Before this mold was Onslaught or Pyra Magma, it was Hot Spot. In a perfect world it would be Robots in Disguise Optimus Prime (Super Fire Convoy) but it is not, so we'll focus on the fact that this fine blue fire engine is a decent fit. While it's hard to qualify any figure as perfect, this one is pretty good with a few quibbles - the robot mode is a little light, the truck mode is similarly gappy, but the combined robot is nice. Unlike Onslaught, they put in bits and pieces to ensure it holds together pleasantly - so between the two, this one is arguably the winner.
Because of the combined mode this is an easy toy to recommend - it offers enough fun for the price if you're willing to buy some other toys to make an even bigger, bulkier robot. By itself it isn't at all bad, but it's possible you might find it lacking. The same would be true of some of the original combiner toys from the 1980s as well, except this one actually has a ton of articulation and looks a lot cooler overall.
Hot Spot is a 7-inch tall Voyager-class robot with about 19 meaningful points of articulation. It's a decent robot, but you need to be very careful with how you transform the knees - if you don't position the multi-piece patella precisely right. A little peg sort of fits in the slot behind the blue shin, and the angle is a little strange - it's not impossible to get the fit at all, but it's not something you would naturally expect to do. The double-jointed elbows allow for some nifty poses, but the upper arms are a bit stiff in spots - they make a satisfying ratcheting sound, but don't exactly have enough give to do something truly impressive. This is a very decent robot mode that, like the vehicle mode, exists because Hasbro can't just sell a combiner torso.
Conversion is fairly simple, with the feet becoming the front of the fire truck and the arms fitting together to be the back. The chest pops open to slide in his robot head, and it's actually all pretty simple. This is one of the reasons I like Combiner Wars, I feel pretty much anybody could pick these toys up without instructions and come up with a combined mode that's on the happy side of acceptable.
The vehicle itself is decent, and has a fun moving ladder. There's even a little nest on top with a joint, giving the rescue vehicle a little more to do than just have rolling wheels. Rolling wheels may not sound like an exciting feature, but not every robot in disguise has really functional tires. This one does. It's not a perfect fire vehicle, but it works nicely and has a swell "FIRE RESCUE" tampo on the side with a little Autobot symbol surrounded in a flame. The red lights on top are a nice touch, but I'd be lying if I said the vehicle was more interesting than the remold of Inferno that Toys R Us got a few years ago. Granted, that one doesn't combine - this one does.
The combined robot is quite fantastic - it drops the red eyes in favor of blue, but it does a decent job of replicating many of the stickers and stripes of the original toy while keeping the "wings" on the robot chest. It's not identical, of course, but it's really close for a modernized update. The head looks big and a little goofy, with the ladder wrapping around the torso in a fairly pleasing way to keep it out of the way as kibble goes. If you buy the entire collection of figures, you'll note that the ambulance and motorcycle of the original were changed into an SUV of sorts and a SWAT vehicle in the USA. It ain't bad, it's just different - and when the robot is combined, as long as the head, torso, and colors are right it basically works for me. I got my money's worth with a big blue 'bot that has the unique distinction of being a series of medics who are ready to smash and kill.
As armaments go, Hot Spot comes with two cannons. They can be mounted on the sides of his vehicle mode, held in each hand, or combined into a much longer rifle. There's a lot to like here, it's very much similar to how the Optimus guns combine. Hasbro did a nice job here.
Since it's cheaper than buying the G1 original and packed with articulation, I'm going to suggest you snag this one if you can still find it. The Combiner Wars format is incredibly rewarding to collect, because the toys are largely really fun and you can make something bigger out of them. Also your fingers aren't ruined with awkward transformations of barely-fits parts - it just all works. This is rarely touted as a "pro" in many reviews, which I don't understand - panels that require massaging and rubbery bits are a hassle. I'd rather have a figure like this where everything goes where it should with minimal fuss. Get one when you can!
16bit.com is best not viewed in Apple's Safari browser, we don't know why. All material on this site copyright their respective copyright holders. All materials appear hear for informative and entertainment purposes. 16bit.com is not to be held responsible for anything, ever. Photos taken by the 16bit.com staff. Site design, graphics, writing, and whatnot credited on the credits page. Be cool-- don't steal. We know where you live and we'll break your friggin' legs.