Review: Transformers Combiner Wars Hot Spot

I… I really don’t have much to say about Hot Spot for an introduction. There’s no particularly interesting story behind the toy, the character was never all that major in the G1 cartoon, he never really got the spotlight in any later media, and his bio pretty much just says “He’s a good leader!” Honestly, Hot Spot is just the teal fire truck guy who forms Defensor. At least the other Protectobots have unique character traits; Hot Spot is a nobody. But you know what? Even nobodies like Hot Spot can get awesome toys.

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Vehicle Mode

Hot Spot stays true to form, taking the altmode of a teal fire truck. Unlike the more traditional firetruck of the 80’s, this firetruck is a bit more heavy duty and a bit more on the Sentinel Prime side of fire extinguishing vehicles. I’m sure someone is upset about this, but I’m not! Hot Spot’s altmode is pretty great. It manages to be a long Voyager vehicle that still feels big enough to scale decently with Deluxe vehicles (though it really doesn’t), and despite essentially being formed from Hot Spot laying down, it looks very good.

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As is a common occurence on fire trucks, Hot Spot bears a ladder with a turret/bucket/Defensor’s head/thing at the end, presumably for shooting water. The ladder can’t extend, but it has a full range of movement, and I think it’s long enough to look convincing. You can mount his twin guns on the turret part to look like big-ass water cannons, if you so choose.

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Robot Mode

One relatively simple conversion later, and Hot Spot stands tall as one of the nicest-looking Combiner Wars robot modes yet. He’s got killer proportions, lovely colors, and is a fantastic aesthetic update to his G1 cartoon model. The only blemish on an otherwise near-perfect figure is the ladder arrangement, which awkwardly hangs off his back. It would be fine to ignore on its own, but the ladder extends down just a centimeter lower than Hot Spot’s legs, so unless you tilt the ladder back at an angle, Hot Spot is doomed to lean forward. On one hand, the ladder forms a tripod of sorts with his legs to stabilize poses, but on the other, there’s never really a pose that he can hold standing on his own two feet.

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Speaking of poses, Hot Spot can do a lot of them! He’s got a swivels in his neck, biceps, and thighs, universal (and quite heavy) ratchets in his hips, faux-ratchets in his elbows, and a basic hinge joint for his knees (not double-jointed, but if you mistransform his legs you can make use of the two joints at the expense of some stability). His shoulders are an odd combination of ratchets and swivels, with two separate joints for outward arm movement: one just moves the arms, the other moves the entire shoulder assembly. Moving the lower arm joint makes it look like his shoulders are too low, but the larger shoulder joint is a strong ratcheting joint with few detents, making his shoulders a bit of a chore to pose while looking natural.

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Hot Spot comes armed with two big ‘ol rifles that could totally be water cannons, but probably also work like the regular kind of cannons that kill people. They’re both mostly symmetrical (one has a peg on the back to plug into the other, but that looks dumb) and look great, though they are a tad on the large side. You can plug them into his backpack for storage, if you so choose, but it does result in Hot Spot looking a bit like Onslaught. Foreshadowing!

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Overall

Hot Spot is easily the strongest Combiner Wars Voyager figure yet, with a great robot mode, a great vehicle mode, and as we’ll see soon, a great torso mode as well. He’s a faithful update to the G1 toy and cartoon model, and boasts one of the more striking robot mode silhouettes in recent memory. You’re already going to get him if you’re going full Defensor, but even if you’re not, I’d say pick up Hot Spot anyway. Or just wait for Onslaught, since you’ll have to buy two of him, anyway. Damn you, Hasbro.

Where to Buy

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