Ugh, it’s been a brutal week and I’m pretty sure I’m coming down with something. I want nothing more than to crawl into bed and hug a bottle of Jameson. But, it’s Transformers Thursday, and I can’t let that pass me by, so I’m mustering up the resolve to take a look at a new convertorobo. Last week I mentioned that I was sitting out most of the Autobot wave of Combiner Wars. I picked up Mirage, just because I wanted to try out a bulkier version of the character for my Classics shelf, and I also picked up today’s figure, Prowl. Prowl is one of the Classic figures that just hasn’t aged well. I think the mold is passable enough, but there was a lot of clear plastic on that figure painted white and, unfortunately, it just turned out looking like garbage. And so, I decided to give the new Combiner Wars version a try to see if it could serve as a worthy stand in.
There he is in package and since I’ve got nothing new to say on the subject, let’s take a moment to talk about mold reuse. Holy hell, it’s the fourth outing for this mold this year! Yeah, it’s been tweaked quite a bit from the Brake-Neck and Dead End figures, but still. Four times in the same line? If you set aside the Seekers, that’s got to be some kind of record even for Hasbro! Who the hell is going to buy four variations on the same mold in one series? Oh… yeah. I did. Let’s start with his alt mode…
While Prowl may be remolded from Dead End and Brake-Neck, in auto mode, he’s a straight repaint of Streetwise. That hits pretty close to the mark, considering both vehicles are police cars and were released close enough that they’ll likely be sharing the pegs in a lot of toy aisles. That having been said, Hasbro did their best to get Prowl’s deco as close as possible to the original G1 toy. The plastic is more of a pure white and there’s plenty of black trim. The sides even have the Police Highway Patrol tampos to match the original Prowl’s auto mode. It’s an interesting homage, but to me this version of Prowl just doesn’t distance itself from Streetwise enough to make it work and this auto mode is just too far removed from his original Datsun mode.
In robot mode, Prowl is missing all of his most distinctive G1 features. Gone are his door wings, the front bumper chest, and the shoulder cannons. He doesn’t even look like the Prowl depicted in the pages of the comic that’s bundled with the figure. All that’s left to make this Prowl is the new head sculpt and the G1 inspired deco. And yet, somehow it’s almost enough. The black trim around the chest piece works wonders to drive the homage home, despite being flat and not the front of the car. And the headsculpt? Yeah, there’s no doubt as to who that’s supposed to be. It’s a great noggin and I particularly love his blue eyes. By all reason this figure shouldn’t work at all, and yet it does… kinda.
Prowl comes with the same shotgun we got with Streetwise, only this time cast in white plastic. Again, a big departure from Prowl’s trademark laser rifle, but I like it and it suits him.
I know that I’ve gone on record here before about how much Prowl has meant to me over the years. He was one of my very first Transformers figures and he always factored big in whatever story I was playing out. In my own Transformers canon, Prowl has been and will forever be Prime’s First Lieutenant and Right-Hand Bot. So I’m surprised even at myself when I say that this figure works for me, at least in robot mode. Sure, it helps that the Classics Prowl figure is positively prehistoric. In fact, Classics Prowl has probably aged worse than the original G1 figure, which is just plain crazy. And maybe that’s a big part of why I have no problem putting this version of Prowl on my Classics shelf and retiring the old one. And keep in mind, this is all coming from someone who has no plans on combining this figure with anyone.