Posted July 5, 2020 at 10:53 pm

When a new $80 "Commander" size class for Transformers was announced last year , just so that a Jetfire toy would be at cartoon scale, the amount of eye-rolling in my reaction was non-zero.  I mean, sweet, new size class, yes, and yeah actually I do like scale, and the Jetfire it produced was actually surprisingly good, but... what else could this new avenue bring us?

Well, David of the past, nuts to you, because this year's Commander Sky Lynx is glorious, actually.  And it's largely due to his size.  He's just... an enviable chonk of Sky Lynx.  He's a big dude!  Well, two big dudes that combine into one bigger dude.  ...fine, one bigger dude that separates into two smaller dudes.  You know what I mean.  He's a lynx.  He's a bird.  He combines into a dragon.  The dragon transforms into a shuttle on a transport.  The shuttle can detach from the transport.  There's a lot going on here!

There's apparently a lot of budget room to work with on an $80 Transformers toy.  Jetfire spent its moolah on a lot of smaller things like hands that disappeared their 5mm ports when the palm opened and little handholds for smaller Transformers to hold onto while Jetfire airdrops them into battle.  There aren't many things exactly like that on Sky Lynx, but he feels like he has a robust budget all the same.  His poseable neck and tail, the ankle rockers on all six of his limbs (the bird has two), the myriad of ways you can pose his wings... Sky Lynx is just impressive.

Because he's a large Earthrise toy, he's got a new base mode.  You unfold the lynx into a shuttle launch pad with multiple ramps!  The ramps each have connectors to attach to other EarthRise base modes.  There's two broad white cannons  you can awkwardly attach to the lynx feet in this mode, helping you pretend these are towers and not, you know, feet.  This is probably the weakest aspect of the whole arrangement.  In lynx or dragon modes, you can attach these cannons to his hips.

One of the biggest joys of Sky Lynx is standing other guys next to him and getting this sense of scale.  Again, he's a big guy, and it's neat to see Optimus Prime small next to him.  Plus, like, huge winged dinosaur thing.  And, yes, his face is just a shuttle cockpit with a jaw, but it still possesses this shocking charisma.  

EarthRise SkyLynx's altmode is actually licensed by NASA.   Like, it's got the NASA logo on there, and on purpose, and he transforms into a very accurate 80's style space shuttle.    His shuttle name is the Magnificence.  Later this summer, there's a pair of Micromasters that transform together into a shuttle which also have the NASA logo printed on them, so Hasbro went for broke this year, NASA-wise.

I'm just always delighted to see this thing on my desk.  I need to eventually put him away where he needs to end up in my display shelves, but he's just gonna be mostly hidden behind so many other guys, and I'll be sad.  I put him there once just to make sure he fit (he did, amazingly), but had to yank him out soon enough so I could love him more.  

Though it's also possible I'm just going mad from being inside for 4 months, I dunno.

Posted May 3, 2020 at 11:06 pm

Man, this universe just doesn't make sense anymore.  Everything's just off the rails unbelievable.  It's all jumped the shark.  Game show host President?  Pandemics?  Murder hornets?  A Rack'N'Ruin toy?  Seriously?

Let that float around in your brain a bit.  A Rack'N'Ruin toy.  And no, they're not even from the Serious Collectors Toyline, they're from the KIDS TEEVEE SHOW toyline!  Rack'N'Ruin is in Cyberverse, baby!  Rack'N'Ruin showed up in the goddamned kids cartoon and subsequently got a $20 action figure.  That's not even the smaller size class.  They're an up-sell, baby.

Backing up to Who The Eff Are Rack'N'Ruin for some of you, there were some Marvel Transformers comic book stories exclusive to the United Kingdom back in the 80s.  There was a team of Toys Not Appearing Elsewhere guys called the Wreckers, and to fill out their early ranks (until they could get more Toys Not Appearing Elsewhere), there were two (three) folks that Marvel just absolutely totally made up.  First there was Impactor.  He was the leader and he got murdered very quickly to make room for Springer (an actual toy) to take his place.  And then there was Rack'N'Ruin, who is two green guys attached at the shoulder, forever.  One has a hammer for an arm and one has an anvil.  They can't transform.  (Because, y'know, two guys attached at the shoulder, forever.)

Aaaaanyway, 30 years later, and I guess the folks writing the Cyberverse cartoon were all EFF YEAH, RACK'N'RUIN, CUZ WE'RE INCREDIBLE DORKS and put them in the show.  Just... Rack'N'Ruin, being in an actual Transformers cartoon that children watch and having scripted lines.  What the what?  

And so later he got a toy.

It's not even that being on the cartoon means you get a toy automatically.  There's quite a few folks that've appeared but aren't slated to get toys!  Folks that actually transform into things!  And yet here's Rack'N'Ruin, on shelves, to buy, where people can see him.  (In theory, 'cuz pandemic.)

Unlike the original Rack'N'Ruin, who was attached only at the shoulder, Cyberverse Rack'N'Ruin also shares a lower torso between the two conjoined Autobots.  So instead of there being four legs, there's just two.  And the toy has an altmode, an armored mine-sweeping car.  It's a part of the Energon Armor subline that's going on right now, and so you can spring-load deploy some translucent armor to pop out of his torso and cover his face and chest.  The unarmored faces, as seen on the cartoon, are based on Rack'N'Ruin's unhelmeted faces from the IDW comics, with one guy having a monocle and the other guy having two eyes.  The toy's armored faces are similar to the traditional helmet, with the slit eye, but the view slit is shaped more like Boba Fett's T-shaped visor.  

The toy is sculpted to look like Rack'N'Ruin has two conjoined bodies, but the paint sadly obscures this by painting his midsections solidly across.  If the middle gutter between the two stomaches were left unpainted, it'd read more as two distinct torsos.  

The robot mode has above-average articulation for its size class, which is generally gimmick-prioritized.  They've got balljointed shoulders and hips, and universal elbows and hinged knees.  The heads do not move.  It stands at about Tall Deluxe Class height, if you want to put them with your other Wreckers from other toylines.  They fit in reasonably enough.  

The transformation is... well, you're essentially doing the old H-tank arrangement, where you bring up the knees to plug into the arms while the robot mode does the splits.  The mine-sweeping shovel (cowcatcher?) pops off his back and it's attached to the back of his weapon, which he can hold like a gun because it is one.  

I like to give them Stege/EarthRise Smashdown, so that Rack'Ruin has his hammer, but sadly there is not a Battlemaster that transforms into an anvil.

HOW DOES THIS TOY EXIST

Posted March 14, 2020 at 9:49 pm

If I recall, I bemoaned Stege Optimus Prime for being a uncanny valley Earth Truck, so very close that it looked like an Earth truck wearing some extra parts stapled on it.  Well, here's the truck underneath those parts!  It's what you wanted really all along, after we sold you the other one that tried to be this but not really!  Stege was ""not"" Earth truck, and EarthRise Optimus Prime is just Earth truck.

I mean, it's an Optimus Prime, whaddya want.  A trailer?  It's here!  It even splits open and there's Command Deck inside.  Roller?  It's... not here.  Well, there's plenty of other Rollers.  But this is your Trying To Be The Cartoon G1 Optimus Prime With An Actual Trailer, At Retail.  

And to be honest...?  Heck, I think I preferred the Cybertronian-style one.  I miss the way the front wheels folded up into the ribcage.  I miss it having... I dunno, what small amount of stylization it had.  Yeah, it was an Earth truck wearing goggles, but turns out the goggles were the interesting part.  

I mean, this isn't a bad toy.  It's actually quite good!  It has some new ways to get Cartoon Optimus out of a box.  I like how it wads its truck stuff up inside its shirt.  I do actually like the trailer -- it's largely why I bothered with it.  My kids are... VERY into trucks with trailers and also connecting all my Transformer base stuff together.  The middle section of the trailer door slides out and becomes a shield, AND it has hinged edges that connects to all the road pieces from the rest of the line (plus Stege's Omega Supreme).  If I skipped this Optimus Prime toy that has a trailer with base-connecting capability, I'd be a monster.  

I did have to fix his eyes, though.  They were blue, which... well, his face is also blue, so they kind of disappear.  I opened up his noggin and painted his eyes gold.  That's one major thing I like about current Transformers toys, the part where the eyes are sculpted into the back of the head but poke out through the front, likely to make painting them easier for the factories.  Well, it makes it easier for me, too!  Huzzah.  Those gold eyes pop, now.  

EarthRise Optimus Prime also comes with an ion cannon (his rifle) that folds in half and can store anywhere there's a 5mm peghole.  (There are lots.)  And there's a Matrix of Leadership inside his chest which can be removed.  Technically this is why his hands are sculpted to open, but he's not great at holding it.  Kind of have to wedge either end around his thumbs and pray.  But!  If you flip around the Matrix, there's a 5mm port there, which means you can shove effects parts into there if you want to have him do Matrix Blasts or whatever Optimus Prime is up to these days.  Or just have the Matrix zoom through the sky like Nyan Cat.  

One of my favorite oddities with EarthRise Optimus Prime is that he's partially made from actual Stege Optimus Prime parts, especially his legs.  But they gutted his legs, put some new stuff in there, and they don't flip around to transform anymore, and so you have this extra, vestigial 5mm trailer hitch peghole split across the outsides of his shins, with a new 5mm peg added to the insides of his new legs.  It's wild.

I'm not sure any of you followed that.  I barely understood myself reading it.

Oh well.

It's Optimus Prime, folks.  

Posted March 11, 2020 at 10:05 pm

Yo, if you've got any familiarity with the original Grapple toy, dang is EarthRise Grapple gonna feel like some dejavu!   In ways more than other retreads, he feels solidly like "this 1980s guy but with joints."  He transforms basically identically, but now there's knees.  And because Grapple's cartoon model was designed in 1985, he's gonna look pretty much just like his original toy, too!  Due to Circumstances, there is not a lot new here.

And generally, with Stege/EarthRise stuff, things just work so dang well -- executed so simply and flawlessly -- that even though there's (again) that feeling of dejavu, it's all cool!  ... However, Grapple has a big problem.

See, he's got some pegs at the back of his head/crane arm that plug into the back of the vehicle/his feet while transforming into crane mode.  But the connections between the pegs and the crane arm are kind of Not Enough and so there's a chance of plugging them into the pegholes for the first time and then ... them tearing off inside the pegholes when you try to untransform him.  Mine has not done this, but the problem was already reported and I was careful and it was still... an... ordeal to get them out.  Just, like, pulling on them as straight and outward as I could, very slowly.  Some folks sand the pegs or the peghole down, some folks just snip the pegs in half.  But this is still a pretty serious oopsie-doodle!  The default of "Stege/EarthRise is boringly G1 but executed really well so it's hard to be mad" has been poked in the eye by this feller.  

*DISTRAUGHT SHRUG*

I painted the helmet on my Grapple black.  The all yellow head look from the cartoon IS NOT GOOD.  I fixed it.  

Also I had to shave down the pegs on mine as a precaution.  

One of those things I shouldn't be expected to do with my stuff.  

Posted March 8, 2020 at 12:10 am

Hot on the heels of Stege Starscream and his Colonial Viper altmode is... EarthRise Starscream, who's back to being an F-15!  You're like, "hey, didn't we just get a Voyager Class Starscream, and this is a new Voyager Class Starscream?" and the answer is "YUP."

(Though honestly, it's Starscream.  He's popular.  Folks will buy him, even if you or I are not one of those folks.)

The thing about Stege Starscream is that he was surprisingly great.  You know, for a shellformer.  He wadded up his robot mode into a little ball and you close the spaceship mode around him, the end.  And while that in itself may not be what we strictly want out of a transforming toy, it did offer some advantages.  Mostly, like, Stege Starscream's robot mode was incredibly poseable, especially for a Starscream.  It had waist rotation, it had ankle tilts, it had double-jointed elbows, it had shoulders with wide range... you could get the danged thing to fold its arms across its chest, fer cheese's sake.  It could do that BECAUSE it folded up into a ball and the altmode closed around it.  

EarthRise Starscream, meanwhile, is ... a Transformer.  It transforms.  The cockpit becomes the cockpit chest, the wings become the wings, etc.  The robot becomes the jet -- at least as much as most Transformer robots become jets.  And that... means the articulation is scaled back.  It's been noted by everyone (including Hasbro) that ER Starscream is essentially a scaled-up Classics 2006 Starscream.  And it... has slightly more articulation than that toy, which was notoriously stiff.  ER Starscream adds some wider range to Classics Starscream's shallower joints, plus a bicep swivel, and the head turns independently of the nosecone on his back, there's those ankle tilts that are all the range...

But there's no waist rotation, which is a gaddanged FIRST among the Deluxe-and-up toys in this War for Cybertron toyline trilogy.  There's no double-jointed elbows, no extra range in the shoulders for arms-folding (it was required for transformation on the Stege toy).  And so after the absolute bounty of articulation that Stege offered a Starscream for the first time, this new Starscream feels stiff.  Even though, on average, his articulation is more than Starscream toys typically have.  

On the other hand, it actually transforms traditionally without being a Popple.  

So, y'know, pick your poison, I guess.  

I have two.  I bought a second one to paint up in Early Marvel Comics Starscream colors, from back when the interiors colorist was working off early Starscream model sheets where his chest was black instead of red.  I got halfway through that one and realized, yo, if I stop here, I've got a toy colors Starscream, with darker blues instead of the cartoon's brighter blues.  It looked nice, so I kept it there!  I also gave him Classics Starscream's null ray arm cannons, because I like them bulky.  ...and then I painted my back-up ER Starscream toy in the Early Marvel scheme.  Y'know, comics blue-for-black chest, blue head and face with white eyes, inverted colors on the feet...  And I fold the wings back out of view, since Mike Manley didn't draw them in issue 9.  

no i'm not gonna lop off an ear, jose delbo drew him earless only after the color scheme was updated

Posted February 13, 2020 at 11:35 pm

You see the phrase "mini-Masterpiece" thrown around at some modern regular retail toys.  Stege Sideswipe?  Mini-Masterpiece!  Earthrise Grapple?  Mini-Masterpiece!   It gives the impression that these retail toys are just scaled down Masterpiece toys.  And honestly, these toys are not much like their larger, expensiver counterparts at all.  They just all try to look like the cartoon, while transforming pretty differently.  

EarthRiseEarthrise Wheeljack is like that!  He looks like a smaller toy of Masterpiece Wheeljack, but he's really not.  He just wants to look like the same source material.  And so he has similar proportions and colors, and he transforms into the same box with a dome, but he doesn't feel like he takes home any lessons in particular from the Masterpiece.  Heck, his arms pull out of the back of the car mode in a completely different way.  His torso transforms (so that parts are facing the right way) in a much simpler, elegant way than, you know, turning inside out as per usual.  

In that way, it's a pretty satisfying Wheeljack toy!  He... looks like Wheeljack.  And handling him doesn't disprove the existence of a benevolent god.  (that's jetfire's job)

The first Deluxe Class G1-style Wheeljack toy came out in... what, 2011?  Dang, 9 years ago.  In between then and now there was also the Combiner Wars Deluxe.  Neither have something that's very important to me: rally deco.  I want sponsor logos!  And so regardless of how I feel about the rest of this new Wheeljack, the fact that he has doors covered in tiny fake sponsor logos makes him the best one.  The red hubcaps don't hurt, either.  

"Regardless of how I feel about the rest of this new Wheeljack" makes it seem like I'm trying to compensate for some faults.  I'm not, actually!  He's a pretty good Wheeljack.  There have been ... well, honestly, not that many Wheeljacks.  It feels like more Wheeljacks.  A lotta Wheeljacks.  Maybe there's some premature Wheeljack fatigue.  But this is still a pretty good one.  Maybe the best one.  

It has sponsor logos.

Posted February 8, 2020 at 9:04 pm

Dangit, Stege is over, and so now it's EarthRise time.   I'm going to miss Stege, because I liked calling it Stege.  It's just fun to say and fun to type.  EarthRise is just EarthRise.   And you gotta abbreviate it as "ER" which always makes me think of George Clooney.  Goodbye, Stege.  You were too Stege for this world.

Check out Hoist!  That's right, he's mistakably an Earth truck, because, well, EarthRise.  The toyline is, in theory, on Earth.  And so he's not just an Earth truck that Hasbro tells us is a Cybertronian vehicle, he's properly an Earth truck.  And because this is Hasbro in the late 2010s to early 2020s, he's an Extremely Eighties Earth truck.  He seems to be a Toyota Hi-Lux pickup, same as the original toy.  Or at least a Close Enough But Not Too Close That We Gotta License It version.  Which is fine to me if only because I prefer boxy vehicles 'cuz they're way easier for me to draw.  They're just rectangles.  None of those pesky curves.

The original toy had a little platform that lowered down off the bed of the truck to help Hoist tow other Transformer cars.  This is equally true for the new EarthRise Hoist, but specifically with Rest Of The Toyline compatibility!  See, Earthrise's "other than transforming" gimmick is "there are bases with interconnecting ramps."  And Hoist's towing platform thing is compatible with the ramps.  And so you can lengthen the towing platform with a piece of ramp, or connect it to a base and drag the base around, who knows.  It connects.  Connecting is neat.

Hoist's truck transforms into a... properly huge robot.  EarthRise continues Stege's commitment to adhering to cartoon robot scale, even if it results in large variations of robot size within a single size class.  Hoist is on the high end of the spectrum of Deluxe Class toys.  He's about the size and heft of Stege Ratchet and Ironhide.  They're all trucks and vans, so they're bigger than the sports car guys.  (but not quite big enough to rate being Voyager Class)  This is very satisfying to me, since the previous Hoist toy, from Thrilling Thirty, was a pretty small Deluxe.  For Deluxes, he was eensy!  And this won't do.  I mean, I'm gonna keep that toy, since that's the Lost Light design for Hoist, and I gotta Lost Light shelf display, but it's nice to have a Hoist that's Rightfully Huge next to, say, anybody else.  

Since Hoist is obviously gonna be retooled into his pickup truck buddy Trailbreaker later, his robot mode is a compromise of their two designs.  He keeps the toy-accurate truck kibble hiding behind his arms that Hoist's animation model had, while borrowing Trailbreaker's legs.  (Trailbreaker and Hoist, despite being drawn from the same toy, had animation models designed by two separate artists, and so their cartoon/comic appearances were more different than you'd think.

Hoist comes with an orange nozzle you can fit over one of his fists so he has his gun arm.  He's also got the standard articulation you'd expect from a Stege or (apparently) EarthRise toy, including ankle tilts, waist rotation, and all the other little movement spots that are now expected.  ER Hoist also continues Stege's seeming commitment to straightforward, non-reason-for-murdery transformation sequences.  It's a pleasurable encounter going back and forth.

He's a hefty boy and I like him.  All I need is a tiny Brick Springhorn figurine to complete him.

Posted December 18, 2019 at 2:34 pm

Hey, did you know that Masterpiece Blackrachnia's boobs are actually smaller than original toy Blackarachnia's boobs?  Hard to believe!  I mean, technically they started out being Tarantulas's pecs and looked more like a pair of golf balls, but it's somehow true!

Anyway, here's MP-46 Blackarachnia.  She's about the size of a large Deluxe Class toy.  (She's practically identical in size to Animated Blackarachnia, for example.)  I mean, you can tell she costs more just by looking at her -- she's ... a lot of paint and her parts count is massive.  But this is what size Blackarachnia's gotta be if she's gonna be in scale with everyone else in the Beast Wars Masterpiece range.  She wasn't a large gal!  The shortest character on the show, actually, ranking below Quickstrike, Rattrap, and Scorponok.  

Her size is relevant insomuch as she has to transform from one thing into another thing, and the two things share essentially zero parts.  Masterpiece Dinobot was also like this, and what he did to get from velociraptor to robot was... turn entirely inside out.  He was a Popple.  But he could do this because he was massively large.  There was enough of him that he actually could turn inside out.  Blackarachnia, though, uh.  She be small.  There's not enough of her to do what Dinobot does.  

She tries, though.

Obviously, by looking at her, the robot mode's accuracy was emphasized.  In robot mode, she's a perfect action figure of the CGI model.  The only thing that's even a tiny bit off is the exact curvy shape of the spider abdomen stuff on her back, and even that's getting picky.  It's hard to tell that she even transforms into something, at a glance.  She's got spider legs on her arms and that's it.  

The spider mode is definitely where all the compromises landed.  Her tiny head and thorax sit atop a massive pile of robot mode arms.  Her robot mode legs are too large to tuck entirely inside her spider mode abdomen.  The thing is, there's just not anywhere for all this stuff to go.  Her two modes are largely incompatible, and she's too insubstantial to be as creative with the transformation as one'd like.  Cramming all the accuracy into the robot mode seems like the best idea between "favoring robot," "favoring spider," and "making both look bad."

Blackarachnia comes with one stand square (Dinobot came with two squares), a support arm for the stand, four web parts that combine with each other to form a complete web and attach to the support arm, and an attachment piece to help you connect Blackarachnia to it in various ways.  This stuff is larger than the toy itself, so even though Blackarachnia is pretty small, you get a big chunk of plastic.   

There's also two alternate heads (nigh-identical smiling and laughing-while-green-eyes-glowing), a harpoon that attaches to the harpoon weapon that forms out of part of her abdomen, a second harpoon attached to a string which you can use to swing or hang Blackarachnia from, and a VR mask attached to a wire and a separate extra wire.

Masterpiece Blackarachnia is a small but incredibly intricate toy that transforms from a 100% perfect robot mode (which is extremely poseable) to a spider-mode that looks okay if you haven't put your contacts in yet, comes with a few extra faces, a large diarama stand, and some weapons.  How much you want this for the price she asks depends on how much you dig Blackarachnia.  

Posted December 1, 2019 at 1:39 pm

The reason I'm... inordinately fond of the 1987 Targetmaster Crosshairs is not one that's likely to be replicable by other, non-me people.  But I am!  I love this guy.  I've been waiting for a modern toy of this dude for a very long time.

So.  

Like, it's 1987.  I am eight.  I still don't own an Optimus Prime.  At this point, I've already tried taking washable red and blue markers to my white Ultra Magnus cab, resulting in a pink and powder blue Easter Optimus, oops.  And so I get taken to the store for, I dunno, my birthday, probably?  And there's still no Optimus.  It's 1987.  But I pick out Crosshairs because he's a red and blue truck.  He'll do!  Sort of!  

I take Crosshairs with me to my third grade class.  He's stolen.  The following day, while I'm still distraught, that kid who bullies me claims he took him home and melted him in his backyard.  A neighbor kid agrees, yeah, he saw a melted puddle of plastic in his back yard!  Crosshairs is gone and he's been murdered.  

The melting story, upon reflection, is not terribly likely, and probably made up to be a jerk.  But Crosshairs was still stolen!  And I was still, in the moment, fairly traumatized.  I became a weird little Crosshairs obsessive, like a very specialized Bruce Wayne.  I can tell you all sorts of things about Crosshairs that nobody else cares about, like his different-from-the-toy head that appeared in the comic and cartoon (and was based on early control art before it got changed to being a super boring normal-ass face head).  Or the white hands he had in the cartoon (which might have been based on the silver stickers across his wrists).  And I might drone on about his voice (supplied by Neil "Shipwreck" Ross) that tried to sort of be Jack Nicholson but came out more Ronald Reagan.  

Every time a new Transformer comes out that's a truck or whatever, I usually pine for a Crosshairs redeco of it.  It even almost happened a few times, like with a shelved BotCon Crosshairs from Generations Kup!  And finally, at long last, this has occurred, using Stege Ironhide.  And even better, Crosshairs has his comic/animation head.  (This is his real, better head, and the original toy's can go haaaang.)  And even even better, Stege Ratchet has compatible white hands I can swap in to give Crosshairs his cartoon white hands.  And even even even better, an updated version of Pinpointer exists (who was recently paired with Windblade).  And so I've got this perfect storm of a perfect Crosshairs.  

Just... try to feel my excitement through the screen, somehow.  I know, I know, he's just a 1987 Targetmaster truck.  Half his appearances are probably drawing errors of Pinpointer.  (He honestly had an overly-fair amount of lines in the cartoon.)  

Toy-wise, he's exactly Ironhide but in different colors and a different head, with Ironhide's hammer/cannon weapon redecoed red and black to look vaguely like Pinpointer.  Ironhide's a pretty good toy, if the side panels don't pop off all the time.  And Crosshairs' don't, so, yeah, we're solid.  And, yes, I swap out the hands and give him his rightful Targetmaster partner, and we're good, and we've almost entirely nailed floorboards over my third grade childhood trauma.  

almost



almost

Posted November 15, 2019 at 10:57 pm

When War for Cybertron: Stege Hound first came out, everyone noticed something odd about his packaging art -- he had Hot Shot's head!  Specifically, Cybertron Defense Hot Shot's head.  The packaging artist painted the wrong head, possibly because the photos they were sent presented the toy with it.  CD Hot Shot was a military vehicle, while currently Rescue Bots Academy Hot Shot is a dune buggy, so a Cybertronic Jeep mode isn't too far off the mark for the guy.   Thing is, most toys these days get extra heads built into the tooling for potential later releases, but these potential later releases don't always happen!  And so despite us knowing (intuitively) there was a Hot Shot head somewhere in Stege Hound's tooling, it didn't guarantee we'd get a Hot Shot from him.

Ultimately (obviously), we did!  He wasn't confirmed officially until dang near the end of the line, and just days before he was released exclusively at New York Comic-Con (via Entertainment Earth).  Entertainment Earth also had a matching Hot Shot pin and a little Hot Shot badge tag, both of which Adam Pawlus was gratefully able to get for me.  (I also was helped getting a pin by good ol' warcabbit.)  Since, you know, I've never been to a NYCC.  Hot Shot himself was available readily online through various outlets.

And the Stege Hot Shot is... good.

I mean, he's not the Hot Shottiest Hot Shot, since he's not a yellow sportscar, but he's probably one of the best Hot Shot toys?  Because Hound himself is pretty good, you see.  He's got a neat transformation (both sets of wheels end up in his legs), and he comes with two cannons and a ... fake spare tire thing, since the altmode is Cybertronian.  The fake spare tire thing can attach to the side of the larger cannon and make it look like a Tommy gun.  

But Stege Hot Shot is definitely the most articulated Hot Shot toy, that's for dang sure.  Like, I'm not sure any transformable Hot Shot toy has even had waist rotation before.  And all the standard Stege articulation is present, including waist rotation, ankle tilts.... shoulders.  You can get some dynamic movement out of him.

Cybertron Defense Hot Shot was known for his double cannons mounted on his shoulders, but Hot Shot's two cannons do a poor job of recreating both of them.  They can recreate ONE of them pretty well, if you combine them.  And so, whoops, I have two Stege Hot Shots, and one is borrowing the other's weapons.  I am now sated.

Until more Hot Shots come out, anyway.  Dang, do you know there's a Rescue Bots Academy (Series 2) of those blind-bagged figurines you find at Meijer or Kroger?  And there's TWO Hot Shot figures in that.  It's been reported exactly once in the United States and zero other times.  That shit needs to saturate the market.  Or at least eBay.  

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