We already reviewed one awesome Prowl figure in the Animated line, a figure that is probably the best ever transforming motorcycle ever made. But even one glance at the pictures of this figure demonstrates it was yet possible to top it. A substantial remold (head, forearms, waist, chest have all been redone at least) and repaint, there’s no way anyone could complain that this is just a rehash of a figure you already have.
After the brilliance of the independent City Commander armour, it almost seems like the Hasbro/Takara designers wanted to prove they can do that too, and do it better (albeit in this instance a smaller scale), providing Prowl with an upgrade straight out of the cartoon, first seen in the episode A Fistful of Energon, and again in the Five Servos of Doom, and all while fixing or enhancing what was already a great figure to being with.
Enhancements to the main Prowl body include ball jointed hips for even greater poseability, a more show accurate head, albeit a skinny one, and an extended cowling which stands more vertically upright and better covers his waist joint. There are also some detrimental changes which really serve just to differentiate this figure from the previous one or serve the new accessories. These include use of electric blue transparent plastic for the windshield and police lights, which looks very cool but is slightly less show accurate. The designers haven’t skimped on little touches however, and the handlebars and kickstand are still present on the figure. The biggest reason to still pick up the original Prowl is to get hold of the ninja star hubcaps. They are still there on Samurai Prowl, and are still removable, but they don’t fold out, don’t have the gearing system and are molded as one piece. If anyone knows if the flash can be cut to allow the blades to folded out, please post in the comments. Apart from pointing up the cowling, Prowl transforms the same way as the original figure. The remolds are also just enough to mean the armour piece can’t be used with the original figure, as the fixtures are not present and some parts such as the head are not the right size. The remolded forearms do also unfortunately have the chevrons pointing the wrong way.
The new sidecar piece unclips from motorbike mode to become Prowl’s Samurai armour upgrade and has more than enough folding of its own required to rebut any claims that Samurai Prowl is a parts former. Only the wheel detaches to become the sword/shield for Prowl’s forearm. The rest of the sidecar converts to a pack for Prowl, clipping on to the back (using slots on the redesigned cowling) and folding under and up around the shoulders and over the head, and staying on very securely. The jump jet air intakes on each side of Prowl’s waist are molded on but difficult to see as they are not painted although the jets themselves aren’t there.
Except for his head/neck joint being restricted by the helmet, Prowl is no less articulated or poseable with his armour on than before, and only slightly back heavy when posing and balancing.
Samurai Prowl is an awesome revision of a not very old figure, but sufficient changes to warrant purchasing again even if you already have the first version. The best transforming motorbike figure is also now the best (official) figure with add-on armour, easily beating early G1 efforts such as Powermaster Optimus Prime and both G1 and Classics Jetfire, and even giving City Commander a run for its money too.