Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Transformers Feature: Transformers Collectors' Club Runamuck and Over-Run (aka Runabout)

I just got Runamuck, the 2012 Transformers Collectors' Club membership incentive figure (and, according to the Tech Specs card, the 100th Fun Publications-created figure), in the mail yesterday. I got Over-Run/Runabout about a month and a half ago. My usual rule for Transformers blog features is to portray toys in the units in which they were originally sold. That is to say, groups are generally featured together only if you could actually buy the toys as a packaged group. But Runabout and Runamuck were never very good about following rules, were they?

First thing's first. Let's get the names straight. Runamuck is the white one, and Runabout is the black one. Over-Run is just a name that Hasbro has to use because the trademark for Runabout is apparently no longer available. Got it? Good.

These toys are homages to a duo from 1986 called the "Battlechargers." Much as the Jumpstarters were Autobots that automatically changed from vehicle mode to robot mode, the Battlechargers represented a Decepticon attempt. Like the Jumpstarters, it was immediately apparent that sacrifices were made to the robot modes in order to achieve the Battlechargers' auto-transformation. The toys had no articulation whatsoever. The arms didn't even look like arms, and the legs/feet were forever joined together.

None of that is a problem with these guys. As may already be obvious, Runamuck and Runabout (I won't call the new versions "Battlechargers," since they no longer have the auto-transform feature) are variations of the same mold that was used for Tracks (more properly, they use the Wheeljack variation of the mold, but I haven't featured Wheeljack yet). Despite the fact that the mold wasn't designed with these guys in mind, one would almost never suspect the truth if you just had these toys (and the originals), and hadn't seen either Tracks or Wheeljack beforehand. The newly-designed heads are especially remarkable, even more so when one realizes that the original Battlechargers did not have identical heads, and these guys do (indeed, the ability to use the same head-mold twice is almost certainly the only reason that we're getting a "new" head with this year's club incentive figure). You'd hardly realize it unless someone (like me) pointed it out. In fact, I would go so far as to say that these are the most successful homages Fun Publications has yet done.

There's really just one problem. Those wings, designed to homage distinctive features from the original Tracks and Wheeljack, just don't have any precedent in Runamuck and Runabout. The Battlechargers had distinctive hoods over the heads instead (required by the nature of the transformation). The irony is that these molds are actually capable of such a look with absolutely no modification to the mold! Pretty much as soon as it was announced that these guys would be using the Wheeljack mold, one ingenious fan released a video showing how to achieve this more G1-accurate look. That method suggests using the missiles (which, in the case of Runabout, are colored by paint that obscures the true plastic color) as secure-points for the hood. I'm afraid that's just asking to have paint scraped off, and since the missiles don't really add anything to the G1-accurate look compared to my method, I use a variation (seen in the image to the right) which just puts the missiles on pegs on the backs of their legs. True, it doesn't pass the "shake test" as readily as the video version, but how many official transformations do?

I just wish the club would have used this look in their club comic, rather than the winged version. It seems like a huge missed opportunity, to me. Ah, well. Can't have everything, I guess.

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