Holy crap, it’s Thursday again and that means I have to come up with another Transformer to review. Well, today I’m keeping the Classics train rolling along with a look at one of my favorite Autobot characters, Hound, as he appeared in the Classics/Universe line. As a kid, I loved Hound because he was such a cool dude, he had a neat Hologram gun, and he’d rather be admiring how beautiful the Earth was than fight Decepticons. That, of course is G1 Hound, not to be confused with Age of Extinction Hound who murdered a helpless creature in a cage because he was… and I’m quoting here… “Too ugly to live.” He was also voiced by John Goodman and when Optimus Prime said, “Autobots Roll Out!” I expected Hound to say, “I don’t roll on Shabbas!!” ZING! Anywaaaay… the Universe 2.0 version of Hound also came with Ravage and I’m guessing it’s because at one point the Hound helped to capture him. Obviously, the packaging for this figure is long gone, so let’s jump right in and look at Hound’s alt mode.
The original G1 Hound was a green army Jeep. This new incarnation is also a green army Jeep… sort of. I think Hasbro tried to go with something more modern looking, but to me the end result makes him look less realistic and more toyish. In fact, only the government issue green and the white stars on the front fenders suggest he’s a military vehicle. That having been said, I like the big off-road wheels and the huge ramming bar on the front. There’s even a sculpted winch on the front bumper. Considering how absolutely gorgeous G1 Hound’s alt mode is, and I think it still holds up beautifully, this new incarnation misses the mark a bit, but I guess it still works for me.
The interior is pretty well done, complete with bucket seats and a fairly detailed dashboard. I have a soft spot in my heart for open top vehicle modes that manage to reproduce a somewhat convincing driving area and Hound certainly does that. Some stickers or paintwork would have gone a long way to pick out the details in the dash, but it’s still pretty good.
The rear machine gun from Hound’s G1 days is gone and in its place is an area where you can store Ravage. There’s two flip up tabs that fit the holes in the cassette mode. But more on the Decepti-kitty in a bit…
Hound does come with one weapon, his missile launcher, and it’s damn frustrating. It can be tabbed into either of the seats, and I can’t say as I like the way it looks there. Meh!
Hound’s robot mode is pure love to me, even though it does feature some departures from his original design. The ramming bar on his chest changes up his aesthetics quite a bit, and yet I still like it because it makes him look more rugged. Two of his wheels land on his shoulders, and again as far as original tweaks to the design go, I like the way it looks a lot. I also really dig the way his feet are proportioned. It really nails the Sunbow aesthetic quite well. From the back, Hound isn’t quite as refined. His lower legs are completely hollowed out and so is the area behind his head. I try not to judge Transformers too harshly from the back view so I’m going to let it pass.
While the body may take some liberties with design, Hound’s portrait is pure G1 goodness. The blocky helmet looks great as does the sculpt in his face. And, oh my god, the blue light piping in his eyes. So beautiful!
Hound’s missile launcher is just as frustrating in his robot mode. It’s designed so that it can clip on behind either shoulder, but not very well. It looks awkward and it falls off really easy. This is the one aspect of this figure’s design that really wasn’t well thought out.
Luckily it can double as his handgun, but it’s a poor substitute for his iconic hologram gun. I know that Third Party companies have fixed these problems, but I never took advantage of those releases. Maybe someday, providing I can still track them down.
And then there’s Ravage and as already mentioned he is indeed a cassette. Sadly there’s no tampo with cassette tape details, instead what you get is basically a plastic rectangle with a couple holes in it. I guess it’s totally possible that some kids buying this figure would have no idea what Ravage’s alt mode is supposed to be. God, I’m old! Ravage’s Jaguar mode is very cool thanks to a rather clever bit of engineering that adds a lot of depth to him. His legs are fully articulated and in lieu of the proper Masterpiece Ravage, I have this guy sitting at the feet of my MP-10 Soundwave. And if you miss his side mounted guns, once again there are Third Party companies out there that have you covered.
It may sound like I have a lot of issues with Classics/Universe Hound, but the truth is I like this figure a lot. Like many figures in this line, he’s definitely a reimagining of the character but at the same time he doesn’t completely forget his roots. Yes, I would have preferred a more realistic Jeep mode and yes I wish they had designed his missile launcher better and included his hologram gun, but I’m still very satisfied having him on my Classics shelf and I’ll even go so far as say he’s one of my favorite figures in the display. But I still wish I had kept my Alternators Hound.