"The Last Knight" One Step Turbo Changer Autobot Hound Toy Review
Release Date: April 24, 2017 (Official Street Date)
Price Point: $9.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Official photos above and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
The explosive Transformers saga continues with Transformers: The Last Knight. With the fate of Earth at stake, new heroes must rise in an epic struggle to forge a future for all. Join the action with Transformers: The Last Knight 1-Step Turbo Changer figures. Experience the thrill of quick conversion with Turbo Changer figures that switch modes in 1 step. Convert this 1-Step Turbo Changer Autobot Hound figure from robot to 4x4 vehicle mode with 1 exciting motion. Imagine charging into battle with this Transformers: The Last Knight 1-Step Turbo Changer Autobot Hound figure. Autobot Hound is a rowdy commando who is always ready for action with an arsenal of heavy artillery. When a cataclysmic foe threatens massive destruction, he will bring out all of his firepower in a legendary battle fought alongside his Autobot comrades. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
"Age of Extinction" introduced Transformers fans to a new character in the live action series of movies: Hound. Transforming from a military vehicle to a heavily armed robot this character became one of the highlights of the film thanks in part to John Goodman's raucous delivery of Hound's lines. Now the character is back in "The Last Knight" with a new vehicle form. Based on the brief glimpses of the character in the most recent trailer it would appear he is still a heavily armed 'bot in robot mode.
One of the first versions of this character was released in early April 2017 in a limited distribution at Gamestop stores in the United States at a slight markup to $11.99. A week after I purchased this figure he appeared at a K-Mart store in the New York City area, however they refused to sell any of the product citing a street date (rumor has it the date is either April 24 or 28th depending on who you ask).
The new One Step Changer packaging for "The Last Knight" actually takes a design cue from the 2017 One Step Changers in "Robots in Disguise". Instead of a flat card and a bubble, the new packaging is cardboard which has a plastic tray attached to it. The figure is tied to the tray and then cardboard wraps around it to provide additional graphics. The background features a close up of the character art (roughly from the neck up). The figure is packaged in vehicle mode and the part of the card that folds over the front shows off part of the robot mode. This line introduces a new sub-category of figures, the "Turbo Changers" which seems to include anything that falls under the 1-5 Step change category. So in this case this is a 1-Step Turbo Changer figure. On the right side of the card (if you are facing it) is the vertical Transformers logo used since "Age of Extinction" and on the front is the logo for "The Last Knight" set against a black background. The back of the packaging features the figure in both modes, emphasizing its One Step transformation.
In "The Last Knight" Hound transforms into a Mercedes Unimog military medical truck. I was fortunate enough to get up and close with this vehicle during my set visit last year. You can check out my photos of the vehicle here. Unfortunately due to unknown reasons this figure is not a screen accurate interpretation of the Unimog. It is possible there was some type of licensing issue preventing Hasbro from making a figure of the Unimog, so they did the next best thing: they reinterpreted the vehicle into a toy as they have done with many others before (see the 2013 Bumblebee figure for example).
From a distance, this vehicle looks like the Unimog, and it is to Hasbro's credit that this is the case. It has the same boxy shape in the front and a lot of the key details including a row of lights mounted across the front of the vehicle. The front end of the vehicle has a vertical windshield that comes almost to a right angle with the nose. The front end has some cages mounted onto it and there is a row of lights mounted on the top of the vehicle. However, there are a lot of differences as well:
- The front end does not have the distinctive Mercedes logo and grille on it.
- The shape of the wheel wells are different than the Unimog. For instance on the real life prop vehicle the front wheel wells are curved whereas this figure has angled ones.
- The back section on the real life prop looks like a cargo carrier section, but this figure has two cannons mounted on the back instead.
- The equipment flanking the three lights on top of the vehicle differ between the real life prop vehicle and this figure.
I do find myself wishing the designers had stuck with creating a faithful interpretation of the on-screen character. However given the audience these One Step Changers are aimed at, I am not so sure most kids would care. For them, him being a bulky, military-esque truck with cannons may be enough "cool factor" that the idea of whether or not the vehicle is a true Mercedes Unimog would probably never even come to mind. I can appreciate both perspectives.
The design of the vehicle is not the only thing that is not "screen accurate". The colors on this vehicle are also quite different than the real life vehicle. Most of the vehicle's front end is cast in a very light olive green color. The rear and the cannons are a metallic beige color. The wheels are cast in black. The real life vehicle however is mostly a darker military green with black tires, so I am at a loss as to just where these particular colors came from. Mind you, they do not look bad. In fact, the metallic beige is a very unusual color and it looks really nice on its own. The colors simply do not match the movie model in any way and that is just confusing.
There are only a couple of deco points on this figure. On the cannons there are light brown details. On the right side of the vehicle is an Autobot symbol inside a white square. This seems rather sparse even for a One Step Changer. Contrast this with One Step Changer Sideswipe who has deco on all his windows and his headlights. This was a big disappointment.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Hold the front wheels and pull the front half of the vehicle up and back then all the way around to flip the chest around and swing the robot arms out.
Sure Bulkhe-I mean Hound's vehicle form is a licensed vehicle, but his robot mode has no such restrictions. There is only one quick shot of the character in the most recent trailer and in that scene he looks very much the same as he did in "Age of Extinction", so this design largely follows that look. This includes him having a head sculpt that looks like a bearded robot wearing a soldier's helmet. His arms look like they are made out of bullets bound together wrapping around the forearms. Around his biceps are what look like either small rockets ore really large bullets. His body has a rather round look, giving him the appearance of having a round belly. There are lots of small details worked into this design including a row of bullets over the left collar area, two grenades on the right side and a canister on the left. Under those are what looks like a belt and two pouches. His legs have winding bits of armor that lead to feet which appear to be formed from vehicle mode wheels. As disappointed as i was with the vehicle mode, I am very happy with the sculpt for this robot mode. From a sculpting perspective it is detailed and looks great.
Then we get to the deco and things get a little odd again. This mode has metallic beige plastic on the upper body and arms with green on the lower body. His feet are painted black and the rockets (or bullets) on his arms are painted light brown. Some light green paint is used on the middle section (where the grenades and pouches are located). Unfortunately a lot of details are left unpainted which is a shame because some of the details get a bit lost visually. The part I really wish had been painted is the face, which has some nice detailing and looks way too plain unpainted. Again referencing One Step Changer Sideswipe, both his face and eyes are painted so I wish Hound had the same treatment.
Hound has two points of articulation: his arms. They can move up and down. Each one has a 5mm port in the hands allowing him to hold weapons.
Unfortunately this figure is not a successful interpretation of the character from the film. The vehicle mode sculpt is off, the colors are off. Still, there will be much better versions of this figure due out later in the year. I recommend going with one of those.
- The robot mode sculpt is really well done.
- Lack of articulation.
- Not a faithful rendition of the real life vehicle.
- Very little deco which is not movie accurate to boot.