Cliffbee.com: Hotlink Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Hotlink
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: F-15 Fighter



PLANE MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 18.5cm Width: 13cm

   A metallic purple F-15 fighter in the spirit of the G1 Seekers, Hotlink is a retcon of a background character seen in the G1 cartoon (More Than Meets The Eye, Part 1). He's a "grape" purple as seen and the purple is very close (aside from the metallic sheen). The colour map is very similar to that of Thundercracker in jet mode. He sports silver air intakes along with red & white stripes on the tailfins and wings. He has a transparent yellow canopy, which sports purple ribs. There are backwards facing purple Decepticon logos stamped on either wing - it's actually purple over purple and while the shades are similar they are painted. This is a good colour scheme, and one that's distinct from every other seeker to date.

   For the size this is a pretty realistic F-15, with a seat inside the cockpit, subtle but complex plane seams moulded on top of the jet and _underneath_ the wings, detailed engine cowlings and canopy ribs. The weapons underneath the wings aren't true F-15 weapons however they're quite faithful to the G1 seeker weaponry.

   The guns underneath his wings are actually missile launchers, the missiles fire about half a metre, and aren't susceptible to popping out the moment you touch the triggers, which I appreciate. The launchers detach for his transformation, but I'm happy to report that the wings and tailfins do not - fuselage-only G1 Seekers are far too common, but this guy won't be ruined by a missing tailfin. There are four pseudo-tyres underneath - moulded lumps rather than wheels, and while Hotlink sits flat on the table, rolling would have been nice.

   It's a good mould with a good paintmask, and of the three seekers from BotCon 2013 Hotlink feels the newest (as Sunstorm is no longer a new concept and Bitstream's colour are close to Thundercracker's). The mould has been beaten to death, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a well put together vehicle mode. The mould improves on G1 in many ways - the fixed wings are a nice improvement and the vehicle holds together well. I've read about mould degradation problems, but at least on my Hotlink this isn't an issue.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the missile launchers, extend the rear to form the boots. Fold up the tailwings and rotate the tailfins forward to form heelspurs. Fold down the feet and stow away the front wheels. Stand him up, swivel the wings up. Fold out the chestplate, rotate the canopy and pivot down to form the centre of his chest, rotate the nose and fold back to reveal his head. Flip out the arms and fold the chestplate back into position. Flip out his fists, give Hotlink his weapons, either on the upper arms as traditional null rays or as handheld missile launchers.

   I really like this transformation. Without trying to get too fancy, it takes the original seeker layout and improves on it. He gains proper thighs and manages to keep the wings and tailfins permanently attached, integrates the fists and both configurations are true to the original.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 13cm

   This robot mode features a lot more white, although there's not much white on Hotlink in the cartoon. His chest, upper arms & boots are purple while his feet, head and forearms are black while his thighs are white. The Hotlink cartoon actually has black hands and thighs with purple forearms. This inaccuracy is a result of the original mould design & limitations of producing all three in this set with the same paintmask. Nonetheless at a glance it's clearly the same character and the purple chest works well - it's not too much purple. There is still silver here, mind you - his intakes are silver along with the face that also sports red eyes. There are no visible Decepticon logos here (they're hidden behind the arms). Rounding out the typical seeker features, the wings sit behind his arms and the tailfins on the outsides of his ankles.

   Hotlink's moment in the cartoon was brief, but they've done a good job capturing that background guy here. This is very much a seeker; and while the purple chest doesn't pop out quite as much silver does, it works for him - to the point where it both looks good and gives Hotlink a different feel to Thundercracker & Skywarp. Hotlink has quite a bit of articulation; the head turns, the shoulder swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend. His wings have to swing back accommodate the moving arms. The hips are ball jointed and the knees have both hinges and swivels. The waist is fixed - but I don't mind. The feet are a little too static, the heelspurs are decent but not great, so we don't get too many stable leg poses. On the whole the poseability is good but not fantastic.

   As with most Classics figures, Hotlink lacks any true gimmicks - instead the toy focuses on being a good Transformer. The poseability, solid build, hand weapon option and thighs are enough for me. We do of course get firing missiles - and they are an improvement over the neutered ones back in G1, although I wouldn't really call that a gimmick as such.

   A solid robot mode without any significant flaws. The poseability is good even if the legs are a little limited. The purple works really well on this mould and the colour map used for this BotCon trio works best on Hotlink. He's probably the least cartoon accurate of this trio, but for a generic background character this is a really nice robot mode in spite of that inaccuracy.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Hotlink was only released at BotCon 2013, so was most likely produced in a single production run. I'm not going to mention all the toys that share the mould, but I will mention Bitstream & Sunstorm whom he comes packaged with.

OVERALL

   A solid BotCon toy and one that fleshes out an obscure G1 character. The mould is overused, which counts against Hotlink, but he's well executed - the purple really works well on his robot mode and he's probably the most novel of the seeker trio from this set. I suspect Sunstorm will be the most anticipated amongst this group, but Hotlink is probably the best toy. The mould itself is excellent although chances are if you're reading this review you already have several Classicsverse seekers anyway. The major downside here is that Hotlink is a very limited toy. If you have the means & inclination, I'd recommend picking this toy up - 10/10

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