Masterpiece Theater - Prowl and Bluestreak
After the good start with Sideswipe and Red Alert, the next mold selected for the Masterpiece treatment was the workhorse of the Autobot cars: the Datsun (now Nissan) Fairlady Z. Sure, maybe I’m overstating [You? Never. – Ed.], but 3 Autobots shared this mold; Prowl, Bluestreak and Smokescreen. At the time of this writing and accompanying photoshoot, I’ve only managed to acquire two of the above, Prowl and Bluestreak. For whatever reason, I’m having some difficulty trying to convince myself to buy this mold yet again.
That’s not a knock on the design or transformation though. Much like Sideswipe and his mold-mate, Prowl and Bluestreak have transformations that are elaborate and deeply involved. While the front end of car mode/top half of the robot has a transformation that harkens back to the original G1 toys and thus is pretty straightforward, the back end, although rife with impressive engineering, tends to be a bit, well, almost counterintuitive…and certainly difficult to remember if you haven’t transformed them in a while or have lost or misplaced the instructions! [So, like you for this review then? – Ed.] To offset this, thankfully, the construction is sturdy enough to prevent any thoughts of breakage. I will certainly encourage that if you’re someone that treats your Masterpiece TFs with kid gloves, like I do, it wouldn’t hurt to watch a YouTube transformation or two before jumping in. [And maybe next time, you’ll remember to do that. – Ed.]
As has been the hallmark of the Masterpiece line ever since its inception, Prowl and Bluestreak are fantastic reproductions of their chosen vehicles…well, at least on the exterior. Sure, I’d love a return to something akin to Binaltech/Alternators where you have these amazingly detailed car interiors as well, but all things considered, I think it’s a fair trade to sacrifice said interiors for the next talking point: the on-model robot modes from the G1 cartoon. More so than Sideswipe and Red Alert, Prowl and Bluestreak in their robot modes are the toys you thought you had back in the 80s, but now with articulation expected from today’s collector. That’s not to say that these two exceed Sideswipe and Red Alert (as those two exceeded the toys they were based on), Prowl and Bluestreak feel more like the ultimate evolution of the form started back in ’84 (earlier if you count the Diaclone toys they’re based on). The only slight beef I have I have with these two are the shoulder guns. They’re…well, there’s no other way to put it…bland. Plain. Zero detail. Just…ugh. Yes, I know, there are third party folks that make replacements that look way better, but…well, this is Masterpiece and this far in the line, well, Takara has impressed me so much that perhaps anything that doesn’t come off immediately as grade-A awesome ends up feeling like a magnified disappointment. Given that this is the only minor negative with the toys, and they certainly don’t even have to be displayed with these guns in place, this disappointment is by no way a deal-breaker.
All in all, Prowl and Bluestreak continue to maintain the high quality that one generally expects from Takara’s Masterpiece line. If you grew up with Generation 1, the only reason not to have at least one version of this mold in your collection would be due to the price…which isn’t horrible, but might be a little rich for some people’s blood. I should say, though, as you can see from Bluestreak's packaging, that both of these molds were available in the US as Toys R Us exclusives. While you may have to resort to ebay for Prowl's American release, Toys R Us still has Bluestreak in stock at the time of this writing!