Remember we said in the Skywarp review? "Fans love throwbacks," whether it's something as complex as the upcoming Masterpiece Optimus Prime or as simple as a retro-flavored paint job. And hey, speaking of which...
Hot Shot is a young, heroic fighter who rushes into danger without regard to his own safety. He courageously charges into the middle of the fight to aid his friends in battle. He has taken charge in several battles, showing great leadership potential. But he needs the guidance of his elders before he can hope to lead the Autobots. Will he learn to be a leader who strives for good, or will his reckless nature ruin his promising future?
When the new Transformers cartoon debuted, Optimus Prime was always being followed around by a loud, eager Autobot that turned into a yellow car. No, Bumblebee hadn't finally made his triumphant return; this was a new 'bot named Hot Shot. As the cartoon's storyline progressed, Hot Shot developed into the Autobots' second-in-command.
Still, fans didn't like him. He was too annoying, they said, and his robot form looked like something out of the Playskool ouvre. So how do you make an unpopular tagalong deputy commander sell better? Simple! Make him a retro throwback to another annoying, unpopular, tagalong deputy commander! Yay!
Hot Rod was one of the characters introduced in Transformers: The Movie. Tapped to become "Rodimus Prime" after Optimus' death, Hot Rod generally proved to be a fairly incompetent leader. So incompetent, in fact, that Optimus came back to life just to show him how it was done. Still, time has softened many fans' feelings towards this loudmouthed jerkwad, but there is a bit of a problem.
In the time since we last saw our favorite G1 robots, Hasbro let their copyrights expire. A lot of names - Jazz, Hound, Skids and many more - were snapped up either by other companies or by individuals who hoped to sell the rights back to Hasbro. Hot Rod was one of the names lost to time, so for now it falls to Hot Shot to fill his role.
In car form, Hot Shot looks pretty swank - styled like a street racer, he has a rounded, low-slung chassis, swept back windshield and a spoiler on the trunk. I never understood the point of a spoiler; is it supposed to serve some sort of purpose, or is it just cosmetic? Because really, if it's the second, then having a spoiler on your car is a massive failure. Hot Shot's gaudy yellow is gone, swapped out for a fairly nice dark red, with golden flames painted on the hood. Basically, the colors have been reversed from his first release.
The transformation to robot form is easy to master, and manages to have a nice, simple G1 feel to it.
Hot Shot looks better in robo-form than most of the other toys in this line, and definitely a lot better than any of the cars we got in Robots in Disguise. His chest is bright yellow, and designed with crosspieces that look almost like a racing harness. Though the original Hot Shot had a visor that could be lowered in front of his eyes, this repaint has it as a molded piece of the head. I'm not sure why, as it just decreases the play value, but it's not a terrible loss. Hasbro made up for it, though, by resculpting the entire head, changing his previously dopey grin to a sterner look.
Hot Shot has a fairly good range of motion: he moves at the hips, knees, sholders and elbows. Though there's no sort of mobility anywhere in the torso or head, you can still get a nice range of poses out of this 5 1/2" figure. Attach a Minicon to the port on Hot Shot's back and the rear axle pops up above his head, spinning forward to fire a missile.
Hot Shot's Minicon, Jolt, is a tiny (2 1/2" long) yellow helicopter with 1 1/4" rotors. He includes a large engine / gun / somthing-or-other that can be stored under the cockpit or attached to Hot Shot's engine (which, incidentally, makes him look even more like Targetmaster Hot Rod). Pressing this turbo booster down into the engine causes two prongs on the car's bumper to snap forward, perfect for slicing through obstacles or enemies.
In robot form, Jolt stands 2 3/8" tall. He can hold his turbo booster as a gun, and actually has to hold it to be balanced. If you don't mind Jolt tumbling constantly onto his back, you can give the booster to Hot Shot, plugged into his chest.
So, is Powerlinx Hot Shot worth your money? Well, definitely moreso than the original version, in terms of both sculpt and paint. It's a fun retro piece with a good transformation and it looks decent in both modes; plus, it's not like we'll be getting a new Hot Rod any time soon.
Who's your favorite under-appreciated Transformer? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.