Energon Toy Reviews: Prowl

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Combiner / Gestalt, Energon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: February 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $9.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Accessories: Missile x 1, Missile launcher

Images:

One of the Transformers names that has been used repeatedly since Generation One is Prowl. In Generation One, he was an Autobot who acted as a trusted advisor to Optimus Prime. In Beast Wars he was a lion who transformed into a component of the giant Magnaboss. In Robots in Disguise he popped up as one of the Autobot Brothers. Now in 2004, Prowl is among the ranks of the Autobots again in Energon.

Vehicle Mode:
Many of the Energon toys have been made as deliberate homages to classic Transformers. Prowl, either by intent or by accident is sort of a homage to two classic characters at the same time. On a purely visual level, based on his blue and white color scheme, he is very reminiscent of Generation One Mirage, who not only was white and blue, but a formula one race car as well. Prowl appears to be an updated version of such a race car, so the homage, however intentional/unintentional sticks out.

Energon Prowl has several design features which can be seen as homages to his predecessors:

  • The form of a race car was originally taken on by Machine Wars Prowl.
  • The Japanese writing on the side (which presumably says "Police" in Japanese) matches the text used on the side of RiD Prowl.
  • In the front, there are white stripe details. These come to a triangular shape at the front, center part of the car. G1 Prowl had a similar deign, but in black.
  • The slanted sirens resemble those on the Mini-Con Prowl.

Prowl's primary color is blue. Some gray plastic is used as well, and details are filled in using gold, silver and white paint. The details are sparse, which works well since too much would overwhelm the look of the vehicle. White is used in the front for line detailing and the aforementioned triangle shape. Silver is used for details and lettering. The words "Police", the "Powerlink" symbol and the Japanese text on the sides of the vehicle are in silver. Gold is used for styling such as on the center area (presumably the driver's area) and the hubcaps. The sculpted Autobot symbol at the top of the vehicle form is painted red, but not in the "blotch red" style of some of the Armada figures, but rather, only the raised areas are painted, giving it a nice look. On the top are the sirens, one translucent blue, one translucent red, which really look nice slanted. It gives them a very futuristic look.

Prowl's design is meant to look like a machine built to chase criminals down. Rather than looking like a police car by intent, it looks more like a race car was retrofitted to become a police car. Take away the sirens on top and you'd have a pure racing machine. The tires in the back are larger than those in front, the curves and angles look aerodynamic and he even has four tailpipes at the back of the vehicle!

Prowl has two holes in this form, one on either side of the driver's area. These are meant for use with his missile launcher, and by extension, virtually any weapon from the line. It would have been nice for a Mini-Con peg or two to have been incorporated into the sculpt. However, you can still attach certain Mini-Cons such as the Requiem Blaster (basically any with pegs). Or attach a weapon such as Hot Shot's that has a Mini-Con peg on it and attach the Mini-Con to that.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon if you have it inserted.
  2. Swing out the sides of the vehicle.
  3. Flip the robot fists out of the arm sections (they have "Police" written in silver on them).
  4. Split the front of the vehicle in half. These form the robot legs.
  5. Slide the halves of the driver's area forward.
  6. Pull the leg pieces forward.
  7. Flip the front of the vehicle up, and flip the fists underneath back.
  8. Pull the siren section forward to reveal the robot head.
  9. Straighten out the robot arms.
  10. Attach the weapon in either hand.

Robot Mode:
While his robot vehicle mode had obvious homages to other Prowls, Prowl's robot mode is much more distinctive. It actually looks like a high end version of the Mini-Con Swindle. Indeed, the transformation is only a few steps above that (from vehicle to robot, there's obviously a lot more to it thanks to the Powerlinx feature). With the huge tires on his shoulders and the front of the car as his feet, he really does look like Swindle evolutionized and decided to become an Autobot. While simple, this form is in no way bad.

While Armada may have suffered a bit from lack of articulation, Energon seems intent on returning us to Beast Wars poseability days with a vengeance. Prowl has a whopping fifteen points of articulation, and that's not even counting the two lower leg points below the knees. And what's great is that some of these points are on ball joints, which work nicely with this design.

Color-wise, there are nos urprises in this mode. His fists are black, and the robot head is gray with black, white and gold details. I did notice right out of the package that some of the white paint for his face was scraped off the chin. This was most likely an isolated production accident (as I've heard no one else who owns this toy complain of the same).

Early pictures of this toy made the robot mode look rather squat, but in person he's actually very cool looking. The huge tires on his shoulders give him a "strong upper body" look, and since his lower legs and feet are a bit on the wide side, they balance out the look of his larger upper body. Overall, a cool robot mode that offers a slightly different take on a classic character.

Powerlinx Modes:
The primary gimmick the Autobots this year is combination. Not just slapping a Mini-Con on top of a larger transformer, but an actual combination of robots to form a larger, different robot. In this instance, all the deluxe price point Autobots (including Inferno< and Rodimus) can combine with each other as either the upper or lower bodies. The name of the "new" robot is designated by whomever forms the top portion of the body. In Prowl's case, he was sold in the same assortment as Rodimus, so his packaging shows him combined with that character. However, he is by no means limited to just combining with Rodimus.

Transformation to Powerlinx Prowl upper body piece (starting in robot
mode):

  1. Swing the robot head back, and turn it around.
  2. Fold the robot fists back into the lower arms.
  3. Rotate the lower arms around so the Japanese words are facing out to the sides.
  4. Swing the lower robot arms out to the sides.
  5. Swing the robot legs out to the sides.
  6. Straighten out the robot feet and the heel pieces to form the hands of Powerlinx Prowl.
  7. Swing the robot legs (now the arms of Powerlinx Prowl) down. You can position the lower arms as well.
  8. Flip up the dark blue panel under Prowl's head.
  9. Swing the siren piece up and rotate it around to form the robot chest.
  10. Attach this part to any other deluxe Energon toy with the Powerlinx point to merge. These include (but are not limited to) Rodimus, Hot Shot and Inferno.

Transformation to lower body piece (starting in robot mode):

  1. Push in the two blue, triangular pieces on either side of Prowl's sirens.
  2. Flip the fists into the lower arms.
  3. Swing the upper body back.
  4. Swing the waist piece down.
  5. Swing the siren section up, then rotate it around and swing it down.
  6. Move the lower robot arms down so the words "Police" face forward.
  7. Attach this part to any other deluxe Energon toy with the Powerlinx point to merge. These include (but are not limited to) Rodimus, Hot Shot and Inferno.

In his "upper body" form, Prowl looks very cool. At first, I was kind of bugged by the vehicle mode's front sections getting in the way of the fists, but really they don't hinder the fist in any way, and in fact I've come to think of them as some type of blade weapon built into his arms. A nice touch is having the gold circles on Prowl's legs wind up on the shoulders of this form. It's also nice to have the Autobot "Spark Crystal" in the center of the chest in this form.

Thanks to the lower arms being in the back and out to the sides, you can hook up almost any Armada or Energon weapon to Prowl. This is in addition to the weapons he can hold in his fists, so you can really built up one powerful bot.

When Prowl forms the lower body of a Powerlinx robot, the porportions can look a bit odd depending on who is forming the top. When the upper body is very big and chunky, the legs look almost to lanky, but if you push the lower legs up, it forms more "thick" looking legs that look like they can properly support a larger upper body. It is kind of neat to have the police siren section form a protective "skirt" of sorts, it harks back to an almost "ancient" design for a Transformer (such as those shown of ancient Transformers in the G1 cartoon). Another neat thing you can do is use Prowl's lower arm holds to plug in Energon weapons and really give him some added power.

Energon Prowl is an unexpectedly cool toy. I really didn't think I would like him at first, but after playing with him a bit, he's definitely fun and
a worthy addition to your collection. He does have some odd aesthetics that some may not getpast. Ultimately, fellow collector, the choice is yours.