Originally posted at slangards.multiply.com on Jan 12, '09
Hound is one of those really great Transformers that was always a favorite among my friends as a kid. In the first episodes of the TV Series, it was Hound who hung around with Spike (before they paired him up with Bumblebee), and I also remember them pairing him up with Cliffjumper early on. He was this cool out-doorsy guy who was the face of the Autobots in the earlier episodes.
I also used to have the first G1 toy (lost to the bane of 80's toy collectors; mother's yard sales). Like alot of the regular sized toys, Hound was heavy metal, with diecast up the wazoo. He also had great accessories that echoed the TV Series,a rifle and a shoulder mounted holo-projector. The same one he used to help Wheeljack and Ratchet make the Dinobots!
Sadly, like most of the toys based on the Japanese diaclone line, Hound suffered from virtually zero points of useful articulation. There was a toy of him in the Binaltech/Alternators line, but for me, the original just looked the best.
The new Transformers Universe Hound is a huge improvement on any of the toys that have come before it. The vehicle mode stays faithful to the G1 character, but the design adds in a butt-load of new articulation. You'll see in the pictures that he still has the Holo-Cannon that he had in the cartoon and it still mounts on his roll-bar.
The vehicle mode looks good... but the robot looks even better. The transformation has a few interesting twists that you wouldn't have thought about, like his swinging his seats down to become his thighs. After you do get his arms out and his chest down though, it's a excellent representation of the character, with all the articulation a joint-junkie could want.
His cannon can double as either a shoulder mounted launcher or a pistol. There is a problem however keeping it on his shoulder. The little clip is machined a little too wide and hence very loose. It's not an isolated problem, many of the other collectors who have bought hims say the same thing. Still, if you're going to display him, it's a moot point. And if you're going to play, put it in his hand.
Paint apps are minimal, with some yellow highlights and some silver accents. His face is silver, as is the missle on his rocket launcher. The plastic is a little "plasticky". I prefer the plastic they used on Sideswipe. Still, I doubt you're going to have trouble with his paint, and if you really want great paint apps, I suggest you go for the more expensive Henkei version from Japan.
Hound isn't very big. He's barely bigger than the Classics Cliffjumper in fact, and Prime towers over him. It's not really an issue though since historically, he was never really a great big robot. He was the Autobot scout so being small would make sense. It makes pretending him and Cliffjumper are a super team even more fun.
In the cartoon, Hound chased around the Decepticon spy, Ravage alot. What makes this toy even greater is that Ravage is included! I'm divided on whether or not keeping him as a microcassette is a good or bad thing, but he's a great little extra. The articulation on him is sadly lacking; without ankle joints, he can't do much but stand there. I also don't like his new head. It looks more like a bird than a puma.
But it's a freebie basically, so hey, no biggie. He does look great standing and the missile packs from the G1 ravage still fit.
If you want, you can even put Ravage on the back of Hound's truck bed with a few pegs that fold out. I don't know why he'd be there, but it's a neat little feature that they designers added that seems to work.
I also hear he fits in the re-issue of Soundwave, but since I don't have him, I can't test that. Would be nice if they re-designed Soundwave for re-releases as well.
To sum up, Hound is one of the best of the Universe line so far. The P700 retail price is a pretty good deal considering you get two Transformers for the price of one. You're gonna have to do some hard hunting to find him on the pegs. Honestly, you may have to go to a re-seller or a collector to get one for yourself.