Sunday, 7 March 2010

TransFormers Collection #14 - Hound

Of all the Autobots in the Generation 1 cartoon, Hound was the one I found most charismatic, right from the pilot episode, Arrival from Cybertron/More Than Meets The Eye. While the rest of the Autobots worked toward finding a way home, Hound fell in love with the landscapes of Earth, and nurtured a desire to be human. He also had no qualms about going head to head with the Decepticons, facing off against Rumble underwater and - embarrassingly - needing Spike's help against the diminutive troublemaker.

Much as I like this model, I was pleased when Hound got the Classics/Universe 2.0 refit. The new model takes everything that was cool about Hound, everything that defined his appearance (such as his massive feet), and brought it bang up to date, improving it in almost every way.

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Vehicle Mode:
One of my favourite features of the Generation 1 Autobots derived from Takara's Diaclone line is the realism of the vehicle modes - they really are a treat. OK, so there's no steering wheel or legroom in this thing but, in every other way, it's a very detailed rendition of a military Jeep. The add-ons - the rear-mounted gun, spare tyre and spare petrol tank really add character to the vehicle. The downside, of course, is that all need to be removed and set aside before transformation. This was neatly avoided with Binaltech Hound, whose handgun was stored in what appeared to be the spare tyre, but none of the other accessories were included (since you wouldn't tend to get a mounted gun with the average Jeep Wrangler). Classics/Universe 2.0 Hound got around this by having one weapon only (based on the appearance of Hound's shoulder cannon in the TV series), which could be attached (sort of) in either mode.

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Robot Mode:
Easily the smallest of the boxed Autobots, Hound looks pretty good for the most part. Like some of the other G1 cars, he has a spring-loaded, shoulder-mounted rocket launcher and a hand-held rifle. Sadly, somewhat like Astrotrain, he's afflicted with very stubby arms, that can't actually raise the gun all the way. It is possible for him to hold the gun upside down, and thereby point it forward but, held normally, it'll always point slightly downward.

He also includes a very early example of Automorph in two places: rotating the front wheels down and back pulls out his arms, and rotating the front of the car down to for the robot's chest automatically raises his head. I was actually surprised (not sure why) that his head doesn't turn - all things considered, it wouldn't have been that difficult to add a neck joint, and there's certainly enough clearance for it to turn. Of course, none of the other car-bots had rotating heads...

Action poses are utterly impossible with the likes of G1 Hound, but he still looks cool, despite his stubby arms and hugely oversize feet.

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Transformation is not remotely complex, and yet it manages to be satisfying. The automorphing elements are very well done, considering the original date on this is 1982. I'm particularly impressed by the way the seats flip round to lock the legs in the upright position.

In spite of all its flaws, G1 Hound is just as charismatic as his on-screen counterpart. Weirdly, when I found TFC Hound on sale in a shop in London, it turned out I wasn't the first person to buy him that day. Classics/Universe 2.0 Hound has much improved articulation, but the original has a charm all of his own.

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