"Transformers Universe" Prowl Toy Review

General Information:
Release Year: February 2004
Retailer: Wal-Mart Exclusive
Price: $9.99
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Accessories: Missiles x 2, Missile holders/launchers x 2

As part of a special promotion at Wal-Mart stores, several Transformers Universe toys were released as exclusives to Wal-Mart in early 2004. One of these was Prowl, a redeco of Robots in Disguise Prowl. Interestingly enough, at the same time, a Wal-Mart exclusive Spychanger two pack was released also with a Prowl in it. This is one of the few times that two Transformers with the same name were released at the same time as a store exclusive. This review will focus on the changes made to the toy for this release.

The packaging gets mention here because it is different than the typical Universe packaging. The card is actually slightly smaller in width. We're not talking a negligible amount either. Prowl's card is 1.5 inches/3.8 centimeters smaller than the typical Universe card. The toy also comes with the Universe CD-ROM.

The photos of the toy on the back of the packaging show what a super fast rush job these exclusives were. The photo of the toy in robot mode has him mistransformed, with the front section of the car still hanging down and the car doors swung upwards instead of down. He's also missing his weapons. The photo of the vehicle mode isn't a whole lot better. You can see the back portion was not securely snapped into place,a nd the ends of the spoiler are up, which would be fine if the weapons were attached, but they're not. Also, you can still see Prowl's "small" Autobot symbol on the hood with the huge Autobot symbol stamped on top of it. Granted, most people will never look at the packaging this closely, but still, talk about bad.

Vehicle Mode:
If you find yourself having to do a double take to see why this is a redeco of Robots in Disguise Prowl, don't worry, you probably just didn't stare long enough. If you just take a quick glance, you'd think "Oh yeah, black and white police car." and think very little has changed. Well, to be frank, not that much has changed on this toy.

The basic color scheme of the toy is still the same, a black upper section with a black lower section. The lights on the front and sides of the toy are still orange, however they are a slightly brighter shade of orange than on RiD Prowl. Some red rectangles have been added to the lower portion of the doors and the spoiler. I'm guessing these are meant to resemble some type of emergency lights. A huge Autobot symbol replaces the smaller one originally used on Prowl. This Autobot symbol is huge. I'm not sure an Autobot symbol this big has been used on a Transformer in a while. The thing is, it's so darn big, it looks ridiculous. I mean, a small Autobot symbol is bad enough to trash the whole "Robots in Disguise" concept, but making it so big just takes the concept, stomps on it and tosses it out the window - twice. For some inexplicable reason, the number "105" is tampographed onto the windshield. I'm sure this holds some significance, but it looks kind of odd, and the letters are big, bugger than the "105" shown on the packaging photo.

The only new detail added on to this toy that I really like is a nice dragon tatoo like design on the doors, replacing the Japanese text that was present on RiD Prowl. This pattern is really nicely done, and had the rest of the details been as well thought out, Prowl would look a lot better in vehicle mode.

Robot Mode:
Prowl's robot mode is almost exactly the same as RiD Prowl's. The plastic parts are all the same colors as those used with RiD Prowl. The Autobot symbol on the chest is vacuum metallized red and silver is used for details on the chest. The only difference here are the weapons and the metallic blue used for the waist and legs. While the color is still a dark blue, it's one shade lighter than the one used for RiD Prowl. The missiles in the weapons are not an orange to yellow gradiant, but rather they are yellow to white gradiants.

There is one interesting item that I had not noticed until I picked up this variant on the mold. When Sideswipe and Sunstreaker were created for OTFCC 2003, the sirens were removed from this mold. Before then, the windshield/roof/siren piece was held to the body via a metal pin which was visible on the sides of that section in robot mode. But since then, the mold has just hung on a smaller hinge, with no metal pin visible on either side. It would seem that after the OTFCC exclusives were created, this mold has been changed from here on.

This redeco is hardly the fiasco that Side Burn is. At the same time however, this feels so rushed and half baked that it is hard to recommend this toy unless you cannot obtain any other of the over half dozen other versions of this toy released in the past few years. It's not a bad toy, it's just a bad redeco.

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