Prowl discussing my clutter issues.

Transformers Universe Classics 2.0 Extra Cheese With A Soda…look, it’s the next release of Transformers Classics from the Optimus Prime I reviewed last week. All I know is it isn’t Reveal The Shield and that Hasbro gets confusing with the subline names at times. It’s G1 Prowl with an updated vehicle mode. That’s the important part here.

I feel sorry for Prowl. On the TV show he was part of Optimus’ command team. In the Budiansky-written G1 comics from Marvel he was the logical thinker and strategist, even leading the team for a time in Optimus’ absence. And then Simon Furman came along. If you read my other website, BW Media Spotlight, you know I have a questionable history with Furman’s Transformers stories. Some were really good, some were good in concept but not in execution, and some were just not very good at all, or at least not to my personal taste…and not very good at all. His Prowl was kind of a jerk, stuck to the rules, thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room when Furman’s pet character Grimlock always out thinks him, and IDW added in a willingness to do horrible things to protect the Autobots and Cybertron thinking it has to be the right thing. I grew up with a better Prowl when he didn’t have much of a personality.

I mean, the first toy’s tech spec catchphrase is ““Logic is the ultimate weapon.” Why is he not Shockwave’s arch rival? Being about logic is one of the universal personality traits of Shockwave!

So I picked up the updated version when it came out. How well does it hold up?

Hunting down the makers of the CHiPs movie for crimes against nostalgia.

Prowl originally transformed into a Nissan S130 (also called a Fairlady Z in Japan), and his updated form is a Nissan 350Z (or Fairlady Z type E). Fun fact I just learned: unlike Prowl’s original Earth mode, the 305Z apparently has a version used by one prefecture in Japan, although I wonder how hard it is to put a suspect in the backseat when you only have two doors. Then again, G1 Prowl had the same problem. It’s a nice looking car though. I’ve heard there were reports of paint on the translucent parts (the windshield and door are one piece with the door painted, and the side bumpers are painted but the headlights aren’t) becoming sticky over time but as of this posting I haven’t had that problem. Either it’s an environmental thing or they fixed it by the time it reached Connecticut. (We get Transformers later than a lot of the country, you see.)

I wish the toy rolled better. I’m not sure if the robot knees are too low or if the wheels aren’t being positioned right in vehicle mode. There’s a spot in the undercarriage where the gun is supposed to go but even if I get it in there it doesn’t stay very well. Otherwise I like it. The frosted look on the windows (the back windows are painted on) and headlights work for me. They look like windows but I don’t have to see the scrunched-up robot. the police lights are all red instead of one red and one blue but I can overlook that since it’s normal for Transformers. (Maybe they only use red in Japan?) If I were a member of the highway patrol this is the car I’d want to chase street racers with. I could almost see him in a Need For Speed game.

Prowl standing at attention makes more sense than most displays of toys just standing.

I just wish getting him into robot mode was easier. If the side panels of the car (that fold up into Prowl’s traditional wings, formerly just the car door) aren’t popping off the arms are. But like Optimus we get a cleaner robot mode than his G1 form could manage. Unlike Optimus however it looks more like an updated version of the toy. The legs, chest, and wings (although the wings cheat) are the same as the G1 toy but it lacks, for example, G1 Prowl’s unileg, giving us two individually poseable legs. He’s a bit thinner, but with good proportions. It’s really an upgrade in both form rather than an upgraded vehicle altering the robot mode. He even transforms the same for the most part, although the door wings are actually the full sides of the car, leaving only part of the headlights on his hood chest for G1 accuracy. Also in case the power goes out at night. There’s also a nice version of his head crest that kind of looks like the car’s police lights.

“Logic dictates I punch you in the faceplate.”

They also upgraded the poseability. His head turns…slightly. He can’t look all the way to the left or right but enough for a decent shooting or looking pose. His arms have moving shoulders, biceps, elbows, and wrists. He has a working waist but you have to position the car roof backpack properly or it gets in the way. He can’t do a full split but there’s enough thigh and upper leg movement to be useful…and only that. The knees have a decent bend to them. Then you have the legs. The car parts are angled in a way that makes him look off when standing normally, but there’s nothing you can do about that. There’s some minor ankle tilt, and the heel spur can lock in a few different spots to avoid falling over thanks not so much to being back heavy but more the shape of the car trunk messing with some poses. It’s a good workaround.

I wonder what it’s like to have two missile launchers go off right near your audio receptors. Not fun I’d imagine.

That gun that won’t fit right in the vehicle mode’s undercarriage storage unfolds into a proper rifle which he can hold in either hand. To imitate the rocket launcher that his toy came with (as well as his mold mates in G1 that share this mode and actually kept them out in the show’s character model) there are two non-functioning launchers that are hinged to his back, unfolding when he need them and folding up when he’s done shooting at Decepticons. There’s no place to really store the gun in robot mode properly, which is a shame since Optimus had one and he was an earlier toy.

Decision: Stays

I really like this version of Prowl. I did collect the G1 reissue that Toys R Us had and I’ll review that someday, this is a nice enhancement of the figure. It will make for good displays and dioramas once I get my collection to a manageable level again. The only problems I really have are those transforming issues I mentioned. So I play to hold on to this for a while. I don’t think I’d do a Prowl shelf ala Bumblebee but I do like the character and am happy he’s still around. Just not the way he’s been portrayed since the early years.

 

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