Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A to Z Challenge: Prowl vs Predaking


In the way I like Jetfire and Grapple, my brother Christopher Dilloway likes the Autobot Prowl. The original Prowl is a police car that uses the same frame as the Bluestreak and Smokescreen toys. Prowl is supposed to be the Autobot’s strategist who prizes logic above all else, but in the TV show he was more or less just another Autobot, though his “acid pellets” came in handy a few times.

Sadly Prowl was killed off in the 1986 movie. Along with Ironhide, Brawn, and some other original Autobots, he was on a ship heading to Earth that was boarded by Decepticons. Prowl takes one shot in the shoulder and his eyes smoke and he’s gone. Which was a WTF moment for us kids in the 80s because Prowl had probably been shot a dozen times in the TV series and not died. In the "Triple Takeover" episode he and a couple other Autobots were taken apart and made into a throne for Blitzwing and by the end of the episode he was good as new.  So really, what the fuck!?

Da fuck is that?!

The toy of Prowl was revived with the Action Masters. He didn’t transform but he had a transforming police motorcycle. He had some other toys made of him later, including a Beast Wars toy that was part of a lackluster combiner. I don’t think he has appeared (yet) in any of the live action movies. There have been a couple of toys of him based off of the IDW comics series.


In the original comic book Prowl managed to survive and after Optimus Prime died in issue #75 he became part of a ruling council on Cybertron. In the IDW series Prowl is a hard-ass cop before the war and then after the war he often goes rogue, taking over the Constructicons and in the “Combiner Wars” even forcing Optimus Prime, Mirage, Sunstreaker, and Ironhide into forming a combining robot. At least in his own mind he has good reasons for all of this, though it often puts him at odds with Optimus Prime and other Autobots whom Prowl believe to be na├»ve.


***

There were already 5 combining teams when the Predacons came along in the third series of toys. The Constructicons were first and used 6 small robots to form Devastator. The Aerialbots, Protectobots, Stunticons, and Combaticons all used the Voltron model of four smaller robots for the limbs and a larger one for the torso.

His sword looks like a toothpick!

Hasbro tried a different approach with the Predacons, using five full-size robots to go together to form Predaking. The result looked cool in illustrations and on TV, but was cumbersome and awkward as a toy IRL. Having limbs pretty much the same size as the torso didn’t make for good balance and the larger limbs were also harder to keep attached or move around. Not surprisingly, Hasbro went back to the Voltron model for its next combiner teams.


The Predacons were all robotic animals led by Razorclaw, who turned into a lion. There was also a tiger, eagle, rhino, and bull. The wings came off the eagle to put on Predaking’s back so in theory he could fly, though he would really be far too cumbersome to do so.


The Predacons made a couple of appearances in the Marvel comic book, where they were dispatched by Shockwave to track down and kill Megatron. Perhaps because their combiner toy kind of sucked they were not a part of IDW’s Combiner Wars, which featured most of the previous combiners and even a couple of new ones.


Predaking was featured in a few third season episodes of the TV show and even had a little featurette put at the end of some episodes. It described him as having “no known weaknesses” and yet he seemed pretty vulnerable to Sky Lynx whapping him with his tail. In the Beast Wars series the bad guys were called Predacons but they had no relationship to these Predacons.  In the
Transformers Prime series there is also a Predaking, but he's a dragon that doesn't turn into a larger robot.

The toys have been reissued at least once, though not really improved.

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