Transformers Animated Samurai Prowl Toy Review

in 2009, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Transformers Animated

Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: April 2009
Price Point: $10.99
Retailer: General (Target, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Side car


*Images from

In the "Transformers Animated" episode "A Fistful of Energon", Prowl is given a suit of armor by the Decepticon Lockdown. While he dumped the suit by the end of that episode, he would later obtain a replica of that armor along with the helmet of his master Yoketron. This figure represents Prowl in that armor.

Vehicle Mode:
In a method that has been used often in Transformers history, the basic sculpt of one figure has been retooled to make another. In this case, the vehicle mode is a highly modified version of the first "Animated" Prowl's vehicle mode. He's still a Ninja style police motorcycle, but several parts have been changed:

  • The windshield piece is segmented into the higher section with the windshield and then a piece underneath that is more narrow and forms a tight curve on the front end. The windshield has circuitry like detail sculpted into it and the raised section under the windshield has a much more extreme "W" shape than the similar detail on the first Prowl.
  • The panels on the sides of the vehicle that angle down are different, with the back portion raised in an angled "L" shape.
  • The panels on the back of the motorcycle have been changed. Instead of having the arrows pointing back, Samurai Prowl's arrows point forward. Also, Samurai Prowl has tabs extending out the middle of each of these panels.

In the Animated cartoon, Prowl's armor would transform into a sidecar that attached to his existing vehicle form. This sidecar has a pointed, beak like shape in the front, with a windshield design that mirrors the tech details found on Prowl's. It also has headlights that look like diamond shaped eyes. The area above the windshield and headlights has a jagged shape that gives a mean look to the imaginary "eyes" on the sidecar. The right side of the side car has a wheel and the left has tabs that fit into slits on Prowl's right side. There are seat details sculpted into the inside of the sidecar but there really isn't a seat for a figure to sit on since that area is made up of joints from the sidecar's armor mode.

This version of Prowl retains most of the key colors from the previous version. It is cast in black, blue grey, beige and translucent blue plastic. The first Prowl had a combination of translucent colors including red, blue and a smokey grey. The translucent plastic here is just one color: light blue. Combined with the tech details this looks fantastic. Like the first Prowl, silver and gold paint are used for most of the detailing. However, the color patterns are not replicated. For instance, the hint of blades on the wheels are unpainted on this version and the sides of the wheels are painted all gold on the first Prowl, Samurai Prowl's are a bit more detailed, with only the three sided shapes painted gold. The "L" shape on the side panels are painted gold as well. Silver is used on the front of the vehicle for an Autobot symbol. Interestingly, the gas cap is unpainted on this figure while it was painted on the first Prowl.

I can't say that I prefer the color scheme of one over the other. I enjoy the more "police" look of the first Prowl, but Samurai Prowl has a more futuristic "scifi" look (partly in thanks to the tech details on the windshields).

In terms of functionality, I was very happy to see that the sidecar attaches very firmly to the motorcycle. If you roll the vehicle along a flat surface, the sidecar rolls along with the motorcycle just fine and doesn't fall off.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Separate the sidecar from the motorcycle.
  2. Pull each of the wheels down.
  3. You can see the lower robot legs on each of the halves of the motorcycle, swing them down to begin forming the legs.
  4. Swing each robot foot out.
  5. Split the sections with the sirens and swing each half out to the sides.
  6. Swing the front of the motorcycle down to form the robot chest.
  7. Rotate the waist around so the legs face front.
  8. Swing the motorcycle handlebars in.
  9. Straighten out the robot arms and pull each forearm panel back.
  10. Swing the robot head up.
  11. You can swing the side panels from the motorcycle back or leave them up depending on your preference.

Sidecar transformation:

  1. Detach the wheel and swing out the blade to form the weapon.
  2. Split the front end of the sidecar.
  3. Swing out the black panels on the sides of the sidecar.
  4. Swing the helmet section up.
  5. Swing the panels with the gold lines out and then rotate them forward.
  6. Slide the armor panel in between the two panels on Prowl's back.
  7. Swing the helmet over Prowl's head.
  8. Swing the shoulder armor pieces under the arms and then over the shoulders.
  9. Move the panels with the gold lines to the sides.
  10. Attach the sword to either arm.

Robot Mode:
Like the vehicle mode, Prowl's basic non-armored robot mode is largely the same as the first release of Prowl, but with some changes. The changes are:

  • The head is a new sculpt, sized smaller than the previous Prowl's to accomodate the helmet that fits over it. It also has translucent eyes.
  • Because of the way the front of the vehicle mode was redesigned, Prowl's chest is different as well, with the circuit/tech pattern being quite prominant now.
  • The panels from the motorcycle that form wing like pieces on Prowl's back are on hinges, so you can swing them up and down.
  • The mecha-star weapons from the first Prowl have been eleminated, and instead there is just one solid piece where you would normally have detached the weapons.

Many of these changes wind up being subtle or just different enough to distinguish Samurai Prowl from the first Prowl without going overboard. While not retaining the weapon ability with the mecha-stars, he retains all the posability of the first Prowl. Since his arm panels have been redesigned, you can attach his sword to either of his forearms. Since his hands have not been redesigned, you can still have him hold the mecha-star weapons.

Most of the colors match up to those on the first Prowl, with only a few differences:

  • The wheels from the vehicle mode are not painted, but you can still see the "blade" details.
  • The hands are not painted, leaving them black and giving them a more uniform look with the rest of the figure.
  • The panels on the sides of his upper legs are black instead of gold.
  • The hinge pieces on his lower legs are not entirely colored gold, but rather the three sided designs are the only parts colored gold.

Armored Robot Mode:
The extra armor pieces add on only a few bits, but looks amazing. The helmet has a classic Samurai design with high crests and a section that flares out from the middle down to the bottom. The panels on his hips are true to the design of ones found on real life Samurai armor. The shoulder armor looks fantastic with its pointed ends and translucent blue plastic. What's nice is that the back portion of the armor also has some nice details including tech details and vents that one can imagine being the spot where his thruster energy emits from.

Unfortunately, having the armor on restricts some of his posability. His arms can't really utilize the ball joints on the shoulders and his head can't turn side to side. However, since the sidecar is essentially an accessory, I don't find the loss of this articulation that bad considering the visual impact is significant and positive.

Final Thoughts:
If you're going to reuse most of a sculpt, then do something awesome with it. Varying up the color schemes and adding significant accessories that also tie into significant events in the television show all equal awesome, and to me Samurai Prowl is a figure that I can highly recommend!