Cliffbee.com: Universe 2.0 Hot Shot Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Hot Shot
Series: Universe 2.0
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Hot Rod Car



CAR MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 13cm, 16.5 with Jolt Width: 6cm

   A yellow hot rod with transparent blue windows (parts of the side windows are solid blue), turquoise bumpers and side trim, colourless headlights and a silver grille, Hot Shot has black plastic tyres and a black plastic protruding engineblock on his hood. He's a reconception of Armada's Hot Shot, in a slightly more sedate yellow. The turquoise is new this time, along with the transparent plastics. There's a red Autobot logo stamped on the left side of his spoiler - as on the original, although it's not raised here. Rounding out the colour scheme we have red painted taillights, silver hubcaps and silver license plate which reads "JAAM" in black text.

   I'll be honest - I don't see the need for a revisiting of Hot Shot. While the original toy was limited, it wasn't an awful mould, despite limitations. Granted, the switch to a less confronting shade of yellow is nice, but this is a completely new mould. So, aside from the JaAm reference (which is a nice fandom reference), there's not really much new in this mould. It's generally well sculpted, with door handles, air intakes, side mirrors and the like - and is a level above the low detail typical of Armada in this respect, but there are shortcomings in the mould as well. There's a non functional hardpoint on the back, and while Jolt can plug into it, he's designed to loosely fit into a gap in the spoiler and rear window instead.

   The play value is quite limited really. The wheels roll, of course, but there are no gimmicks or action features other than plugging Jolt in. While the Armada toy was able to use Jolt as a propellor at the back, this toy can't do so with any elegance. If you plug Jolt into the hardpoint, his tail sticks up awkwardly. It works, just not very well. The other option is to slot Jolt in - but he slides out easily, since he relies on gravity to hold him in place. If Jolt is left aside, there's a fairly jarring gap in his place - the spoiler and rear windshield just don't look right.

   A reasonable car mode, and while the yellow no longer burns the eyes, this car mode doesn't really improve on the original. There's a slightly higher level of detail, but the options Jolt provides are all flawed in different ways. The JaAm reference is a nice touch, but it's not enough by itself to make this car mode memorable. Decent, but disappointing considering this is the second time we've seen this character designed.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove Jolt and set aside. "Open" the doors and swing forward. Split the car down the middle, fold the roof out to the sides forming his arms. Fold the arms and backpack forward while swinging the halves of the front out and back to form his legs (needs to be done simultaneously). Clip together the groin, swing in the windshield halves, rotate the boots so that the insides of his doors form shins. Flip out the feel, fold the feet themselves forward (leaving the heelspurs in place). Swing the roof halves back to properly reveal the forearms. Rotate his head, attach Jolt to the backpanel on the left side, if you wish.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 10cm

   As was the case during Armada, Hot Shot has a red torso with silver straps, a red groin and red thighs. His upper arms, boots and head are yellow along with the backpack. His feet and forearms are navy blue (instead of black). There are some remnants of the transparent blue plastic on his upper arms and he sports a transparent blue visor and transparent blue eyes underneath that - with a lightpipe that works even through the visor, which is great. The face is silver and there are some powder blue painted details on his shins. Overall the colours are close to those of Armada, and while the navy blue probably should have been black, it's pretty close and he gains an impressive lightpipe anyway.

   While the lightpipe is good, this robot mode - like Hot Shot's vehicle mode - doesn't offer a compelling reason for Hot Shot being revisited. The articulation is a vast improvement on the original, but the backpack is awkward and obtrusive, so there's no net gain. Jolt doesn't add much at all here and Hot Shot lacks any sort of weaponry. The shape is less cartoony - his head is smaller, for starters, so this is a slight improvement overall, but the lack of weapons hurts.

   I should mention that we have the option of rotating the backpack pieces - he can happily stand there with rear fenders on his back. It improves things visually and give Hot Shot's arms a much wider range of motion. The catch? Jolt can't attach anywhere visible or useful not. You can detach the fenders as well, which leaves Jolt completely out in the cold. Jolt doesn't actually activate a gimmick, mind you. The arms are fixed in a "tough guy" position - the shoulders point up and out slightly, which is a clever way of allowing jointing while retaining the hunchback feel of the original (and not making this toy a hunchback). While on the original the Autobot logo on his spoiler sat on his left shoulder, in this case it's less prominent - on the outside of that shoulder.

   The head turns on a restricted ball joint and the visor actually lifts up this time. His waist is fixed, as is usually the case with a groin that clips together. His shoulders swing and lift (further) out to the sides while his elbows are double hinged with rotators. His hips swing and lift out to the sides while his knees are hinged with rotators. The feel can swing back and the feet+heelspurs can pivot back as well. Hot Shot's hips are a little loose for some of the more dynamic poses (he'll do the splits, basically), but there is a good range of poses available once you deal with those fenders. Jolt is a passenger here - either on the panel over his shoulder, or alongside Hot Shot.

   Well, it _does_ improve on the original, which had that awful yellow and a pretty abysmal level of poseability compared to toys that came before it, but this robot mode has it's own shortcomings. The visor and lightpipe are definite improvements. The backpack is a bad idea and while it's easy to push it aside, this leaves Jolt with nothing to do here - and he had very little to start with. The lack of weapons is a real lost opportunity as well, since this robot mode has gained poseability only to find no way to express his motion. Overall, it's an improvement, but a minor one.


Name: Jolt
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Helicopter

HELICOPTER MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 6.5cm Width: 5cm

   A small, almost totally red, helicopter. He has silver windows, some random yellow at the back of his fuselage and black rotors. There's a single Powerlinx port underneath the front of the chopper. For some reason his tail is upside-down, which largely spoils the illusion here (and that random yellow doesn't help). Simply put, the original had a better vehicle mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Swing the feet out and back from underneath, fold the front down to form his back and reveal the head. Unclip the pontoons on either side to form arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 3cm (ignoring rotors)

Still mainly red, with those yellow outbursts on his chest. His face is painted silver while the upper arms are black plastic along with the rotors on his back. The tail forms a phallus, and I suspect the reason the tail is upside down is to try and avoid Jolt looking "excited". Considering that the tail reaches below his knees anyway, the mutilation of his tail was downright pointless to begin with. The shoulders swing and the elbows are hinged (but pop off far too easily) while his hips swing and lift out to the sides. This is less poseability than the original Jolt, for what it's worth.


VARIATIONS

   The Henkei version comes with handheld weapons and replaces the turquoise sidewall paint with silver. While the switch of paint is fairly trivial, the weaponry would have helped this Universe version quite a lot. There's a small gap in the rear fender to accommodate the missiles, which protrude as exhaust flames. Collector's Club Dion & Cop-Tur are repaints of the Henkei version.

OVERALL

   A mixed result here. While the original Hot Shot was a fairly limited toy, it was one of Armada's better concepts. The articulation has been improved but the backpack gets in the way and Hot Shot cries out for those Henkei weapons. The colours are a distinct improvement and the lightpipe is nice. Jolt is all but useless - a distinct regression on the original that adds almost nothing to Hot Shot (he adds completeness to the vehicle mode, but doesn't secure well). The vehicle mode is his stronger mode, but the JaAm reference plays a big role in that (and it shouldn't). While it's not an awful set, Jolt is poor and Hot Shot fixes the problems of the Armada toy only to create new ones. I appreciate that Universe 2.0 delved outside of G1 for its tributes, but I think the very limited Scavenger would have been a better choice - 6/10

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