Cliffbee.com: Henkei Hound Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Hound
Series: Henkei
Allegiance: Cybertron (Autobot)
Alternate Mode: Military Truck



TRUCK MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 12cm Width: 6cm

   A green Jeep with gold pinstripes on the sides and hood, Hound has black plastic tyres with silver painted hubcaps, a silver grille and silver winch, silver seats and a chrome silver bullbar. His windshield and headlights are transparent blue. He's based on the Jeep Hurricane concept, but lacks the trademarked Jeep grille to avoid copyright (thanks to Edrazeba for this info). There's no roof or side windows. His taillights are painted red along with the Autobot logo stamped onto his hood. There are white stars of the front fenders, the rear bumper is painted metallic charcoal while there some black plastic elements around the cabin area. It's a thoughtful and detailed colour scheme which clearly tributes the G1 toy, and while he's 90% green, there's a lot of thought here and the chrome is used well.

   As mentioned, this isn't actually a Jeep, for copyright reasons, but this is clearly meant to represent the same character as the G1 Jeep. There's a green cannon with silver barrel that can plug into the back of the right side seat, similar to the rear mounted hologram gun of the original. The detailing on the mould is fairly sparse but done well - the details we do get such as indicators, flood lights on top of the windshield, steering wheel (left hand drive) and the winch, make a difference. Unlike the G1 toy, there's no gas can or spare tyre here.

   The play value instead relies on Henkei Ravage, who comes bundled with Hound. There are two black clips on the bed at the back, which lift up to grasp Ravage (in cassette mode) for storage/transport. I'm not sure what the designer thinking was here - it works well but the combination of Hound & Ravage is not one that seems obvious. The wheels roll, of course, and the cannon can be attached & detached.

   While Ravage is an odd accessory, he doesn't detract from a solid Not Jeep mode with a well laid out paint job, clever detailing and good use of chrome. Hound is necessarily simple but there's still a lot of attention to detail here. Ravage doesn't end up adding a whole lot, so Hound's play value is fairly minimal, but without Ravage it's at the level of most Henkei/Classics deluxes anyway.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach and set aside Ravage and the cannon, if attached. Extend the rear and split to form boots. Swing the seats over the top of his thighs and down to form the front of his thighs, fold the black seat supports in to form the back of his thighs. Fold up the feet. Pivot down the groinplate, lift out the arms from underneath the hood. Swing the front wheels out to the sides. Fold down the hood, which will cause the head to pop out as the windshield stays in more or less the same place. Swing the front wheels back, rotate the arms into position. Flip out his hands, place the weapon in either hand.

   This is a fun transformation that uses some twists to simulate the original. The seats as thighs is interesting and very well designed, the lack of kibble in robot mode is admirable and the clips end up invisible in robot mode, on the soles of his feet.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 7.5cm

   A green and black robot - Hound has green feet and forearms, a green chest and green head with a silver face, transparent blue eyes and a useful lightpipe. His upper arms, hands, groin and boots are black while his thighs are silver. The front of the jeep - complete with chrome bullbar - forms the front of his chest, and that means the Autobot logo is in the centre of his chest. The colours look good and line up amazingly well to those of the original, while the proportions and general shape allude to the cartoon Hound. The head and face are clearly Hound - this is an amazing tribute toy. I can't fault the colour scheme here. I guess we could ask for chrome on the tip of his weapon, but I'm looking for something to pick up.

   As mentioned this is a great tribute. The little details are all here - the taillights on his toes, the arms are those of the cartoon, the front of the Jeep on his chest, the little white stars and of course the head. Heck, even the green kibbly bits are on the outsides of his knees, albeit reduced in size compared to the G1 toy. My only complaint is that the weapon, which mimics the shoulder cannon of the G1 toy, only very loosely clips onto the shoulders here. Basically it's designed as a handheld weapon with the shoulder an afterthought. Still, this is a minor issue really.

   Hound has very good play value - this time Ravage plays no part but it doesn't matter. The poseability is great considering how well they've nailed the tribute. His head, shoulders and hips are ball jointed while the elbows and knees are hinged with rotators. The knee rotators are hidden behind the thigh panels (seats) which is a nice bonus - you don't see them even when he's posed. The ankles are hinged and while the heelspurs aren't quite as big as I'd like, Hound gets a wide range of poses. We get the option of placing the weapon in either hand or alongside his head as a shoulder cannon, but as mentioned the latter clips very loosely - essentially relying on gravity to keep it in place. Since the chest slopes down, the cannon ends up pointing down anyway, so I'd recommend placing it in his hand.

   A great robot mode with an excellent tribute, wonderful colours and very good poseability. The weapon is a little disappointing, but this is nowhere near enough to hold back Hound's robot mode. The cartoony feel and arms ensure he looks like cartoon Hound, while still looking very much like the G1 toy in many ways.

VARIATIONS

   The Universe 2.0 Hound from Hasbro uses a lighter green plastic. BotCon 2010 Scorch is a repaint of Hound.

OVERALL

   A wonderful toy with an excellent paint job and colour map in both modes including a good use of Henkei's obligatory chrome. The Jeep mode is straightforward but there's a lot of attention to detail. The robot mode is poseable and provides an excellent tribute, and the transformation that gets him there is fun and creative. The weapon is a minor disappointment, but in the scheme of things is a blip on the radar. And you get Ravage as a bonus - 9.5/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.