We got a combining version as well as a pretty slick UniverseHound over the last decade, and I've liked them. The 2009 one was a fun little green car that came with a cassette Ravage - it's great! Then we got a Combiner Wars limb one that was perfectly good for a green Swindle with a new head. I even liked the Alternators one. My first reaction to this one was kind of a shrug, which I guess is why I was so impressed by it. Good deco, good sculpting, good articulation, and a vehicle mode that's not quite Cybertronian, not quite Earthy, but certainly off-model enough to not owe Chrysler a royalty. It's like a more down-to-Earth Warthog.
The 5-inch robot is packed with parts, and next to the 2009 Universe figure looks like it's from another planet. The 2009 one looks like a cartoon character, and I loved it. The 2018 one is grittier, darker, and looks more like what someone had in mind when working on the bullet-ridden "G2" comics of the 1990s. More guns, more grit, more deco, and a fist where most folks get a face. He has blue optics, no real smile to speak of, and exceptional deco. Stars cover the shoulder 3mm blast pegs, with other 3mm hardpoints spread liberally to add to the battle-action. 20 points of articulation are welcome for this one, and I like how the various lights and line art elements shine. Hound's big feet make it easy for him to stand, and the only element that truly feels absent compared to the G1 toy is some sort of silver rocket for the shoulder. Many Siege toys have a 5mm hole in the weapon, meaning organization - Hasbro or a third party - have an opportunity to make some little rockets to fill this one. You don't get every detail from the G1 stickers, but you get enough of them that I don't feel anything is missing.
"Damage" deco comes in the form of silver smears on the black grille and green shins. The arms are clean, but the overall feel seems to make a bit more sense - it looks like the front and bottom of the car mode got scraped up and that translated to the robot. I am quite fond of the weapons, which look a fair amount like the original toy. The shoulder cannon is basically the same kind of thing, with the hand rifle adding an ammo drum you can plug on to the side. And lose. It also plugs in the back of the vehicle mode like a spare tire.
The former Jeep has four wheels and some nice heft. I like the body, the windows, and the boxy build. Everything plugs in to the vehicle nicely and the transformation is fun enough as a fidget item.
If that weren't enough, the figure's able to "bulk up" with Six-Gun, Brunt, or Cog figures sold separately. I haven't tried it yet as I write this, mostly because Hound has made me smile for reasons I can't understand. As a character of little significance, the toy shines on its own merits. It's just plain good.
Confession time: as a kid, I didn't think much of most of the 1984 Autobots, but I loved the show. Optimus was fun, the Minibots had a lot of personality, but I had no real interest in or opinion on any of those deluxe cars. It's a nice toy, but the character never struck me as interesting beyond his power to project holograms. I like this toy, it's a sturdy figure that feels like it has enough heft to warrant the $20 for a deluxe. The yellow arm and underpants stripes are absent, but that's probably for the best. It's a neat toy, the transformation doesn't give me any problems, but I still needed to consult the instructions. It's a different toy for a different era - with Siege it's obvious they're trying to appeal to an older audience, and I hope they're a big hit. Get it if you're so inclined, you won't be sorry. The package art shows a remold head that looks a bit like Cybertron Defense Hot Shot, so maybe you'll want to wait for a potential remold.
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