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Prowl

Transformers: Alternators
by yo go re

It makes sense that the Transformer names that most often get re-used are Optimus Prime and Megatron; they're the big bosses, and you can't have a line without a couple versions of each of them. But you know who comes in right after them? The military strategist Prowl. Go figure.

Prowl is quiet, competent and loyal, but perhaps his most valuable trait is his almost endless patience. Once Prowl is assigned a task, he will keep at it until it is accomplished. He works with proven facts, not imagination or guesses. Prowl If he has any doubts, he will radio Optimus Prime his commander, before proceeding. He hates doubts in any form and he strives to make everything he encounters reasonable and logical. He believes it only when he can explain it. On a personal level he is friendly, but not too sociable. He's a listener, not a talker, unless someone says something unreasonable. Then he will demand an explanation. Prowl has the most sophisticated logic center of the Autobots, giving him the ability to analyze any combat situation instantaneously and then advise on the optimal course of action. For example, Prowl can observe 800 moving objects, compute their probable paths of movement, and determine the proper countermove in 0.05 seconds. His dedication to logic and reason makes Prowl particularly vulnerable to the unexpected. Irrational and inexplicable situations can really scramble his circuits, sometimes to the point of total shutdown of his mechano-cortex center, leaving him temporarily dysfunctional.

That description kinda makes Prowl sound autistic, doesn't it? Like if you moved his favorite colored blocks, he'd start screaming and hitting himself in the head until you put them back the way they were. That's definitely the guy you want to be your second-in-command and master strategist. Well, if nothing else, he'll always make sure the Decepticons are defeated in time for him to get home and watch Wapner. Definitely watch Wapner. Yeah.

Back in Generation 1, the fake thing Prowl was a sleek little police car. Like most of the early Transformers, designed after a specific vehicle; this one was actually one of the most popular models, the Datsun 280 ZX that both Bluestreak and Smokescreen changed into. That's a happy little family. As the point of the Alternators line truly is "robots in disguise," Hasbro has once again licensed the car designs from the manufacturers, re-creating specific cars with uncanny detail.

So while fans the real thing probably would have accepted yet another re-use of the Subaru Impreza, Hasbro actually gave us a new car as the base for this police cruiser: the Acura RSX. Acura is actually a North American brand name for Honda's luxury vehicles, and the first to prove that there was a market for Japanese cars that were something other than tiny economy models. In car form, Prowl looks just like the sporty little coupe that he's designed after.

The Acura's instrument panel, rather then being set flat on the dash, curves slightly around the steering wheel, and Prowl's dash is an exact match. curvy! This is one of the first Alternators to feature any sort of paint apps inside, which is a nice step forward, especially since Prowl's interior is powder blue. You know, like all cop cars. Anyway, there are black and silver apps bringing out the detail. The steering wheel is adjustable, the doors, hood and hatchback open, and the tires are real rubber. This is a great 1/24 representation of the Acura RSX, even before we get into the robot side of things.

Since the G1 Prowl shared his mold Old Prowl with Bluestreak and Smokescreen, he transformed just like them. However, since Hasbro went to all the trouble of making a new body for this Alternator version, he's not just going to end up looking like those guys. In fact, with his hood folded flat and his toes pointed toward the underside of the car, he ends up looking more like the G1 Sideswipe - whose mold was also used for the other police car, Red Alert. Hmm. The arms have to be folded away very specifically in car form for the steering system to work, so take a good look at how they fit in there before you turn him into a robot, or you'll be frustrated when you go back.

Prowl may look like the wrong Autobot, but he's still a great toy. He moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, waist, thighs, hips, knees and ankles - enough poseability to put the G1 version to shame, one goo, one bad and that's not even counting the movement designed to facilitate the transformation. The car's engine becomes the robot's gun, although it's one of the worst-looking ones in this entire series. Fortunately, it can be stored in his chest if you don't like it, and he does have a second, more logical weapon. He's a policeman (more or less), so he gets a translucent red baton to beat perps with. The stick is 2 3/8" long, sized just right for this 7" robot. The black sections of paint can get scratched fairly easily, so watch out for that.

see it? Prowl is definitely a classic character. Not only did his police car paint scheme make him recognizable to kids, but his face was the basis for the Autobot symbol. He generally works as Optimus Prime's second in command, so he's a pretty important guy. I'm sure some G1 fans will complain that the figure doesn't look enough like the toy they were expecting, but ignore them - this is another fine addition to the Alternators' ranks.


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