Release Date: October 2012
Price Point: $22.99 (varies depending on location)
Retailer: Toys R Us and Asian Exclusive
Accessories: "Water blast" missile
With an ever expanding market in Asia, Hasbro China announced last year the release of several Transformers redec os for the "Generations" line that (at the time) were intended for a purely Asian release. However, fans got one whiff of this and they wanted these toys on the spot! Many of these redecos were rather inspired, while others were head scratchers. Either way, Hasbro US saw fit to find a channel to bring these toys to the US, in new packaging to boot! In an ironic move, while the Chinese versions of these characters were released on purely English packaging, the US releases have Chinese characters on them, representing their "exclusive" origin. You may sometimes hear these figures referred to as "GDO" Transformers. For those curious, this is not a Transformers term, it is an economic one, standing for "Global Development Organization".
Starting with the "Universe 2.0" line of Transformers, many original characters who were once combiners began to get reinterpreted as stand alone toys, mostly due to the cost of creating larger, combining Transformers. Examples include Silverbolt and Autobot Blades. When the time came to add in another Voyager Class figure into the "GDO" assortments, the designers took the opportunity to introduce the Protectobot leader Hot Spot into the mix. Sure he couldn't combine with anyone, but the designers made sure the homage would work. In Generation One, Hot Spot was a fire truck in his alternate form, so the designers took the logical step of using Universe 2.0 Inferno's sculpt as the basis for this figure. This review will be focusing on the changes made to the figure for this release. Check out Inferno's review for more details on the sculpt.
Unlike "Universe 2.0" Inferno, Hot Spot is packaged in robot mode, a common practice now to show poential customers what they will get in robot form, which makes the toy look bigger and shows off more of the details on the figure. The idea is to make it feel more worth the price people are paying, which admittedly has gone up in the last year or so dramatically.
Hot Spot's primary plastic colors are light blue, black and gunmetal grey. The blue and the black are carry over colors from the first Hot Spot. The designers even decided to go with more of a bright, powder blue color instead of trying to darken it or make it look more "gritty and real". Instead, you have an Autobot who is almost instantly recognizable just based on his colors alone.
The light blue color is the most prominent. You'll find it on the torso, the upper and lower arms and his lower legs. The other two main plastic colors alternate a bit. The firsts and upper arm joints are black, while the thighs are gunmetal grey. I'm glad there isn't just black and blue on this figure, but that instead the gunmetal grey is used on key parts that help keep him from looking dull. I've always enjoyed gunmetal grey coloring on Transformers since it gives them a look as if they were constructed from metal in fact (not just in fiction). There are also translucent red pieces on either side of the to pof the chest that represent his light bars in vehicle mode.
Hot Spot's decos are most focus on his torso in this form, which is made up from the front of the vehicle mode thus the robot mode benefits from the detailing of the vehicle mode. This includes windows painted black, windshield wipers and his grille painted silver, white headlights and gold fog lights underneath. A bit of red paint shows up on the four lines on each shoulder, reminscent of the hazard lines on G1 Hot Spot's shoulders. The top of his feet are painted silver, bringing out the mechanical details in that section. The only place I could see here for more decose would be his lower legs or forearms, but really I think he looks cool and serves as a nice homage as he is.
The real reason to go chasing after this figure (other than how it looks) is the effort put into it. This version of the character actually has the traditional G1 Hot Spot head complete with a mouth plate, high crest and what look almost like blasters or antennae running along the sides of his head. The head sculpt has eyes that look like they're narrowing, so many have said the robot mode "feels" less friendly than G1 Hot Spot did, but I think the head sculpt looks great, and even includes extra detail such as lines on the sides of the mouthplate. Even the back has some nice detailing including a "band" that wraps from one side of the head to the other at the base of his "helmet" section on the back. It appears the head was designed for light piping (the back of the crest is translucent grey plastic) but the eyes are painted effectively negating that feature.
When the Inferno sculpt was made into "Solar Storm Grappel" a while back, the bars on his shoulder armor were redone to accomodate "C Clip" weapons, and Hot Spot benefits from that ability. Between his missile (which figures just fine), his fists and those clips you could easily have Hot Spot carrying up to five weapons at a time! The joints on this figure are nice and tight, actually a bit tighter than the joints on my Botcon exclusive Spark figure (which uses the same base sculpt).
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Launch the missile and set it aside for now.
- Rotate each of the panels on his forearms around.
- on the inside of each shoulder armor panel, fold out the pieces that form the side windows.
- Rotate the shoulder armor so it covers the front of each shoulder.
- Straighten each arm out.
- Straighten out the panel that forms the back section.
- Swing the head back and lock it in place.
- Swing each arm back and connect the two shoulder armor pieces together.
- Press the panels that form the side windows against the sides of the vehice in the front.
- Swing the arms up and rotate the missile launcher cannon around.
- Swing out the panels on the sides of each forearm.
- Push up each of the robot feet.
- Rotate each robot leg around and connect them together.
- Swing the legs up.
- Connect the panels from the sides of the arms to the legs.
- Swing the panel on the shoulder armor section back to finish forming the middle of the vehicle.
- Swing the front wheels out from under the chest section.
- Swing up the front bumper.
- Reattach the missile.
The fact that Inferno's vehicle mode was the same kind of emergency vehicle as Hot Spot's (namely, a fire truck) makes it ideal for this redeco, however it's the color scheme that really impresses me here. The light blue color makes up most of this form, but there is a lot of color in between and on top that harkens back to the G1 Protectobot beautifully. Black is used for the window details, which is a nice color call back to G1 Hot Spot. Touches of silver are used on the sides for additional detailing in the middle and over the rear wheel wells. The silver detailing on the front of the vehicle really works nicely here including the windshield wipers being painted, something that wasn't done on Inferno. The contrast against the black window is really nice and I appreciate the attention to detail.
All this said, the boldest details that scream "I am Hot Spot!" are the "fireball" decos on the sides of the front section. Each one of these is a yellow ball with orange and red flames trailing behind. This detail is borrowed directly from G1 Hot Spot and it is the kind of deco you don't see much anymore. Behind that is a red Autobot symbol on each side. Once again this calls back to a detail that G1 Hot Spot had on the sides of his vehicle mode. There's one final detail which could easily be overlooked. The sides of the wheels have been painted light blue, matching up nicely with the blue plastic on the rest of the figure. This isn't just a way to keep the wheels looking plain, it's a call back to the way G1 Hot Spot's wheels were painted! Considering the sides of the wheels on most figures aren't painted anymore, this extra bit of detailing is great to see!
There's not much functionality in this figure to speak of beyond what the robot mode has but the missile launcher can turn without a problem and the wheels roll nicely. Even if the figure doesn't do much for you as a homage, it's still solid in both modes.
I already liked this sculpt as a new incarnation of Inferno and it works beautifully as a new incarnation of Hot Spot. Until they make a new version where he can combine with his fellow Protectobots, this is a perfectly good figure to have in your Autobot army. Recommended!