Transformers Siege: Megatron by Hasbro

I’m hanging on by a thread this week and I really didn’t think I was going to make it here today. But talking toys is like a soothing balm for all that ails me and so here I am, not at my best, but here nonetheless! Because the show must go on! Anywho… It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been back to look at the Transformers Siege line, and that just won’t do! So let’s go ahead and wrap up this week by opening Voyager Class Megatron! I think this is going to be an interesting ride!

I’ve said my piece about this packaging when I looked at Optimus Prime, so I won’t go on about it all again now. Suffice it to say, I dig it a lot. It’s evolved quite nicely since this style was introduced way back when for The Last Knight figures. Megatron comes in a collector friendly window box with some absolutely bitchin’ character art on the angled side panel, so what’s not to like? The imperious leader of the Decepticons comes packaged in his robot mode, but we’re going to start with his alt mode!

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that the alt mode is a futuristic tank. Let me go off the rails for a moment and say that while the G1 version of Megatron’s robot mode will likely always be my favorite, I’ve never been a fan of the gun mode. Even as a kid, I thought it made for a crummy toy, and as for the cartoon, it always seemed a little emasculating for the mighty Decepticon leader to shrink down and be wielded by his subordinates like a common implement. The idea of Megs turning into a tank just works better on so many levels. So naturally, one of my favorite things Hasbro has ever done was find a way to make the G1 Megs robot mode work with a tank mode. And that’s probably why the Combiner Wars Leader Class Megatron (along with the help of DX9) remains my favorite version of the character to this day. Of course, I was happy to see them trying it again, this time at the more versatile Voyager Class size. OK, enough of that, on to the tank!

The Transformers designers sure love their H-type tank designs and this alt mode continues to prove that. As a result this tank looks like a bit like a cousin of Hardhead’s alt mode. This mobile gun platform is propelled by four sets of treaded pylons with wheels concealed beneath them to help it roll into the heat of battle. The body of the tank itself is pretty small, taking up slightly less volume than the copula, which is bisected by the massive cannon barrel. The gun itself cannot elevate, but the copula is capable of rotating left and right, adding a little bit of play and display value.

But make no mistake, this is not a sexy tank. It’s not even a photogenic tank. It is an ugly machine of war and that fits Megatron just fine. The surfaces are littered with seams and joints and hinges. There are some panel lines and sculpted hatches, vents, and compartments, but to me it all gets lost in a sort of jumbled mess, and surprisingly I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. As for the deco, it’s mostly comprised of gray and black plastic, with a little red, silver and yellow here and there. The cannon itself is easily the best aspect of this mode. It’s intricately detailed with silver and red paint hits to make it stand out. And surprisingly, the business end of the gun itself is not formed by Megs’ familiar fusion blaster, which makes for a nice surprise and a more distinctive design. Instead, it’s a combination of the fusion cannon in the back and a weird sword-gun weapon in the front, which is detached for transformation. All in all, this mode isn’t going to win any awards for aesthetics or ingenuity of design, but it works as a purely functional killing machine. And that’s a totally appropriate alt mode for Megatron. So how about that robot mode?

Well, there’s no doubt about it, this is G1 Megatron! Hasbro clearly designed this figure with the robot mode as a priority and then worked backwards. Sure, there are some bits of telltale kibble, and I’ll get to that in a bit, but so much of the homage is preserved that I’m fine overlooking the compromises that had to be made. Indeed, there are actually two pieces on the tops of his shoulders designed to fold back solely to mimic the hammer kibble from the original toy’s Walther PPK alt mode. Particular attention has been spent in designing the torso to resemble the Sunbow animation model and I absolutely love it. It’s basically the original toy torso, only boxier, beefier, and better proportioned. A few nitpicks? I wish the forearms filled in and the wrists would pivot, but those are some pretty small quibbles.

From the back, he looks nothing like Megatron, and that’s all because of his tank treads. Two of them fold up onto his back to form a fairly neat and tidy, albeit large, backpack. The lower legs, which aren’t too dissimilar from the G1 design when viewed from the front, really break down when viewed from the back, and those heel spurs don’t help either. So, yeah, the nearly pitch perfect homage does fall apart when the figure isn’t viewed from the front. And none of that really bothers me. What does bother me a lot is the choice to leave so much of the figure as just bare gray plastic. I thought it looked terrible when I first saw it, and while it’s growing on me a little, I still think it’s the deco, or lack thereof, is the figure’s biggest drawback. I can’t help but think how good this guy would have looked with the same sumptuous silver paint that Hasbro gave Combiner Wars Megatron. I also think that there’s a criminal lack of paint on his lower torso. It just looks terribly unfinished.

While the homage breaks down from the back, and the coloring is a sticking point with me, the portrait wins back plenty of points. I have to say, old bucket head never looked better. The “helmet” is perfect, the scowl on his face and red down-turned narrow eyes make him look tougher than a week-old Energon Cube. The face is painted silver, making it look superb in contrast to all that dull gray plastic. Megsy has a smattering of silver paint weathering splashed across his chest and arms, and a Decepticon logo printed on his chest.

Also winning back a lot of points is the nearly perfect fusion cannon. So many modern Megatron figures can’t seem to get this right, and yet I consider it crucial to any G1 homage. It was one of those “close, but no cigar” failings of the Combiner Wars Megatron that had to be fixed by a third-party company, and even that wasn’t a perfect fix. This one looks great and it’s positioned on the outer arm, to allow for really good poses and aiming. Hell, you can even peg it onto either arm, but we all know that the right arm is where it belongs, eh?

Megatron also comes with the previously mentioned combination rifle-sword weapon, which forms the front half of the tank mode’s main cannon. This piece can be discarded after transformation, or it can be retained as a weapon. I honestly didn’t think I’d have any use for it, as it’s not really something that I would expect Megatron to carry around. It is, however, surprisingly fun and versatile. I doubt I’ll display Megatron with it in robot mode, but it may wind up going to one of my other Decepticons.

In the end, this review has been quite the roller-coaster of opinion. I want to love this figure more than I do, and when I really dig deep, I realize that the only real sticking point for me is the coloring. I don’t mind the slab of tank kibble on his back, and I love just about everything else about the way the robot mode looks. This figure just feels like a great design with a piss-poor paint job. If Hasbro or Takara released this figure with a premium paint job like Combiner Wars Megsy had, I’d happily fork over the money to buy him again. As it is, the previous Leader Class Megatron with DX9 enhancements will remain my favorite. Nonetheless, I can’t deny this Megatron has everything else going for him, and the Siege versions of Megatron and Optimus Prime are easily the best pairing of these two mortal foes that we’ve had in a long time, if not ever.

Advertisements

Transformers Siege: Optimus Prime by Hasbro

If the toy aisles in my area are any indication, Siege is selling like gangbusters. In one case last week, they were stocking the shelves when I put the last Deluxe I needed in my cart and did my other shopping before deciding to go back and get Optimus and Megatron, which were being unpacked. In the span of about 10 minutes they were both gone. Luckily, I got another crack at them a few days later and this time I jumped on them. I feel like getting the Leader Class figures is going to be a knock-down fight.

Prime is my first Voyager Class figure in this bunch, but the packaging is identical in style to the Deluxes. You get a collector friendly box with some killer artwork. I love how Hasbro evolved this packaging from when we first saw the Transformers name in red running up the side of the package to now. If Hasbro ever puts out an artbook featuring the character art from Siege, Titan Returns, and Power of the Primes, I’d throw down some money for it. But enough about the box, let’s get to the toy. Prime is packaged in his robot mode, but we’ll start with his alt mode.

The alt mode is a good old-fashioned red truck cab, which is certainly evocative of Prime’s G1 mode, but with a slight futuristic twist. It’s not the best and most polished cab mode we’ve seen on Optimus, but it’s not too shabby either. And this is clearly a case where Hasbro made some sacrifices in the alt mode to assist the aesthetics of the robot mode. Whether it was a good trade off, we’ll see in a bit (psst… IT IS!!). The biggest sacrifice is the extended roof, which hangs over the windshields. It took me a little getting used to, but I don’t think it looks bad, just kind of strange and different. The sides of the truck definitely show seams and some hinges, and probably the biggest eyesore is the use of silver paint for the side windows, while the rest are translucent blue. Speaking of which, I would have liked the grill to be painted silver, rather than using the same translucent plastic for the windows. And you’ll no doubt note that the smokestacks are shortened to keep kids from jamming them into their eyes after they’ve finished off a snack of Tide Pods. That may sound like I have a lot of beefs with this little truck, but I really don’t.

Nope, if I sound like I’m down on this cab, I should point out that there’s a lot I love here too. The circuit-like pattern that’s etched into the plastic behind the windows makes for a really cool effect, as does the sculpted headlamps behind those plastic pieces. I also really dig the “headlamps” to the lower right and left of the front bumper, because I have no other choice to believe that these are actually mini-guns because of the way they’re sculpted. Those will also come into play with the robot mode. The deco is also mighty purdy, with the familiar red and blue mingling with the gray, silver, and white to make a familiar and eye-pleasing combination. And yes, he has some of that brushed on weathering, which has been like a trademark for this line. Finally, Prime’s alt mode can store his axe as a sort of hitch, and if you’re a fan of big goofy guns on your alt modes (I’m not!), there are plenty of peg holes to load Prime up with some weaponry.

The transformation into this mode is pretty complex, considering how simple the Deluxe figures in this line have been, but I was able to get him through it the first time without consulting instructions, and I ain’t no genius, so I’m it’s got to be fairly intuitive. And there’s some truly clever stuff going on to put a smile on my face, even if the final steps require a lot of stuff moving almost simultaneously into place. But in the end, everything locks together perfectly for a solid cab and a pretty fun little toy. So how’s the robot mode look?

What’s the word I’m looking for? WOW? Yup, that’s it. I think it’s safe to say that, at least for me, this is the best looking Voyager Class G1-styled Prime Hasbro has ever done. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s about as perfect as we can expect to see in this size and price range. From head on, I’ve got precious little to nitpick here. He’s beautifully proportioned, and even hits on some of the cool points of Masterpiece Prime, including the vents on the lower legs, and does a pretty decent job of either concealing or obscuring the wheels. I dig that they sculpted the top of the truck cab for his robot mode, even though you don’t see it in the alt mode. The etching on the windshields looks great in his robot mode, and by faking out the cab details on the lower torso, they were able to keep it stylized for the robot mode. Thankfully, that includes swapping out the translucent blue grill with a proper silver one. The shorter stacks on the shoulders are still a bit of a bummer, but it’s not nearly enough to dampen what is an otherwise amazing looking robot.

From the back, things are not quite as clean as I would like in the lower legs, but they’re OK and the designers at least made an effort to close them up so they aren’t completely hollow. Prime does feature a big slab-o-back, which isn’t ideal, but I’m actually thinking that it could be a kind of jetpack, especially with the translucent blue plastic pieces on the bottom looking like thrust emitters. You can also use the peg holes to store his weapons on his back, but that just adds to the bulk.

As for the deco, it’s pretty much identical to what we saw in his alt mode. Prime features all his classic colors: Red, blue, and gray, with some white and yellow, and silver accents. He also features the weathered paint applications that have been present in the Deluxe Class figures. I think these look good, but I get that some collectors aren’t digging them. Maybe Hasbro will put a clean version out at some point down the road. After all, a mold this good can’t possibly only be issued once.

Easily my biggest, and really only, gripe about this figure is the kibble on the underarms, and it isn’t nearly as bad as the Classics version of Prime we got a while back. It’s funny, but I thought that figure was a work of art when it came out, but in retrospect it hasn’t aged all that gracefully. As for this Prime’s arm kibble, I’m actually enjoying the fact that these pieces can be flipped around to form integral mini-guns.

The head sculpt is right on point as well. It’s very traditional with just enough styled flare. The “helmet” is cast in blue plastic, the eyes are painted blue, and the silver paint used for his mouth plate and crest is sharp and clean. Again, I really appreciate that the sculpted the yellow roof lights, even though you don’t see them at all in his cab mode.

Prime comes with two weapons, both of which we glimpsed in the alt mode shots. The first is his battle axe, and I’ll confess I’m not terribly fond of this piece. It’s not all that convincing as an axe and I’ve never understood why Hasbro keeps giving Prime axes anyway. Is it because he had an energy axe in that one fight with Megatron in the Sunbow cartoon? Maybe. Either way, this is a piece that’s going to get tossed into the Tote of Forgotten Accessories.

Fortunately Prime also comes with his very familiar rifle. This baby is cast in black plastic and he can hold it in either hand. Unfortunately, the figure’s articulation doesn’t really allow him to cross it over his chest and rest it in his other hand all that well, but you can fake it out to make it look pretty good.

Before wrapping up, here are some quick comparison shots of Prime with his two Deluxe Autobot Warriors. His cab mode is pretty small when compared to Sideswipe and Hound’s vehicle modes, but he sure makes up for that when he transforms into robot mode. And I’d say the scale here works pretty well. Ideally, I’d like my regular Autobots to be a little closer to Prime’s shoulders, but I’m not going to gripe about it. I think they look great together.

All in all, I think this is an incredible effort on Hasbro’s part and easily my favorite Voyager Class Prime up to this point. It features some great engineering, a transformation that is clever but not too fiddly and complex, and best of all it just delivers unbelievably solid looking alt and robot modes. He’s also so much fun to play around with that I have a feeling he’ll be inhabiting my desk for a long time before he migrates over to my Transformers display. Yeah, at $29.99, he’s a little pricey for a figure this size, but I still think he’s well worth it. Indeed, if Hasbro is smart, they’ll cook up a trailer for this guy and re-release him sometime down the road as part of a bigger and more complete set, because this mold definitely deserves a full-on trailer, Teletran-1, and Roller treatment.

Transformers Siege: Sideswipe by Hasbro

Slowly but surely I’m working my way through the first wave of Deluxe figures from the new Siege: War for Cybertron. So far this assortment has delivered on the best Hound figure we’ve had in ages, and a pretty sweet update to the Duocon, Flywheels so at this point, the wave can do no wrong. Can they work the same magic for the classic Class of 84 Autobot Sideswipe? Well if opinion on the social medias is any indication, I think they can!

Here’s another look at the packaging as Hasbro does away with the card and bubble in favor of a collector friendly window box. I love these boxes and the character art looks fantastic. It’s just too bad that I don’t have the space to keep them. Sideswipe comes packaged in his robot mode, but we’re going to jump in to his alt mode first!

Whereas Hound’s felt like a bulked up version of his G1 Jeep mode, Sideswipe’s is more of a futuristic version of his G1 Lamborghini mode, and I dig that a lot. It’s like Siege is taking the underlying characteristics of these alt modes and buffing them. So Hound gets more military and brutish and Sideswipe just gets sexier. Indeed, what we get here feels like a Lamborghini concept car, although I suppose it could still pass for a Cybertronian vehicle. I like the contouring on this car and the intakes behind each side of the driver compartment. The ribbing on the hood is nice, but the sides of the car are pretty f’ugly thanks to some seams and hinges. I also wish the black parts, just above and behind the front wheel wells, were painted red to match the rest of the car.

And speaking of paint, the deco is pretty simple and gets by with very little of it. The red plastic looks great with the tinted, smoked windows and you get some silver on the head lamps and the wheels. It’s all capped off with a crisp Autobot emblem stamped right in the middle of the hood.

If you like to weaponize your vehicles, there are three peg holes available, one on top and one on each side. Sideswipe’s weapon can also split so you have some additional options. If you’ve picked up some of the Battle Masters, you can also plug them on him.

Transformation here is super simple, and that makes the resulting robot mode all the more amazing. It’s clean, it’s fairly well proportioned, and it’s the spitting image of Sidesweipe’s old G1 robot mode. I particularly love the way his front wheels lock inside his shoulders and the way his legs fill out. But beyond how faithful his is to his roots, he’s also so tight and sturdy. Everything locks together so well that he feels more like a regular action figure than a Transformer.

Even from the back, Sideswipe’s design is super clean. Sure he has a big slab of car canopy for a back, but it’s rare that you get a Transformer that isn’t showing off some ugly bits from behind. As for the deco, it retains that nice red plastic, while adding a fair amount of off-white plastic in the arms, legs, and the frame around his neck. Some paint hits include the silver on his feet and waist, and some dry-brushing on his lower legs that look like wear and tear in the metal.

The head sculpt is terrific and also very evocative of the G1 character, complete with horns. If I were to nitpick anything about this figure, I’d say that I wished his head sat a little higher. If you look at him straight on, his chest plate covers a bit of his chin. But that’s only if I’m really looking for stuff to complain about.

Sideswipe’s weapon can be a rifle to hold in his hands, or it can be attached to his shoulder to simulate the G1 toy’s missile launcher. You can also pull it apart and mix things up a bit. I do kind of wish he had come with a proper rifle so he could have it and his shoulder launcher, but I think Hasbro’s really banking on people buying the smaller Battle Master packs for weapons.

And before wrapping up, here’s a quick comparison of Siege Sideswipe with the old Universe version. Honestly, I think I still prefer the Universe version’s auto mode over this one. It’s just cleaner and shows a lot less seams. As for the robot modes, I’m going to give the nod this new figure. I still love the Universe version, I think it’s a great looking figure with some neat engineering, but there’s something about how simple and elegant Siege Sideswipe that I just love. He’s also more fun to play with.

With three figures down in this Deluxe assortment, I have nothing but high praise for Siege. The figures look great, have some refreshingly simple transformations, and I’m digging the unabashed fanwanks back to the halcyon days of Generation One. Indeed, I would be thrilled if all of the Class of 84 Autobots got the Siege treatment! I’ve got one more Deluxe to look at, in a couple of weeks, and then I’ll start in on the big boys.

Transformers Siege: Skytread by Hasbro

Hasbro’s new line of Transformers continues to hit retail and I’ve just about completed picking up the first wave of Deluxe Class figures. Today I’m opening my second of the bunch and while he’s called Skytread on the package, I’ll happily re-name him Flywheels, because he’s a modern update to my favorite Duocon.

The new Siege packaging abandons the traditional card and bubble for a collector friendly box with some bitchin’ artwork. Of course, the Duocons were a new breed of Transformers gimmick that Hasbro introduced in 1987. These Decepticons could split in half, with each half transforming into its own independent vehicle. It was hardly a sub-group, as we only ever got two of these guys. The other was Battletrap, and Hasbro gave him an update as part of Power of the Primes, but he’s not really a proper Duocon. It’s too much to get into here, but maybe now I’ll get around to opening and reviewing those figures. But I digress… Skytread’s alt modes consist of a jet and a tank, so not entirely unlike Big Daddy Overlord, but these vehicles are pretty small and very simple. They’re also very similar to the original G1 toys, and some collectors will love that, others maybe not so much. Let’s first look at his jet mode…

Awww, who’s a cute little Decepticon attack jet? You ARE! Flywheels’ jet mode was an adorable super-deformed attack craft and this modern update really stuck to its guns on that account. It’s actually a pretty nice mold, with plenty of panel lines, sculpted rivets, flaps, and vents, but it still looks a bit like a chibi Harrier Jump Jet to me, even though the proportions probably aren’t that off. The coloring is mostly confined to the maroon plastic with painted blue cockpit and some gold painted trim, while there’s some brown showing on the obvious robot arms that make up his undercarriage. I would have liked to see a little in the way of paint detail, but as it stands, it sure beats the one color of plastic that passed for Flywheels’ jet deco. All in all, this is a frightfully simple little toy jet, but it begrudgingly gets my seal of approval because it serves up some major nostalgia for a toy that I really loved. Moving on to the tank mode…

This is the half that even nostalgia cannot save. It’s not too dissimilar from Flywheel’s tank mode, but even so, there’s just nothing at all appealing to me about this little piece of rolling armor. The brown body features some sculpted panel lines, decently sculpted treads, some gold paint hits and some silver weathering along the sides. The two guns are maroon plastic with some gold paint. The design isn’t very exciting at all, the back is hollow and ugly, the main gun barely stays put, and the top pieces are very difficult to keep tabbed in, despite this being a frightfully simple transformation. You can mount the smaller gun on either side of the main cannon or even on the sides, and while options are nice, it just isn’t enough to save this tank for me. The last time I was this disappointed with a Transformers tank mode had to be the Titans Return Cassette Tanks, and those were pretty damn bad. I will, however, allow this one to squeak by because he’s part of a bigger picture.

And because that’s one heck of a cool looking robot mode. As with Flywheels, Skytread’s tank mode forms the lower half of the robot with the jet forming the upper half. OK, it’s not exactly like the Duocon that inspired him, but it’s pretty close. And what deviation there is just serves to modernize the figure beautifully. There’s nothing terribly exciting or inventive about the engineering here, but it’s hard to argue with the end result. All those panel lines on the vehicle modes add some wonderful detail to the robot mode, and the two-tone brown and maroon deco works well for a Decepticon soldier. Besides, the blue cockpit and hits of gold paint do their parts to make him pop a little. The proportions are great and it holy hell, he actually has functional legs, which is a boast that the old toy couldn’t make.

From the back Skytread looks fairly clean and tidy. He wears the back half of the jet plane on his back, complete with an adorable little tail and you can even use the peg on his back to store one of his guns, or both if you want to combine them. My only real complaint here is that his torso is hollow, but unless you’re scrutinizing him from the sides, it isn’t really a big deal. And no, I’m not going to gripe about his big feet, because that’s just another loving nod to G1 Flywheels.

I can rarely find much fault in Hasbro’s bot-noggins, and that’s not going to change here. Skytread’s head sculpt is fantastic and a perfect homage to his predecessor.

Obviously, Skytread’s two tank guns also serve as weapons for his robot mode, and while the designs are pretty generic, he looks good holding them. The smaller gun is my favorite of the two, just because it’s compact.

 

The longer gun is fine, but it’s design is even more generic than the smaller one. Fortunately, you can peg them together…

To make one big rifle. I really dig this feature as well as the fact that there are two pegs for him to grab.

Skytread is so much fun in robot mode, that I’m not willing to let the crappy tank and mediocre jet modes tear him down. But then I’m a real sucker for modern updates and as far as I know, this is the first time Hasbro’s revisited this character. There’s just something so cool about taking that old design and doing it over with proper proportions and useful articulation. And yeah, there’s also a good deal of nostalgia at work here. As it happens, Flywheels was one of the last Transformers figures I ever bought before I got away from toys, and that was pushing it because I was 14 when he originally came out. He lacks a bit of the polish and premium feel that oozed out of Hound, but in the end I’m still smitten with how this modern Duocon turned out.

Transformers Siege: Hound by Hasbro

Power of the Primes is dead… Long live Siege! Yes, it’s that time again, folks, for Hasbro to shake things up with a new line of their irresistible RoboConvertobots, and this time the new series is named Siege: The War for Cybertron Trilogy. That’s a mouthful, so I’ll just be referring to it as Siege. It’s a line that looks like it will be extra heavily influenced by the G1 goodness that I love so much. It’s also a line that will be giving us some badly needed re-dos of some old friends. And today’s review is a great example of just that, because it’s Hound!

Hound has always been among my favorites of the G1 Autobots. I really loved his original toy, and I adored him in the original Sunbow Mini-Series. The last time he got a Deluxe Class update was way back in 2009 as part of the Classics line. I loved that figure when it came out, but it’s definitely aged a bit, so I’m anxious to see if this new Hound can replace him. And check out that packaging! The cards and bubbles have been replaced with these collector friendly window boxes. The deco still features the Transformers logo running up the front, right side in bold red lettering, but now we get some totally bitchin’ character art on the slanted left side panel. Everything about these boxes feels premium, and I may actually try to keep these. Anyway, Hound comes packaged in his robot mode, but we’ll start with his alt mode.

OK, so there’s definitely some stuff to love here, but I’ll confess I would have liked something more akin to Hound’s traditional Jeep alt-mode. The front actually looks fine, but the rest of it is ugly as sin. It looks like a Jeep bumped uglies with a Hummer and this is what resulted in that union. I don’t hate it, but overall I’m not digging it all that much either. That’s not to say that there isn’t some good stuff going on here. The sculpt does feature some nice attention to detail, they even managed to get something that looks like seats in the driver area, and there are peg holes all over this thing, so you can load it up with weapons. Hmm… I wonder if that’s some kind of running theme for Siege?

Yup! Apparently, interchangeable weapons are going to be a big deal in this line and that should make for some good times. Hound comes with a rifle and his familiar G1 rocket launcher and there are loads of places you can put them on his alt mode and still leave room for about a half-dozen additional weapons.

But it’s the coloring and the paint that impresses me the most here and makes this feel like a premium toy. The olive green they used for most of the base plastic is a pretty close fit for the original G1 toy and the gold trim, as well as the star and Autobot emblem on the hood really drives the homage home. Additional paint hits include some yellow and white for the array of lights on the front of the vehicle, red for the taillights, and some dry-brushing on the front bumper to add some wonderful looking weathering. I can’t remember the last time we’ve seen something like that on a Deluxe Transformer. All in all, I think this new vehicle mode works great as a toy, but as far as the design goes, it loses points for having a case of the uglies. Then again, it’s a military vehicle, so I guess it doesn’t have to look that pretty. Let’s get Hound transformed and see how his robot mode makes out.

Holy hell! Suddenly I’m willing to forgive all the sins of the alt mode for this amazing robot mode. While the design certainly takes some liberties, it’s faithful in all the right places. It’s pretty cool how all four of the wheels wind up on his lower legs, leaving a clean upper half. The chest is beautifully boxy and appropriately Jeepy and I love that all the extra paint hits from the vehicle mode are prominently displayed here. Not to mention you get some more of that lovely dry-brushing on his lower legs. The proportions here are excellent as well, and I particularly dig the lateral rockers in his ankles.

From the back, Hound looks pretty clean and tidy. The roll-cage from his alt mode folds up into a pretty neat backpack and from back here we can see the four wheels, all attached to the vehicle’s side panels, wrap neatly around his lower legs. Hound has a little hollow-leg syndrome going on back here, but I’m usually willing to forgive that. All in all, Hound features a great robot mode and it’s achieved with a fairly simple transformation.

The head sculpt is spot-on beautiful! He’s got that great boxy “helmet” that I’ve always loved, flawless silver paint on his face, and a pair of pale blue eyes that are so bright, I’d almost swear there was light-piping involved. His distinctive G1-inspired missile launcher can mount on either his left or right shoulder, and while it doesn’t actually have a missile, the design is unmistakable from the original’s. The stars on the shoulders are a great touch too!

In addition to his shoulder cannon, Hound comes with two other accessories, a round canister and a rifle. The canister pegs onto the back of the vehicle mode, and I’m thinking it’s meant to be an homage to the spare tire on the original toy. But it can also plug into the back of the gun to form a drum. I like the gun design a lot, even if it isn’t very reminiscent of Hound’s G1 rifle, and it has some nice silver paint apps.

With new boxes and snazzy new paint jobs, comes a price and in this case Hasbro has raised the rent considerably. The Deluxe Class figures of the Siege line are running $20 at the local Target and that seems to be the going price around the neighborhood. It’s a big jump from the $16.99 of the Power of the Primes Deluxes and it’ll be interesting to see if the higher price tag means Siege is intended more for collectors over the kiddies. As for me? Well, it’s easy for me to see where the money went. Everything about the quality here feels like Hasbro is upping their game, and I have to say Hound is one of my favorite Deluxe Class figures to come out in a while. That’s saying a lot, because we got some incredibly solid figures out of Titans Return and Power of the Primes. For now, I’m anxious to check out the rest of the Deluxes in this wave, as well as some of the smaller bots.