Saturday, August 30, 2014

Action Master Prowl...

I want to spend some time talking about 1990 Action Master Prowl. 

"Who will give up the power to transform to become stronger, faster, more alive?!"

Prowl is an iconic character in the Transformers canon. He was a member of the original class of '84, and one of the few transformers to receive a second incarnation during Generation One (G1). As a kid, my dad was a state trooper, so a Datsun 280ZX (Nissan Fairlady Z) done up in highway patrol markings was a no-brainer for this writer's favorite Autobot. 

In the fiction, Prowl serves as the Autobot's chief strategist, and along with Jazz, makes up Optimus Prime's inner circle. In the more current, IDW readings, Prowl often engages in less savory dealings; often elaborate orchestrations the likes of which bear more resemblance to Shockwave's level of subterfuge. 

He will. For the greater good, of course. 

In his Action Master configuration, Prowl is a nontransforming robot, powered up by the fictional Nucleon element which renders bots more powerful, yet stripped of their alternate mode. Prowl's figure is a more anime-accurate representation (despite his red eyes; clearly a side effect of Nucleon, right?), with slightly less articulation than you might have found in his GI Joe contemporaries.

Someone is going to have to talk to him about the militarization of local police. 

To make up for for his lack of transformation, Prowl rides a souped-up motorbike, which was featured in the recent IDW story, ShadowPlay. The bike features stabilizer fins,  a working kick stand, a front mounted gattling gun, and two side mounted projectiles. 

As with all figures from this size-class, the bike transforms into a battle implement, in this case, a cannon turret. This mode features a flip-up cannon and battle shield (which works as a nice homage to Prowl's orginal door/wing silouette). You can also remove the top of the bike's gas tank for a handy shield for Prowl. 

Chromedome atop a turbo cycle. Amazing.

I must admit that what really makes this set come alive is an upgrade sticker set from For it's part, Prowl gets headlights, reflective windows, and his characteristic shoulder stripes.  The turbo cycle upgrades take cues from Prowl's original alt mode such as Highway patrol decals and badges, as well as adding some nice chrome engine details that highlight the molded side panels. These added details really make this entire set shine. 

People love to knock Action Masters, but I can't get enough of them. What I love about this particular figure is what it represented at the time it was produced. For decades, fans searched for more show-accurate renditions of their favorite characters. We suffered through the Beast era, Robots in Disguise, and Armada, each with their own Prowl, until we finally received decent offerings through Alternators, Classics and Masterpiece. But here he was, right there in the 80's, ready for action, with red eyes, on a frickin' motorcycle! 

*Video is from a YouTube post by, Comic cover is property of IDW comics.