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Blackjack's review: Hotshot

Name: Hot Shot
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Kid Appeal Character; Warrior; Crowd Filler
Subgroup: Universe 2.0 Armada Series

"Hot Shot: Transform!"

Heh. Hot Shot. The kid-appeal equivalent of Cheetor in the so-called Unicron Trilogy. First introduced in Armada, Hot Shot was your basic 'young guy' stereotype. Brash, courageous, always eager to please, loves speed, has a knack for getting himself into trouble with his rash actions but a good guy inside. Hot Shot was always there from the start. Along with Optimus Prime and Red Alert, Hot Shot was one of the main Autobots in the Armada series. In Armada's sequel, Energon, Hot Shot had matured somewhat and had a new body, transforming into an Aston Martin. Afterward, in the sequel Cybertron, Hot Shot's still there, although he's more blue than yellow, and he gets upgraded from sports car into a seriously awesome gun-filled military vehicle.

Basically he's the guy who's always there, always does stuff but nothing very significant. Like, say, Bumblebee or Thundercracker. Always present in group shots, does some stuff but never does any important stuff. Hot Shot's more prolific, though, due to him being present everywhere. Also, his popularity increased when someone posted an edited comic featuring edited dialogue and immortalizing JaAm among the fans. There should be a link to it somewhere in this site...

As a character he's kind of annoying, but I don't really hate him. He's quite likable, really, and the kids love him. Those same kids love Bumblebee more now, though, thanks to the live action movies and the Animated series.

Still, Hot Shot had made his impact, and Hasbro has chosen him to represent the Armada/Energon/Cybertron series among the new molds of the Universe 2.0 line. Hot Shot was released a bit later in the line and it appears his popularity still endures as I couldn't find him until well after ROTF. When I did, though, I was rather unsure of buying him, but later caved in and did so anyway. As we all know, in the event of the 25th Anniversary of the Transformers franchise, the Universe 2.0 line released many toys that hark back to characters we know and love. While mostly G1 characters who get new molds or repaints, many characters are revived to represent other franchises. The entire Armada/Energon/Cybertron toyline is represented in the main line (not counting repaints like Overload, Vector Prime and those Minicons) by an all-new deluxe class mold of Hot Shot.

Now the all-new molds in the Universe 2.0 line has met with mixed results. There are some gems, some moderate repaints and some downright awful toys. But all in all, the main output is okay. Besides, they're reviving old characters, how can fans resist? There are, however, toys that really don't show much of an improvement compared to the past. Tankor/Octane and Cheetor comes to mind. Some, while looking cool, are just way too messy. Galvatron and Hasbro's initial release of Ironhide, mostly. So, how does Hot Shot fare? He has the double expectation of being the sole Armada character among the new molds, as well as being released with so many wonderful toys before him (I mean, Cyclonus...) . How does he hold up? Let's find out...

Before we do, though, let's go through the name-assignation of Hot Shot. The name first appeared for a Spychanger in RiD. He didn't do much. The main bearer for the name, of course, is this fellow from Armada/Energon/Cybertron. Animated continued the Hot Shot legacy by introducing a composite Hot Shot, with a body that's a mixture of his Armada, Energon and Cybertron body.


Now the Universe toy chose to redesign the Armada toy, so Hot Shot's a yellow sports car based on an Audi TT. The main colour of the vehicle is yellow, with streaks of dark blue to break it up. The windows are made up of translucent light blue and red colours the back lights and the large Autobot symbol on the spoiler. Black plastic is used on the hot rod-style engine, while silver on the grills. Now, like many toys in the Unicron Trilogy lines, coolness and gimmicks take priority over accuracy, so harking back to those toys, Hot Shot's spoiler has a gap in the middle to accommodate the little helicopter that comes with him. We'll get to him later.

Unlike Armada toys, however, there are no gimmicks activated when the Mini-Con is plugged in. No sound clips, no pop-out cannons, no claw-like things and the like. Which, in my book, is not a big loss. After all, those gimmicks normally would only get in the way of posability and had caused many Armada toys to be bricks.

His license plate, amusingly enough, did not give his name in 733T speech, but it is JAAM. Yes, the infamous JaAm comic which was rather popular in the fandom. Hot Shot rolls rather nicely, and the pieces hold together rather nicely, although the doors have a tendency to pop off from the latches. Still, Universe Hot Shot looks rather splendid in his new alternate mode. It looks realistically enough like a super-deformed car, a nice homage to the general kiddy-ish Armada vehicle modes, yet it's realistic enough to feel right at home when displayed amongst the aesthestic of the Universe Classics toys.

Overall, it's a mediocre vehicle mode. Not especially good, but not as horrible as some vehicle modes I've seen.


The transformation for Hot Shot strikes me as being... different, somewhat. Mostly, the joints for Hot Shot, especially the back kibble and the leg joints (bar the ball joint) are different from what I'm accustomed to. Lots of joints I don't know the name of. Those are surprisingly sturdy (they look like they'll break upon transformation. They didn't.) and the transformation is unique. Rather over-complicated and could use a little touch-up. In particular, it's hard to move the two codpieces down without popping the ball joint for the leg off. Also, the chest transformation is surprisingly hard, due to the rather constricted space. Still, at least it's not a gawdawful mess like the laughable attempt at Galvatron. But all in all, you get a very show accurate robot mode. And in my opinion, the new Armada Hot Shot looks better than his show appearance as well as his old toy.

Hot Shot now has posability, and much so. However, one must realize that the back kibble must be stacked on top of one another in order for him to transform properly. While this... non-symmetrical kibble does raise some small problems of appearance and getting in the way of posability, but it's nothing major.

Red appears in robot mode. A lot of red, replacing much of the yellow. Basically the entire chest, hips and upper legs as well as part of the elbows are red. More silver and dark blue are brought up, as well as baby blue detailing in the legs (even though silver would've looked better). Hot Shot has a flip-down visor made up of transparent blue plastic, somewhat similar to those Lego figures. There's a small blink-and-you'll-miss-it targetting visor on the right part of the visor. I for one would've missed it if Clay's review hadn't pointed it out.

My Hot Shot has a little tendency for some parts to fall off. The aforementioned back shoulder kibble on mine tend to snap off its hinges during transformation, while the two halves of the codpiece for some reason refuses to lock together.

Hot Shot's face is silver, with his features sculpted rather nicely, with light piping which is sadly neutralized by the back kibble. His face is molded into a stern expression. He would've looked so good with a gun... -sigh-

Hot Shot now has a lot of articulation, with numerous joints. Many are not ball joints (I have no idea what the proper terminology for them are) but they surprisingly provide Hot Shot with an impressive range of posability and actually makes the toy sturdier. These joints are much more difficult to pop off, unlike the ball joints. His head is able to rotate, his elbows are on hinges and the shoulders are on rotary joints. The shoulder tend to jam (no pun intended) onto the back kibble. 'WhY mY sHouLDeRs HurT?' indeed. It's all because of the kibble, Hot Shot. Also, his upper legs are joined to the body by a mix of ratchet, rotary and semi-ball joint, allowing a wide range of movement for his legs. His knees are likewise able to rotate and bend at the same time.

Unfortunately, while he's supposed to come with both his trademark axlezooka gun as well as the tiny helicopter, cost problems -groan- means that the axlezooka accessory got nuked. If you haven't guessed/known already. So Hot Shot doesn't come with an awesome rifle. Dang. What irks me is that Henkei Hot Rod (Hot Shot's Japanese name) actually comes with the gun. TakaraTomy > Hasbro, at least for this one toy.

Still, Hot Shot makes a decent representation of his Armada self. Of course there are problems, but those are not too noticeable. Now, understandably, Hot Shot would be a below-average toy if this is all he had to offer, so Hasbro tossed in an additional Transformer into the mix...

Name: Jolt
Allegiance: Mini-Con
Function: Hot Shot's conscience

Ah, Armada. Where practically every toy came with a small Mini-Con. Mini-Cons are joy, you know. Small and sweet, and cheap to boot. Throughout the Energon, Cybertron, Universe and even Classics lines, Minicons had always been released, and with Minicon ports on the likes of Animated Lugnut, Movie Blackout and Movie Ratchet, it's clear that they're here to stay.

Jolt was one of the very first Minicons, and came with Hot Shot. There's not much that he does in the show other than bleep this and bloop that, and acting as Hot Shot's power-up mushroom. Poor Mini-Cons... In the comics he had a personality, though.

The name Jolt first appeared in G2, as a Decepticon Laser Rod. He has articulation! Armada re-used the name Jolt for Hot Shot's Minicon partner and his subsequent reincarnations and repaints alongside Hot Shot. Cybertron introduced us to a second Minicon called Jolt (also a helicopter) who was a separate character from Armada's Jolt. Next up is a repaint of Cybertron Crosswise in the 2007 Movie lines, a reference to G1 Road Hugger. In the comics he was dubbed Dead End, though. Finally, despite coming from such obscure origins, Jolt appeared on the big screen in Revenge of the Fallen as an Autobot with lightning whips. 'Cameo' is a better term, though. In my opinion it's a shame he gets such little screen time. He has such a cool design and weapons! Ah, well... at least he got a name call.


Jolt transforms into a little red helicopter. He's noticeably much smaller compared to Minicons of past, yet another indication of Hasbro's cost-cutting measures. The problem with Hasbro is that they try to integrate too much into a single deluxe class toy. 'Oh, let's add a big Axlezooka gun! And that little red heli-dude that comes with the original toy! Wait, wait, prices ain't the same, so let's take shortcuts with the Mini-Con. After all it's just a little bonus figure, no one'll care much.' After development, however, Hasbro goes 'Oh damn! Those extra costs we put into posability and whatnot makes Hot Shot too expensive to release as a deluxe! Let's throw away the gun! Yaaay!' without caring that they've fudged Jolt up.

Ah, poor Jolt.

Still, it's understandable why Hasbro did this. After all, this set is to represent the Armada toyline, and Armada is all about Mini-Cons, not the guns. So we get an all-new mold for Jolt.

Jolt is mainly red, with black for the rotors and part of those rod-like thingies on the side of the helicopter. The windshield, or whatever you call it for a helicopter, is painted silver, while out-of-place little yellow detailing adorn the back of the helicopter, no doubt robot mode painting.

For a small toy, the detailing is rather good, with a 'spiked' tail rotor which helps balance. It's a rather kibble free disguise, although you could easily see the upper legs trying to hide ineffectively, and if you flip him up, his fists are visible.

The rotors turn, as expected, but Jolt's main gimmick is the powerlinking. A standard Minicon port adorns the bottom of his cockpit, which could plug into the post at Hot Shot's shoulder (or back when in vehicle mode). It doesn't do anything rather than look cool. Jolt feels right at home attached to Hot Shot, as the Autobot bore the same shades of red and black with him, unlike some more... garish pairing ups of colour schemes.

In vehicle mode, Jolt could 'dock' on the empty part of Hot Shot's spoiler, the fists/fuselages clicking into place on Hot Shot's spoilers.

While it doesn't activate any sound gimmicks or whatnot, I rather prefer it this way; I'd rather have proper articulation and transformation than some poor thought-out gimmick slapped in just for the hell of it.


Jolt has articulation!

Unlike what Clay says about his Jolt, mine doesn't separate upon transformation. Rather, it simply refuses to stand. The legs are geared to move forwards and backwards as one, although individually they can kick sideways. The rotors still can spin and he has elbow and shoulder joints.

His goofy robotic face is still there, silver and cone-headed as ever. However, he simply refuses to stand up straight, due to back-heaviness and poor construction of the legs.

The helicopter tail situated in an, um, phallic position doesn't help either... Meh, he just reaches up to a Legends toy's chest, and even to shorter 'bonus' Minicons like Cybertron Drill Bit, Universe Drill Bit, Safeguard and the like, he is still dwarfed.

Poor Jolt. At least he got a cute little helicopter mode.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation 6/10 for Hot Shot. At first it's quite frustrating due to the unique layout of his parts, and his shoulders and legs tend to pop off mid-transformation. But after a few tries, he becomes easy. 2/10 for Jolt... It's a no-brainer, very simple even for Minicons.
Price 5/10 You get two for the price of one, but minus the Axlezooka thing. Cheaper than importing from Henkei, but this time there's a price for not importing from Japan.
Fun 5/10 I'm a strict 'No gun = No fun' kind of person, especially when I know that the weapon is planned for this character. I wouldn't mind not getting Jolt but getting the gun (the Jolt mold could be easily shuffled and placed into one of those Mini-Con ten packs, but considering 'must represent Armada's main gimmickry' and all...) Still, he makes a rather good display piece.
Durability 6/10 I have issues with Hot Shot's durability. Most especially, his joints. Unlike the majority of the current transformers toys who prefer ball joints and other more durable joints, Hot Shot's shoulders and legs are assembled in a way that doesn't look too durable. His parts have a tendency to pop off during transformation too. But as long as you don't play with him too rough, he should be fine. 6/10 for Jolt. He's rather sturdy, and the helicopter blades don't look like they'll snap off too easily. But watch out anyway.
Overall 5/10 What can I say? Clay gave the Henkei version a '7 or 8', and I have to give him lower, due to the lack of the Axlezooka and the slightly inferior paint job. A five it is, then, since I have grown attached to this mold. It's certainly not the best of the universe lines, not when the likes of Cyclonus and Silverbolt are out there. But considering some recent universe toys *cough*cheetor*cough* it could've been worse. Jolt is decidedly forgettable, but I do like Hot Shot being displayed among the rest of my collection.

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