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Hot Zone

Transformers Titanium
by yo go re

In 2004, 3H Publications were unable to get one of their planned exclusives done in time for the The Official Transformers Collectors Convention, and it had to be pushed back a year. Unfortunately, OTFCC '04 went so badly that 3H lost the license, and the next year's convention, BotCon 2005, was handled by a different group. That meant the delayed exclusive was no longer merely delayed, and was instead cancelled. Five years later, though, Hasbro's found a way to at least honor the spirit of the toy that was meant to be.

Filled with what seems like boundless energy, Hot Zone never stops moving. It is never a restless motion, but the movement of an individual constantly ready to spring into action. More than any other Autobot, he is ready for battle at a moment's notice, diving in and fighting with a warrior's instinct that is second to none. Other Autobots take inspiration from his energy, following him cheerfully into the very heart of danger, and, thanks to his skills, always emerging unscathed.

The missing exclusive would have been a repaint of Robots in Disguise Optimus Prime, done in blue to represent Defensor. It's a devilishly clever idea, and a real shame that it never got made. This figure, similarly, is a blue repaint of RiD Optimus Prime, though instead of representing all of Defensor, it only stands in for one of the big guy's Protectobot components, Hot Spot (the name's been changed for copyright reasons).

Now, this figure isn't a repaint of the normal RiD Prime - rather, he's a new take on the hard-to-find Titanium version. That was originally released in Series 5 of the 6" Cybertron Heroes line, where it was promptly seen by all of no one. This repaint, a Target exclusive, is technically branded as part of the Universe/Classics 2.0 series, but the angular packaging is still the same as the other Titanium figures - it's just accented with a silver "25th Anniversary" sticker in the corner (and the figure no longer comes with a display stand).

Hot Zone is sold in robot mode, like all the Titaniums. He does indeed reach an even 6" tall, but not at the head: there's some kibble on his back that takes him up to the full total; the head is actually only 5¾" from the ground. If you remember your RiD Prime, you'll know that he has a big "super robot" mode. If you don't remember your RiD Prime, well, that's why we keep linking to the review. Anyway, this toy represents the fully combined Battle Mode, with all the armor locked in place. Or, more accurately, molded in place - there's nothing removable, so things that are full 3D pieces on the original toy are cheated here. The overall design is recognizable, though.

The figure is mostly a light baby blue, just like the G1 Hot Spot was, with black limbs, silver panels, and a few red accents to spice things up. His head is black with yellow eyes, and there's an inset panel in the faceplate that's been painted silver. From a distance, it looks like a big toothy grimace. He's smiling at us! Overall, this is a decent approximation of the G1 version, but isn't afraid to take advantage of the new mold.

Hot Zone (I wonder if the change was really a copyright issue, or if they were just worried about people comfusing him with Hot Shot) gets decent articulation, with joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, forearms, wrists, waist, hips and knees. There are "hidden arm blasters" that basically entail raising forearm panels up about ⅛", and you can swing the truck's ladder up over his shoulder like a bazooka. Two little nozzles fold out of the end - those are his "fluid cannons," which can apparently either shoot flame-suppressant or "EM foam that shorts out Decepticons." Yeah.

For a Titanium figure, Hot Zone has a surprising amount of plastic. The torso and shoulders are metal, but that's it. Plus, his lower legs are hollow, which is a really strange design choice. He's still fairly stable, it's just weird.

With no removable armor, there's no smaller internal robot. And with no smaller internal robot, changing Hot Zone between modes is a disinctly different process with the Titanium figure than it was on the RiD version. Seriously, there's zero crossover. Want an example? Hot Zone's arms form the back of the truck; the same area on Optimus Prime turned into his feet. Everything changes, huh?

Anyway, Hot Zone's altmode is a firetruck, as it should be. It's 6" long from front to back, and has six rolling wheels, but they're set so high on the body that the bottom of the toy ends up scraping the ground - this is definitely a TF for adult collectors, not kids. The ladder can elevate and rotate at the base, though it doesn't extend or have any sort of missile-firing action; just some simple fun. Rescue imaginary people from the top of a soda can!

This Titanium Hot Zone isn't a direct copy of the cancelled OTFCC Defensor: that one would have decorated the Battle Mode like Defensor, while the smaller inner robot would have resembled Hot Spot. For this release, the Hot Spot deco went directly onto the Battle Mode, instead. Still, the idea is cool, and the toy turns out to be quite nice, and a really good way to get a rare release (Titanium RiD Prime) back into the hands of people who missed it. Now they just need to come up with an excuse to re-release the king of Titanium rarity, Ultra Magnus, and everybody will be happy.

-- 07/28/09

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