in the hand and can be dislodged easily. This problem is exacerbated by the engine panel, which looks even worse stuck on the pistol while Prowl is holding it. This is probably my least favorite variation on the engine gun theme so far, as it doesn’t look like much effort was put into the design. I prefer to have Prowl use Alternator Swindle’s pistol, as it can be held in Prowl’s hand, doesn’t have any kibble and still fits in with the police aesthetic. On a positive note, with a little maneuvering, Prowl’s pistol can be stored in the robot chest when not in use.
The other weapon included with Prowl is the nightstick, which is stored in a holster on the right leg. This weapon is made entirely of translucent red plastic, with mechanical patterns molded into the handle. There are also some ripples where the baton connects to the handle, suggesting that the baton is an energy construct. This effect would probably be clearer if the handle were painted black or gunmetal to separate it from the rest of the baton. Prowl holds the nightstick in the same manner as the pistol, with the small peg on the handle aligning with a hole at the base of Prowl’s thumb (the nightstick has two pegs, but the larger one is for storage in the leg holster). Unlike the pistol, I really like this weapon. Not only does it fit in very well with the police aesthetic of the character, but it’s a unique accessory that has rarely been used for a Transformers figure. Hopefully, future Alternators releases will include fun, innovative extra weapons like this.
As mentioned above, it is possible to modify Prowl’s legs to both increase the figure’s poseability and improve the resemblance to the G1 character. To begin, look on the inside of each calf and there will be two black Phillips screws visible, one at the transformation joint ‘knee’ and the other at the point where the ankle attaches to the leg. Unscrew both of these screws, set them aside and detach both of the lower legs. Now, reattach each calf to the opposite thigh; for instance, what was the right calf attaches to the left thigh. Reinsert the screws, turn the feet around 180 degrees and Prowl will be successfully altered!
With the lower legs switched, Prowl now has the rear vehicle halves covering the calves, with the rear windshield pieces forming shin guards. The holster for the nightstick is now located on the left leg, although it is turned such that the entire length of the nightstick can be seen when the figure is viewed from the front. In terms of appearance, this modification has a couple of benefits: Firstly, it significantly reduces the amount of blue plastic visible, replacing it with white, black and the clear plastic of the shin guards. This makes the legs fit in more with the colour scheme of the torso and makes the figure look more cohesive. Secondly, the G1 version of this character has the legs set in a similar manner, with the rear section of the car forming lower legs and the rear windshield providing shin guards. In the original set-up, Alternator Prowl’s legs were quite different from the original character, but this modification does a lot to increase the G1 connection. The only aesthetic complaint I have about this set-up is that, unlike Alternators Grimlock and Wheeljack (who also have windows as shin guards), Prowl’s legs are hollow and having the windows facing forward exposes the emptiness of the shins.
This modification also has a couple of benefits for the function of the toy. The main improvement is in the knee articulation. Although switching the lower legs almost completely blocks the lower transformation joint ‘knee’, it leaves the upper ‘true’ knee free of any impediments. As a result, Prowl’s knees can now bend back a full 90 degrees, dramatically increasing the figure’s poseability and greatly increasing the toy’s value for both play and display. Prowl can now assume more natural walking, running and dodging poses, without having to rely heavily on the ankle articulation and thigh swivels. Switching the legs also seems to improve the stability of the ankles, as I’ve noticed that Prowl doesn’t fall over quite as often with his legs switched around. Finally, even with this alteration, Prowl can still transform back to vehicle mode. The only difference is that the waist doesn’t need to rotate 180 degrees to bring the rear section of the car into the correct position.
After the last few relatively disappointing Alternators releases (Wheeljack, Swerve and Decepticharge), Prowl is a welcome addition to this line. The vehicle mode, despite a few minor complaints, has a great aesthetic and the transformation is challenging but not frustrating. The robot mode is pretty nice, although there’s definitely places the articulation could have been better and the blue plastic isn’t the best. Many of the robot mode problems can be fixed by swapping the lower legs and, making that modification raises my opinion of the robot form significantly. The weapons are hit and miss, with the pistol being relatively crappy, but the nightstick well-done. Both modes have excellent homages to the G1 character, particularly after the leg modification. Prowl is only slightly behind Meister as my favorite Autobot Alternator and this is definitely worth a purchase. Highly recommended.