"Generations" Combiner Wars Protectobot Hot Spot Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: July 2015
Price Point: $24.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Rifles x 2

Official images with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
The duty of the Protectobots does not stop when the battle is over. Hot Spot and his team of heroes will come to mankind's defense whenever danger threatens. The Combiner Wars are heating up and your 2-in-1 Protectobot Hot Spot figure is ready to lead the way one more time. This powerful leader of the Protectobots is a terrible powerhouse in robot mode, firing his blaster at the Decepticons. But when the time comes for some heavy rescue work, he can convert to firetruck mode with a ladder. He’s also got the power to combine with other bots (sold separately) to form a massive Defensor figure. Convert, combine and attack with your awesome Protectobot Hot Spot figure. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

The theme for the "Generations" segment of the "Transformers" toy line in 2015 is "Combiner Wars". The focus will be on updated versions of Combiners from the past (with some new elements thrown in for good measure). The idea is to take lessons learned from the Bruticus released a couple years ago and create better Combiners featuring a Voyager Class central body piece with Deluxe sized limbs. To spice things up a bit, some of the Legends Class figures released for "Combiner Wars" will be able to serve as weaponry for the combined giants.

One of the most exciting teams to join the ranks of the "Combiner Wars" are the Protectobots. Alongside Cyclonus the summer of 2015 saw the release of Protectobot leader Hot Spot. This figure completes the team of rescue vehicles who all combine into the giant Defensor!

The packaging for "Combiner Wars" creates a very clear delineation between the main "Robots in Disguise" toy line for 2015 and the more collector oriented "Generations" segment. While the packaging uses the same basic "Transformers" logo as the "Robots in Disguise" line, it is set against a black background instead of white on the right side of the box. Above that is an Autobot symbol with the word "Generations" indicating the segment of the line. The figure itself is on display in robot mode through a window. On the lower left side is artwork of the figure (that is different than the collector's card art inside the box) with the words "Combiner Wars" below it and the name "Hot Spot" below that. The side of the packaging shows the artwork for Defensor protecting a human.

The back of the box features the toy in both modes with a small write up in multiple languages. There are sadly no tech spec stats. The right side shows off a schematic drawing of Defensor, with the center highlighted representing Hot Spot. Under that are photos of all five Protectobots.

The "Combiner Wars" figures all come with collector cards printed on thick cardboard. The artwork is not based on the figure itself but rather artwork from the "Transformers Legends" mobile app game based on the 2012 Voyager Class Hot Spot.

Hot Spot includes two rifles. They have an interesting design featuring one long barrel and a smaller one underneath. The back of each rifle has a thick cable connecting the top section to the bottom. The front section has a thinner cable wrapping around the barrel of the weapon. The rifles are not exact copies of each other, rather they represent two opposite sides. Each has a small peg on the inside to connect the weapons to the vehicle mode.

In the original series Hot Spot was armed with weapons that launched fireballs, and it seems like these weapons could have the same purpose. Interestingly, the left rifle has a peg in the back that allows it to connect to the barrel of the other rifle, but it's rather loose and they really don't look that great together. This is likely to combine the weapons to give Defensor a large looking weapon, but I prefer him holding them separately.

Robot Mode:
Unlike some other figures in the "Combiner Wars" toy line Hot Spot does not slavishly follow the design of his Generation One counterpart. There are only three key elements that come directly from G1:

Head: The head sculpt comes straight from the G1 animation model. The design includes a high central crest, antennae on the sides and a mouthplate. The area of his helmet above his brow is shaped almost like the visor on a knight's helmet.
Torso: The torso features a chest panel with an indentation in the middle and mechanical details on the sides. While not an exact match to the G1 version you can tell that this was clearly inspired by the same panel from G1 Hot Spot.
Back: Like G1 Hot Spot his vehicle mode's ladder winds up on his back in robot mode.

The rest of Hot Spot's form is unique to this design. His overal shape gives him a very heroic look. This includes very broad shoulders and forearms that seem to have springs attached to the side armor. Parts of the vehicle mode's front end wind up on his lower legs including the halves of the light bar and the front of the vehicle. Some of my favorite details are tiny tubes and gears inside the chest and shoulders which each have hazard line type bars overlapping them.

Hot Spot is cast in powder blue, black and white plastic. The blue makes up most of his body with black used on parts like his upper arms and thighs. White is seen on his ladder on the back. These were the key colors of G1 Hot Spot and when you put this figure side by side with his G1 counterpart you can see they really did a good job of getting the colors very close to each other.

The paint colors on this figure include red, silver, black and blue. The red is the most heavily used color. It's found on his chest armor panel, the "hazard lines" on his shoulders, the sides of his lower legs, the eyes and the light bars on his legs. Silver is used for the small mechanical details on his shoulders, chest and the sides of the lower legs. Black is found on his chest, waist/hip area, the sides of the lower legs and feet. Together with the red lines on the sides of the lower legs I was surprised to see so much detail painted in on the leg. The blue paint (a darker shade than the powder blue) is used on his mouthplate. Rounding out all this deco is a silver Autobot symbol printed on the center of his chest. I really love this deco. Since some of this deco has to take center stage when Hot Spot is in his "Defensor Torso" mode, he benefits from having some decos on parts that may have otherwise been ignored - the biggest example being the sides of the lower legs.

There are nineteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes five on each arm and three on each leg. His shoulder and hip joints are tight ratchet joints, a necessity since they have to support the Protectobot limbs in Defensor form. Partly thanks to his transformation, his arms can swing outward. Each fist has a 5mm hole that can accommodate one of his weapons. Interestingly the screw holes on the back of his shoulders can also accommodate the weapons so it frees up his hand to hold additional weapons. If you really want to go nuts, the ladder section on the back also has 5mm holes for additional weapon storage.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Remove the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing the chest panel down.
  4. Swing the robot head down.
  5. Swing the robot arms up, connecting the forearm panels to the shoulder armor.
  6. Rotate the arms up, then swing the two arms in and connect them.
  7. Swing each foot down.
  8. Swing up the ladder to move it out of your way.
  9. Rotate the lower legs around, then swing each robot leg up (covering the thighs with the lower legs).
  10. Push the two halves of the robot legs together, clipping them against the waist/hip section and each other.
  11. Pull the ladder up, then swivel it around.
  12. Swing out the panels on the sides of the ladder, then swing the ladder forward and push the panels back up.
  13. The rifles can be attached to the sides of the vehicle or holes at the base of the ladder.

Vehicle Mode:
Unlike his G1 incarnation, this version of Hot Spot becomes a fire truck partly based on the Rosenbauer 6x6. Like that real life vehicle, the front end is curved forward with flat panels along the side. It also has two wheels in the front and two in the back section. It also has its hose on the top of the vehicle (though here it is meshed with his ladder and bucket). That's where the similarities end however. This vehicle mode is much shorter than a Rosenbauer and the back section is relatively thin. For those curious, it was already announced at Botcon 2015 that this sculpt would be retooled as Onslaught, the Combaticon leader explaining the "flattened out" sections of the vehicle.

There are some cool sculpted details on this figure. The sides have panels with a series of horizontal lines on them which make them look like doors that can roll up. The top of the front section has horns in the front and handlebars towards the middle. Doors on the sides really give you a sense of how gigantic this vehicle would be compared to a human being. The middle section features three panels which small handles sculpted onto them and the back features dials and buttons. Overall I'm really happy with the sculpted detail on this figure.

This mode shows off all the same colors as the robot mode, but now you get to see more of the white plastic from the ladder. The sides of the vehicle also reveal tampographed details. The words "Fire Rescue" are printed on the sides in yellow with red outlines. Above the words is a yellow circle with an Autobot symbol inside it in red. The outside of the circle is red and has a trail of red flames behind it. This is a callback to a sticker detail found on G1 Hot Spot. This mode also gives you a good look at the silver details on the headlights and grille coming together in the front. I'm going to risk sounding like a broken record and say that the wheels really need paint on their rims. The plain black color of the plastic just looks unfinished to me.

In addition to the ability to attach weapons to this form, the ladder offers some play value. The ladder can swing up and down and the base can rotate in a circle. The bucket at the top can also be moved up and down. The slot inside the bucket is small, so the only figure I could get in there was a Diaclone pilot figure!

Transformation to Defensor/torso Mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Swing the chest panel open, swing the head down then close the panel.
  2. Swing the forearms up, connecting them to the shoulders.
  3. Swing the black panels on the sides of the shoulder pieces down.
  4. Pull the ladder up, then rotate it around.
  5. Swing the panels on the sides of the ladder out.
  6. Swing out the panels on the sides of the bucket section.
  7. Rotate the piece inside the bucket around, then swing the top of Defensor's head back.
  8. Swing the ladder itself down, then bring the robot head up from the back. The ladder bends on a hinge and there are tabs on the panel that the head rests on that connect to notches where Hot Spot's robot head was.
  9. There are rectangular holes on the side panels that form the panels on Defensor's torso, connect those to the tabs on the back of the shoulders.
  10. Swing each lower leg up over the thighs.

Torso Mode:
Hot Spot's torso mode is the head, torso and thighs of the Combiner Defensor (who will get his own gallery and review later on). There's a lot of inspiration from G1 Defensor in this design. First let's start with the head. The head features a crest in the center, but also two thin parts that look like vents in the front on either side of the "helmet" section. His eyes are curved and at first they may look like a dour or sad expression, but they're actually based on large glasses often worn by emergency personnel in movies and TV shows. The sides of his head also feature large circles, another G1 feature carried over into this mold.

Also inspired by his G1 counterpart are the panels on the chest. These panels have angles that point upward and feature extensions that rise up beyond the shoulders. The basic shape of these panels is based on the panels that formed G1 Defensor's chest, though they were nowhere near as exaggerated and large. These panels also feature a lot more of the type of intricate mechanical detailing seen on Hot Spot's shoulders and legs in robot mode including the "hazard" stripes over them.

The other section that calls back to G1 Defensor is the waist/thigh area. The waist section has two raised panels that are colored black, similar to the waist piece on G1 Defensor. The middle of the thighs have mechanical details with hazard stripes that are similar to stickers from G1 Defensor's legs.

I really love all these callbacks to G1 Defensor. He's instantly recognizable as the G1 Protectobot giant but the additional details added in bring the figure up to the modern age.

From a functional standpoint, the ratchet joint on the left leg is a tiny bit off. It swings forward a bit too much so when you try to stand him combined with the Protectobot limbs he tends to lean forward slightly. This is easily corrected with some adjustments when posing the figure, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

Final Thoughts:
Hot Spot is a really cool figure. I've always had a soft spot for the character and the toy since he was one of the few Combiner Team Leaders that I bought myself as a kid. This version of the character totally lives up to the original. The figure is nicely detailed and looks great in each mode. Recommended!

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