As part of a feature presentation in their toy departments in early 2004, Wal*Mart stores added a number of exclusive repaint toys to the Universe line. The less-expensive sets were Spychanger two-packs of Optimus Prime with Prowl and Ultra Magnus with Ironhide. These are first time repaints for all but Ironhide with some nice G1 homage thrown in, if not properly used
Review - Optimus Prime
Optimus Prime is a repaint of the smaller toy from the Robots in Disguise line. He is mostly yellow, most likely meant to match the larger and recent Sam's Club Optimus Prime repaint of the larger fire truck. Windows and painted silver and there gray comprises the ladder and middle of the truck. Autobot symbols are stamped on the sides and his light bar is a light red. The base of the ladder can turn ninety degrees in either direction and the ladder itself can pivot about 135 degrees back.
Transformation is simple enough for a toy of this size. Extend the front cab section forward, rotate the ladder base ninety degree in either direction (passenger side seems to work best for me) and slide the ladder down. Next, flip the rear wheel section up ninety degrees and pull the arms out.
In robot mode, Prime resembles the combined form of the larger fire truck toy and has five points of articulation, not all of them useful. He swivels at the neck and shoulders and can swing each leg out to the side. His eyes, forearms, and feet are painted black and his antennae, hands, and leg detail are painted silver. You can bring the ladder down along his side, slightly, for use as an cannon, but then Prime is unable to stand.
Optimus is a decent toy, but the lack of painted details and his unstable robot mode just don't make for a great toy. The color scheme doesn't help much either.
Final Grade: C
Review - Prowl
Prowl is a repaint of the Robots in Disguise Prowl 2 Spychanger. In this incarnation, however, he's made up as a fire chief's car, similar to the original Red Alert. He is mostly white and light red with fire department and fire chief markings on his hood and doors. His windows, front bumper and grill are painted silver. His weapon can be stored on his chassis near the rear axle, though it is a somewhat loose fit.
Transformation is as easy as 1-2-3. Pull the rear of the car back, flip the hood down, and pull the doors out. One thing to note is that due to the nature of his design, you must push the doors in first before returning the hood back to it's original position when transforming back to car mode as there are small tabs the hood covers.
Prowl's robot mode is still mostly white and red, but now there is a good deal of black in the lower legs, giving a good balance to the toy. His head is dark gray with silver paint on the details of his face. This simply looks amazing. He does lack articulation though in that he only has shoulder joints. Prowl can hold his gun in either hand as a gun or a tonfa so he can either blast you or beat you depending on his mood.
This is the best of the lot as far the Wal*Mart Spychangers go. As I only paid $3 for the set, I feel it was worth it just to get Prowl. Great color scheme and paint application, good choice for the mold, a great toy. Shame though that he wasn't named Red Alert since it seems apparent that's who he is a homage to.
Final Grade: B+
|Reviewer||Richard C. Mistron|
|Date||June 12th 2004|
|Score||(6 out of 10)|