In the US, the last three Transformers shows - Armada, Energon and Cybertron - have been one long trilogy, with interconnected stories and continuing characters. In Japan, however, the newest series is not connected to the previous two; it's a standalone universe, judiciously edited and dubbed for US audiences to tie it in with what's gone before. That's why some of the characters seem to have undergone drastic changes from their first appearance to now.
Hot Shot isn't psyched to give up his modified racer mode and the speed that went with it, but in the service of Cybertron, any sacrifice is worthwhile to him. His adventures on the Speed Planet taught him that speed isn't everything – true victory can only be won through a combination of wits, reflexes, and, when it comes down to it, the right weaponry. His new, heavily armed modes pack enough firepower to keep most enemies at bay, but if they get close enough, Hot Shot is more than happy to show them the sword fighting techniques he learned from Brakedown back on the Speed Planet.
Hot Shot was originally a little yellow sports car. In Energon, he'd evolved into a more mature form of the same, but in Cybertron, he was smaller and blue, for some reason. Then, when he was badly injured in battle, he was reformatted into a heavy armored carrier, as Cybertron Defense Hot Shot
The vehicle mode looks really good. The armor plates are rivetted in place, if the sculpt is to be believed.
There are lots of small details all over, from the vents on the hood to the shovel, axe and other tools mounted on the back. The (solid plastic) tires are big and rugged, and the windows (or viewports, anyway) are open to the inside. The doors are sculpted in place, but they look like they could actually slide open. The guns on the roof rotate and elevate. For an extra bit of firepower, the front bumper splits to reveal two small guns and a missile battery. The vehicle is a little over 5 1/2" long and 2 3/4" tall.
There really aren't any surprises in the transformation. It's pretty much your typical "expand and spread" switch - pull the front and back of the vehicle apart, revealing his limbs, then move them out to the side to get them in place for the robot. He looks pretty good in his 'bot form, with lots of visual ties to his previous Cybertron form.
Cybertron Defense Hot Shot is about 5 1/4" tall, though his huge shoulder pads get up to the 6 1/2" mark. He moves at the knees, hips, elbows, shoulders and neck, which is just enough to get a few decent poses. He even has a little sword stored between his ankles, for up-close melee fighting.
For times when the fighting gets too heavy,
CD Hot Shot can really up his arsenal. Panels on his shoulders open and his shins flip around to reveal missiles. He can't really hold his sword in this mode, so it plugs into his wrist. Cybertron figures have a key-activated gimmick, and CD Hot Shot's pops open those guns to reveal - you guessed it - even more missiles. By the time he's fully opened, you've got 74 little missiles aimed your way. It's reminiscent of Gundam Heavyarms Custom from Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz.
The character we know as Cybertron Hot Shot was known as Exillion in Japan. In fact, that race car mold has recently been recolored to closely resemble Hot Rod and has been released as Excellion. Whether you want to consider this figure a new character or a new version of an old charatcer, this is a cool little army vehicle and a good Transformer.
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