Cliffbee.com: Transmetal II Prowl Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Prowl
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Military Strategist
Alternate Mode: Owl



OWL MODE
Height: 12cm Width: 6.5cm, Wingspan up to 24cm

   A white, grey and transparent red owl with a lot of blue chrome on his wings, chest and tail. This is nothing at all like the G1 Prowl toy, neither in colour scheme or mode. His wingtips, brow and the left side of his face are painted a steel blue, which works well on the mechanical feathers on his wings. His left eye is yellow while the right side of his face is a large transparent red eyepatch, and he has a transparent red dome on top of his head which actually rotates around to reveal a green spark crystal. While the white, grey and chrome blue work well together, I could have done without the reds on this toy, which ruin the steely look that would have otherwise have suited the owl so perfectly. Unfortunately for Prowl, he was released during an era (TMII & BM) when Hasbro were fond of transparent plastics, and weren't always discerning with their use.

   The owl itself is fairly well formed, although his tail is fairly big and bulky since the robot arms are tucked away underneath. The feet have three claws each, which are big with organic detail. The arms underneath the tail sort of get in the way of the legs standing flat, so rather than stand on the feet he sort of rocks back onto his tail - which still works although it's a little crude.

   There's a button on the back which, when pushed, causes his head to rotate maybe 175, and you can push the button repeatedly for a head-spinning action. Aside from the mechanism being quite noisy, the effect isn't so impressive and comes off as being pretty bizarre and pointless.

   There's some poseability here, as you'd expect of a Beast Wars toy. The wings can spread out or swing away and fold against his body. The head turns right around, and while the gimmick may be stupid, owls are able to turn their heads about 270 so this poseability is quite realistic. The ankles are restricted ball joints, and he has ball joints mid-shin for some reason, but with the tail and robot arms in the way, the leg poseability isn't much more than wiggle.

   Considering the unrealised potential of the colour scheme, Prowl's best feature is his complex sculpt, which like all TMIIs is an asymmetrical blend of organic and mechanical details, and the organic is a realistic mixture of downy and flight feathers. The play value is reasonable, yet I feel disappointed since the gimmick isn't really meaningful and the only worthwhile articulation is the head and wings.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   There's a lot of twisting and turning in the torso, essentially the bird head ends up on his chest with the spark crystal exposed, the wings sit over his shoulders and the legs simply pull out. It's not really tricky although it's not easy to accurately describe with so many parts moving around one another.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 12cm Width: 24cm

   Now mainly white with transparent red forearms, grey shoulders and ankles and some chrome blue on his wings, Prowl has a blue face with red eyes (and a great lightpipe). The face is quite owl-like and the feet are simply the owl's feet. This mode's colour are better than those of the owl, simply because there's less red visible - even if the transparent forearms look poor. In fact if the red forearms weren't so out of place I'd call this a good colour scheme.

   The feet are big and wide since they're just the owl feet, and they look like owl feet, which is a little weird considering their scale. The wingspan over his arms should look really good but since the wings don't properly clip onto his torso, they'll tend to sit unevenly and flop around a little. It's the same idea as on BW Silverbolt, but the execution is nowhere near as good as it was on the Fuzor. The owl head on his chest sticks out quite a way, and while for G1 toys - such as his namesake - this usually worked, the points of the feathery crest give Prowl a pointy chest, and the end result is the head ends up being kibble rather than a feature

   That button on his back is now just to the right of his head, and pressing it will cause the owl head on his chest to spin, although this is less spectacular now that the owl face isn't facing out. While it's nice the gimmick was engineered to work in two modes, I'd rather this gimmick not working and more stable wings.

   Poseability is great - the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, ankles and those joints mid skins are all ball joints, his waist rotates and the knees are hinged. The wings naturally restrict some arm poses, but if you're willing to fold the wings up this wont be an issue. Prowl's right hand is a clenched fist while the left hand is moulded into a relaxed, open, hand. Unusually, he does not come with any weaponry - detachable or otherwise. You can swing the wings down alongside the chestplate and create a giant buzzsaw that's activated by the gimmick button, but that's it. This buzzsaw is also available in beast mode, incidentally. Personally I don't think much of this feature, and would have preferred a handgun or something.

   While the red hands look awful, Prowl is a very poseable toy with a good sculpt and a pretty well done head. The chest sticks out a little far and the wings don't quite secure, but the wings still look good. Great poseability means good play value despite no weapons, so it's a good robot mode despite the flaws.

VARIATIONS

   There was a somewhat rare running variant with black instead of white plastic.

OVERALL

   As you'd expect of a Transmetal II, Prowl has an excellent sculpt, and like many BW toys has a poseable robot mode. Bad use of transparent plastic gets in the way of making Prowl a good toy, however. The owl mode isn't really anything special but the robot mode is quite versatile, so if you like poseability he has something to offer. By no means a classic, but the owl mode is something different, so a decent Transmetal II - 6/10

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