How do you know OAFEnet has been around for a long time? There's now a nostalgia-based re-release of a toy we reviewed when it was new.
Impatient, impulsive and actually sometimes kind of annoying,
Hot Shot is young, but full of potential. Optimus Prime sees in him the qualities of a great leader, and has taken it upon himself to mentor the young warrior in the ways of command. His Mini-Con partner Jolt tries his best to keep his erratic behavior under control, but Hot Shot is quite skilled in ignoring the voice of reason. He's also obsessed with something called JaAm, which most Autobots think is some obscure fuel source, but no one knows for sure.
Hot Shot was the Bumblebee of Armada, the bright and cheery kid-appeal character. Technically we reviewed his G1-inspired repaint, but the idea is still the same. The toy came out in 2002, and yet here we are in 2009, getting a "classic" update. At least the packaging identifies him
as being part of "the Armada series" of toys, so there's no mistaking his origins.
Hot Shot's vehicle mode is a sporty yellow car - it was originally based on the Audi TT, and that lineage remains visible today. Just 5" long, Universe Classics Hot Shot is significantly smaller than the figure he's mimicking, but he does have the added advantage of translucent windows.
The windows on the doors are solid and painted, but unlike Ironhide and Ratchet, the paint matches. His silver license plate reads "JAAM," making that particular in-joke canon.
As a part of Armada, Hot Shot originally came with a minicon partner, and this version does, as well. Jolt is a small helicopter that measures
just a bit more than 2½" in length. There's a single Mini-Con port under the cockpit, and surprisingly, it's the appropriate size to work with any existing Powerlinx toys. Neat! Jolt can be attached to the car, but only by slipping between the supports for the spoiler - there's no plug to accommodate him back there. Aww! You also can't bend him over to have his blades point bckwards.
Changing Hot Shot to a robot is... not good. A surprisingly poor design. It's not like
completely reworked transformation schemes are unhead of in the Classics line, but since it's so far been limited to G1 characters, they needed a heavy overhaul. The original Hot Shot's process had some problems, sure, but that was mainly due to his eleventh-hour redesign. This one... whew. His chest is hollow, his feet are unstable, and the kibble rising over his shoulders bumps together and refuses to sit properly. This was really the best they could do?
Articulation, at least, is much better.
Hot Shot has a balljointed head, swivel-hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel-hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, swivel shins and hinged ankles. The translucent visor over his eyes is movable, and though there's quite a bit of kibble on his shoulders and arms, it's all designed to mimic the Armada toy's. Originally Hot Shot was supposed to come with two missile launchers that turned into the car's exhaust pipes, but those were scrapped from the US release. If you want those, get the Henkei! release, which is a different character.
Jolt's robot mode has surprisingly been simplified from the last release.
Ravage gets an upgrade, but Jolt gets a downgrade? Jip. He finally gets elbows, but loses knees, and the construction isn't as complex as it was before. Like his forebear, you can pretty much count on him not being able to stand up by himself. There's only one Powerlink plug on Hot Shot, and it doesn't actually do anything - there's no "axelzooka" popping up, which I guess means Hot Shot's shoulders shouldn't hurt. The car's exposed engine block doesn't even come off, so neither figure can use it as a gun. His fist holes are smaller than average, so he can't hold any of the weapons that have come out since, say, Armada started. You know, the 5mm holes that have become almost standard at this point.
Hot Shot isn't very good.
His conversion is a mess and his kibble can't even be positioned properly. His Mini-Con partner is odd, and he can't even borrow anyone else's weapons. Not even JaAm is enough to make this one worth full price. If you can get him for less than retail, though (say, on a good sale), then sure, go for it. Your enjoyment of Hot Shot will be inversely proportional to how much you had to pay for him. It's still weird to be getting an update of a toy that isn't that old. What's next, a Universe Classics version of a movie character?