Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Transformers Combiner Wars Prowl Review

combiner wars prowl review

Before Devastator landed at Castle Soapbox, I was starting to suffer a bit of Combiner Wars fatigue. It is not that the figures are coming out at such a rapid pace, or boredom with the line - but it has become so repaint/remold heavy.

Prowl, for example, is the 4th use of this mold and is a straight repaint of Streetwise but with a lovely new noggin planted on his shoulders.

This line is like an addictive drug, that is the only way I can explain why I continue to buy so many repaints with a grin that the Cheshire Cat would wince at.

combiner wars prowl review

Prowls alt mode is that of a sporty looking Police car that looks super charged and slightly futuristic. The fountain of all Transformers knowledge, TFwiki, reliably tells me it specifically based on an R35 Nissan GTR police car, which is fitting as Prowls last Classics figure was based on the Nissan 350z. 

If you look at them all side by side with his original G1 Datsun toy, the Universe toy and this Combiner Wars toy - it is quite nice seeing the evolution and how surprisingly naturally it all feels.

combiner wars prowl

Whilst I am getting tired of buying the same molds, it is hard for me to tire of looking at this car and is still just as gorgeous as the way Streetwise wears its plastics loveliness.

Course, being Prowl it would have to look different in some way, and that comes in the form of the of the paint job which is brand new. The windows are now a much shinier light Blue which calls to mine the original G1 First Aid oddly enough, but it is the addition of Black around the sides which is the most stark addition.

Whereas Streetwise had Blue on his hood and sides, which looked unfinished, Prowl has his iconic Black trim which sweeps around the cars front and sides - completely enveloping the bull bars and fog lights on the front.

Most iterations of Prowl come with a Highway Patrol badge on the side and this is no different, but here it is squashed and looks like someone struggled to size it on paint, and so squeezed it in at an awful angle.
It is not terrible, even though I used the word awful, it just looks tacked on.

Reason for it is most probably that large Black piece shooting up the side of the door, which appears to be unpaintable plastic being as every version of the mold suffers the same fate.

Again, it is mostly just something that looks unfinished rather than bad, but fortunately as it is Prowl, and rises from the Black trim, it ends up looking less silly here than on his mold brethren.

g1 prowl

If you take a look at the back of the car, it is a pretty barren sight I am afraid. Once again whilst there is molded detail, Hasbro have opted not to apply any paint so it looks a little lacking - in spite of the Batman style exhaust there.

I have mentioned it in the past, but recently it feels like Hasbros approach is to focus on how the figures look from the front, rather than as a whole package and it is disappointing. Not enough to spoil this figure, and even though it is my fourth run go around (and review!)with this mold, it has somehow become my favourite of the four....I think.

It is a really nice looking alt mode, and even though it is mostly White, like Streetwise, it still looks different because as Prowl it takes on his own characteristics and personality.

optimus maximus limb

Transformation is precisely the same as Dead EndWildrider and Streetwise so if you want more details check out on of those reviews.

Despite being a remold of Streetwise, it shows no where and all the joints are just as strong if not stronger. My law enforcing Protectobot had a loose leg, whereas Prowl is rock solid and taught.

One quality control issue did float my way, and that was on his left arm. Where it folds up, there was some excess plastic which I had to cut out with a craft knife in order to get it to close.

A few seconds later it was good as new, and I felt like I had done my manly job of the day. In the most nerdy fashion possible.

combiner wars prowl head

Now you have Prowl, you will be drawn right to that stunning head - isn't he pretty? It is so good that it almost feels like a scaled down version of the Masterpiece figure, but with a pinch of IDW.

To say Combiner Wars has a theme of being a bit on the cheap side, this single head sculpt looks like it comes from a much more expensive piece.

With his neutral expression, he still manages to exude personality and reading the comics you see that behind those eyes he is plotting something.

Just better not be flipping my desk over - that Lego Ghostbusters car car would be a sod to put back together.

A ball jointed neck allows you to cock his head to the side, and get that snidey, calculating look Prowl is so famed for. Always looks so disapproving.

comparing classics prowls

People will rightly be wondering whether it is worth upgrading from the aged Universe Prowl mold that has been knocking around for years now, and may have crumbled to dust on many folks shelves.

It is a cliche, but your mileage will vary (wah wah wahhh). I know, I know it is a bit of a cop out but it is really different toys that do different things.

Universe Prowl was very much an homage to G1 Prowl, and feels more like it is supposed to be that character. But it was never a great mold, and there all sorts of problems. If you are looking for the most idealised modern version of G1 Prowl then this is not going to sway you.

If you don't already have a Prowl, then this is your guy if you and is a great stand in. But also, if you do have Universe Prowl, and are someone who just buys figures on their own merits - you can see how good it looks as its own Prowl in the photos.

The brighter White, and judicious use of Black makes it stand out strongly from Streetwise, so even though it is the same mold - it does not look like it.

Also, the plastic feels much nicer, and glossier where Streetwise felt a bit rough and cheap to touch.

combiner wars gun

It is not an exact match for IDW's Prowl, who is now an SUV, but it feels more like a modern Prowl than that. The detailing makes him look modern, without going crazy and giving you a headache from trying to work it all out.

Like all of the Combiner Wars figures, the designers have held off the hyper detailing and instead gone for a smoother, more well rounded look.It is blocky, but in a curvy way, and detailed, but in a subtle way.

Nice balance then.

But even though it is not based on the current IDW design, it does feel like it could have come out of the pages of those comics. Something about the way his shape blends with his colours, and that beautiful face, just feels like it could show up in IDW's comics and you would not bat an eyelid.

Prowl comes with Streetwise's gun, but molded in White. I'd have been happier had they given him a more classic looking laser rifle but it is still the best weapon any of the Combiner Wars figures come with so far, so at least they didn't give him an exhaust pipe. Though that could have worked as a Police baton....

His other accessory is his combiner/hand foot but as it is the same molded piece as the other three cars like Prowl, I don't feel a need to go over it again. Other than to say that Hasbro have painted the knuckle piece Silver, but the fingers and thumb are molded in a darker Grey. So I won't offend your eyes by showing it to you.

If you have been living under a Tetris piece (there nerd equivalent of a rock, the fact I had to explain that tells me that was a poor joke on my part) and have no idea why he has a combiner piece, well..errr...he now combines with any of two Optimus Primes.

In the comics they were confused too and changed the colours from classic Red Optimus (available in wave 1) to White Battle Core Optimus (wave 4).
So that is a thing that exists if you want it to.

I don't.

But will no doubt end up buying the White Prime. Sigh.

combiner wars prowl

When Prowl was announced, I was not certain I was going to order him. Of his wave, he was the only one that caught my eye to any degree, and I am relieved I did pick him up cheaply from Amazon USA now because in hand he has become one of my favourite Combiner Wars figures, and he affords me the luxury of not wanting to combine him with anything so he can stay on my desk as fiddle fodder (sounds well dodgy, I do concede).

If wave 4 shows up at UK retail I will probably pick up Ironhide and then wave 5 is another set of Autobot cars which I had already planned to pick up Hound as he is a new mold, and Wheeljack because he looks cool - but now I will be picking up Smokescreen, purely on the back of this toy.

Combiner Wars Prowl is not the best toy ever made, he won't make anyones top 10 lists, but he is a great example of everything Combiner Wars is when it is done right. Fun toy, remolded but in a way that makes sense and befits the character.

If only Hasbro had included a table accessory for him to flip.

Prowl is available to purchase from the Masterforce store via this convenient link: Combiner Wars Deluxe Prowl

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