Henkei Hound

Hocus Pocus Hologram!

Toy Story
Hound was the original “kid friendly” character in Transformers. Before Bumblebee bumped him off the spot, he was the one buddying it up with Spike for more screen time. The rumors go that they replaced him with Bumblebee because he refused to do a nude scene while Bumblebee was willing to put out. I guess we’ll have to wait for the memoirs before we ever know the truth.

In any case, despite having lost top billing following the pilot 3-parter, Hound managed to keep some prominence throughout the first couple seasons before being phased out by the third season. Hound was used in the first season mostly as a walking Power Point Presentation, where he’d create holographic maps for the guys to look at to get a better idea of the current situation. Besides that, he’s only done two things of any note.

The first was during the season one finale, “Heavy Metal War”, where we got to see the debut of Devastator. In order to buy the Autobots a chance for a counter offensive, Hound distracted Devastator with the hologram of a huge Autobot, allowing Optimus Prime to get a cheap shot in at Devastator.

The second thing of note that Hound did was when the Autobots managed to capture the Stunticons. The Autobots decided to infiltrate the Decepticons’ newest hideout to find out what Megatron’s latest scheme was. They disguised themselves using (what else?) Hound’s holograms. But the super neat thing was when the real Stunticons managed to break out and confronted the robots in disguise. The Stunticons merged into Menasor, and in a bit of clever writing, the Autobots… also merged into Menasor, by using a combination of Hound’s holograms and Windcharger’s magnetic powers to hold themselves together.

And then they all died. In the ’86 movie that is. Windcharger? Hole in the chest. Hound? MIA. He did once show up as a background character in the Japanese Headmasters I think. But there you have it, Hound. He did a few things, but generally, his defining feature was his ability to generate holograms. He was something of an earth lover, but generally he was pretty vanilla. Not a bad character, but there was room for improvement.

This is an outstanding toy. Let’s just get that out of the way. Hound has instantly become one of my favorite Deluxe Classics toys and is arguably one of the best Deluxe molds in the Classics line, be it Classics 1.0 or Universe Classics 2.0. So onto the nitty gritty.

First up, let’s talk about Ravage. Ravage is a neat extra. There isn’t much reason for Ravage to be packaged with Hound. While Hound taunted a captured Ravage in the pilot episodes, overall, their relationship is tenuous enough that packing them together is arguably arbitrary. It’d make more sense for Rumble to come with Hound. But that said, I have absolutely no problem getting extras, and Ravage is a totally tubular extra.

The guy who convinced me to get Henkei Hound noted that Ravage was complex for a cassette-former. And boy, the guy wasn’t kidding. Ravage is effin-ly complex for what he is, with lots of folding and swinging of bits around to go from jaguar to tape mode. It’s not that the transformation is hard, but it’s striking because it’s better than it probably strictly had to be.

And in the end, you get a really good looking Ravage with good articulation. I’ve heard others mention his leg articulation is limited, but I would have to disagree. While it’s true that Ravage’s front shoulders can’t swivel forwards and back, that’s about the only thing he’s missing. He’s even able to splay his shoulders and haunches apart. For a tiny cat that turns into a flat box, he’s sufficiently articulated in my book.

Oh, and it’s kinda funny that Ravage IS a cat that turns into a box. He’s like, his own Schrodinger’s experiment.

Before I dig into Hound, I should say that a big reason I got Henkei Hound is due simply to my own impatience. I heard that the colors on the US Hound are kiddy or uneven or simply lack the Henkei’s paint apps, but personally, unless the differences in color are as great as US Astrotrain vs Henkei Astrotrain, or US Cyclonus vs Henkei Cyclonus, it’s not a big deal to me. All I’m saying here is, Henkei or US, the discretion is up to yourself as the buyer, but as I’m about to expand upon, the mold itself is totally awesome.

Okay, now Hound. First up is the vehicle mode. It’s a jeep. A nice jeep. We need more jeeps in Transformers. It’s got a gimmick to help it hold onto Ravage in cassette mode firmly, and also, holes behind the seat allow you to stick Hound’s hologram projecting missile launcher on. It’s a neat jeep, and one that’s perfectly displayable.

Transformation isn’t anything hair pulling. It’s pretty standard fare by modern Transformers reckoning. I’d say it’s about on par with Classics Bumblebee’s transformation, so it’s pretty satisfying. It’s just complex enough to be interesting and simple enough to be kinda sorta fun.

Robot mode is terrific, obviously. He looks about as “Hound” as you can get. He’s got big feet, but since the definitive Hound prior to this was the Alternator version, weird feet isn’t as jarring as it would otherwise be. Otherwise, there ain’t much that can be said except he looks like Hound. Some have said that the Universe Classics 2.0 figs don’t quite capture the “spirit” of the old characters as Classics 1.0 did, but I think with Hound here, that’s been rectified. It’s not just that he looks like Hound, but feels like Hound as well.

I don’t know about the US version, but I must admit, the tone of green for Hound is very pleasant, he’s just so nice to look at. The other thing about Hound in terms of his aesthetics is that he has no gaps. He’s all filled out, making him more complete as a robot. He’s very compacted, but as a result, he’s a little shorter than other Deluxes, but oh well, I’m fine with it.

Articulation is good. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but since the 2007 Movie, articulation with Transformers have improved tremendously. It used to be pretty rare to see TFs with cuts to the thighs and biceps for instance, not unheard of, but rare. Now, they’re pretty common, and Hound is no exception. He’s got a balljointed neck, shoulders and hips. With cuts to the thighs and biceps. Knees and elbows bend of course. And he’s got some movement in the waist and wrists due to transformation. He’s also got absolutely uber feet articulation, which’ll allow him to stay flat foot for added balance. His cut thighs are also worth mentioning, as they’re extremely well hidden by the car seats that become the front of his thighs.

In addition to Ravage, Hound also comes with his hologram projector gun, which he can use either as a weapon or mounted on either shoulder (although it doesn’t clip on too tight).

As per usual, one of the things I like about my Transformers are options, and Hound does have a bit in terms of his shoulder weapon as well as how you want to position his wheels. As you can see, I prefer to put it on all the way, like a backpack.

Hound is outstanding. This toy is a thing of beauty. Definite thumbs up. He looks like Hound, and he looks good. Both modes are strong with a good transformation in between. Robot mode is articulated and playable, this is a good addition to your Classics line-up. My fullest recommendation.

4.0 out of 4.0

0.0 – 0.0 = I’d pay to get rid of it
0.1 – 0.5 = I’d give it away
0.6 – 1.0 = I wouldn’t take it for free
1.1 – 1.5 = Very Bad
1.6 – 2.0 = Bad
2.1 – 2.5 = Average
2.6 – 3.0 = Good
3.1 – 3.5 = Very Good
3.6 – 4.0 = Excellent

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6 Responses to Henkei Hound

  1. Pingback: Toy review roundup : Fanmode

  2. Philip Reed says:

    Wow. That Hound looks fantastic. I’ve never seen any of the Henkei-series figures; are they all this nice?

  3. updatedude says:

    The Henkei generally have better paintjobs. Henkei Astrotrain and Henkei Cyclonus have significantly different paintjobs than the US versions (Henkei are cartoon accurate) while Henkei Sunstreaker doesn’t have the mismatching yellow of the US version.

    With stuff like Mirage, Grimlock and Bumblebee, I felt the differences weren’t great or better enough to grab, but yeah, generally speaking, the Henkei tend to be better. I should have grabbed Henkei Sunstreaker, but I was impatient and got the US version instead.

    So yeah, if you can afford to drop a few extra bucks per toy, the rule of thumb is to get Henkei over the US releases. That said, from pics I’ve seen of regular Hound, Henkei Hound has a nicer green and better paint apps, but regular Hound isn’t all that bad, so if you’re tight on cash, regular Hound is perfectly acceptable.

  4. Pingback: Universe Strongarm « Turquoise Version

  5. Monte says:

    Damn. I really, really wish I’d picked this guy up at Target. (Classics version, that is.) I was phasing out of TFs at the time so I decided against it, but he’s awesome!

    • updatedude says:

      Hasbro version is totally acceptable to me, but a friend convinced me to get this Henkei version. Which IS the better version, but for pricing reasons, I think the Hasbro Hound is still fine.

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