We got back late last night from being out of town for several days. While on the road, I'd seen online that the TF Collector's Club had begun shipping out this year's "free" toy (that you get just for paying the membership fee), Elite Guard Dion. I was a bit worried, since I didn't know if he'd be shipped in a little box that would fit in the mailbox and could hide there until we got back. Luckily, that turned out to be the case, and he was waiting in the mailbox when I got home.
The figure itself looks great. The orange and blue, of course, got well together, and the white is a good choice for an accent color. Cop-Tur, his mini-con, also looks good; being mostly blue with some orange and silver apps. Overall, I think they both look better, color-wise, than both Hot Shot and Jolt (well, the Henkei versions, at least).
Of course, the toy(s) also share the same problems I have with the Japanese release. The toe joint is floppy, making Dion hard to stand up. The left lower leg pops off a bit too easily just below the knee. Cop-Tur doesn't lock into the spoiler like he's supposed to. The rear wheel back kibble can't get out of its own way unless Dion's arms stick straight out. Cop-Tur can't stand up without leaning far forward. Et cetera.
And then there's the fictional issues I have with the toy; I don't really know where to place him. He's intended to be part of the Wings of Honor Universe that the club is building on in this year's club comic. That universe is very similar to the G1 cartoon universe, but with some slight changes; one of those changes is that, after being severely wounded by Megatron (a la War Dawn), Dion's fate isn't unknown. Fans have speculated that cartoon Dion was rebuilt into either Ironhide or Ultra Magnus (I'm in the Magnus camp, myself). WoH Dion was rebuilt into...Dion. Who can apparently just up and join the Elite Guard immediately afterward. Oh, and he has an Earth car mode millions of years before cars will exist on Earth.
So you see my problem. It's confounded by the fact that I really don't like seeing UT molds (and yes, I consider this a UT mold. It's a UT character and has a minicon port) being utilized in other fictional universes. So I'm trying to figure out a way for this toy to simply be UT Dion, even though the UT doesn't have an Elite Guard and already has an Ultra Magnus.
Lastly, it's hard to shake the feeling that this toy is just Elite Guard Hot Shot. The color scheme isn't too far removed from being a plausible Hot Shot scheme (his Cybertron mold had a ton of blue, and orange is of course close to yellow). And, more importantly, this mold was specifically designed to be Armada Hot Shot. It's hard to look at him and not see the impetuous young Autobot.
But yeah, he does look great.