Deluxe Class HotShot
Transformers CYBERTRON has arrived. And its about time too. I just couldn’t totally get behind Energon and I’m happy to move on to the next thing. While Energon was certainly a step up from the Armada range, it still did not deliver the type of toys that this fanboy desired. Sure Energon had a handful of interesting toys, but the line as a whole was way too hit and miss for me. I felt the designs in many cases were uninspired, and hindered by the “Power Link” action feature. This was the feature that allowed almost all of the toys to combine with each other as either a chest, arms, and head, or a waist and legs. This allowed for a number of different combinations of figures depending on how many you owned. The only problem with this was that a good looking combination was hard to come by because most didn’t look all that good in any of their modes. Many looked slapped together, and had little to no useful articulation. So, what you are left with are a bunch of toys that don’t look good as combiners or as standalone figures, because they simplified the transformations to allow for the combining. Good idea on paper, but it just didn’t work well in execution. And while its been said to death, I must reiterate, Energon simply dropped the ball on Optimus Prime. I don’t know what Takara was thinking when they designed this toy. Prime should never look tubby... I mean, he’s freakin’ Optimus Prime. If there’s one figure in any Transformers line that you have to get right, it has to be Prime. He’s gotta rock. Back to the point, the latest chapter in the ongoing story and marketing barrage that is Transformers are hitting stores and it looks to be firing on all cylinders. The pinacle toy icon of the 80’s that children and former children (now adults) have adored for the past 20 or so years is still going strong. Transformers CYBERTRON looks to be mixing together all aspects of the Transformers Universe, and melding them into a varied colorful assortment of toys.
Today’s subject is the new Cybertron HotShot.
Three times seems to be the charm for ol’ HotShot. When the character was first introduced in Armada, his toy looked like a bad Playskool figure complete with a silly cherub face. His Energon version was slightly better but only by a negligible margin. He had dinky little T-Rex arms that couldn’t be positioned well because the toy was designed so that the figure could serve as the top or bottom half of a robot when you combined with with another toy. Too bad they forgot to design him a decent mode for when he’s by himself. Now, with Cybertron he finally gets his due with both a good looking car mode and a great looking robot mode. Cybertron HotShot finally ditches the mustard and ketchep color scheme and opts for a classier light metallic blue with maroon highlights, and a touch of yellow to top it off. His car mode looks similar to a MacLaren F1 with a large wing/spoiler attached to the rear half of the car. The design is definately original to Cybertron, and shares no specific resemblance to any real world vehicles, so there are no hefty automotive licensing fees here. Still, the car looks good, and its the best alt mode this character has had yet.
Now the robot mode is where this toy shines. If this new HotShot is any indication of what’s to come from Cybertron, then I think I’ll be plenty happy with this line. His transformation is simple, yet classic in a wierd kind of way. He sports decent articulation with ball jointed elbows and hips, and swivel shoulders and knees. All in all, he is a pretty posable figure, and that suits me just fine. In robot mode, he is mostly light blue and maroon, with a dark grey chest and torso. The new color scheme really looks good on this figure. In many ways he reminds me a lot of the G1 Hotrod. Some of the similarities are uncanny, including what seems to be a 3 bar arm cannon molded into the underside of the window glass attached to his arm. He even has the yellow spoiler/wing behind his head when you activate his Cyber Planet Key. These details make him a great homage to the original HotRod. Heck, I can already see a red repaint with yellow highlights and a flame on the hood...
Speaking of the Cyber Planet Key, this brings us to the gimmick of this line. Every toy comes with a clear plastic “key” that activates a special hidden power or ability on the transformer. Much like the minicons of Armada, these keys activate spring loaded parts or weapons to “supercharge” the transformer or some such thing. I think this is a much better implemented feature in Cybertron than either Armada or Energon, because at least with Cybertron, there is a small module with a slot as opposed to large pegs sticking out all over the place for Minicons to attach to. The “Cyber Key” feature on HotShot activates two small wings on his back (or roof in car mode) and it works just fine. The feature does not detract from the overall look of the figure or get in the way. And that's the way it should be.
All in all, I am very pleased with the new HotShot figure. His design and construction are intuitive and fun. While he is not as intricate as anything out of the Alternator line, they are serving very different purposes. HotShot is part of the basic Transformers line that is aimed at predominantly at kids and it looks like Takara and Hasbro are finally getting back to making toys that are just good toys regardless of the age they are intended for. The last two lines seemed to be sort of dumbed down for kids. If HotShot is any indication of where the line is headed, then I think Cybertron will be a welcomed edition to an already rich history.
Fun Factor: 10
Transformers CYBERTRON HotShot rates a 44 out of a possible 50
88% OAD Approved!