Click the image above to see the alt mode, or view more photos here
First/Last Comic Appearance (US) - Issue 24, January 1987 / Issue 35, December 1987
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) - Issue 63, May 31st 1986 / Issue 151, February 6th 1988
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - Episode 30 (Season 2 #14), September 25th 1985 / Episode 94 (Season 3 #29), February 24th 1987
First Toy Appearance - 1985
Click here to see Figure Details and review
AKA 'Hot Zone'
Manufacturer - Hasbro
Toyline - Titanium
- Painted the silver mouthplate black
- Painted the circle on the chest black
- Added an Autobot symbol to the chest, covering the tampographed one
- Added an Autobot symbol to the cabin grille
With the imminent release of the Asian exclusive Hot Spot, I thought it was high time to have a look at the only other viable option if you want to represent this figure in your 'classics' collection. For whatever reason, the Protectobots stand alone as the only one of the four 'scramble city' groups without a modern-day homage, which is a real shame. Their leader, Hot Spot, was one of my favourite combiner leaders, because he turned into a fire engine (which was cool) and he was bright blue (which was really cool!) Hasbro finally homaged him as part of their 'Titanium' line. So the question is, can a figure from this line be re-purposed and work in a Classicsverse collection? Is this figure solid as Diecast, or flimsier than iGear's release dates?
Appearance (Robot Mode) 7/10
Titanium Hot Zone is a repaint of RID Optimus Prime. I have a lot of affection for the 'Robots in Disguise' cartoon and toyline, so I was unsure how a repaint based on Optimus would work. I'm glad to say that it has worked pretty well. Things like the asymmetrical chest strap and the moulded wheel detail on the shins are hallmarks of RID Prime, but they are balanced out by the vibrant blue used. You would almost think that this was designed to be Hot Spot, rather than just a fortuitous repaint. I think the headsculpt is really great and works well enough for the character who always had a 'Prime-esque' head. But from a distance, Hot Spot looked like he was grimacing through gritted 'teeth', but that is not the case! I got annoyed by this so I actually painted the offending silver 'teeth' black. As well as this, I painted the chest logo over, so I could stick a more suitable Autobot symboll in it's place. My major issue with this guy is the fact that his lower legs are very hollow indeed. This aside, Hasbro have done a good job.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 6/10
The Titanium line was known for having issues with some of the alt modes, which didn't hold particularly well together, but I'm happy to report that Hot Spot doesn't suffer too badly from this. This is a pretty nice fire engine with an articulated ladder (which is more than Hasbro could be bothered to do for voyager Inferno) and small water jets can be folded out from the top of it. The colour matching between the plastic and metal is very good, but some of the paint on the die-cast sections is quite lumpy. The detail on the front of the cabin is very sparse, which is disappointing. Also, ground clearance at the front is practically non-existent, so Hot Spot looks like he has been 'pimped' by Wheeljack (that sounds more risque than intended)
The transformation sequence is pretty unusual, and unlike some Titanium figures, both modes feel 'secure' and connect together solidly enough. The entire cabin area is made by folding the legs back on themselves which is very unusual and works well. As I have said, this does make the lower legs notably hollow, but, still, I really like how this guy transforms - he is a lot of fun.
Diecast can really inhibit a figure's balance when used in inappropriate places, but in this case, the use of metal has been implemented successfully. Hot Spot has chunky feet which also happen to be made of metal. This affords him good balance which allows for a decent array of poses. He has waist and thigh swivel, bendable knees, elbows, rotating fists, and a full range of movement in his shoulders and hips. The only thing missing here which inhibits posing is the lack of bicep swivel. But overall, well done Hasbro. Unfortunately the hollow legs mean that there are only a few angles where you would want to display this figure from so ultimately this affects the score.
I thought that I might break this figure at one point while looking for evidence of a bicep swivel, but everything remained in place! The use of metal throughout gives the figure a qualitative weight that is lacking in all mainline figures these days. Theoretically, the lower legs are the weakest point, bearing the load of metal above them and being hollow. But, they are very well designed, and are very rigid when clicked into their final positions.
Overall - 36/50
I had previous bad experiences with the Titanium line, and so was prejudiced towards getting any more. However, Hot Zone is a rock solid figure who looks decent as a robot and not desperately bad as a fire engine. I like the fact that the mould is entirely different from Inferno, which is why I'm considering whether to bother with the forthcoming Asian Inferno repaint. I'm sure that one of the third parties will come up with a Defensor soon, and until then, I am more than happy to use Hot Zone in my collection as an able stand-in.