For reasons I don't quite understand a bunch of Transformers have been released recently by Hasbro exclusively in Asia. No, not Takara (that would at least make some sense) but Hasbro. While admittedly mostly repaints, Hasbro have gone to the trouble of giving them new heads and other bits and bobs.
But just for Asia.
The USA is getting a few of these imported as Toys R Us exclusives, but that's it. In what will be news to no one, the UK won't be getting anything. As usual.
Arriving on my doorstep from Hong Kong today was Hot Spot (actually it wasn't today, it was a couple of weeks ago, but I've only just got around to finishing off this review). Once upon a time, in the 80s, Hot Spot was the core figure which a bunch of other Transformers stuck to to make a BIG robot, Defensor. I never had Hotspot as a child, but...
Actually, for a while I did have Hot Spot for a brief period. Back when I was small, everyone used to take their Transformers into school to play with at playtime & dinnertime. I took Optimus Prime because, well, he's Optimus Prime. Another boy, who, it'll come no surprise to learn, wasn't very nice, took in Hot Spot. Now the details are very vague in my memory, what with it being a long time ago and me very small, but there was some kind of forced swap/theft and he nicked Optimus and I ended up with Hot Spot.
I wasn't impressed.
As I recall, he claimed it was actually his Optimus. Now you have to wonder how he thought he was going to get away with this. Optimus Prime, as everyone knows, is red. Hot Spot is bright blue. And a fire engine, not a lorry.
Long story short, the boy was an idiot and I got Optimus back. Yay!
Anyway, a couple of years ago, after I finally overcame the horrors of my youth, I actually bought Hot Spot. He's okay, as robots go, although he does have the fattest arms of any robot ever.
But this isn't a review of him. He's just here for Comparison Time.
The new Hot Spot doesn't combine, more's the pity, but then he is really just a repaint of the Inferno figure Hasbro released a couple of years ago. Like Inferno, the ladder of old has been replaced with a firing 'water' missile, which means there'll be a 3rd Party (ie unofficial fan-run) company no doubt releasing a ladder sometime soon. The missile on mine was warped in the package, which is a bit annoying.
There were complaints before release from Fans online that the (new) headsculpt for Hot Spot wasn't very Hotspot-like. You can easily decide for yourself from this photo -
Despite the non-combining, lack of ladder, bent missile and so-so head, I really like this guy. I much prefer the bright blue over the Inferno red version. Not that I've ever seen a blue fire engine, nor even sure they exist (they probably do somewhere. Hasbro wouldn't lie like that... Would they?)
He's big and chunky, just like the old one, is very poseable, has a simple but effective transformation, and even has the little fireball-like logo on the side like the original.
Oddly, despite loving the old version, my boys were in no way interested in him when he arrived. 'We've already got him,' they said. I'm not sure whether they were referring to the 80s version or the red version with that comment.
But I like him, and since I paid for him, that's the most important thing.
Obviously, since you have zero choice but to import the guy, he's a bit pricey. Relatively easy to get hold of, thankfully, but a bit more than you'd really like to pay for a toy his size. But when you think about it, with the ever increasing cost of toys & the ever shrinking size of Transformers, it's not that much more than you'd have to pay for him if he had got a UK release.