Cliffbee.com: Animated Prowl Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Prowl
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Police Superbike



MOTORBIKE MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 12.5cm Width: 4cm

   A black superbike with extensive gold highlights, Prowl has grey tyres and a transparent red and blue lightbar on the saddle. He's a superbike, which basically means he's designed for track racing. I'm not sure about a superbike with police lights, but he looks good and it's not like Animated is even trying to pretend it cares about realism. Anyway, there's a smoky transparent plastic on his windshield and a silver Autobot logo where his headlight should be (and it fits in nicely as a pseudo headlight). While the colours don't really fit into the usual colours associated with the name, the police theme is intact. The colours are dark and simple but work well enough.

   We've seen a gradual progression of Transformers motorbikes down the years - they've slowly become less blocky. Prowl is draped in curves with barely a hard edge in sight, and no real kibble. While he's not a revolution on some of the relatively recent bikes (such as Road Rocket and Energon Arcee), this is a very well shaped bike. The detailing is relatively good for Animated, although compared to many other lines he's quite simple. Having said that, the detail here is clever - a grey petrol cap on top and gold triple chevrons on the side of the saddle - rank!

   There's not that much play value here, but the important aspects are done well. The wheels roll freely and there's a kickstand on the left side which allows Prowl to stand up. The kickstand is all sorts of wonderful - it's very subtle and folds away to become almost invisible, the bike actually stands at 90 to the table and it's effective. There are no gimmicks and no real accessories, although there's a robot mode weapon which has no choice but to sit to the side in this mode.

   A fairly uncomplicated bike mode, and while many Animated toys are stylised without really focussing on the right elements, Prowl's simple bike mode has an essentially realistic shape, play value in the right places and a colour scheme which actually works. The lack of kibble, rounded edges and sculpt are all impressive. The cowlings tend to pop out, unclipping the rear wheel assembly, but this is more annoying than a real problem.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold up the kickstand. Split the saddle and pull the halves out to the sides. Unclip the cowling, swing the front wheel assembly through the cowling, the wheel assemblies fold out rather cleverly to become his legs. The groin swings into the saddle area, the boots actually pivot around the wheels, which end up embedded in the shins. Fold down his feet, swing the cowling up, which swings the windshield down to form his chestplate, while the head cleverly pops out from within the fueltank. Slide the chevrons up to reveal his hands. You're meant to fold the handlebars in underneath the windshield, but the slot is so well designed you'll never get them out without a screwdriver, so I recommend leaving them out.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15cm Width: 8cm

   A black robot with gold highlights again, Prowl has light grey hands, thighs and a light grey groin. His eyes are blue while his ridiculously long chin & mouth are grey, rounding out a fairly simple colour scheme. The Autobot logo ends up on his waist while the smoky plastic of the windshield is on his chest. The red and blue plastics end up on the back of either wrist, and can be deployed out to the sides for a bit more colour - the red on the left and blue on the right. Again the colours are simple but work well.

   Animated has dished up some downright weird robot modes, and Prowl has his share of unusual features, but I'm happy that for the most part he's in proportion with himself. The face is freaky, but that's normal for this line. He's not especially robotic either - again normal, but his light coloured, angular hands, are quite robotic. Prowl is tall and sleek, and well proportioned within that theme - similar to Nightviper.

   The most amazing aspect of this robot mode is that there's no kibble. No wheels trying desperately to pretend they're not there, no awkward detached piece, no wheels shoved onto an arm, shoulderpad or the side of a knee. The wheels are core pieces of the boots, the cowling sits on his back forming a sort of backpack, which is the closest thing Prowl gets to kibble. The transformation which turns a good bike into such a clean robot mode is astoundingly elegant. The windshield on his chest feels very natural, with or without the handles stowed. The forearm guards sport his chevrons, so while the rank isn't on his shoulders, he does still wear it on his sleeves.

   The poseability here is great, with one issue. The neck, shoulders, elbows, hips and ankles are ball jointed - as is the waist. The hands are fixed, the knees are hinged. There's a huge range of poses, but Prowl lacks heelspurs. Many action poses are still available with a little work - you may need to fiddle with his legs, but you'll get there. There are two different weaponry options, and while the first blows the second is awesome. Prowl comes with a weird traffic light on a string, which he uses as a flail. The idea is that he can use anything as a weapon - it says so in the bio on his card - but this thing just looks strange. Granted, some effort went into creating it - the three colours are different colours of transparent plastic - but the end result isn't worth it. Maybe it would work with LEDs inside the lights, but this would have been uneconomical at this size. The outer hubcaps on his wheels (ie on the outside of his boots) detach, forming gold ninja stars which can be held in either hand. They take a little force to pop out, which means they wont randomly fall off. Each has three curved spikes, through a system of gears pulling out spike out deploys all three. These weapons are tremendously well designed and look good in an about-to-throw position in his hands.

   Aside from the heelspurs and unusually giant chin, this is a great robot mode. We've never seen a motorbike Transformer than deals with the wheels so well in robot mode, the shape is in proportion with itself, his poseability is good and the ninja stars are just awesome. Sure the traffic light is a waste of time, but it's easy enough to pop that in storage and just forget about it. The rest of the robot is great, even without heelspurs.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Samurai Prowl is an extensive retool of Prowl.

OVERALL

   White Prowl does have some of the not-too-robotic stylised aspects of Animated, the transformation is clever - far more so that most toys in the line. It's the most ingenious transformation we've seen in a Transformer motorbike by a long way, and the resulting robot mode deals with the wheels ridiculously well. Both modes look like they should, the play value is focused with excellent ninja stars. Heelspurs - lack of them - is my only real complaint, but it's far from a killer. The traffic light weapon is pointless but easy to set aside permanently, so Prowl is a toy I recommend - despite the fact I dislike the Animated concept - 9/10

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