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Hot Shot

Transformers Legacy Evolution
by yo go re

We joked, once, that you knew we'd been around a long time when there was a retro throwback toy of something we'd reviewed when it was new. Well now, here's a retro throwback to that.

Hot Shot is young Autobot who has shown his bravery in battle, but his actions border on recklessness. Despite this, he has potential to be a great leader one day.

If you went back and checked out that linked review, you'll recall that the 2009 Classics Hot Shot was kind of junk: bad robot, bad conversion, bad Mini-Con, all of it. Fortunately, the Legacy line (now officially Legacy Evolution for 2023) has been pretty good so far, so hopefully this time they've managed to deliver something... well, we were going to say "worth the price," but there's no possible way to make a Deluxe Class Transformer "worth" $25, so let's just say we hope this time Hasbro has managed to deliver something of adequate quality.

Right away, we can see that the body is better. '09 Hot Shot was burdened by ugly, badly placed kibble in an effort to too-closely copy the Armada toy. This one keeps some of the nods (the front of the shins, for example), but doesn't waste time by putting anything under the arms. He does still have the car's rear spoiler on his shoulders, but that's an aesthetic thing - removing those would be like removing a G1 bot's door-wings. Sure, it could be done, but you'd lose something about him in the process.

Hot Shot is designed to look like a race car driver. The silver area on his chest is patterned after a five-point harness, and his head looks like a round helmet. Harkening back to the original release, the visor on his head can either push up onto the forehead, or be dropped down to cover his eyes. It's molded from translucent blue plastic, and has gunmetal grey painted on. The eye slit actually lines up with the toy's eyes, which is good work.

The articulation's good, though the windshield kibble on the calves may shift around unexpectedly depending on how you hold the legs when you go to move them. Hot Shot moves at the knees, thighs, hips, waist, elbows, biceps, shoulders, and neck. Like the original toy, the car's engine block can be held as a gun, and the rear axle can lift up and point forward. It's not a spring-loaded feature anymore, but the '09 toy didn't even bother. Even cooler, you can push the axle off its support peg and combine it with the engine to form a handheld bazooka thing. Neat!

Converting Hot Shot isn't difficult. You basically just fold the head into the chest, lift the kibble up off the back, turn the waist around, swing the shins up onto the thighs, turn the windshield halves around, and close the doors. After the mess that was the 2009 figure, this is a treat.

Hot Shot's altmode is a yellow sports car of indeterminate origin - to make your own, start with an Audi TT, make it flatter and wider, and put an inexplicably split spoiler on the back. Boom, you've got yourself an Urbana 500. Sport edition.

The gun still plugs into the hood to become an exposed engine block, but no longer can you press down on it to make the front bumper pop out into "driving claws." But since those parts become his feet, you can manually fold them out if you want to. The toy's yellow is a nice strong shade, again putting the Universe release to shame, though making the windows translucent blue plastic means the roof of the car doesn't match the rest of the body. Eh, I prefer my Hot Shots red anyway. Or blue.

Have you noticed what's missing? Legacy Hot Shot doesn't have a Jolt. This thing cost $25 goddamn dollars, Hasbro, where's his Mini-Con partner? There's a Powerlinx port on the back, so you can attach one of the previous Jolts, but the fact he doesn't come with one of his own is embarrassing.

And it's especially bad because, otherwise, this is the best Armada Hot Shot ever. The original had to be quickly re-engineered right before going into production, so it didn't get the time and attention it deserved; the 2009 version, of course, was just junk. This one takes what worked about the first, and improves it, leaving us with a better toy in every way. Except that he's lacking a key accessory, so it's like releasing a Superman figure without his cape, or Captain America without his shield. I want to recommend Hot Shot, but I don't know that I can.

-- 04/04/23

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