Denyer's review of: Hound
Autobot / Cybertron
Thanks to the cooperative development of Daimler-Chrysler and Hybrid Technologies Corporation, this Autobot tracker is equipped with all the latest detection functions. Hound has a supreme love of Earth's natural environment and longs deep in his spark to become a human being. He feels the Binal-Tech Plan is just like the first step to his dream coming true, and as a staunch supporter of the project, he has volunteered his cooperation in advancing the introduction and testing of new technology, with all their accompanying dangers. In addition to his deep loyalty and fearless heroism, he is awakening to a higher level of perception thanks to the high-precision sensors equipped all over his structure.
Hound is one of relatively few 1984-1985 Autobots I don't have, and not having been reissued outside Japan the original is rather hard to come by at a decent price... not as bad as, say, Mirage, but not widely available. So I'd considered picking up the Alternators version if it ever made it to the UK, which of course it didn't. We got Swindle instead, a character and colour-scheme I've never been hugely interested in, and the opportunity to impulsively pick up Hound on these shores passed by...
The reason I'm now reviewing the Binaltech version is because I saw one at an acceptable starting price on eBay, and figured that if it went at that I'd be happy enough. I remembered the auction with about twenty seconds to go, and it did. (Tip: if an item has a high buy-it-now, bidding too far in advance will just remove the BIN option and highlight to others the lower starting price. It's annoying on the occasions you lose auctions by forgetting about them, but it can be effective bidding psychology.)
I was particularly interested in Hound because I wanted some variety. The Corvette and Dodge Viper moulds are reasonably different from the Impreza (which seems to be the default transformation scheme, doubling-up on the RX-8) but have a lot of kibble... plus, they're still cars. The others I've got (being more into comics than toys) are Smokescreen, Grimlock and Windcharger, which offer a reasonable diversity of colours and robot modes.
Definitely the strong point of this figure. Whilst I don't particularly care about displaying Transformers as vehicles, I do like being able to look at them and visualise what they turn into, and there's no mistaking Hound for anything but a Jeep. Not a trace of robot is apparent in this mode, even the gun being tucked away into a compartment in the spare tyre.
Transformation isn't too fiddly by Binalternator standards, but I did have to look at photos to work out that the front of the feet spin round 180 degrees. Looking at the review the site currently has of Alternators Hound with these mistransformed, it isn't entirely obvious. I will probably be nicking the photo of the Jeep from that review, though, because as ever I can't be bothered to transform the figure back now that I've got it displayed as I want. (Edit: nope, Clay's volunteering pics, so cheers to him.)
With some effort you can get Hound into a lineup of other Alternators or Binaltechs not looking like the odd one out. Even so, the bulk of the vehicle is packed into and behind the torso, with arms extending on stalks from either side of the chassis. The feet have to be ratcheted in order for the slender legs and ball-jointed hips to support the weight of the torso, which means you can stand him with a wide stance or bolt upright but not comfortably anything in-between. (Presenting the guy as if he's striding forward alleviates this a bit.) All-in-all Hound is the most difficult Binalternator I have to pose satisfactorily; still, once he's there the result is pleasing to look at.
In terms of faithfulness to the original the designers have done quite well, although his shoulder-mounted hologram gun has become a smaller pistol and he's unarmed in vehicle mode like all of the series. Being a consumer Jeep rather than a military one also means that there's roll bar kibble to hang off the robot mode. They're all understandable and generally well-implemented compromises, and something else to bear in mind is that the old toy came with a large number of detachable parts -- people looking to buy non-boxed examples now usually find most or all of these have gone missing over a twenty-year interval.
7 - Less intuitive than Smokescreen, but nothing like the battle you might have with BT Grimlock.
6 - Even new, I suspect the hip joints wouldn't support the die-cast torso particularly well. The shoulders are another potential weak spot.
6 - Some of the design choices limit poseability. He's top-heavy, and ideally the spare tyre would swing behind a leg so that the whole was more symmetrical.
7 - Fourteen quid shipped, loose. The seller initially had a buy-it-now of twenty-five plus postage, which is probably around what it would've cost MISB when originally bought. However, they seem relatively hard to come by now in 2006.
8 - At the price paid, I'd recommend. Hound rounds out a small Earthforce nicely.