Thursday, 9 April 2015

TFC Prometheus Hydrant (Protectobot Hotspot) Review

Robot Mode
He is a BIG BOY! Seriously though, this is the second biggest 3rd party transformer I have, but it's likely to be the densest in terms of mass per volume. He has no diecast, but the plastic on him feels dense and substantial. so thank goodness that almost all of his joints are heavy ratchet, or pretty stiff swivel or ball joints.

Just like all TFC releases, he is big in size and very chunky in appearances. Sure he does not look intricate like Fansproject, Unique Toys or MMC releases, but in this market slowly saturated with delicate origami bots, it's good that someone is sticking to the simpler heavy duty design and look. And it seems like TFC knows it as well, because unlike Hercules (or what I have seen of Ares), Hydrant's ratchet joints seems to have a major structural upgrade. I haven't got a chance to test him in combined mode (I don't have all the leg bots yet), but the hip joints (which the combined mode will use as well) is much stronger than on Hercules' Heavyload (Long Haul).

In matching to the G1 design, Hydrant carries his fire truck ladder on his back, which is just a touch short from the ground when Hydrant is standing upright, but long enough to act as a third leg in action pose. Not that Hydrant needs it in most pose though. Oh, and when I talked about ball joints, the only pair on this figure is on the ankles, and it's really just there so you can angle the feet to make them look natural.

To round out the bot mode, Hydrant comes with a gatling gun that can be wielded with bot hands, as well as 2 panels on the lower legs than, when opened, reveal clusters of missiles.



Transformation is pretty much G1 Hotspot plus a bit more. There are more collapsing and twisting of the arm, but it still rise up above the head and combine into the vehicle front. It does, however carries some additional black panels which go from the shoulders to the top of the vehicle.

The lower body is slightly different. Instead of just collapsing the thighs into the legs, the lower half rotate 180 degrees at the waist, then panels straighten and unfold to cover the thighs and sides of the torso. Front half of the feet twist 180 degrees and tab together, then the rest of the feet swivel into the legs, collapsing the front half of the feet to the back of the vehicle to form rear bumper.

Finally, the ladder section is untabbed from the back of the torso and swivel along a pair of arms and attache to the rear of the vehicle. The ladder also swivel along a pair of red arms so the ladder attachment point is right at the end of the ladder. A paint of little grey piece comes in to lock the red swivel arms to the main ladder section. The gatling gun can be attached to the tip of the ladder, with the red section of the gun rotate around to form the "crow's nest" while also revealing the fire hose.

Vehicle Mode
Beside the rather sci-fi looking black parts on the top of the vehicle, Hydrant is is pretty conventional, and pretty long, light blue fire truck. The hiding spot for the gatling gun is not great, but if you look at the underside of the vehicle, you will find a very tightly packed internal with no room for the gun. So unless they make some panel on the ladder section to conceal the Gatling gun barrel, there really isn't much room else to place the gun.

The large use of panels on the lower side, while not going to be appreciated by some, helps makes Hydrant's vehicle long and the robot mode parts well hidden. They are also moulded with a lot of details to further the fire truck motif.

For an added bonus, the ladder section has full range of movement. And it extend. It entend almost 3 times the original length! At full length, the weight of the gatling gun is a bit much for the hinge, and the ladder will tend to droop back down, but it is still VERY impressive.

Overall, I have yet to find a reason not to own Hydrant as a standalone bot. Of course, you have to be happy with the TFC styling of keep it simple and bulky. If so, he is a bot with big shelf presence.

There are a number of QC issue I have heard of when researching for this toy before the purchase, such as the hip joint ratchet loosing grip, and the ladder connector shear and break due to overly tighten joints, but I seems to have dodge all of them on my copy so far.

Another thing to note is that it does take quite a bit of force to collapse and click things into place when transforming him, most notable being the forearm collapse and the force to lock and unlock the fist from the bot mode position. It's not a deal breaker, but do take note of them when transforming him.

As for combined mode, We will leave that for later.

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