"Timelines" Sgt. Hound with Dia & Cline Toy Review
Release Date: June 18, 2015
Price Point: $89.00 (Two pack with General Optimus Prime)
Accessories: "Dia" and "Cline" Targetmaster figures
The theme of Botcon 2015 is "Cybertron's Most Wanted". This doesn't just refer to the story where the boxed set had a group of criminals in it, it also refers to toys that represent characters that fans have wanted for a long time - with a new spin of course. One of the souvenir sets included Sargeant Hound (or just "Sgt. Hound"). This figure is a retool/redeco of "Generations" Scoop and inspired by an un-released (and therefore "Most Wanted") "Generation 2" version of the character also known as Sgt. Hound. This figure was originally intended to be a redeco of the Auto-Roller Decepticon Road Block but the figure was never mass produced due to the cancellation of the line. Some photos did however leak out and you can see one here on the TFWiki. It is this figure that this exclusive is based on. You'll definitely want to check out my "Generations" Scoop review as this review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this review.
An interesting note about this tooling. Earlier this year Takara Tomy released a Roadblock for their "Transformers Adventure" line. What mold did they use? The Scoop one of course! That just gives a more solid tie to the G2 source material with this release.
Sgt. Hound was sold in a two pack with General Optimus Prime. The bag shows his name spelled as "Sgt. Hound", just as it had been advertised in the original Generation 2 ads. His instructions and tech specs card are included in a plastic bag along with the figure.
While "Dia" and "Cline" are included with Sgt. Hound, the characters do not actually work together as "Targetmaster partners" in the Botcon 2015 comic book. Instead, it is revealed that Dia and Cline (I'm guessing they could not trademark "Clone") are pilots of the AI enhanced mechs known as Burn Out and Lift-Ticket respectively.This is similar in concept to the inclusion of Spy Eye with Zaptrap even though he is used by Lift-Ticket. The result is that the figures in this set need to work together as a whole instead of just being divided up into separate toys. This pays homage to the "Diaclone" toys that predated Transformers where they included small "driver/pilot" figures that could fit within those toys.
Dia is a redeco of Caliburst (aka Tracer). There have been no changes made to the figure, but its colored quite differently than Caliburst. The arms, legs and back pack are orange plastic. The rest is white. The head is painted silver and the body is painted metallic gold. The silver and the gold are interesting since they have a texture to them. This resembles the way the Diaclone "driver/pilot" figures looked in the pre-Transformers days. Even the orange is very much like the strong colors used during that era on these figures. I really dig the colors on this figure. They're bright and eye catching just like the figures that inspired them.
Functionally the figure works fine. The joints are tight and the transformation works well. That said, the piece between the legs that connects as a peg in weapon mode can be pulled off if too much force is used, so be careful with it.
"Cline" is a redeco of Holepunch. The arms, legs and back pack are blue, but a lighter shade than Holepunch. The torso and piece between the legs are white plastic. The head is painted silver and the body is a dark orange color. Again this color scheme takes inspiration from the Diaclone "driver/pilot" figures but favoring flat colors over metallics for the main body.
Cline's joints are nice and tight and I find his peg for the weapon mode is not as easy to detach as Dia's.
Part of the reason the Scoop sculpt made an ideal choice for Sgt. Hound is this vehicle mode. The "Generation 2" version of Sgt. Hound was supposed to be a construction vehicle with a loader shovel in front. Scoop's vehicle mode is very similar with large wheels, a cabin section in the middle on top and a large shovel in front. I think this was a great choice for this redeco.
Sgt. Hound is cast in a pearlescent white color with black parts used on the wheels and the arms connected to the front shovel. The cabin section is cast in translucent yellow. Some white paint is used on the cabin section to match it up with the rest of the vehicle. From the shovel to the back of the vehicle there are grey camo patterns. These colors come directly from the promotional photos of "Generation 2" Sgt. Hound and they look great. There are also some black tampographed details. On top of the cabin section is a star with the word "Army". On the left side are the letters "W.A.L.T.". This refers to his motto: "Watchful attentiveness launches triumph.". I guess he really means it if he's going to have it printed on his body!
A final deco touch that helps bring this "Generation 2" inspired figure home is found inside the shovel. There you'll find a G2 Autobot symbol (resembling Optimus Prime's head) with the word "Autobot" next to it. This is inspired by a similar detail found on most "Generation 2" figures which had a symbol and faction name printed on the figure somewhere. It seems cheesy now, but at the time it was standard and many older fans look upon this with affection.
All the functionality in this mode is intact. This includes the ability for the Targetmasters to attach to the sides and the shovel in front moving up and down.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach the weapons if attached.
- Swing the back half of the vehicle out.
- Push the panels on the lower legs out to form the robot feet.
- Split the legs.
- Swing the front half of the vehicle up.
- Swing the robot arms (where the front wheels are) out to the sides.
- Swing the chest panel up.
- On each forearm swing out the robot fists.
- Swing the cabin section back, then fold up the arms attached to the shovel against the back.
- The weapons can be attached to the fists or the sides of the forearms.
The robot mode reveals that this figure is not just a redeco of Scoop, but also a retool. The head is a new one which heavily resembles "Generation 2" Roadblock's head design including a "helmet" section that came to points on top, visor eyes and a mouthplate with a raised, vertical section in the middle. This brings it closer to the G2 version of Sgt. Hound (which was a straight up redeco of Roadblock). The rest of the figure uses the same sculpting as Scoop.
Like the vehicle form white is the primary color in this form. Smaller parts including the fists, waist and thighs are cast in grey. His black wheels feature prominently in this form. The grey camo patterns continue to show prominently in this form but grey is also used on the vents on the chest. You'll also see three pointed stripe patterns on the center of the chest. This comes directly from the G2 Sgt. Hound picture. Also, the grey on the head and yellow eyes also seem directly inspired by that picture. The deco isn't slavish however. The camo patterns are distinct and he has yellow details on his feet that I don't see in the picture. Overall between the head sculpt and deco this figure truly looks like a "Generations" style version of Sgt. Hound.
All the joints on this figure are nice and tight (despite this being a third run for this tooling). The weapons also still fit nice and snug.
Sgt. Hound is definitely one of those "out of the blue" homages and releases. In all honestly back at the end of the G2 it felt like Hasbro was pretty much slapping classic names onto any name they could, but this still made Sgt. Hound one of the most interesting oddities of the time. Roadblock's sculpt and vehicle mode really had no relation to G1 Hound but treating him as an "alternate universe" version of the character as the Botcon 2015 comic does works out very well in giving fans a fun toy along with an obscure and fun homage. As of this writing (in late June 2015) this figure is still available via the "Transformers Collector's Club" with General Optimus Prime, but it is a Botcon exclusive so you'll be paying a premium for it. I really dig this figure but recognize it's for a very specific audience.