The first series of Generation 1 in 1984 featured the Autobot Cars as the main heroes of the Transformers universe. Hound was a unique member, deviating from the sports cars and exotics to an equally recognizable military Jeep.
Hound, like all the Autobot Cars until 1986, was originally designed by Koujin Ohno and released in Takara’s Diaclone as Car Robot J59 Jeep. This version included a small plastic and die-cast driver who could sit in the open front seats of the Jeep mode. The Diaclone version is barely distinguishable from his Transformers deco, but for some minor sticker variations. Hound’s US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy vehicle (aka Transformers G1 Hound) was filed on April 17, 1984 (U.S. Patent No. USD285466 S).
Hound transforms into a Mitsubishi J59, a license-built copy of the Willys CJ-3B, decorated in U.S. Army colors, complete with white star logos, and some fictional decorative gold stripes. His vehicle mode features somewhat unrealistic vacuum-metalized “chrome” wheels, and rubber tires (which he would later share with fellow trucksGrapple and Inferno). A further sense of realism is added by a folding clear windshield, chrome mirrors mounted to the front fenders, a spare tire accessory, and a gas can accessory. The rear deck of the Jeep is armed with a pintle-mounted chrome heavy machine gun resembling an M2 HB Browning. Oddly, these accessories have no use in his robot mode, the only vehicle-only accessories present on an Autobot Car. Furthermore, the spare tire and tiny gas can fit somewhat loosely, making them quite rare in the secondhand market. His transformation follows a fairly simple scheme, resulting in a somewhat oddly-proportioned robot mode. The entire front end of the vehicle forms the chest, with stubby arms automatically appearing from the fenders when the front wheels are rotated out of the way. His small head automatically rises from the hood when his chest is rotated into place. The remainder of the vehicle forms his chrome legs and large die-cast metal feet. He does not have much visual connection to other Diaclone toys in his robot appearance, save for his long chrome rifle and chrome shoulder-mounted (non-firing) missile launcher.
Date stamp location: Bottom of jeep, between front wheels
Rubsign location: None (1984), or right front corner of hood (1985-)
Unfortunately, Hound’s chrome mirrors provide an Achilles heel to the otherwise chunky and robust design. They are commonly broken, sheared off where they attach to the fenders, or just missing completely. Furthermore, any amount of wear to the peg attaching the gas can to the rear of his vehicle mode can cause it to hang loosely, and disappear shortly thereafter. Combined with its diminutive size, this makes it exceedingly rare.
Like many of his wave mates, however, Hound has a number of minor production variations. The earliest variant is evidenced by rather small pegs and holes for attaching the machine gun and spare tire to the die-cast rear portion of the vehicle. This version is associated with missiles that have a ridged ring at their base, and a missile launcher with less finely molded detail. Later, the missile ridges were smoothed, and the holes and pegs for the gun and gas can enlarged for better fitment and durability. Finally, the missile launcher was molded with sharper detail, and marked with the appearance of a small rounded nub on the right side of the launcher. The final G1 version was also distinguished by slightly reduced peg holes, falling between the earliest and second versions. The shade of the stickers also shifts throughout the course of his G1 production.
Hound was available in the United States and UK in 1984. Hound was available again in the US and UK, and debuted in Japan (with a firing missile launcher) and continental Europe in 1985 with a rubsign applied to the right front corner of his hood. This version received a revised instruction sheet (or tiny addendum slip), as well as a revised tech spec with the “scrambled” red lines replacing the straighter lines of the 1984 box. Italy also got Hound in 1985, with GiG’s infamous large rubber-tipped safety missiles. He continued to be available in Europe and the UK in 1986. He was reissued in Japan in The Transformers Collection in 2004.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1984: Autobot Cars Asst. 1 (E5753/5750), 1 per 12; 1985: Autobot Cars Asst. 3 (E5753/5766), 1 per 12
Packaging: Window box with top flap, inner plastic bubble sealed to cardboard insert, Tech Spec on back
Packaging (Milton Bradley): Window box with top flap (with MB logo), inner styrofoam tray supported by cardboard insert, Tech Spec on back
Robot Points: 2 Autobot
Paperwork included (1984): Instruction booklet without rubsign on last panel, sticker sheet, Tech Spec Decoder, 1984 Catalog; (late 1984) “Reinforcements from Cybertron!”, rubsign instructions addendum.
Paperwork included (1985): Instruction booklet with rubsign on last panel, sticker sheet, Tech Spec Decoder, 1985 Catalog, “Reinforcements from Cybertron”