Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Saturday 11 March 2023

The Mysterious G1 Hound Stickers

I've wanted to sticker up a Generation 1 Hound for absolutely years, ever since I discovered an error with his vintage (and subsequent reissue) stickersheet. I've owned a Ceji Joustra Diaclone Jeep (European pre-G1 Diaclone Hound, effectively) for almost two decades now, but I haven't had a Transformers Hound for even longer than that, but I finally plugged that hole this year and was able to use the above Takara TF Collection reissue from 2004 to apply the stickers how I believe they were always intended to be applied. I fully believe that a vast majority of G1 Hounds out there today are incorrectly stickered as a result. Yes, it's another one of THOSE articles.


Courtesy of Botch The Crab

It's very common with G1 Transformers and their stickers to not have a clue what you're getting into until it's too late, and the tweezers are already out. Numerous articles on this blog have involved me discovering secrets, errors, unintended conventions crystallised over decades and other such quirks of G1 toys when applying their vintage or reissue stickers down the years. Hound came to my attention when I was putting stickers on my e-Hobby reissue exclusive Detritus, a toy whose stickers are heavily based on Hound's.

Looking at that scan of G1 Hound's instructions above, the clues are all there if you know what to look for, but as with many of G1's mildest secrets, they can generally go unnoticed.

Hound was of course originally a Takara Diaclone No.12 Jeep J59 in the Car Robot sub-line, released in June 1983. He had a GiG Italian Diaclone release, too, and a much rarer Ceji Joustra Diaclone outing in 1985. As a G1 Transformer he was released in 1984 by Hasbro in pre-rub variety for North America (incl. bilingual Canadian release) and the UK, and that carried over to the rubsign-shod 1985 assortments too, which saw further release in Japan by Takara, in mainland Europe by Milton Bradley and GiG, and then a multilingual Hasbro Europe mainland release in 1986. There were also 90s Chinese-manufacture versions sold in Asia and places like Portugal, too. And let's not forget the 1986 to 1990-ish Plasticos IGA varieties manufactured in Mexico and sold in Europe (including Yugoslavia!).

Hound got around. He then got a Takara TF Collection 'book box' reissue in Japan in 2004, and bizarrely, nearly 20 years later we are now expecting a 'Retro' G1 Transformers The Movie style Hasbro reissue release of Hound in show colours! Just goes to show you can never tell...

So this is the TF Collection Hound pre-stickers. It's a beautifully diminutive but striking toy, quite different to all the other Autobot cars. There's a huge amount of chrome on display across his thighs, mirrors, grill, wheels and accessories. And he has a lot of accessories. A vintage G1 Hound can be tricky to find complete due to it coming with a handgun, rocket launcher, 3 rockets, mounted machine gun, spare tyre and that bloody gas can. 

The reissue was probably a blessing for many a collector, except for the fact that it ended up being quite scarce and probably the most expensive of the non-leader TF Collection releases. Another reason why it's taken me so long to get the chance to do this article! If it wasn't for the announcement of the Retro reissue, I don't think the seller of this TFC Hound would have listed it for as little as he did.

Back to the stickers, then. To quote my article linked above when I first discovered the issue with Hound's stickers:

"The stickersheet for Detritus is similar to Hound’s in that every sticker has an equivalent...or so I thought. When actually looking for official pics of Detritus and comparing it to his character art, there were many ambiguities and some stickers simply did not fit in the orientation suggested by the instructions."

Courtesy of Botch The Crab

Courtesy of Botch The Crab

"With the G1 Hound stickersheet, amazingly, I had the same problem. Sticker #10 on the Hound sheet is a 2-part silver rectangular strip...If you look at Hound’s sticker application map, there is no mention of #10. Hilariously, looking on Google and eBay, I found used Hound stickersheets with only sticker #10 remaining on the sheet! Looking more closely at the instruction book seen above, I noticed in the transformation images, sticker #10 could be seen applied to Hound! There they were, on the sides of his waist. Interestingly, the Detritus sticker that corresponds to this, the one also not mentioned in the Detritus sticker application map, is actually one long strip. I had to manually split it in two in order to apply one half to the left side of his waist, and one to the right."

e-Hobby Detritus

My incorrect assumption was that it was just an error for the Detritus stickersheet, but I see now on this reissue TFC Hound that it too has a single piece sticker for #10, it too was left unsplit! I don't believe the vintage Hound sticker #10 is split either, which once more explains why so many vintage Hounds simply do not have that correctly applied, or applied at all!

But, sticker #10 on the Diaclone stickersheet...

Diaclone Jeep J59 stickersheet split!

So, as usual, Diaclone literature and stock photography is the way to go in order to make sure G1 Transformers Hound gets stickered in the intended fashion, after all these years. Now is also a good time to point how how cool it is that the Diaclone stickersheet has "Astron 2000 J59" stickers for the front bumper, as well as a choice of the star with "J" and another "Astron 2000 J59" sticker for the spare tyre, as well as "Jeep" factory stickers on the front and rear bumpers!

Ceji Joustra Diaclone Jeep

Ceji Joustra Diaclone Jeep

Interestingly, the Takara 2004 TF Collection reissue Hound instructions have those same side-on photos of the vehicle mode with sticker #10 applied, but they actually indicate on the transformation images that you should apply #10 there, so there's a good chance some collectors out there took it upon themselves to remove it from the sheet, manually cut it in half, and apply to the sides of the waist. The problem is, the orientation shown on those images (and the '84 instructions) is incorrect.

Evidence, you say?

Courtesy of necronomitron

Courtesy of necronomitron

Courtesy of Shakiraisabel

Courtesy of Immo de Maar

In the absence of a Diaclone Jeep instruction sheet, the above stock images and art come from sources such as original TVKun Diaclone Car Robots adverts, the Japanese Diaclone box, and the Diaclone campaign prize cards. The latter is, of course, the basis for the G1 Hound boxart. The sticker on the side of the waist is hard to see at the best of times, but it consists of 4 yellow/black rectangles and a red capsule shape, all in a row. The Transformers instructions show the red capsule being placed nearest the front of the waist, but all the Diaclone literature and art show it being the 4 rectangles that are closer to the front of the waist, and the red capsule shape being towards the back of the waist.

So, I cut that sticker #10 in half and did Hound as a Diaclone.

It doesn't end there for Hound's stickers, though. There's a little more. Stickers #14 and #15 go on Hound's forearms/wrists, but both the vintage and reissue Transformers instructions tell you to put #14 on his right forearm, and #15 on the left. This is incorrect, and will end up causing those L-shaped stickers to sit in a way that does not cover the length of the forearm, as well as causing an ill fit around the wrist. Detritus has the same issue, too, by the way. What you see above and in Diaclone imagery shows the correct orientation for those wrist/forearm stickers.

In general, G1 Hound is a very tricky toy to sticker, not just because of the historically incorrect instructions for Transformers release, but just because of how the stickers themselves are cut and where they need you to place them. The Autobot stickers for the top of the head and centre of the crotch are too big for the space they're intended for, so there's always overhang. The 'doors' have gaps moulded into them, so a fair amount of the sticker #16 pair is not attached to anything at all, they just sit there in clean air begging to suffer wear and damage. They also needed trimming to fit onto the moulded space. Others needed folding across multiple surfaces, and that's to say nothing of the rubsign whose top right corner sticks out over where the robot head emerges, taking a flick every time Hound transforms.

As elegant as G1 Autobot cars and Diaclone car robots look when unused, you cannot argue with the result of a freshly - and correctly - applied stickersheet. Hound is resplendent in all his green, gold, chrome and stickered glory. It should be noted that the striped gold detailing on Hound's hood is a tampo for the reissue, whereas it was a clear sticker on the vintage toys. I maintain that he is absolutely unique among the G1 cars, and fully decked out with his labels, I find him totally irresistible. A wonderful, wonderful Transformers toy.

With these corrections, it's hard to say that Hound's overall look is much affected, because for the most part those stickers on the side of the waist are often obscured. That's why it has been so difficult to get a clear image of them as a resource from Transformers and Diaclone literature. You could also argue that anyone who had paid super close attention to Hound's G1 boxart could conceivably have ended up in the right place with those waist and forearm stickers, too. As it is, though, I'd never before seen a perfectly stickered G1 Hound that stayed true to the Diaclone version where I believe the correct intentions of the sticker designer were indicated in paperwork and photography.

So what I'm really saying is that it pleases me to be the first.

All the best

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