Review: Transformers AOE Voyager Hound

SPOILER ALERT: Ironhide died in the last Transformers movie. And from what we’ve seen of the movie 4 trailers, Ratchet isn’t too far behind. If we’re being honest, Dino, Sideswipe, and the Wreckers probably died offscreen, too. The point is, Age of Extinction is getting an entire new Autobot cast, save for Optimus and Bumblebee, so we need new characters to fill in the role of the old ones. Badass Chevy sports car? Check. Autobot taking after a piece of human culture? Check. But since this is a Michael Bay film, the most important side character is the one with all the guns that makes the explosions. Big guy weapons specialist? Cue Bulkhead Hound.

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Vehicle Mode

Hound turns into a big green military transport, but he totally isn’t Bulkhead. Specifically, Hound is an Oshkosh Medium Tactical Vehicle, which essentially translates to “army truck.” The entirety of his impressive arsenal can be stored in this mode in one way or another, and the shotguns and gatling gun actually do some transforming, which is really neat. The vehicle mode is rather small, but big enough to make you feel like you got your money’s worth. It rolls well, though the weapons may have a tendency to fall off depending on plastic tolerances; pretty much all of them on mine are eager to pop off. There’s not much else to say about this mode other than that it’s real nice, and the forest green color is rather gorgeous.

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Transformation

Hound’s transformation is one of my favorites of the whole line. When I first played with the toy, the transformation was just complex enough to where I actually had to stop and think about where things go, but it wasn’t so complex that it became frustrating. It’s a very efficient and intuitive process and the result is a fantastic-looking robot mode.

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Robot Mode

Like his CGI model, Hound’s robot mode shows a lot of character. But while his CGI model’s character is more of a jolly fat guy who really enjoys making explosions while laughing jovially, Hound’s toy comes across as more of a hardass veteran commando whose bulk is 100% muscle and will ruin your day if you step in front of him. I’m very glad the designers chose to sacrifice the screen-accurate gut in favor of a better toy; I feel that giving him a larger abdomen would have messed up the vehicle mode considerably. This could be Hound in his earlier days, during the thick of the war. If AOE Hound is the retired war hero, this is Hound during the mission that made him a war hero. Befitting a military bot, Hound comes with his own personal armory, including:

  • Two small pistols, stored in his inner legs. I feel that these are best used for arming other figures, as they look rather puny when held by Hound.
  • Two large pistols, stored on his hips. These look much more fitting when wielded by Hound, thanks to their large size. These are also the most problematic for falling off their storage pegs; I think the tabs on the guns have a tendency to be too thick to fit properly into the two pegs on his hip. They’ll stay, but if you just bump them slightly, they’ll be on the floor.
  • One combat knife, pegged into his torso. This weapon looks best just being an aesthetic addition to Hound’s design, but a pretty badass-looking knife when being held. Unlike the other weapons, the knife gets a shiny silver paintjob.
  • Two shotguns, stored on his back via the round pegs on either side of the folded-up handles and the pin holes next to the vehicle mode headlights. These guns have a really cool design and detail, and they’re easily my favorites of the set.
  • One triple-gatling gun, stored in one of the 5mm ports on his back. This thing is quite the monster of a weapon, and actually gives you a fair amount of options for exactly how you want Hound to wield it. Underslung two-handed, underslung one-handed, like a rifle, like a shotgun…

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The best part about these weapons is that they can even combine in many different ways, so the possibilities to arm Hound are nearly endless. This is essentially the same idea as ROTF’s Recon Ironhide’s customizable armory, but practically doubled in content. I only wish DOTM Voyager Ironhide had been given similar treatment, but sadly, that was the year of the MechTech. On the other hand, Hound comes with more than enough weapons to share.

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Enough gushing about the weapons, time to talk articulation, and Hound fares pretty well in that department. His head can rotate, and since it is made of soft plastic, his trademark beard doesn’t hinder movement. Shoulders are on universal joints, elbows are double jointed, but the bend is only just over 90 degrees, and the wrists can swivel, but are limited by being attached to the rubbery ammo belt arms. His waist can rotate, his thighs can swivel, his knees bend 90 degrees, and the toe of his feet can tilt. The use of the soft, rubbery plastic on his arms was at first a bit worrying, as it looked like his arms were just made of the stuff or else he would just have very bendy arms. Thankfully, there is a solid plastic skeleton on the inside of the arms that ensures it keeps shape and stays solid. It’s overall a pretty clever design and works great.

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Overall

It seems like a trend for the AOE Voyagers to have one fantastic toy and one mediocre toy. Can you guess which one Hound is? Be it the massive cache of weaponry, the awesome military design, the pretty color, or the fact that it’s freakin’ robot John Goodman, there are a ton of reasons to buy Hound. So what if he’s not called Bulkhead despite basically being Bulkhead. It’s a great toy, and one that actually has me really excited for seeing the character in the film. Save the $25 you were going to spend on Galvatron and buy Hound. He’ll show you the life of the mind!

Where to Buy

  • Retail: Target and TRU (as of this writing)
  • Amazon
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