Another variant from yesteryear that seems to have been around forever, the Mexican "Black Prowl" from the G1 Transformers range manufactured by Plasticos Iga. Released in 1985 in Mexico and widely exported into Europe, this is as well known as G1 variants come. There are 3 confirmed variations of this toy and one a little less confirmed, but the overall appeal is that Mexico created a G1 Prowl with Spanish text on the factory stickers and a mostly black colour scheme, especially a black robot helmet.
|Low quality materials|
From the external packaging to the materials that the toy itself is made out of, the quality is lower than that used by Hasbro or Takara. The packaging doesn't have the gloss of early US G1, the insert packaging is flimsy and specimens are often found with the bubbles detached (so the Prowl above is a proper rarity!). Stickers and paperwork are also of lower quality, and the factory stickers on the toy have a very papery feel. You can see the Spanish text on the outer packaging. The box template is from very early US G1, you can see the stock imagery from the left side flap creeping onto the box front, that was corrected on later Hasbro box templates.
|Black doors, no crescent on hood...|
|...most common version|
In both vehicle mode and robot mode, this variation is strikingly different to a regular G1 Prowl, the presence of black paint and plastic in key locations defines its look. And appeal. Notice the "POLICIA" and "Patrulla De Caminos" factory stickers on the door, the slightly differently-coloured police badge and the Ratchet-mould split sirens on the roof. There is no real white on the figure either, just standard Plasticos Iga cream paint.The bumper stickers also read "Policia".
The really rare versions of this variant have a black crescent like G1 Prowl on the hood, whereas this one has a plain white hood. One of those rare versions also has white doors, so there are some different types out there, with a rumoured fourth variant being almost entirely black. I'd absolutely kill to see that.
|It's 2000 all over again|
|Dull grey paint on face|
This is where it's at though, robot mode. All versions of Mexican Prowl found so far have the black robot head, shoulders and hands that make him look like a completely separate Autobot strategist to the Hasbro G1 Prowl. The extra black that frames his figure mode makes him stand out from a distance and even moreso up close, and until you've seen one in the flesh you can't appreciate just what a special variant this is. Goodness only knows what possessed Iga to drastically revise his colour scheme from the base material.
As always with these variants from Mexico, there are quality issues that can wreck the experience. The roof is held on by good thoughts, so finding mint specimens with broken roofs or back windows is tragically common. It also explains why a junker with just one rear window piece attached can still fetch a remarkable $80 on auction. The leg halves can also be murder to separate, and often it's not worth the risk. Missiles fit into the launchers at a funny and awkward angle, however they do fire. But, if you do find a mint one, hesitation be damned. It's also a good strategy to buy junkers if they have one door, or any rear windows attached. These can be pieced together from multiple junkers and the eventual whole will be worth the effort. There are few more impressive early Generation 1 variants in existence and although I just sold my MIB one pictured here, I suspect it won't be the last one I own.
|Old friends, you and I|
More on Mexican Prowl HERE
All the best