Release Date: September 2014
Price Point: $32.99
Accessories: Rotor blades x 2
*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Need a daredevil rescue? The Protectobots Evac Squad can get it done. Sure, they might showboat after they do it, but since they're working in the most extreme conditions with no margin for error, you can't really blame them. Their knack for dramatic rescues is rivaled only by their knack for dramatic storytelling. The way you'd hear them tell it, even saving a cat stuck in a tree qualifies as a high-wire mission on the edge of danger.
Roll to the Transformers rescue with the Evac Squad pack! These Protectobot Blades and Hot Spot figures are ready to handle whatever threatens innocent bystanders. Your Blades figure converts from robot to helicopter mode, while your Hot Spot figure converts fast from robot to fire truck mode! Your rescue adventures will never be the same once you have the Evac Squad Pack. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
Protectobot Blades Review
Protectobots Blades is a direct redeco of "Revenge of the Fallen" Blazemaster. The same sculpt was later used for "Revenge of the Fallen" Evac and then Tailwhip (a Decepticon). It's a very unusual design (which I note in the previous reviews) and I liked it in an odd way. Check out those earlier reviews for details on this sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
It would've been easy for Hasbro to just take the Blazemaster figure and paint it red and white and call it a day as a homage to G1 Blades. However, for this release the designers decided to go deep into "Transformers" G1 lore. Blades' deco is actually based on a character named "Fly-Up". The name may not be familiar to many fans. Fly-Up was a member of the "Guard City" team, a group from the latter days of "Generation One" who appeared in the print-only "Operation Combination" story. More relevant to this set, Fly-Up was a redeco of G1 Blades, so this was a natural redeco.
Blades is cast in white, black, blue and translucent blue plastic. Most of the front to the middle is white. The tail section is blue. The rotors are black and the windows are translucent blue. This color layout matches up quite a bit with Fly-Up. In particular the white and blue sections are directly influenced from Fly-Up. There is also a blue stripe painted from the front to the sides which echoes the blue front end of Fly-Up's vehicle form. On the engine section under the rotors are silver details painted on both sides. These details are based on stickers located on the sides of the figure.
Some additional embellishments have been added to the deco that don't appear on Fly-Up. This includes white Autobot symbols on the tail section and a really ornate Autobot symbol with two lines behind it resembling "wings" on some emblems and medals. Overall the deco looks fantastic and I really love the callback to Fly-Up.
Blades has a gimmick that spins his rotors. Press the translucent blue button on the left side of the vehicle and the rotors spin. It works great, which is cool given this is the fourth use of this tooling.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach the rotors and fold of the blades on the halves together before separating them from each other.
- Swing up the panels on the underside of the vehicle behind the nose.
- Split the front windows of the helicopter apart then rotate them forward and down.
- Swing open the blue panels on the top of the windows.
- Split the tail sections and swing them outward.
- Swing the tail down on the central plastic piece running down the center of the vehicle's underside.
- Detach the sides of the vehicle from the top section and swing those sections down.
- Swing the nose of the helicopter down.
- Split the top engine section and swing the halves forward to form the robot arms.
- On each robot arm swing the thumbs forward and rotate the upper arms around so the forearms can swing forward. You can swing the panels together (that is how the official photos show it transformed) but I prefer them only partly closed.
- Pull each half of the tail rotor out a bit, and swing it down before folding each half of the rotor in.
- Swing each horizontal stabilizer so they point back.
- Swing the central hinged pieces up and connect the tail section to the white hinged section.
- There are notches in the center white hinge piece that connect to tabs on the white horizontal plastic strips that attach to the arms. Connect those together.
- Swing the tail piece against the back.
- Swing down each lower leg and angle the legs back in a "chicken walker" type pose.
- Attach the rotors to the underside of each arm.
The layout of this sculpt's robot mode is very different than G1 Blades and Fly-Up, so the designers had quite a challenge in trying to pay homage to Fly-Up. While Fly-Up was a good mix of orange, blue and white in robot mode, Blades is mostly white. He does have some blue parts including his feet and the "back pack" formed from the rear of the vehicle mode. The designers tried to bring in Fly-Up's other colors by painting parts of the torso and thighs orange, the color found on Fly-Up's torso. His eyes are translucent blue, echoing the light blue color of Fly-Up's face. In this case however his face is painted silver. The translucent windows on his chest look cool and the black rotors attached to his arms help offer some dark colored contrast. While his colors don't totally line up with Fly-Up, the influence is there and it looks cool.
All the joints on this figure are nice and tight. The rotors also attach to his arms without an issue. From a functional standpoint the figure is still solid.
Protectobot Hot Spot Review
Protectobot Hot Spot is a redeco and retool of both Inferno and Solar Storm Grappel. Interestingly, this basic sculpt was already released as Hot Spot two years prior to this release with a more character accurate head sculpt to boot. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. Check out the previous reviews above for more details on the figure.
This particular sculpt has been through several incarnations as noted above (and that list doesn't even include the Botcon exclusive Spark and Japanese exclusive Artfire releases). From the top of the vehicle you would think he's just a straight forward redeco of Solar Storm Grappel thanks to the crane/hook arm. However, a closer look shows he's actually a mash up of parts from Inferno and Grappel. Yes the crane arm comes from the Grappel sculpt, but look on the sides of the vehicle, you'll see a piece on the side that looks like it has two large tubes in it. This piece was from the Inferno sculpt. On Grappel, they had replaced this part with another. This makes this vehicle form an interesting mash up of the Inferno and Grappel sculpts.
Much like Blades, this iteration of Hot Spot takes his color influence from the Guard City team. Specifically, he uses the colors of "Fire Chief", the G1 redeco of Hot spot who formed the torso and head of the Guard City combiner. Taking the cues from that figure, this Hot Spot winds up being mostly red, but a lighter shade than the dark red used on Inferno. The middle panels and crane arm are cast in grey while the wheels are cast in black. His windows and light bars are translucent blue. The colors work together as a base very nicely, though I do find myself wishing some of the awesome sculpted details on the sides of the vehicle were painted to draw emphasis to them.
The top part of the vehicle has some light blue paint. This is a visual call back to the light blue parts on Fire Chief, who mostly looked like Hot Spot was in the middle of swapping one set of armor for another. Along the sides on the front of the vehicle is a yellow stripe with an Autobot symbol. This stripe is a more "real life" call back to a dramatic fireball pattern sticker on Fire Chief. The sides of the wheels are painted silver, which is customary for "Generations" style Transformers, but I can't help but think there was a missed opportunity here to paint them blue to match up more with Fire Chief. That said, to those unfamiliar with the "source material" for this deco, blue rims on the wheels may just look odd.
All the functionality comes into play in the wheels rolling and the crane arm. Both work just fine, which is cool to see given how many releases there have been of this sculpt.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Swing out the grey panels in the middle of the vehicle.
- Flip the truck over and swing in each of the front wheels.
- Separate the lower half of the back of the vehicle from the top and swing it down.
- Swing the robot legs forward all the way on the hip joint so the front wheels disappear underneath the cabin section.
- Separate the legs from each other and swing the robot feet out. Then rotate each lower leg so the feet point forward.
- Swing the front bumper down.
- Pull the two halves of the top of the vehicle out.
- Separate the side panels from the central cabin piece.
- Swing the panel with the window on it against the panel with the raised section on the top of the vehicle, then swing each of those panels up.
- Swing the robot arms forward.
- Swing the panels on the forearms back.
- The panes on his shoulders can be swung back or kept out to the sides (whichever you think looks best).
- Swing the black panel on the back out.
- Push the lightbar on the left to flip the robot head up.
- Swing the panel back up against his back.
- The crane arm can be rotated around.
Hot Spot represents a unique mas up of parts from both Inferno and Grappel. The head sculpt is Grappel's (which is odd to me since a perfectly good Hot Spot head sculpt for this body already exists. The shoulder armor uses the same tooling as the ones from Grappel, however the forearms, fists and feet are the sculpts used for Inferno. The good thing about this is that the fists have 5mm holes, allowing him to hold 5mm peg weapons. Among the variants of the base Inferno sculpt, it is cool to see a unique combination of parts used for this exclusive even if I would've preferred a different head sculpt.
At first glance, the colors on the figure would make you think this was Inferno. Red dominates the sculpt, but as mentioned in the vehicle mode review the red is lighter than Inferno's. Smaller parts are cast in black and dark grey such as the fists and head. The windows on his chest are translucent blue. Like City Guardian's Fire Chief, there are sections on this figure painted light blue such as the lower legs and the panels on the outside of his forearms. In an additional touch to really pay homage to Fire Chief the eyes are painted red, even though they are cast in translucent blue plastic. The light piping is pretty much eliminated, but this does mirror Fire Chief's eyes which were red in G1. I found myself irrationally wishing there were more orange parts in this mode to reflect Fire Chief's orange chest panel, but realistically there was no way to do it without painting the front of the vehicle orange (which frankly, would be ugly).
For the most part this figure's joints are tight. I say "for the most part" because the hip joints are more loose than the other incarnations of this sculpt. This has been something happening for a while now. When I move Inferno's legs around, they're nice and tight. Grappel's are slightly more loose. The Generations "GDO" Hot Spot's are a bit more loose and the trend seems to continue. They're not "floppy" mind you. The figure can stand and be posed without a problem, but the "feel" of the joint is definitely more loose than previous releases.
This is a really interesting two pack. The designers definitely had their hearts in the right place. The use of a unique combination of Inferno/Grappel parts, the "City Guardian" based decos and the use of the Protectobots all point to someone who wanted to send a bit of a love letter to G1. However, there were some missteps. Personally I would have preferred Tomahawk be used as Blades (though I do understand that Blazemaster's vehicle mode suits Blades more) and I still don't understand why Grappel's head sculpt was used. This is a good boxed set, but you'll get the most out of it if you don't own several incarnations of both sculpts already.