Woof! I was expecting the new Hot Shot to be kinda fiddly and Side Burn-y, but he really does take the cake. You look at the promotional images of him, and you know going in that he's not going to be a 10-second conversion deal like the first Hot Shot, but wow. This guy's transformation is crazy. He has one of those setups where you have to move *everything* all at once, with all his parts sliding past and around all his other parts all at the same time. Jesus Christ, dude.
The worst offenders are the two slabs of car that attach to his back, seen in the photo on the right. You will hate them. You will hate them forever. They don't really get out of the way. Sure, there's a few hinges and a rotator between them and Hot Shot's back, which in theory should allow you some sort of configuration where they stop ruining everything, but this is not the case. I've tried everything. Pointing down, pointing out to the sides, overlapping each other... the problem is they're also tied to the shoulder joints, so if you maneuver them too far in the wrong directions, his torso starts collapsing.
And you know those Transformers that have crotches that are supposed to peg together in the middle, but they don't really? Hot Shot is one of those guys.
Basically, this new Hot Shot is everything the original Hot Shot wasn't, and vice versa. The original Hot Shot emphasized playability and fun, with several spring-loaded gadgets, a simple transformation, and a block-like sturdiness built in to afford rough play. This new Hot Shot emphasizes complexity and poseability. This mostly means Hot Shot gets in the way of himself. Universe Hot Shot has a buttload of poseability. He has what amounts to universal-jointed shoulders, double-jointed elbows, and bicep swivels. Unfortunately, those big masses of car on his back, the aforementioned ones... they get in the way, big time. It's partly the fault of the spoiler halves on his shoulders, too. There's so much clipping going on every time you so much as want to budge his arms.
Another big thing going for the original Hot Shot was interactivity. This Hot Shot throws that out the window. He doesn't even have fistholes that are compatible with 99% of all other Transformers toys. The fistholes are just shy of the 5mm standard peghole size. Don't try to squeeze the Star Saber sword in there, 'cuz it won't fit. He can't hold any of the other Hot Shots' weapons. (Seriously, what the hell.) I have a theory why this happened, and it has a lot to do with being told at some point that the early prototype for him was a bit bigger. Did they downsize all of him but not widen his fistholes? Hard to say. Regardless, it results in him not being able to hold any swords or guns or Mini-Con weapons.
Oh, and he has a very neutral expression on his face. No dippy open-mouthed grin that I fell in love with.
So while being very obviously based on the original Hot Shot, he's definitely not Armada Hot Shot in spirit. Fun, playability, and interactivity are gone. But he can pose pretty okay from the waist down! (As I said earlier, his arms pose well... in theory.) And he's got transparent windows and less dorky robot mode proportions, and is covered in sculpted detail.
Man, it sounds like I hate this thing. I shouldn't, really! And it was mostly what I was expecting, short of the incompatible peghole snafu. I really was expecting, going in, that I'd still like the first Hot Shot toy more. No, I still like this new Hot Shot. ...but as a sort of curiosity. It takes an old design and flip-flops its priorities. And so, maybe along that vein, maybe I like him as a cautionary tale.
Also, I like him for being a friggin' Transformers 25th Anniversary Hot Shot. I mean, holy crap. That's just awesome on the face of it. And his license plate says JAAM. And his tech spec bio also talks about how he loves JAAM. Frankly, the whole production, on its surface, feels like a big-ass love letter to yours truly. It's just in the details where things go awry.
I put up a few more images at The Allspark, if you're interested. Check 'em out.