The Marissa Faireborn mystery has been revealed…

First and foremost, a HUGE thanks to Josh over at YoJoe who has been doing spectacular work with their comic archive, tying the IDW Universe together, even as G.I. Joe has been criss-crossing continuity with other Hasbro properties.  He’s managed to make it easy to follow and make sense, and with the latest reveal of Marissa Fairborne, he goes above and beyond!  He’s written a terrific guest post for GeneralsJoes.com which you can read below.  Again, big props to his loyal and devoted following to the ongoing IDW continuity and how this all ties back to history.  Some really great stuff!

Big News in the GI Joe and Transformers world has just happened in the IDW comic Optimus Prime #3!

An event literally 30 years in making has finally been confirmed (In continuity).

Summaries of all of the different series can be read at YoJoe.com, so you can follow the stories.

Yes, its official, Marissa Faireborn of The Transformers Earth Defense Command is the daughter of GI Joe’s Flint.  And they actually sit down together in a coffee shop and talk.

For 20 years it was only rumored that Marissa was related to Dashiell and the mother was a mystery.  Outside of a DVD commentary, no cartoon, comic or other media has ever confirmed their relationship.

Now for the first time ever and within the IDW continuity, the Joe and Transformers worlds have been combined allowing a long time meeting between Flint and Marissa to happen.

Both GI Joe (not ARAH which is written by Larry Hama) and the Transformers along with Action Man, MASK, ROM and Micronauts are all included in the IDW continuity.  The mini-series Revolution recently tied all of the Hasbro properties together into one universe.

But one mystery that has never been solved officially in any cannon is who is Marissa Faireborn’s mother?

Let’s dive into some Transformers and GI Joe history that got us to this huge reveal.

First, in 1985 Series Four of GI Joe A Real American Hero toys, a character named Flint aka Dashiell Faireborn was released.  He actually premiered in GI Joe: the Revenge of Cobra cartoon episode #1 “In Cobra’s Pit” on Sept 10th 1984, he is voiced by actor Bill Ratner.  Flint has been a leader of the Joe since his first arrival in toys, comics or cartoons.  And in both the comics and cartoons his love interest is fellow GI Joe Lady Jaye aka Alison Hart-Burnett, who also was released in Series Four.  Flint’s in continuity cartoon stories took place in the 1980s.

On September 16th, 1986 a new character named Marissa arrived in the second episode of the third season of the cartoon The Transformers.  The title of the episode was called the “Five Faces of Darkness, Part 2”.  Marissa Faireborn was part of the Earth Defense Command (EDC) that was helping and fighting the Transformers on Earth.  In the timeline of the Transformers series continuity, Captain Faireborn was living in 2005.

At the time of Marissa’s premiere on the cartoon, GI Joe and Transformers had no official connection between the toy lines.  This was the first hint of many crossovers to come in the 30 year history of Hasbro toys and the Faireborn family.

In The Transformers cartoon episode called “The Killing Jar” with had an airdate of Sept 29th, 1986.  Disguised as a shuttle, the Transformers Quintesson ship docks with an EDC space station, and Marissa Faireborn is lured on board by an illusion of her father.  Although not officially called Flint, this character is voiced by the same actor Bill Ratner who performed Flint in the regular GI Joe cartoon.  “Flint’s” appearance in this episode has him with grey hair in his 60s, still active with the military and in good if not distant relations with Marissa, at least well enough for the projection to fool her.

Happening in another part of the Hasbro universe, released in January 1987 in Marvel comics, was a completely different kind of crossover between GI Joe and the Autobots.  Writer Michael Higgins wrote an official in the ARAH continuity 4 issue mini-series called GI Joe and The Transformers.  Now this mini-series does not contain nor reference Flint, Marissa or even the Earth Defense Command.  But forever became official A Real American Hero cannon, whether the fans liked it or not.

Over in the United Kingdom, on August 8th, 1987 issue #125 of Marvel’s UK The Transformers is released with an original crossover story called Ancient Relics Part One. The rest of this story also appears in the Marvel UK Action Force comic #24 titled Ancient Relics Part Two, #25 is Part Three, #26 Part Four, #27 is Part Five.  Flint is the leader of Action Force in the UK, when in the London underground a Transformer is discovered and it’s Megatron. Autobots Wheeljack, Grimlock and Blades all fight with Flint and his Action Force team against Megatron.  Additionally, the Ancient Relics storyline was reprinted in 5 parts in the UK’s Action Force Monthly (Issues #1-6) in 1988 which in America is called European Missions (Issues #1-6) as in 1988.  It has always been debatable whether European Mission is officially part of the ARAH continuity.  But either way it is still an original story that crosses over Flint with The Transformers, presumably before Marissa was even born.

6 years later in 1993, The Transformers appear within the GI Joe A Real American Hero comic starting with issue #139 until #142.  Now this is officially within the ARAH continuity.  Megatron shows up and partners with Cobra Commander and of course the Joes fight them.  At the conclusion of #142, Marvel’s The Transformers Generation 2 becomes a spin off comic book series starting with #1.  The GI Joe’s only appear in 3 issues of the series and Flint appears in Transformers Generation 2 #6.

Since GI Joe and Transformers first official crossed over they have since crossed over in comics numerous times with several different publishers since 1993.  Generally, each of these is their own continuity and the publisher’s were Devil’s Due Publishing, Dreamwave and IDW.   The Dreamwave Transformers GI Joe series has the Joes fighting in World War II against The Transformers.  This series introduces Nathaniel Faireborn who is Flint’s father and Marissa’s grandfather. In the Devil’s Due crossover series Flint actually goes to Cybertron.  In Dreamwave’s G1 Transformers series Marissa now holding the rank of Commander, rather than Captain, portrayed as a member of the EDC, which in the Dreamwave continuity clandestinely handles terrestrial/extraterrestrial encounters. Following the Transformers’ return to activity on Earth early 21st century, The Transformers plans were stopped, but Marissa’s superior officer did not share her fondness for the Transformers. Dreamwave’s bankruptcy and subsequent closure left remaining stories of Marissa Faireborn untold.

Marissa was a key character in US the Transformers cartoon series but never appeared in a Marvel comic in the 1980s.  In the 1990s in a comic in Japanese, Manga style, that was never released in America and connected to a radio series, this is called KISS Players.  Marissa as a child in the 1990s, lived in New York, where she met and became friends with Shaoshao Li, who developed an extremely strong attachment to her. The young Marissa resented her military father, so when one of his missions went awry and she and her father had to be rescued by Optimus Prime, she quickly came to view the Autobot leader as a surrogate father figure… and perhaps a little bit more.

Ok, so that covers comics and cartoon references between Flint and the Joes and Marissa and the Transformers.  In recent years the toys have started to crossover Joes and Transformers and the Transformers and GI Joe Collector’s Club in 2015 released a Marissa Faireborn toy, see the GeneralsJoes toy review.

But who is Marissa’s mother.

Fans speculated for two decades that the character Marissa Faireborn in Transformers is his daughter, since they both share the same last name. The writers of both shows remained coy whether Marissa Faireborn was actually Flint and Lady Jaye’s daughter or not. However, cast notes for “The Killing Jar” refer to Marissa’s father as being “a 60-year-old Flint”. The mystery was finally solved on November 7, 2006, with the 20th anniversary DVD release of The Transformers: The Movie. On an interview on the DVD, Flint Dille, story editor for Transformers, confirmed that Marissa Faireborn is indeed Flint and Lady Jaye’s daughter.  This would subsequently make Marissa a distant relative of Destro as well. However, in an interview with G. I. Joe fansite Joe Headquarters, Dille added the caveat that “I’ve always thought of Flint as being too young to have a daughter that old.”

And now you know and knowing is half the battle.  But we don’t know who Marissa’s mother is within the IDW continuity.  Stay tuned.

References: Yojoe.com, tfwiki.net, Wikipedia.com

Special exclusive G.I. Joe/Transformers Cover for Roll Out Roll Call!

An exciting announcement from the folks at Roll Out Roll Call!  Attendees of the show in London Heathrow will get a special opportunity to own Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #13 with a special exclusive cover by Robert Atkins and Joana LaFuente.

There will be a run of only 250 of these exclusive covers featuring a number of characters played by convention guests Morgan Lofting and Neil Ross. Your best chance to get this exclusive comic is at Roll Out Roll Call!  Along with this, they’ve already announced exclusive availability of previously sold out Botcon exclusives!

The show is July 8th – 9th at London Heathrow and is a favorite show for many fans.  Boss Fight Studio will be there, likely with a bunch of product in hand to sell!

There’s going to be lots to love about this year’s Roll Out Roll Call, and you can find all of the great details over on their Facebook page.  Tickets are on sale now, so don’t wait!

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Transformers: Combiner Wars Bruticus

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The Combiner Wars theme, I’m happy to say, has had far more “hits” than misses, and I feel comfortable saying that Bruticus is another solid home run. Using the same connection template as the previous combiners, the limbs all say firmly secure, yet offer very nice poseability, as the other combiners do.

Perhaps what puts Bruticus over the edge is that he is a combiner team I actually owned part of when I was younger (as a G.I. Joe fan back then, I naturally gravitated towards the military theme) along with the Stunticons and Aerialbots. Unlike the Stunticons and Aerialbots, however, I don’t believe I ever owned the entire set of Combaticons, so this is like a new world for me, and it’s one that I like.

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Britucus’ very distinctive head sculpt is translated perfectly with this combined figure, and I love the broad, triangular chest plate. He looks imposing and powerful, and unlike Menasor, he doesn’t feel like he exists just to topple over. The wide stance of his legs (like Defensor) holds him in poses really nicely, and even though the individual Combaticons have some pretty different, distinctive colors, he still makes for an awesome combined character.

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Bruticus is great, all things considered. I think I may still like Superion the most (well, unless you count Devastator), but Bruticus is a close second, followed by Defensor. Menasor needs to rethink his outlook on life.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Onslaught

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It’s amazing what some minor changes can do to change one character into another, and those minor changes work wonders for Onslaught.

Obviously based on the Hot Spot tooling, Onslaught has just the right changes to completely redefine the figure into a different, more effective character. The elaborate hook and ladder system on his back in vehicle mode is now a triangular mount for his two cannons, and not only does it look more potent and deadly in vehicle mode, but the it converts nicely into an effective chestplate for Bruticus.

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The vehicle itself is narrow and sloped, like the fire truck, but still makes for an excellent military type vehicle, although not especially vintage accurate. Like Hot Spot, transformation is relatively intuitive and easily accomplished, and as cool as the vehicle is, the robot mode is even better. Articulation is spectacular, with great movement at all necessary joints. I love how imposing the armored shoulder pads look, and the intricate lined sculpting in robot mode is seriously impressive.

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Sculpting in the new head is nearly flawless, and it’s amazing to me how a featureless robot can express such emotion with the different positions of his head and body.

The twin cannons can stay attached to the back like you might expect, but are also removable and can be held as robotic guns, too.

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Like the rest of the Combaticons, Onslaught’s colors are based more strongly on the classic toy than the animation, but work well in that regard, and as a lifelong G.I. Joe fan, I’m extremely attached to the military angle of all these Combaticon toys. Onslaught is a great vintage update and makes for a fantastic centerpiece to the Bruticus combiner.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Swindle

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Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve always understood Swindle to be probably the most famous of the Combaticons, and one of the characters that has somewhat transcended his role as merely one part of the larger whole. That might be just because of my fascination with Transformers: Animated and the fact that he had such a distinct role there, but that’s the impression that I get.

Hasbro does a good job of taking the classic elements of Swindle and integrating them a bit more into an effective “combat” vehicle, using a healthy helping of Rook, but adding some very nice tweaks with some rollbars and more identifiable “Jeep” parts. The result is a bulky, armored combat jeep that manages to maintain all the hallmarks of the vintage original, yet plenty of more modern power while they’re at it.

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One of the best parts of the figure is the new head sculpt, which is chock full of that Swindle arms dealer character. With his trademark purple “sunglasses” and grimace, the head and face definitely resemble the Swindle that we know and love. He’s got a very unique head that is translated quite nicely to plastic form here, and I love it.

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With a nice mixture of orangish/brown, Hasbro takes some queues from the vintage version and both the vehicle and robot look the part. It certainly helps that Rook is one of my favorite base figures, too, and I’m really glad they’re leveraging him for both Swindle and Hound. It makes for a great base, and with just the right tooling tweaks, they look separate enough to work nicely.

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Swindle is pretty great. I daresay he’s the highlight of this wave of Deluxes for me, easily pushing aside Brawl, who I just assumed would be my odds on favorite.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Brawl

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Out of all the deluxe Combaticons, Brawl was probably the one I looked forward to most, simply due to his alt mode. As a G.I. Joe fan, I really dig seeing Transformers geared up as true military machines, even though I break out in hives thinking of the twisted up scale of some of these vehicles.

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Brawl is the one completely new figure amongst this crew of repaints, and in vehicle mode, I love it. The tank looks cool and distinct, standing out among the crowd, impressing with its armor and cannon when intermingled with repainted pick up trucks, scrawny fighter jets and sports cars. Brawl means business.

Unfortunately, once you get Brawl into robot mode, it starts to feel like maybe Brawl is going out of business. At first glance, he looks great. Broad shouldered, stocky, and very aggressive looking. Pretty much how you’d expect a tank that turns into a robot to look. But once you start posing him, you run into some annoying problems. His shoulders are connected at a very restrictive shoulder joint, connecting stubby arms directly to his torso, and limited his arm movements by a considerable margin. The result is a figure that can do little more than flap his arms or rotate them very close to his body. At the waist, there’s no real connecting joint either, so the top half of the figure just kind of floats there and doesn’t hold together, so he’s constantly pulling apart and is tough to move into a really nice pose. It’s disappointing, because these are two pretty key issues that, from a design standpoint, Hasbro has overcome, at least until now.

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Throughout the bulk of the Combiner Wars line, they’ve (almost magically) been able to mesh design with articulation, and give us two very effective modes without sacrificing play factor. In the case of Brawl, they don’t quite succeed, which is all the more frustrating since this is the only newly tooled figure of the wave. The hope would be that this one newly tooled figure would be great enough to rise above all the repaints, when in fact, it ends up drawing the rest of the wave down a bit.

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I love the colors, I love the concept, I desperately want to enjoy Brawl, but the fact remains that he’s the wave’s greatest disappointment, which is extremely unfortunate.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Blast Off

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Sometimes, when you’re an avid, nostalgia-fueled fan, certain decisions by modern toymakers can drive you up the wall. Even if you know the reasons (more often than not financial) these choices can be infuriating.

At times like this, sometimes I’m glad I was mostly a fringe Transformers fan in the 80s, so when Blast Off is represented as a fighter jet instead of a space shuttle in the Combiner Wars line, I can kinda shrug it off and say “makes sense to me”. I mean, after all, what kind of “combat” vehicle is a friggen space shuttle?!

Granted, the Takara version of Blast Off does look pretty friggen sweet.

As mentioned, this rendition of the Combaticon air support member is a jet instead of a shuttle, a repaint of several previous releases within the Combiner Wars line, including Quickslinger. In fact, this figure is a direct repaint of Quickslinger, included the head sculpt, which has caused some understandable consternation among Transformers fans. Even if you’re not going to give folks the full blown space shuttle experience, it feels like a new head would have at least been a good bone to throw to the fans out there.

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Because Blast Off is such a straight repaint, it’s tough to find a whole lot more to talk about with the figure itself. I still really love the base figure here, and it was one of these fighter jets that got me interested in Combiner Wars in the first place, way back when. The transformation is really straight forward, easy to pull off in both directions, and the figure is very nicely articulated, something that’s especially important to a long time G.I. Joe fan like myself.

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Blast Off is colored in much the same way as the vintage version, with a metallic gray and purple mixture, both complimenting each other remarkably well. The small hints of yellow add some nice color, without being too intrusive.

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No, Blast Off is not a space shuttle, but in my opinion, he fits much better with his peers in this form. I can certainly understand the complaints of the long time fans who want a G1 update to go along with these others, but from a practical standpoint, I’m cool with the version we got.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Vortex

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In a way, when Hasbro first released Alpha Bravo back with their first wave of Combiner Wars figures, fans everywhere immediately knew that Vortex was just a matter of time. Not only was Vortex the same distinct kind of helicopter that Alpha Bravo was, but even the head sculpt was pretty unique to that Combaticon. With Quickslinger’s release, Alpha Bravo became the odd man out of the Aerialbots, so at this point, even though Vortex is a straight repaint of that figure, it doesn’t feel like a big deal, because the original version of the helicopter combiner has been rendered more or less extraneous.

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I’ll admit Alpha Bravo was never my favorite of the first run of Combiner Wars, and that opinion is maintained with Vortex. The transformation feels a little clunkier and the robot isn’t quite so fluidly articulated as some of the others. That being said, looking at the Vortex source material, Hasbro did a pretty spectacular job of updating that character to a modern version, while maintaining much of the spirit and uniqueness of the original.

Most of Vortex is gray, like the original, with just the right hints of that nice shade of green. Even the yellow painted missiles are a nice mimic of the yellow stickers adhered to the side of the original G1 Vortex.

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Even with the transformation being not as intuitive as other releases, it is still relatively easy and accomplished quickly, allowing for much more enjoyable “play time” for those of us who are Transformers novices.

I love the colors, really like the character now that I know him better, and consider this a pretty great update to the G1 original.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Defensor

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The combined form of the Protectobots team stands against the Decepticons!  To date, I’ve had some mixed feelings about the actual combiners within the context of the Combiner Wars, in some cases the result feeling like less than the sum of its parts.  While I love Superion, Menasor left me a bit high and dry to the point where I wasn’t sure I was even going to get the Protectobots.

As a kid, I enjoyed the combiner teams, and was a massive fan of the Aerialbots and Stunticons, so I felt a certain nostalgic attachment to getting those updates in the Combiner Wars.  The Protectobots, not so much.

But a constant flood of peer pressure from my so called “friends” (you know who you are) convinced me to put the Protectobots on my Father’s Day “wish list” and my lovely wife grabbed me a few of them.  I filled in the gaps pretty quickly, and I’ll be honest, I’m very glad I did.  Defensor is straight up awesome.

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He’s easily a match for Superion in my Combiner Wars love fest, and a good deal above Menasor.  The combined form stays together nicely, is aesthetically pleasing, and moves well without completely falling to pieces with every slight motion.

Hot Spot as the torso is a fantastic first step.  The way the ladder swings up underneath and plugs Defensor’s head into his shoulders is inspired and works amazingly well.  I also love how the framework of the ladder separates into a great looking elaborate chest plate, leaving Defensor looking pretty great even without Groove (who I will get eventually, but don’t own yet).

I chose to go with the Hasbro recommendation for the limb arrangement, which is Blades and Rook as the arms with First Aid and Streetwise as the legs.  If you go by the G1 iteration, Blades and First Aid would be arms with Rook (replacing Groove) and Streetwise as the legs.  Either way, the “Scramble City” format allows for a bunch of customization.  Personally, I like the Hasbro suggested design.  Both Blades and Rook function very well as arms with good range of motion and some nice bulk, especially with Rook on the left side.

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First Aid and Streetwise are both great looking legs, too, transforming in much the same way as their Stunticon predecessors.  The beauty, of course, remains in the torso, since it provides great hip joints to allow for stable poses, unlike Menasor, whose clugey hip joints almost single handedly bring that figure from great to “meh” in my mind.

Defensor’s head sculpt is fantastic, and the combination of color schemes blends really well, looking very “combiner-esque” but also creating a pretty nice flow of colors from one part to the other.  Hot Spot’s two laser weapons plug together to form a somewhat rudimentary larger weapon, and the end result is one heck of a great looking Combiner that happens to be made up of some equally great individual figures.

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I find it hard to believe that I was going to pass up the Protectobots only a month or two ago, but I’m really glad I let myself get pushed around by friends, as this team is fantastic and was a joy to put together.

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Transformers: Combiner Wars Hot Spot

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As leader of the Protectobots, Hot Spot holds a key place within the Transformers mythology, though like some other characters, he’s one I haven’t had much attachment to, even back in the 80s.

It’s a familiar theme.  The original fire truck, Inferno, was a pretty key character to me back in my childhood, and as such, I never paid a whole lot of attention to Hot Spot.  He was a part of a combiner team that I didn’t have any other figures to attach to, so unlike the appealing Stunticons and Aerialbots, the Protectobots all got left on a store shelf and I never really formed that attachment.  Unlike First Aid, though, Hot Spot hasn’t played any especially key roles in recent comics, so I still don’t have a firm allegiance to him as a character.  That doesn’t do a whole lot to diminish how I feel about him as a toy, though, and as a toy, Hot Spot is pretty good.

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The Combiner Wars voyagers to this point have been somewhat hit or miss, though mostly hits.  I love Silverbolt, and I like Motormaster okay, though his failure as a central piece to Menasor left me feeling a bit cold after using him for a little while.  Hot Spot doesn’t have any of these drawbacks.

In vehicle mode, he’s a powder blue fire and rescue truck, a color that isn’t seen very often, but it seen from time to time.  The long form of the vehicle looks nice, and the sloped front and back make him look sleek and quick, even as a potentially lumbering fire truck.  He has six wheels, and a lot of play value, with a working ladder.  The Defensor head even flips back to reveal a bucket for a tiny figure to stand in.  I like the colors (even though the blue doesn’t match a whole lot of other Protectobot vehicles closely) and the design is pretty good.  The mid-section of his vehicle mode is a bit thin, looking a lot like robot legs barely covered by a closed shell.  It kind of resembles an elongated ladder truck, but not really, and that does take away, just a bit, from the vehicle mode.

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His transformation works nicely and even as a newly tooled Voyager, I found it pretty straight forward and quick to get him from fire truck to robot.  Separating the rear to create armored arms, and the front to create his large feet works nicely and the end result is a fairly sleek looking robot.

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At least until you look at his back.  Hot Spot is a great looking robot, especially head on, but before long you do notice quite a bit of ladder-based kibble strapped to his back, just kind of hanging off.  I understand why, I mean it’s difficult to do a ladder truck without having this obvious slab of ladder hanging from the figure, and full credit to the design team for making it less visible from the front.  I really like the large, wide shoulders, and the small spring-details in the forearms.  In robot mode, there’s a lot more red to tie him into the rest of the team than he has in vehicle mode, with a nice allotment of blue and black, too.  His head is somewhat reminiscent of Optimus Prime, I thought, but still looks individual enough to work.  He stands tall among his teammates and looks really nice leading the team, with his dual laser weapons and impressive stature.

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