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TFA Samurai Prowl Review

January 28th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Last night I got around to opening the Animated Samurai Prowl which I bought at TRU last week. As promised, here is the full review.

Prowl is packaged in his bike mode so let’s look at this first. His appearance in this mode is nice and sleek. I like his colors of black and gold (kinda like the New Orleans Saints), and the clear blue on the windshield and seat adds a nice touch. I like this color more than the non-Samurai version of Prowl. He’s got a bike stand on the left side that can be lowered so he doesn’t fall over on two wheels.

The gimmick of the Samurai version of Prowl is the inclusion of the sidecar, which transforms into his samurai armor. The pic above shows Prowl in alt mode with the sidecar attachment. With the sidecar, Prowl also looks nice. The sidecar has pretty much the same color scheme as the main unit. It can only be attached on the right side.

Most TFs that transform into motorcycles or bikes are not that robust. This is mostly due to the shape of the bike itself, and I’ll admit that designing a TF that looks good in both bike and robot modes can be a challenge. For figures that transform into cars or jets, the alt mode really feels like one cohesive unit and all the parts and pieces come together nicely. It is less so for figures that transform into bikes, and Prowl is no exception to this trend. Compared to other deluxe figures of this line, say Jazz or Swindle, Prowl does not feel as solid in his alt mode. Some pieces can come apart if you are too rough with him, and it is quite easy to move things out of alignment when you try to attach the sidecar. But in his defense, I will say that Prowl is the most robust bike TF that I have seen in any of the TF lines. The various parts of his frame was designed to come together, and there are tabs and grooves at key locations that was designed to lock things in place. Its too bad they don’t work as well as they should, but he did set a new standard for bike TFs.

As far as construction, Prowl doesn’t seem to be on par with other figures of this line. I’m generally very careful with my TFs (especially the first time I transform them), and I already broke him in one place. This is the first time I broke a figure in any capacity since G1! Take a look at the pic below.

I circled the broken parts in red. The rear tab on the side car sticks into a slot on the rear wheel, and I broke off that tab. It is now permanently stuck in the slot. I must have broken this off the first time I tried to remove the sidecar. I didn’t even realize this until I transformed Prowl back into bike mode and tried to re-attach the side car. It must have been a very flimsy piece. Having it broken off doesn’t really affect the alt mode b/c there’s another tab towards the front that sticks into a slot in the engine area. I am kinda upset about it, but such is life and I should be glad this happened on a deluxe Hasbro figure and not a more expensive piece. But be very careful here if you decide to get this figure.

Prowl has got a very clever transformation from bike to robot. He’s one of those unsymmetrical Transfomers, kinda like ROTF Dirge. And just like Dirge, I am impressed with the transformation design. Formation of the upper body from the windshield and seat area is symmetrical, but the front wheel unit becomes the right leg and the rear wheel unit becomes the left leg. I know it doesn’t sound so cool when I describe it in words, but you will be impressed when you see it in action. The toy designers integrated his body parts into the bike really well and the resulting robot figure does not disappoint in appearance.

I gotta say, Hasbro captured Prowl’s Animated look extremely well. The translation in appearance from show to toy is excellent. In the cartoon he is tall and skinny and that is reflected accurately here. The pic above and below shows him without the samurai armor.

Articulation in robot mode is more than sufficient and Prowl is capable of a wide array of poses. He’s got ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, waist, and hips, and there’s decent rotation in the head, knees, and feet as well. He has two short blades on his forearms that are ready to slice up some Decepticon baddies.

The sidecar transforms into the samurai armor, and the pic below shows off this equipment. I haven’t seen Prowl use the armor in the show, so I’m assuming this is accurate in appearance. But regardless, I think he looks awesome with the samurai attachment. He means business and he’s ready for some action.

With the samurai attachment, Prowl’s movement in the arms is more limited because the shoulder pieces are now in the way. The wheel unit on the sidecar transforms into his samurai blade. Decepticons beware!

Prowl has construction issues in bot mode as well. On my figure, the ball joints on the hips are extremely loose. And as such, it is very difficult to stand the figure as his legs simply give out at the hips most of the time. You have to find that perfect balance to get him to stay standing. And with this problem, it is almost impossible for him to hold his poses despite having the articulation to do so. The problem is even more severe with the samurai armor attached. The hip joints do not support the weight of the armor on the upper body and they give out almost all the time.

Transforming from bot back to bike, these same issues surface as well. It is not uncommon for the legs to come off altogether in the process. I got one arm that is quite loose with the same problem, but the other arm, the same joint is super tight and sometimes I have trouble angling it the way I need to have it back in alt mode. There are construction issues thru and thru on this figure. I don’t know if it’s only on mine or if they are all like this.

TFA Prowl vs ROTF Bludgeon! A Samurai Duel to the Death!

Overall, Prowl is a nicely designed figure but he’s got serious construction flaws. I would still pick him up if you see him in the stores, but I don’t think he’s worth paying markup for unless you don’t plan to open him. He is quite rare at this point so finding him may not be easy. There are better figures in the Animated line, but Prowl is worth adding to your collection.

Until next time… Transform and Roll Out!

Comments

comments

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews
  1. January 28th, 2010 at 05:49 | #1

    Dude, that sux about that broken peg. I try to be careful about all my TF’s when I’m transforming for the first time because of stuff like that. Despite it though, there are times that I still break a peg or part.

  2. March 26th, 2010 at 03:47 | #2

    Nice final picture… and pointing out that tfa prowl is a “non-symetrical’ Transformer is interesting….

  1. February 10th, 2010 at 07:56 | #1
  2. March 18th, 2010 at 06:24 | #2

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