Energon Toy Reviews: Hot Shot

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Combiner / Gestalt, Energon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: December 2003
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $10.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2
Accessories: Missile, Missile launcher, Radar attachment for missile
launcher

Images:

One of the primary characters from Armada is back, and this time his makeover is more than just a redeco. Hot Shot has a whole new form for his debut in Energon, with hints of what came before. The big sell here is Hot Shot's new gimmick. Rather than toting Jolt around, this Autobot is now a combiner, able to merge with his fellow Autobot Inferno to form two additional robots. The later part of this review will focus on both those combined robots with an emphasis on how to transform Hot Shot into his half of those robots. The actual reviews for the robots themselves will be available in both this review and the Inferno review.

Vehicle Mode:
Hot Shot's new vehicle mode appears to be an updated version of his Armada vehicle mode. He's still, in essence, a yellow sports car. However, this car is a bit more detailed and sleek while still retaining some of the roundedness of the Armada vehicle mode. Not wanting to incite the fury of car company lawyers, Hot Shot isn't any one particular car, but rather he resembles some of the current cars on the market with futuristic details added on.

My favorite part of Hot Shot's new form is the front end of the car. It's nice and curved while still having some bulk, making him reminiscent of the Armada Hot Shot. The grille on the front reminds me of the one on the current Ford
Thunderbird
, but with an extra curve on each side, with no overlapping lights. The lights are nice inset to the sides and the main headlights are cast in translucent plastic with a nice shape formed inside that looks like a bulb. The hood actually opens up to reveal an engine inside complete with details such as tubes and springs. A real nice touch is a sculpted and painted Autobot symbol right in the middle of the engine. This feature doesn't appear in robot form, so it was sculpted just for the vehicle mode, which looks fantastic.

Hot Shot's color scheme is reminscent of his Armada colors. He is mostly yellow, but this yellow is more of a base yellow than the bright/neon yellow from Armada. There is liberal use of dark gray for parts such as the front grill, the spoiler and the rear of the car. A touch of red is used for his rear lights. On the right side towards the rear of the vehicle you'll find a symbol which combines the Mini-Con and Autobot symbols. This symbol represents the ability for Hot Shot to "Powerlink", which now means two Transformers combining rather than Mini-Cons attaching to larger Transformers.

On the rear section of the car, you'll see holes on either side of the indented area near the spoiler. These are for attaching his weaponry and radar dish. You can experiment with different combinations on how to attach them. The missile launcher itself actually has a Mini-Con Powerlinx point on it, so you can even attach a Mini-Con onto the gun. Fun combos to use would be Minis who become weapons such as Firebot.

While Hot Shot does not have any Mini-Con Powerlinx points, he does have a hole on either side of the car near the rear tires. These serve a dual purpose. If you have any Mini-Cons that can be held, such as the Requiem Blaster or Prowl, they can attach into these holes. If you have weapons from other Energon figures, they too can fit into these holes. This standardization of peg and hole sizes is a very positive step for the Transformers lines as a whole, and provides a good bit of toy continuity between lines.

Hot Shot's vehicle mode looks really sweet. It's a great blend of current and fantasy/future aesthetics coming together to form one awesome looking vehicle. The hood being able to lift and the added detail of the engine is a spectacular touch that sends this toy over the edge from just "good" to "excellent".

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and radar dish.
  2. Swing the hood cover up and fold back the halves of the windshield.
  3. Swing the spoiler halves up.
  4. Swing the blue feet pieces forward.
  5. Extend the rear of the vehicle back to form the robot legs. You can separate the halves of the rear section to form the individual legs.
  6. Swing the engine piece in the front section forward to reveal the robot head.
  7. Rotate the robot head around and then swing the front of the car back. Extend the robot head forward and set it down on the upper robot body.
  8. Swing out the car doors.
  9. Unfold the robot arms.
  10. Place the weapons in Hot Shot's hands to complete the robot mode.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, Hot Shot introduces a whole new array of color and detail. While he still has yellow and gray, purple, red and gray-blue are all tossed into the mix as well. Hot Shot's head is mostly gray-blue. There is a red section above his eyes which acts as a non-moving nod to his "visor" from his Armada form. His chest/main body is a combination of dark, metallic gray, silver and gray-blue with red and purple offering up small detailing. What's really nice to see is something I've been hoping for since a year ago: an Autobot Spark Crystal! Smaller in size than the Beast Wars/Machines era Spark Crystals, it is still big enough to see clearly. Hot Shot's is located on his chest. Most likely this is the "Spark of Combination" that is mentioned on the toy packaging.

In terms of sculpt, the details on Hot Shot are nicely done. His chest looks like a combination of tubes, gears and armor all put together to form a warrior (which I guess is what he erm...is). The face sculpt is also done up to resemble Armada Hot Shot's a bit. The eyes have lines leading out of them that move out to the edge of the face and down. Also, the lower portion of Hot Shot's "helmet" (the blue area) looks a lot like the bottom of a racing/pilot's helmet, another homage to the Armada Hot Shot design.

Hot Shot is an improvement over his predecessor in another way: posability. Hot Shot sports fourteen points of poseability, something many of the Supercon sized Armada toys sacrificed for Powerlinx gimmicks. The great thing is, the posability is all useful. Points include his upper arms, elbows, knees and shoulders. I was pleasantly surprised to find so many points worked in, and I truly hope this is a trend for the line.

Thanks to the aforementioned standardization of peg and hole sizes between Armada and Energon, Hot Shot is able to hold a variety of weapons. You can have him utilize Armada weapons such as the Star Saber or have him hold weapons from Omnicons. This gives the toy a high level of interaction with other toys from the line aside from his ability to combine.

Spark of Combination:
The big gimmick here extends beyond Powerlinx points and transforming. Hot Shot can combine with fellow Autobot Inferno to form two robots, either Powerlinx Inferno or Powerlinx Hot Shot. The two robots basically transform into half a robot and combine in the middle. A similar transformation pattern was used for the Multiforce team from Generation One, a group of six robots that could each combine with each other to form larger robots. There were dozens of combinations possible. Here things are a bit more restricted (although there is a chance future 'bots may be able to combine with these first wave toys - but that's speculation on my part).

The name of the robot depends on which robot transforms into the upper body. If the robot forms the upper body, the robot is called by that name. The robots each combine by connecting with each other via a series of clips at the middle section of the combined robot. On Hot Shot, these clips are where his robot head would be in robot form. Each of the instruction sets below begin with the toy in robot form.

Transformation to become Powerlinx Hot Shot

  1. Tuck the arms back into the position they would be in for the vehicle mode.
  2. Swing down the car doors.
  3. Swing the entire robot arm/door sections back on the hinge attached to the blue gray piece at the back.
  4. Swing the legs out to the sides, along with the blue gray piece with the red paint details on them, these form the arms and shoulders of Powerlinx Hot Shot.
  5. On each of the legs, fold the foot pieces down.
  6. Tuck the robot head back into the front section of the car, then bring it out on the other side to form the head of Powerlinx Hot Shot.
  7. You can now attach this part at the mid section to Inferno to form Powerlinx Hot Shot. Weapons can be placed in the holes near the tires on Powerlinx Hot Shot's hands.

Transformation to become Powerlinx Inferno

  1. Fold the robot head into the front section of the car.
  2. Tuck the robot arms back into the position they would be in for the vehicle mode.
  3. Swing the entire robot arm/door sections back on the hinge attached to the blue gray piece at the back.
  4. You can now attach Inferno to this section to form Powerlinx Inferno.

Powerlinx Hot Shot:
Powerlinx Hot Shot actually reflects some of the fears I have about the whole "2 bots forming another bot" concept running through Energon. Unlike the alternate "Powerlinx Inferno" combination, this form is lacking in poseability and the scale of some parts are really off. The worst offender in this case are the arms. Formed by Hot Shot's robot legs, he has moderately sized upper arms which then connect to huge forearms. There are fist details sculpted into the arms to give the appearance of actual robot arms, and the holes there help you keep Powerlinx Hot Shot well armed. Still, the arms are just so big that they make Powerlinx Hot Shot look all out of proportion.

Moving on to the legs, while the legs and lower body have much more appropriate proportions, the legs are unable to move due to the way they are formed. This eliminates a huge range of potential poseability. In terms of pure appearance however, it is nice how the Autobot Spark Crystal shows (right side up to boot) on the right leg, and the "Powerlinx" symbol appears on the left. It makes up for the rather disconcerting upside down Autobot Spark Crystal on the chest.

The best way to accept Powerlinx Hot Shot is to just take him for what he is, an oddly proportioned combiner. He can still move his arms (thankfully) and hold weapons such as the Energon Saber. For extra fun, hook up Mini-Cons to the Powerlinx points on the legs.

Powerlinx Inferno:
One of my fears with the combined forms of the Energon Autobots was that they would be virtually useless as toys and just be glorified, combined statues.
Fortunately Powerlinx Inferno puts that idea to rest. While definitely a bit bulky in the back (all those robot bits have to go somewhere), Powerlinx Inferno looks very good for a robot made of two distinct forms. The colors match up well, which also helps. Since neither 'bot is particularly super bright, the subdued colors don't conflict.

The other fear I had was that each combined form would be a really big brick with no poseability. For Powerlinx Inferno however, this fear is unfounded.
Powerlinx Inferno actually has fourteen points of articulation (and meaningful articulation at that, including arms, shoulders, knees etc.). If you want to go nuts and add in the two back mounted weapons, Powerlinx Inferno actually has sixteen points of articulation.

With only the weapons included with Hot Shot and Inferno, Powerlinx Inferno is already well armed. A cannon on one arm, a missile launcher in hand and the two big honkin' cannons formed from Inferno's legs all work together to make Powerlinx Inferno look formidable. You can utilize the Powerlinx Mini-Con points on the shoulders to add more firepower, and his fists can fit weapons such as the Star Saber or Omnicon weapons.

The only slight disappointment, and it is a very slight one, is that Powerlinx Inferno uses the same robot head as Inferno. It would have been really cool if the combination of the two formed a "new" robot with a new head and identity. This hardly detracts from the fun of the toy, but it is something that
bugged me.

Powerlinx Inferno is actually the superior of the two combined forms of Hot Shot and Inferno. It has the most poseability and the best visual appeal of the two.

Energon Hot Shot is a big step in the right direction for Transformers. He does have a gimmick, but at the same time he has two cool looking forms and posability to boot. The sculpting is definitely up a notch from Armada, showing that the fledgling Armada team managed to learn some new tricks over the past year. Highly recommended.