Cliffbee.com: Machine Wars Prowl Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Prowl
Series: Machine Wars
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Security
Alternate Mode: F-1 Racer



RACER MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 11cm Width: 5cm

   A milky white formula one racer with a black central stripe and two smaller parallel stipes on the sides, Prowl's cockpit section is again white inside the central stripe. He has black tyres and unpainted hubcaps - which is lazy but works well in this colour scheme. This _is_ the Prowl of G1, despite the change of vehicle mode. Prowl sports a number 8 sticker on his nose, which is done as an 8-ball. While it's a weird way of going about it, it looks pretty good visually and fits in with the colour scheme. He has some random advertisers' decals on the sides, all dark colours. None of them really add much, but are dark enough that they don't ruin the illusion. While the colours aren't quite those of Prowl, they're close enough, and work quite well. And just in case you didn't work out that it's Prowl, his name is written on the spoiler in black.

   There's a small yellow seat back in the open cockpit, which is it's own piece of plastic, although there doesn't seem to be any need for this piece. While it's nice they bothered putting it in, the yellow is rather random. It's small enough that the colour doesn't really matter, and along with the moulded steering wheel inside, it gives the cockpit some detail.

   There's not much play value in this mode - the wheels roll and that's it. The good news is that the front wheels are on an axle and all four wheels roll freely. I don't expect much more of a formula one racer than rolling wheels, so the fact that Prowl rolls well is enough for me. I guess we could ask for his gun to attach in this mode, but that would involve there being a hole somewhere on the toy, which would have been a mixed blessing. The fact that the gun stows was pretty novel for the time, so I'm happy.

   It's a simple vehicle mode, but it does what it has to do, so mouldwise I can't really complain. The colours work pretty well, and do enough to make to believe this is indeed Prowl. The colours are certainly better than those on Mirage, who was released concurrently.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   In theory, lift the tail and Prowl will transform himself thanks to internal springs. In reality you have to adjust his limbs a little as well - mainly for stable posing. It's about as close as you're going to get with an auto-transform on a poseable toy, mind you. His gun comes in two halves, one inside each shin. Remove the weapon, assemble and place in his hand.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10cm Width: 7.5cm

   Again largely milky white with the black central stripe now on his chest, Prowl has an olive green head with silver eyes (and a silver section behind his head - an abandoned lightpipe). The tyres hanging off his waist and ankles are the only other non-white parts of this robot. The colour don't match up to the G1 Prowl's, but being a different type of car, that's understandable. I can deal with this mode being almost entirely white, but the olive green head is just plain stupid. It really ruins the aesthetic of this toy, and there's no reason why Prowl should _have_ a green head. The black tyres on his waist stand out - the cost of having an axle. His head has a pretty complex sculpt, but of course you only notice that the damn thing is green. It's a real shame because otherwise this would have been a nice robot mode.

   Prowl has pretty good articulation - his neck, shoulders, hips and elbows are ball joints while his knees are hinged. The airdam forms his groin, and hangs over his thighs limiting his hips while the front wheels sit wider than his shoulders, limiting the arms. The hip restrictions bother me a little, since a lot of poses are ruled out. The tyres don't bother me so much, since they really only prevent the arms from resting at his sides, and I can deal with having to put Prowl in action poses.

   You can remove the front half of the rifle, leaving Prowl with a small milky white pistol, and both configurations look cool. I'm really impressed by the dual-section guns that Machine Wars brought us.

   The airdam and tyres getting in his way are the only substantial flaws in the robot mould engineering, but neither are enough to ruin it. The colour scheme does that - thanks to the random green head. What's really incredible is that someone must have decided, "yeah, olive green head... that'll work". Instead in pretty much wrecks what would have a good robot mode. The articulation is meaningful and the gun is fun, so it's still a fun toy to play with.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although he was released concurrently with Mirage, who uses the same mould. Skid-Z of RiD and Liger of Robotmasters (who is the same character) are later repaints of this mould.

OVERALL

   A good mould with some minor flaws, and the vehicle mode looks pretty good. All this good work is undone by a robot mode that's nowhere near as good as it should have been. Prowl _should_ have been better than Mirage, but ends up worse, so I'll recommend Mirage instead - not that he's much better. Still, the mould is worth getting and Prowl is better than nothing. If you can manage it, get Skid-Z, or Liger if you can manage to, instead - 5.5/10

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