Cliffbee.com: Binaltech Hound Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Hound
Series: Binaltech
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Scout
Alternate Mode: Droptop Jeep Wrangler



JEEP MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 16.5cm Width: 12cm

   An olive green Jeep Wrangler with an open roof, Hound has a rollcage in place of his roof, and while there's no tarp, it's a safe bet that this Jeep would have a cloth roof stowed somewhere. The rollcage is black die cast metal, and most of the green truck body is also die cast metal. He has a plastic black spare tyre case on the back, and black plastic front and rear bumpers. Being an open cabin, all the details are there - the front and back seats are grey plastic, as is the dashboard. The steering wheel is on the left side, and is a soft black plastic, along with the rear vision mirrors, which have chrome mirrors painted onto them. This is a good colour scheme, it's both realistic and true to the original Hound toy.

   Being a Binaltech there's a lot of detail on this toy. As mentioned, he has a steering wheel - as well as a park brake, radio and A/C vents, glove box and gearstick, which is the same soft black plastic as the mirrors. He's a manual, BTW. If you open the doors, you'll notice they're lined with black plastic, that features moulded doorhandles (there are also black doorhandles on the outsides of these doors). The front windshield is clear -plastic, save for the wipers which are painted black. The tyres are rubber and the wheels silver plastic.

   The ridiculous level of detail of the three previous Binaltech toys is continued here - and unlike the sleek sports cars, Hound's vehicle mode has more going in, since it isn't as stylised as the others. On either side, just in front of the doors, are the words "Jeep WRANGLER SPORT" - the Jeep is raised, and also appears on the front bumper, and on the spare tyre. The front headlights are transparent plastic, and the front indicators are transparent orange, the rear lights transparent red. Also, at the rear on the left side is a moulded and painted petrol cap. He has an Autobot logo on a white background as a license plate on the front and a silver muffler on the back.

   Hound probably has more play value than the previous Binaltech toys. His doors open and close and his wheels roll, just like the others. I suspect the soft plastic on the rear vision mirrors is a lesson learned from the rigid mirrors of Sideswipe, which stick out quite a bit. This makes the toy more durable, no doubt, and combined with the metal rollcage, make this a fairly sturdy Jeep. As with the other toys in this line, the hood lifts to reveal an engine block.

   The other cool feature they've added for vehicle mode play value is suspension. Both the front and rear wheels are on springs - so if you're rolling him over terrain he'll cushion himself (and anything in the cabin)! This feature works really well - if you push down on the Jeep it'll collapse and then spring back into place.

   The high standards that Binaltech have set are continued in this vehicle mode, which is probably the most ambitious of the four Binaltech vehicles to date. The colours are great, this Jeep looks great and the suspension is a really nice extra. For G1 fans, this really is Hound in an updated vehicle mode. The only real thing I could ask is for Hound's rear mounted gun, but he's now a passenger Jeep, not a military one, so it would be rather out of place anyway (but a nice removable accessory).

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Too complex to describe in detail, so I'll summarise. The hood becomes the chest, the arms fold out from inside the hood (they're the engine block). The rollcage comes apart, parts folds into his legs and back. The rear becomes his legs, the head pops out from within the hood and the spare tyres opens up revealing his hidden handgun. This is not a difficult transformation, although it's quite involved and the knees have to be done right.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 20cm Width: 14.5cm

   A mainly olive green robot, Hound has the front of the Jeep as his chest, black and green arms, a grey head with a silver face and blue eyes, a black groin, silver thighs and black shins and feet. This _really_ looks like the cartoon Hound - really only the door wings deviate much from that version of Hound. I'm really impressed they managed to turn a realistic Jeep into cartoon Hound so well. The arms have the yellow bands that the show Hound sports, and the face is a great replica of both the cartoon face and original toy's face.

   The small Autobot logo on his front license plate is visible on his chest - as well as the "Jeep" just above it - and now he also sports a large Autobot symbol on the hood, just in front of his head, thanks to a clever little flip-over panel. You can actually display this in vehicle mode, and while you're not really supposed to, I get the feeling the designers made sure it's possible to do so. His handgun is a small silver plastic affair, more of a pistol than a rifle.

   The front wheels of the Jeep are stowed just behind the hips, and can get in the way of the waist's poseability, but only because the suspension can be activated. The spare tyre sits on the side of the lower left leg, and is somewhat kibbly there. This bugs me a little because it sticks out somewhat, but it doesn't get in the way of anything. Parts of the rollcage hang off his back, and the windshield is also on his back - just like the original toy and cartoon Hound. In defence of Hound, yes, he has more kibble than Sideswipe or Bluestreak/Smokescreen, but the vehicle mode has a lot more too it, and the kibble doesn't interfere.

   Hound has very complex legs. The rear of the truck is heavily transformed now - the rollcage and seats have folded in, the bumper is now the toes, with the outsides of the bumper being on the insides of the feet. The legs aren't all that much like the G1 version in transformation, but come out looking close enough to not really matter. Incidentally, if there are grey ridges just below the knee joints, you've mistransformed the knees and your Hound is probably back heavy. This fooled me initially - those ridges should be under the knee joints.

   Another hallmark of the Binaltech line is good articulation. His head is on a ball joint, his shoulders and hips are also ball joints. The elbows and knees are hinged, the wrists rotate, the thumbs are opposed and the index fingers can open and close, while the other fingers open and close as one. The ankles have three hinges each, meaning he has full motion in the ankles - something no previous Binaltech toy has had. The ankles and big, flat feet make Hound the most versatile Binaltech toy yet, since he's stable in many poses, although he can be a little back heavy.

   Considering what they had to do with the Jeep mode, this is a fantastic robot mode. The poseability is superb, the resemblance to both the G1 cartoon and toy is uncanny and the colours well put together. The only real flaws in this mode are the kibble, namely the hip wheels and the spare tyre, but the issues they create are minor.

VARIATIONS

   None that I know of, although he's due to be released in the Alternators toyline, which will mean a plastic version that may have other changes. Swindle is a repaint and slight retool of Hound. Alt Rollbar is in turn a repaint of Swindle.

OVERALL

   Hound is more ambitious that the Binaltech toys that preceded him, and his vehicle mode is a spectacular success. The robot mode suffers from some slight back heaviness and kibble, but is more poseable than any of the toys in this line to date, which pretty much cancels out the flaws. The combination of a very good modern Jeep Wrangler with a robot mode that just screams Hound is fantastic, and so this is a toy I strongly recommend - 10/10

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