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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Sir Auros' review of: Checkpoint and Prowl

Name: Checkpoint and Prowl
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Security
Sub-Group: NA

Retailing at $19.99 and sporting awesome new paintjobs, Kmart finally has a worthwhile Transformer exclusive. Prior to this set, the ailing retailer had funky repaints of Armada Optimus Prime and Jetfire packaged together for over $50. It wasn't much of a value (even including something like half a dozen Minicons), and between that and Kmart's financial troubles, I wasn't expecting them to snag an Energon exclusive. However, not only did the store get another Transformer exclusive, but they got a really cool exclusive. The figures are identical to their Energon counterparts (Rodimus and Prowl) except for the paintjobs. While Rodimus had a nifty paintjob already, Prowl's wasn't enticing enough for me to risk $10 on a toy I hadn't heard much good about. I have already reviewed Rodimus, so I won't go too in-depth on specific thoughts on the mold and will focus mainly on the new paintjob. Anyway, enough with the rambling and onto the review, eh?

Vehicle Mode:
Checkpoint pulls off a convincing SWAT vehicle. The mold already looked like it was armor-plated and the paintjob is super. It's too bad that a trailer for the figure still hasn't surfaced, because there is that hook on the back that looks like it's meant for attaching to something. The one thing I really don't like about Checkpoint's vehicle mode is that his gun is still the same color as Rodimus', and bright, transparent orange just does not go with a law enforcement theme. Simple black would have been significantly more tasteful...actually, just about any color other than green would be an improvement on white. They could've used the blue used for Prowl's gun for Checkpoint's and I'd have been happy.

Prowl's vehicle mode is similar to the Machine Wars incarnation of the name, and it looks good. Doubt there will ever be an F1 type law enforcement vehicle, and the figure fails as a robot in disguise, but when was the last time that was a promoted part of the brand anyway? The figure stays together and rolls nicely, so I imagine kids would have a fair amount of fun playing with Prowl in vehicle mode. I think the paintjob makes it ok for display, and I will probably have mine displayed in that mode more often than not.

Robot Mode:
Checkpoint's robot mode has tighter joints than my Rodimus figure. My Rodimus had a loose orange foot piece and loose armfins almost as soon as I had transformed it, but everything in Checkpoint remains tight after several transformations. The paintjob is great except for the head. The helmet part could really have been better in black or some color other than just white, and I would've liked the headfin to be a different color than that orange. Other than that, the robot mode's fine for display or play.

I had heard a lot of bad things about the Prowl mold's robot mode. I don't think it's all that bad, but there are enough flaws to keep me from wanting to put it on display. The most significant of which is that the head is ridiculously far back. I think Dolly Parton's head is closer to her nipples than Prowl's is. The legs and arms also seem slightly disproportionate. It's subtle, but irksome. The paintjob is good through the whole figure though, so no complaints there and the articulation couldn't be better. The mold just looks like it's horribly deformed somehow.

Powerlinx Mode:
Every single one of these is half-assed and fugly and I think this is one of the worst Transformer gimmicks in recent history. Checkpoint on top gives you this monstrosity with huge arms with two holes for holding guns (we're supposed to believe the abomination has fists), and Prowl on top is a slightly better alternative (and the only version I bothered photographing). Either way you'll have something inferior to the individual robots that can't stand up without propping it against something.

Transformation: 8 - Individual robots can be done without instructions, powerlinx modes can as well, but they're also very adaptable.
Durability: 7 - Love those ball-socket joints. Prowl's arms can become loose at the shoulders and mine frequently detach during any transformation.
Fun: 8 - They can look great on display and they're reasonably articulated.
Price: 8 - If you can find the set at Kmart, it's well worth it since it's what you'd pay for the two Deluxes anyway. I'd wait for the ebay price to come down or look for someone to trade with if you can't find one in your area.
Summary: 8 - Slightly better than average and worth adding to a collection if you're interested at all in the Energon line.

 
 
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