"Age of Extinction" Voyager Class Autobot Hound Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Autobot, Voyager

Age of Extinction

Autobot Hound General Information:
Release Date: May 12, 2014 (Online); May 17, 2014 (Stores)
Price Point: $24.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: 2 shotguns, 2 pistols (A), 2 pistols (B), minigun, knife

Images:

*Images above with asterisks(*) and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Autobot Hound might only be a single soldier, but he prides himself on being able to do the jobs of ten. Whether the objective is a tactical deployment, recon mission, or infiltration and sabotage, Hound can get the job done. Heavily armored, he isn't about to back down from an all-out firefight if one comes his way. Some bots might see that versatility as showing off. To Hound, it's all in the line of duty. Gear up for massive Transformers action with this awesome 2-in-1 Autobot Hound figure! This Autobot warrior is a heavily armed dynamo in robot mode, firing blasts at the Decepticons with all his weapons. But he'll mow them down when he's in rumbling combat vehicle mode! Convert him back and forth as the battle rages on! Can any enemy stand against him? There's only one way to find out! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

One of the new Autobots introduced in "Age of Extinction" is Autobot Hound. Modeled after a retired Earth soldier, this character was voiced by actor John Goodman and had an offbeat sense of humor even as he thrashed Decepticon hides. With his rotund appearance and arsenal of weaponry, Hound was one of the most memorable characters in the film. This Voyager Class figure is the "Generations" style figure representing Hound in the "Age of Extinction" toy line featuring more complexity and details than his Power Attacker counterpart.

Weapons:

In general, I generally don't spend a lot of time on the accessories included with Transformers figures unless there's something special about them. In Hound's case, his weaponry deserves its own section in this review. First, there are seven weapons included with the figure, a rarity in the toy line. Not only that, but all the weapons can combine into one super weapon! All the weapons are cast in grey plastic. Here's the rundown:

  • Triple Barreled Cannon: This is the largest weapon, a version of the one he is seen using on screen several times. The sculpt includes three huge barrels, each ending in six smaller barrels. The top has a targeting scope in the center and machinery in the back with tubes connecting different sections. Hound can hold the weapon with a an angled 5mm peg. It's a really powerful looking weapon and looks amazing.
  • Shotguns: There are two of these weapons included with the figure, each identical the other. This is a shotgun-like weapon, but it ends in five barrels instead of one or two. The weapon has some design elements that suggest an alien origin including sharp points on the front end. There is an angled 5mm peg at the back and the sides have rectangular grooves that allow you to attach the weapons to the side of the vehicle mode.
  • Blasters (Medium): Two of the blasters included are smaller than the shotguns, but they have a huge cylinder in the middle that looks like it could store ammunition. These blasters have an angled 5mm peg at the end. They also have three small pegs at the back, one on each side and one on top, allowing you to attach them to other weapons. On the top is a hole that accommodates the small pegs. These weapons are designed to be attached to Hound's hips via thick tabs that extend out the sides of each weapon.
  • Blasters (Small): These are the smallest blasters included with the figure. These are very "scifi" looking weapons including a section on top that recalls the look of a lot of the armor plating on the Transformers themselves and a grip on the bottom that looks the forestock on a shotgun. The weapon can be held via a 5mm peg on the bottom and the back has a small peg sticking out of it that allows it to connect to some of the other weapons (such as the barrel of the medium blasters).
  • Knife: The knife accessory gives Hound a melee weapon on top of all his firepower. It reminds me of the the M9 Bayonet knife, which can also serve as a bayonet when you combine all the weapons. There are some nice grooves sculpted into the knife on both sides that give it an alien appearance. Of all the accessories, this is the only one that's painted. In this case it's painted entirely silver. The back has a small peg as does the left side, both of which allow it to connect to other weapons such as the medium blasters.

When individual weapons simply won't do, all the weapons included with Hound can be combined into one super weapon. Here are the steps:

  1. On the triple barreled cannon, swing back the small hinged section
  2. Attach the two medium blasters together using the peg in back of one to attach into the barrel of the other.
  3. Attach the knife to the barrel of the front medium blaster.
  4. Attach the combined medium blasters to the pegs on the underside of the triple barreled cannon.
  5. Take each shotgun and swing the handle in.
  6. Attach the pegs on the back of the small blasters and connect it to the hole in the center barrel of the shot guns.
  7. Attach the combined shotgun/small blasters to the sides of the larger weapon using the tabs at the back of the triple barreled cannon.

This imposing looking weapon is pretty insane looking. You basically wind up with none potential barrels of firepower and a bayonet in the process. This weapon is best held using the handle of the main, triple barreled cannon. While this combination does not happen in the film, it is very cool to see in toy form. It's also rare for accessories to combine like this so it's a bit of an "extra transformation" added on top of Hound himself. I really like the weapons individually and combined. Even better, you can combine weapons together (such as say, the medium blaster to one of the shotguns) to create alternative weapons for Hound to wield.

Robot Mode:

When preview pictures of Hound first appeared online, many fans (rightfully) suggested the round, green appearance of the character made him look more like Bulkhead than Hound. I do agree with this to a large degree, especially after seeing just how big and bulky Hound was on the big screen. He actually reminded me of how John Goodman is dressed for part of the "Monuments Men" film complete with green military clothing and even a couple pouches for supplies. In toy form however, Autobot Hound is much slimmer and less covered in tons of pouches and other paraphernalia. Sure he kind of has a barrel chest and he's by no means a thin, svelte looking fellow, but he doesn't have the huge gut of the on-screen CGI model. To me, he looks almost like a younger version of Hound, perhaps what he looked like millions of years ago on Cybertron before ages of war took their toll (and before he accumulated a ton of junk to put in pouches).

Now, while this figure isn't "100% CGI model accurate", that does not dismiss the intricacy of the sculpt. There are a lot of cool details worked into this figure including his iconic beard and helmet design on his head, bullets wrapped around his upper arms and lower arms and even tire-like details on his feet, hinting that at least two of his tires "transform" into part of his feet. These are all details consistent with the CG model. The torso looks like it has a big armor plate on it that comes to angles on the sides. There are some nice details including a trapezoid shaped area on the chest with small details inside of it. I also like the "collar" that surrounds the head. It makes him look like he's wearing a shirt or jacket of some sort.

The sculpt isn't perfect of course. There are a couple oddities. One is the oddly curved design of the forearms. I think this was done partly to emulate his on screen appearance, where his forearms moved in a very fluid manner, especially with chains of ammunition on them. However the odd curve was a bit of a turnoff for fans used to more straight forward, angled designs. Also, a panel from the vehicle mode winds up attached to both forearms, which takes away a bit of the illusion of a full transformation. This second oddity bothers me more than the first, though not enough to be a deal breaker. Others found them odd and I wanted to make sure it was mentioned for the sake of completeness.

Hound is cast in green and silver plastic. The green makes up most of the robot mode with silver making up smaller sections like his forearms and hands. There are two types of plastic at work here. Most of the figure is regular ABS plastic, but there are certain sections that are softer PVC plastic such as the head (to allow his beard to flex when you move his head) and the bullets on his arms. The paint colors used on this figure include silver, gold, red, black and light blue. The silver color is used on his face, chest, waist and lower legs. The gold is used for the large bullets on his upper arms and circles on his shoulders. Red is used on the center of the chest. Black is featured on his face for his beard, but you'll also see it used for his foot details on the sections that look like tires. A small black Autobot symbol is located in the center of the torso. The light blue is used for his eyes, keeping with the tradition of Autobots having blue eyes. The shame of this deco is that there isn't more of it. It feels like the deco is off to a great start, but it could be so much better. Sadly I believe we have cost cutting and limited budgets to thank for this (and there is a more "premium" version coming out in a five pack later this year). I would have liked to see more silver on edges or texture on the green to give him more of the battle worn look the character had in the film. If you were to go with the theory that this is a "younger" Hound, then you can almost justify the "clean" look of the figure by saying it's before he was roughed up on the battlefield.

There are twenty points of articulation on this figure including six in each arm and three in each leg. His forearms can turn thanks to the flexible PVC plastic and his head can turn to the side, though you'll bend the flexible beard in the process. He also has waist articulation. Both his hands are in a slightly open position, but they are designed to accommodate weapons with 5mm pegs/handles. Of course, he only has two arms, so at any given time you have to attach some of his weapons on his body. He has several attachment points for this:

  • On his back there are two 5mm ports.
  • On the back of his waist section is a small hole that can fit the smaller pegs on several of the weapons such as the knife.
  • The back of each leg has a small hole allowing you to attach weapons such as the medium blasters.
  • On the sides of the torso are small holes that are intended to accomodate the weapons he has with small pegs on the sides (I wound up putting his shotguns here).
  • Each hip section has a clip on it that allows you to attach the medium blasters which have tabs that slide into the middle of the "C".
  • The small blasters can fit into the inside of the lower legs, with the vertical gap on each weapon fitting into a tab on the inside of the lower legs.
  • On the left side of his chest plate is a small hole that is intended for the knife to attach to.

The end result? Autobot Hound can hold all his weapons on him in robot mode. Like his on screen counterpart, you can imagine him pulling weapon after weapon on the battlefield which is fun and amusing all at the same time. It's real fun and I enjoy having him all loaded up. I will say however that the weapons that attach to the side panels can fall off fairly easily if you're thrashing the figure around. It's not that the pegs are loose, but they're not particularly big.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach all the weapons (except for the small blasters, they can stay in the lower leg) and set them aside for now. If they are combined, separate them.
  2. Rotate each of the feet to the sides.
  3. Raise each arm up, then rotate the forearm around so the green panels on his sides line up with the green panels on the arms.
  4. Pull the waist section down, then swing the lower body back.
  5. Swing the robot chest panel forward, forming the top of the vehicle's rear section.
  6. Swing the side panels/arms to the sides, connecting them with the panels from the feet. This makes up the sides of the vehicle.
  7. On the robot mode's back, swing the front wheels of the vehicle out.
  8. Swing the robot head down, tucking it under the cabin section.
  9. Take the large tri-barreled cannon and pull the bottom barrel down, then swing it out, flattening out all three barrels. This attaches to the left side of the vehicle.
  10. Attach the medium sized blasters to the grooves in the middle of the vehicle on each side.
  11. The shotguns can attach to the right side, using the raised sections to attach to corresponding grooves on each weapon.

Vehicle Mode:

Autobot Hound transforms into a customized Osh Kosh P-19R vehicle. The vehicle is a large truck used for operations including fire fighting. It has an angled front end leading to a rectangular back section that has several angled sections including the back end which slopes downward. This design gives it a bulky yet sleek appearance at the same time. Smaller details such as the rectangular side view mirrors, the vehicle having six wheels and the "step" that would allow a passenger or driver to step up into the truck all come from the real life vehicle. However, this vehicle features a bunch of details specific to the "prop" vehicle used as Hound's vehicle mode in the movie. These include:

  • All the weapons mounted on the side are specific to Hound and not something found on the real life P-19R.
  • The triple barreled weapon forms three horizontal tubes running along the left side of the vehicle that is analogous to the three tubes on the left side of the "prop" vehicle used in the movie.
  • There is a cage that wraps from the top of the cabin section to the front.
  • The dual smokestacks on the right side of the vehicle.
  • The row of lights underneath the windshield.
  • The spare tire for the vehicle is located between the cabin section and the back area (instead of being mounted on the back as it is on the real life P-19R).
  • The top part features a hatch.
  • The sides have more beveled details than the real life vehicle, which is largely flat with doors that open vertically where equipment is stored.
  • There are round lights on the lower portion of the front end.

Like the robot mode, green is the most prominent color in this form. Silver plastic shows up for parts like the smokestacks and the cage around the clear plastic windows. Black is used for the wheels. Silver paint is used for some details like the Oshkosh logo and some of the lights on the vehicle. Orange is used for the other lights including a row above the windshield. Black is used for Autobot symbols on the doors (where a similar detail is found on the real life prop vehicle). The problem is...that's where the paint applications end. No, I'm not really concerned with the sides of the wheels here (since in the film they're pretty much all black). No, I'm talking about the entire back section's lack of deco. It's just one big green hunk of plastic. Given that the real life prop vehicle actually has a camouflage pattern on it, this vehicle looks terribly unfinished. Just a couple of black camo patterns on the rear section would've done wonders. Now, this is mitigated somewhat when you have all his weapons attached. At that point he just winds up looking darn impressive with all that gear on the sides. Still, once you take it off he looks terribly plain.

In addition to all the attachment points on the sides, Hound has a 5mm peg on the top of the vehicle that you can attach an extra weapon to.

Final Thoughts:
From a sculpting and play value perspective, Autobot Hound is a really cool figure. However, the lack of paint deco does wind up harming the overall value, bringing it down from a "must have" figure to a "really great" figure (which relatively speaking, isn't a horrible thing). If you haven't picked up most of the "Generations" style Autobots yet, you might want to wait until later this year when a five pack of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Drift, Crosshairs and Bulkhead is released. Supposedly each figure will have "premium" deco, so perhaps that version of Hound may look better. Still, for the price of a Voyager Class figure, I will say that I think this is worth the price even if it's not covered with as much deco as I would like.