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Who is your favorite Toa?


 July 16, 2004


Everyone has a favorite car. For me, it was a Ferrari Testarossa when I was growing up (I did get to see one parked at a grocery store near where I grew up, and another one later parallel parked right behind a Ferrari F40 in front of the local comic book store...yes, whenever I see them it's in really weird places), and around the time I was in high school it was a 2nd generation "split-window" Corvette (though I never could really decide between a true split-window and a rag-top), but that all changed in the summer of '96. I picked up a free game demo CD that was sponsered by the Plymouth auto company, and about half of the included software was a big virtual tour. One section of the tour included two 3D models of concept cars that you could rotate, and you could even change the colors. The Atlantic (based on cars from the 30's or 40's, I believe) wasn't anything special, but the Prowler just looked all kinds of cool (not surprisingly, it was sent into production not too long after that). The surprising thing was that it only really looked good in one of the colors you could pick. Even more surprising is that all three of the people I was sharing an apartment with, and the girlfriend of one of them, all agreed with me. My only regret is that I couldn't make it in that color: Prowler Purple (hey, there's a reason it was only sold in one color its entire first year of production). Fortunately, it still looks decent enough in black.

When I joined MichLUG, it was more to hang out with other LEGO fans, but I really like doing the shows as well. So far, all three of the shows I've helped out with have included at least a Space display and a small display of my own BIONICLE creations, but most of the events are Train shows under the MichLTC name. I figured if I ever end up helping out with one of those shows, it'd be nice if I had at least one MOC that would look appropriate to add to the display, and since I'd never seen one done in minifig scale, I decided to build a Prowler. I'm not sure if it qualifies as a 5-wide (based on the width of the passenger compartment), a 6-wide (based on the width of the trunk), or a 7-wide (based on the rear wheel-base), but I do know that it's in a much bigger scale than the dinky little 4-wide cars that were so common in LEGO sets in the last millennium. You know what? I don't care, because it looks just about the right scale for a minifig.

As hard as this might be to believe, I never actually intended to include any BIONICLE parts in the design (I didn't even see a way to include any), but the tapered front end proved to be a lot more difficult than I'd anticipated, due to the shape of the front fenders. The very front end is a 2x2 round-topped brick stood on end with a 1x2 grille tile as the radiator, and the top is an odd construction of wedge plates with a triangular arrangement of studs on top, but there's a 4-plate gap between the wedge plates and the main chassis. I tried a few other arrangements with regular bricks, but they were all either too skinny or too fat, and none of them had the same wedge shape as the top section. Finally I realized that the BOHROK eyes were about the right profile, with the advantage that they tapered to a small tip that would fit over the fenders if they were tilted up a bit. It also means that I'll be able to slip a few BIONICLE pieces into a MichLTC train display someday.

The back end was easier, but still presented a few interesting challenges. There is no rear bumper anywhere, and the tail-lights form part of the rear fenders. I know how I could add the bumpers, but they'd either be huge and clunky, or thin little wires (even thinner than the front bumper), and either way they'd increase the likelihood of having parts fall off (the front bumper and wheels are held on by only two studs, as is the nose, and the rear tail-lights are held on by one stud each). I thought the passenger seat looked too open, so I added in a sloped dashboard next to the steering wheel.

And then there's me. A pair of black legs (jeans and tanker boots), a purple long-sleeved T-shirt, a repainted Steven Spielberg head (just as in real life, it's hard to tell that my sunglasses have purple lenses, but I also had to fix the grey beard and eyebrows), and a modified Qui-Gon hair (quite necessary to keep me from instantly going bald every time I sat in the Prowler) complete the package.

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