I've always liked Hound. Ever since the animated series first started, I thought he just seemed like a nice guy, someone I could be friends with. He wasn't a hothead like Cliffjumper or Sunstreaker, he had actual skills beyond the generic fist-meets-metal, blast-everything-that-moves kind, yet he wasn't showy like Jazz (who I also like, BTW). It's a shame that while there have been multiple Prowls, Ironhides, Infernos, Mirages and Red Alerts, only one character named Hound has ever existed. Maybe it's just as well, because there can only be one Hound. (Click here for a few more images.) Packaging This guy comes in the "version 2" BT KO box, which like the first version, is shaped and designed to closely resemble legitimate Binaltech boxes. However, with the second version, they've distanced themselves slightly, to help fend off the lawyers. Most of the non-window sections of the box are blue, rather than the previous grey/faux-brushed metal look. It still has the round portholes on each end of the box, and a BT-ish photo on the front. "4x4" appears promiently on all sides. On the back are the usual BT-style feature panels in broken English, including a mention that the weapon is a "hologram gun", showing that it hasn't really drifted that far from the real BT Hound. On the back there is also a group shot of the different versions of "4x4 Hound", including the traditional green, the unique white version, and a strange Hound/Swindle amalgam, consisting of Hound wearing Swindle-coloring, including the purple waist and front bull-bar, but clearly still using the Hound head sculpt. Inside the box is the usual BT-style protective bubble, sitting on a BT-style display stand. Like the box, it is slightly less of a direct copy compared to its predecessors. Under the stand is the instruction booklet, bearing a striking resemblance to a BT instruction booklet. Some of the images are a bit different, such as the photos of the different color decos on the back. However, inside most of the images have been lifted directly, including the original Binaltech Hound control art. Hound: Vehicle Mode The first thing you notice is, he's white. The second thing you notice is, he's white. It looks nice, but as with yellow Lambor and white/red Dead End, this is an all-new, unique deco for this mold, and it it takes a little getting used to. He's heavy; this figure contains plenty of diecast, just like the original, and it spans a good proportion of the vehicle bodywork. Aside from the white deco, the most obvious difference from the real figure is the Jeep logos; just as on the box, they've been replaced by generic "4x4" logos. However, they're not gone entirely, as the Jeep symbol is clearly molded into the bodywork, particularly just forward of the doors, and has simply been painted over. Possibly a late production change. Similarly, the little flip-over square in the hood that reveals the faction symbol clearly has the outline of an Autobot insignia molded into it, but also painted over. On mine at least, the reverse side which is normally blank doesn't fit properly - it's too recessed and doesn't sit flush. So, blank Autobot symbol it is. Also on mine, the spare wheel cover didn't fit together properly. It seems like a screw was not screwed in properly, or was not designed to go in flush, resulting in some gaps between the pieces of the cover. Squeezing them together and working them around a little seems to have gotten them to fit together much better. Still on panel fitment, there's some gapping between the doors and the trailing edges near the rear wheels. It doesn't prevent the doors closing properly, but they obviously don't fit together as neatly as on the real thing. However, it's the only real alignment/panel issue on what is still a highly engineered figure. Or replica thereof. Otherwise, it's a very good representation of the Jeep Wrangler, complete with the signature 7 bar grille, rubberized rear mirrors, rollcage that lines up and connects together correctly, 4 seats, and sculpted dashboard. It duplicates Hound's suspension in all 4 wheels, although the front wheels have a habit of slipping up into the wheel arches if you push down too hard. The piece inside the wheel arch that is designed to keep the front wheel assembly in its place doesn't seem to hold as well as it could. It's not like the vehicle is in danger of collapsing at the front on the slightest touch, but enthusiastically exercising the suspension many necessitate putting the wheels back where they're supposed to be. Hound: Robot Mode Transformation is the same as a real Binaltech or Alternator Hound, although as with other KOs, it's not as seamless or smooth. it's simply a question of quality and better tolerances. However, once you're done, you'll find yourself face-to-face with a very stark, white Hound. His robot mode deco is basically what you would expect from looking at his vehicle mode, although he does have some black trim on his waist. During transformation, you notice that the grey coloring of the seats and his legs don't match. it's just a bit off, but is not a major issue, with the seats collapsed into his backpack in robot mode, and his legs hidden underneath in vehicle mode. The backpack assembly should probably push into his back more than it does, but it doesn't actually get in the way. The middle section of the rollcage (the part that goes across the cabin) tends to succumb to gravity quite readily - again, not a major issue, just something to be aware of. His head is a good match for BT/Alt Hound, although (and, again, this could just be mine), the post it sits on doesn't swing up as far or lock into place like it does on the real thing, making it look like he's missing his neck. I've tried to push it up further to see if it will click into place, but no luck so far, and I'm conscious of not pushing too hard that it might break. Articulation is as good as the real Hound, including being a bit top-heavy like the BT version. His joints are not too loose and will hold him up, although like transformation, you may need to massage it a little to get him exactly how you want him, where Alt/BT Hound would usually be a bit more co-operative. His hands have some difficulty holding his weapon; it seems like the fingers don't close over as securely, so he may hold it crooked. Play with it and you should be able to get it right. Overall Others with more kitbashing talent than me would find White Hound to be a great opportunity for a custom, and he has been in demand for this reason. He makes a quick Ratchet with the right head, a few decals and a lightbar, or could simply be a clean white slate for an altogether different idea. Prior to getting White Hound, my experience with KOs was limited to yellow Lambor, a figure that has some severe issues. As such, they've both become my yardsticks for other KOs, with Lambor being the measure for badness and Hound being the measure of a good one. He's not perfect, but he has a lot of great things going for him: diecast, good replication of the original figure, and a unique deco. On the other hand, his vehicle mode fitment could be a little better (personally, I think not closing properly at all is a worse sin than closing properly but having a bit of extra gapping around the edge) and is executed better on the Mustang KOs, but he also didn't come with assembly issues such as the interchanged arms that the Mustang KOs have. If you're looking into the BT KOs, definitely take a look at the Hound mold. And if you're looking for a KO with a unique deco, White Hound is probably the best. Other figures with unique decos have major issues, while the other KOs without significant faults are only offered in the same deco as their legitimate counterparts. So, White Hound is a good choice -- regardless of who you decide he should be. Of course, whether you can find him is another question altogether. I'm still keeping my eyes open for the yellow version... EDIT: Quick addendum; just received this guy. (More photos here.) While he looks, particularly in vehicle mode, like Swindle, this is definitely Hound. The head is clearly Hound's just with a yellow helmet, and he has Hound's (and White Hound's) smaller tyres and grey legs, abdomen and gun. At least they painted his grille and door frames, something Hasbro didn't bother doing with Rollbar. I know Swindle is regarded as the "enhanced"/"improved" version of the Jeep mold, but I prefer the first version, simply because I think it's far more identifiably Hound. Interestingly, on the box, he's depicted with a black helmet (although still using the Hound head sculpt), black legs and abdomen (the bit above the purple waist), with yellow feet and yellow toes/bumper. In that deco, he looks a lot more like Swindle. The box itself is unusual for me, as all my other KOs came in vehicle mode boxes of varying styles. As far as avoiding lawsuits, they took a different tack with this figure compared to White Hound. The Jeep logo is still obviously molded into the bodywork, both on the sides and the spare wheel cover, but instead of leaving it blank, they've painted "Jccp Wringler" on it instead: "Don't be absurd, this is CLEARLY NOT a Jeep Wrangler. It's a Jccp Wringler." If I'd been on the naming committee, I would have pushed for Joop Wrongler. Similarly, although it has a Decepticon-ish logo on the front license plate, it has been modified to add a triangular "nose" between and beneath the eyes, making it look sort of skull-like. On mine, the ankles and lower knee are somewhat loose. Since the dashboard and front passenger area don't seem to collapse into his chest as well as BT Hound, he seems more back-heavy and has a tendency to fall backwards. I need to position him with something of a forward stance to balance the weight. Which isn't so bad, because it's a dynamic action pose, but it's a bit inconvenient. I'm still undecided about how to treat Yellow Hound. Is he really a Decepticon or should I ignore the strange faction symbol (which is hardly definitive anyway) and call him Desert Hound, to the white version's Arctic Hound? If Princess Leia can have different costumes for every planet she visits, then Hound can too, damn it, and being something of a "military" man, couldn't he have different uniforms for different environments anyway? He does look a lot like Swindle, but I don't think he could retain his same head design and convincingly go undercover as a Decepticon. Or maybe he's Detritus? The bullbar pops right off. I removed it for the Hound comparisons. One of the things I like about the KOs is seeing the new decos on existing molds. I know they're often sought after for kitbashing purposes, but I tend to like them as they are; it's almost like the BT line is continuing. At best, they're straight repaints. At worst, they're shoddy wannabes. If nothing else, it's something new to collect. Yellow Hound is something of an enigma though, like KO Streak, because he occupies a space between resembling two characters, rather than being a unique deco or reasonably replicating a real BT figure. But if the Movie line can repaint the same figures umpteen times in less than twelve months, then I don't see what's wrong with a white Hound, a yellow Hound and a green Hound. To be honest, white Hound is probably the better choice if you can only get one of them, simply because he's better defined. But for the record, I do like yellow Hound. My Metals Transform AL-09 Hound (Yellow) came off eBay, about 11GBP shipped.