Cliffbee.com Combiner Wars Hot Spot Toy Review

Individual Review




Name: Hot Spot
Series: Combiner Wars
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Fire Truck



FIRE TRUCK MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 25cm Width: 6cm

   A light blue fire truck, similar to his G1 self, but not based on a realistic model of truck - rather a somewhat generic truck (as he shares the basis of this vehicle with Onslaught and Dolrailer). He has four black plastic tyres at the front and another four at the rear. His front and side windows are painted black while there are red stripes on the sides all g with "FIRE RESCUE" in red and small Autobot logos with flames coming off towards the back. He has a white ladder on top with a black nozzle assembly at the top and a black base a the bottom. Lastly, there are sculpted stripes in the midpoint of the truck - under the ladder - painted red. This colour scheme is very much Hot Spot, and there's enough painted detail to keep things interesting. While I _get_ why the strobes can't be above the cab (there's transformation hinges there), they look downright odd where they are. It's a decent looking fire truck otherwise.

   Hot Spot's cabin is rounded rather than the boxy affair of the original toy; there's a gappy section in the middle (behind the stroberack) where his head is visible, tucked inside. I recommend turning his head before transforming to truck mode or the face will be visible. In truth the head is only really visible if you look. The ladder assembly is a little messy; partly as it does a fair bit of contorting to become the chest & head of Defensor, and partly because they chose to have a sort of claw protrusion out of the base itself (running alongside the sides of the ladder). I _get_ the first aspect - they've actually done a great job of making this ladder assembly not look like the head and chest - but I'm not a fan of the claw effect. Thankfully it still feels like a ladder assembly.

   There's a decent amount of play value here. There are holes on either side of the nozzle assembly, base and truck itself which you can plug his twin rifles into, and they work in all three spots. There are hinges both at the base of the ladder AND the nozzle assembly. What's impressive is that both hinges are strong enough for you to lift the ladder, pose the nozzle AND have the guns plugged into the nozzle. The base rotates through 360 degrees, too. Probably the only downside of the jointing of the impressive ladder assembly is that the sides of the base aren't pegged in place, and if they swing down they're clearly Defensor chest plates. They do behave and stay in place - if those joints loosen then it's a slightly different story. The ladder doesn't extend like it did in G1, but then given that it contorts for combination and does as much as it does (and it's length anyway), I don't count this against Hot Spot.

   A good fire truck mode with more than enough play value for this size class. There are some downsides - the placement of the strobes is a little odd and his robot head peeks out if you know where to look. I'm not personally a fan of the claw shaped protrusions on the ladder, but I'm also aware this won't bother everyone. A satisfying vehicle mode at this scale, and one that does the tribute well.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the front, pivot the halves forward to form his boots, ensuring you clip the knee joints into place. Unclip the cabin sections, rotate into place as feet. Rotate the boots. Split the rear, which unlocks the ladder base. Pivot the ladder section towards his feet, rotate the base, the ladder will be sticking out way past his feet. Rotate the ladder itself up and clip the Defensor chest plates into the holes on his nozzle assembly. Swing the sides of the rear down to form his arms, rotate the forearms into place. Fold down the chest plate, swing out and rotate the head, fold the chest plate back up. The chest plate joint pops off easily during transformation, but is secure in place otherwise.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 18cm Width: ~11cm (depending on pose)

   A blue robot with black thighs, feet and elbows. Hot Spot has a light blue head with a mid blue mouthplate and red eyes (following the G1 cartoon), He has a red chest plate with silver and red diagonal stripes - there are also diagonal stripes on his shoulders. The stripes, by the way are a G1 toy feature that the cartoon skipped. He has some black on his waist and the red strobes are now on his knees. It's an attractive robot mode that's very much Hot Spot. The paint deco / colour scheme straddles the cartoon and the original toy fairly nicely. One really subtle detail is that the "FIRE RESCUE" now on the insides of his knees is he same shape as the striped detailing on the original toy's knees. There's a small Autobot logo on the top of his chest.

   As already mentioned, this is very much Hot Spot. The sculpt is nice and detailed, particularly the chest and shoulders. The ladder assembly is a giant chuck of backpack, but then the G1 toy had that and it's pretty inevitable that he was going to have a backpack, given that he _has_ a ladder assembly and has to integrate Defensor's chest and head. He's not really back heavy and stands just fine, and it doesn't visually interrupt the overall look of this attractive robot mode, so I don't count the backpack as a negative.

   Poseability is good. The head is ball jointed while his waist is fixed. The shoulders lift out to the sides and rotate on ratchets. The elbows swing and rotate while his wrists are fixed. The hips rotate and lift out to the sides - both ratcheted to support the weight of Defensor - while his knees have hinges and rotators (the "second" hinges should be plugged into the boots so they're locked into place - he comes packaged with these joints unclipped). His ankles are fixed and don't have that "standing apart" slope as is common nowadays. The limitations we see here are mostly a result of transformation - hard to do the ankled feet with the feet being the front of the vehicle and the fists are hidden within the shell of the rear sections of the truck mode. To be honest he's nice and poseable and his twin guns look good in either hand - they're his iconic double guns and suit the character's "all action" personality nicely. The ladder assembly on his back reaches the floor, so can act as a third leg for some more creative poses, if desired (the "claw" extends the backpack down, and this may be why they chose to include it). Curiously, there's nowhere else but the hands and the backpack to plug the guns in here - but you don't need anything more.

   While there are some minor concessions in the poseability - Hot Spot has to worry about being a torso - Hot Spot is very playable, has nice colours and they've nailed the character. One of the stronger torso bots from Combiner Wars, with one of the better robot modes.

VARIATIONS

   The Unite Warriors version has a different paint job, it's noticeably more cartoon accurate & loses the stripes. It also features a richer blue - which is actually LESS G1 accurate. He combines with the other Protectobots to form Defensor. He shares much of his engineering with Onslaught and Dolrailer, who could be called heavy retools of Hot Spot.

OVERALL

   There are the inevitable limitations of being a combiner torso here. The truck mode makes most of the compromises needed for three modes but you barely notice them - the strobe placement is the main one. Robot mode poseability isn't what we'd typically see of a stand alone voyager, but for a torso it's fine. Both modes look good and look like Hot Spot - his robot mode looks amazing, in my opinion. He also straddles the compromise between tributing the toy and the cartoon well. My only real complaint is that claw aspect on his ladder base - but it's an annoyance, not a deal breaker. Recommended if you like the character / Protectobots - even without the fact he forms the core of Defensor - 9/10

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