I had to make a choice a week ago between which Masterpiece Transformer I would buy. I couldn’t afford the new MP-44 Optimus Prime because it’s super expensive. But I did have enough on me to get either MP-45 Bumblebee or MP-47 Hound. Well, as much as I love the redesigned Bumblebee, I already have a Masterpiece version of him. I didn’t have a version of Hound yet, so I got him.
I hate to say it, but I’m kind of disappointed and, well, a little bit frightened by what Takara did with Hound.
Before we get to the incredibly why Hound is so stressful to transform, let’s go focus on the other stuff. Takara’s engineers have been on point as of late as they have managed to design the more recent Masterpiece Transformers in a way that hides a lot of stuff that makes the robot look like they’re just vehicles standing up. They don’t have those large backpacks anymore that’s supposed to pack in all the vehicle bits anymore. Hound is pretty much the same as his robot mode is incredibly detailed while still having a tremendous level of articulation. I will even say that Hound’s design has probably the cleanest robot mode I’ve seen as he looks so much like he did in the cartoon.
There are a few issues I do have with Hound’s robot mode. The feet do look a smidge too large. His head doesn’t have the range of motion I’m used to when compared to the other Masterpiece Transformers I have. And, if you look really closely at his right side, you can just barely see the steering wheel peeking out of his back. These are basically nitpicks because they did do a great job with how his vehicle bits gets tucked into small hiding places. The non-nitpick issue I have with his robot mode is that you can’t have him do the same pose as he does on the box! I mean, how the heck did Takara move the head that way without tearing it apart from the joint?
Hound doesn’t get that many accessories for his robot mode. He does have his hologram gun, which you can actually take apart and fold it into his legs for safekeeping. You can actually leave the parts in there during transforming so it’ll always be on him, even in his Willys Jeep mode. You can also attach a hologram effect to the gun to make it seem like he’s projecting something, which was he was known for in the cartoon. He also has the big rocket launcher looking thing on his side but, technically, that’s not an accessory as it’s actually attached to him permanently! Through some clever engineering, the entire rocket pack can fold up somewhat neatly into his vehicle mode. Sadly, this does mean it can’t actually fire or anything like that.
As with more recent Masterpiece Transformers, Hound has a couple of additional faces you can put on him. Along with the standard “normal” face, you can put on a slightly smiling face or one where it looks like he’s shouting. Honestly, I do think the “normal” face is the best one just because it looks more like Hound than the other faces. You can also open up the top part of his head and flip down a glass barrier to simulate that one episode here he had to help Spike from drowning.
He also has that weird Takara habit of including that one accessory that only appeared in that one episode and they thought they just needed to include it. For Hound, that would be the key to Ravage’s cage. There is a neat gimmick where you can swivel out a hook so you can hang it off there. I don’t think I will ever do that because, while Hound intentionally dropped it so Ravage can escape, I might accidentally lose it if it falls off! That key is staying in the box forever!
MP-47’s vehicle mode also looks awesome and I can see a lot of care was put into it but not as much as his robot mode. It still does look like the Willys Jeep that he was in the cartoon. However, there are some robot parts that do peek out from the underside. Still, at face value, it looks good. You can also attach a hard cover as well, which doesn’t look good in the least! The hard cover does have a couple of additional purposes. There are slots that allow you to store most of the accessories Hound comes with. There’s also a handle so Hound’s robot mode can hold it like a shield. Unfortunately, this too looks very awkward so I don’t think anyone’s going to be taking this out of the box, except for using it as storage for some of the accessories.
There are a few more accessories for Hound’s robot mode but most of them are there to complete his look from the cartoon. These are primarily the spare tire, the spare gas can and the machine gun that’s mounted on the rear. These parts can actually fold up and is part of Hound’s transformation as these were featured in the cartoon but I guess these aren’t part of the actual real life vehicle so they do have to be accessories.
Hound comes with a couple of human figures and, well, they’re hit and miss. There is a Spike figure that’s fully articulated, which is rather impressive for its size but this does create some problems. Although it doesn’t feel like its prone to snapping, the joints do feel loose in my Spike figure, making me wary from moving them too much. There is a “hologram” person that can sit inside Hound while in vehicle mode. It doesn’t have any articulation at all and is just a solid piece of plastic. I wonder why they couldn’t put any form of articulation on the hologram figure.
Now, while both Masterpiece Hound’s robot and vehicle modes look good, the biggest issue I have with Takara’s new figure is the transformation. It’s just not fun for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it’s just overly complex and over engineered at points. There are some unique points, like having to fold up the rear wheels so that they can store neatly into the legs. I also like how everything, from Hound’s shoulder rocket launcher to his jeep mode’s machine gun can be folded up for his transformation. However, there are some weird decisions as well, such as using a very tiny nub on the hands to pull them out instead of making either the arms open up to flip out the hands or just putting a lever so you can slide them out. These things can be a pain during the transformation process.
While everything seals and snaps together nice and tight, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room to actually snap or slide them into place. I’ve transformed Hound a couple of times and there are still some spots that I’m terrified of moving because I feel they can just snap off because of the amount of force you have to put on the joints. For my figure, these would be when you would have to pull out the front wheel wells when transforming him into robot mode, folding up the gray nubs on his ankles (where the rear tires would be in the original G1 toy) into the leg cavity without them scraping onto the inner wall as well as snapping the shoulder joints into place when putting Hound into his robot mode.
But the worst thing about Hound is how he feels when transforming him. There’s just a general sense that some joints feel rather flimsy. The fake wheels on Hound’s feet need to be snapped into a groove and it’s supposed to hold the feet into place. But the actual joint itself looks too thin to secure it well. The entire assembly that contains the head, the shoulder mounted rocket launcher and the windshield are all on one skinny swivel joint. The leg panels also scrape into each other if you don’t move them in the right order. There are many more points I can talk about but you get the idea. Sure, the box may say “Long Life Design” but I can’t help how I feel about it feels to me.
As much as I like how MP-47 Masterpiece Hound looks in both his robot and vehicle mode, the entire package is soured by how stressful and un-fun his transformation process is. I will give props to Takara for some of the clever bits of engineering they did to get all the parts to fit together. But I would have wanted them to put a little more care into making sure my expensive figure didn’t feel so fragile. It’s hard to recommend this figure unless you’re a hardcore collector who really takes care of their expensive action figures. But if you’re buying this because you like how Masterpiece Transformers transform and love putting them from robot to vehicle and back again often, you may want to think twice.
Do you have a MP-47 Masterpiece Transformers Hound? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!