Tuesday, 18 August 2015

A Concise Review of Combiner Wars Protectobot Hot Spot (And Defensor) In 500 Words Or Less

Pricepoint/Vintage: Voyager, 2015.
Modes: Robot, Fire Engine, Combiner Torso.
Transformation Style: CW voyager, wraparound style.
Play Patterns: Robot and vehicle, combiner, 5mm weaponry.
Points of Interest: New voyager to be retooled into his Decepticon counterpart, Onslaught.

The Good
Hot Spot has probably the best robot mode in his size class so far in Combiner Wars, and with the rest of his team, probably the best combined mode. The robot mode is visually pleasing, with 21 joints, and two guns detailed like fire hoses. This guy excels at gun-fu poses, or putting out imaginary fires, and actually turns his backpack into a strength, as a makeshift figure stand. As robot modes go, its a smidgen from ideal, and Defensor is similarly awesome, striking the right balance between beef and play value. With 33 joints, a nice look, and some chunky components, Defensor definitely benefits from the lessons learned in earlier waves. The vehicle mode meanwhile has a ladder articulated in 3 places and a total of 6 5mm ports.

The Bad
To be blunt, the vehicle mode is awful to look at, and can be considered a list of “Don'ts”. The front end has a longitudinal seam, where the legs don't meet, and his hips are exposed. The middle features Visible Head Syndrome, while the back seems to be missing a component, so the ladder partially floats above another hollow, while the fists are visible under the back bumper. There's almost no ground clearance. I am also concerned by the rubberised plastic used in the combiner bits. There's too much flex, which can cause minor tabbing problems in Defensor mode, and its all attached by a thin strut. The knees are also annoying to get in place, and come mistransformed.

The Mediocre
As with all CW voyagers, the guns combine into a bigger one for Defensor to wield, and it looks a bit meh. You can make it work with Blades in arm mode, but its something you are probably best off stowing. There's also some articulation and proportional quirks that arise from combination choices, mostly involving Hot Spot's feet and Blades being skinny, but never anything resembling a problem.

The Alternatives
As with the rest of the team, there's the Japanese version, and the mould reuses. If all you want is a fire truck though, consider the Classics Inferno toy.

As an individual, Hot Spot is a great toy, but his ratio of win to fail is very similar to CW Silverbolt. His robot mode is great, overcoming the problems imposed by that backpack to make one of the undoubted highlights of the line. The torso mode is another winner, with genuinely clever engineering to achieve it. The vehicle mode is however the worst I've seen on a voyager in a few years, if not without fun. Buy the team, but not just this guy.

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