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Transformers Timelines
by yo go re

This is Runamuck. He is functionally identical to his best buddy, Runabout. Thus, this review will be functionally identical to the last one.

As part of a warped game, Runamuck cruises highways at top speed and rejoices in the chaos he creates. The other vehicles and Cybertronians on the road are merely obstacles between which Runamuck darts, hoping to see them slam on the brakes and twirl out of control. His maniacal laughter can be heard as he races away from the smoking wrecks. Some might believe he plays these games to spread fear. In reality it's just so that he can watch the resulting collisions and explosions as they fill the streets with such beautiful disaster. It fascinates him. However such appreciation is short lived as his partner, Over-Run, sets it upon himself to enhance its beauty. Which usually means even more awesome explosions and mayhem!

Runamuck is the 2012 Transformers Collectors' Club freebie figure - in other words, the TF equivalent of Footloose. If you were a member by March of 2012, you got this toy for free. Or in my case, you're not a member, but you have a friend who's a member and willing to give you the hook-up.

Runamuck used to turn into a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, but these days he has a more modern (and legally distinct) altmode. He's still a white sports car with gold detailing, but that's as far as the parallels go. The windows are translucent, rather than solid - at least, the front windows are. The back windows are painted on. There's a fancy golden stripe running down the sides of the car, and despite the fact that there's a rubsign on his roof, there's a giant Decepticon logo right there on the hood. Way to hide your allegience, guy!

In 1986, Runamuck was a member of the Battlechargers, a two-character subset of toys that transformed automatically: pull the car back, friction-engine sends it forward, and after a few inches a catch releases and springs stand the robot up instantly. Today Runamuck shares his mold with Wheeljack (and by extension, with Tracks, which is really shooting holes in my "only buy one of any given mold" thing), so his conversion is the same as theirs:

Remove the exhaust pipes from under the doors, lift the rear of the car and remove the folded blaster. Pull the doors out to the side, then swing them out to form wings. Yes, he has wings. No, he doesn't need them. Moving on. Slide the front end of the car forward and split it, making legs, then flatten the feet. Rotate the back tires around to the other side of the arms, and slide the windshield up to move both the arms and head into position.

The robot mode actually does a nice job of capturing the feel of the old toy. Of course, since the old toy was basically just a car that stood up, it's hard to get that wrong. You've got the hood becoming feet, the roof becoming a chest, and that's all you need. Of course, the old one didn't have wings, but that's what upgrades are all about, right? One thing that's missing is the way his head used to be backstopped by a gray panel in a big black box, but thanks to the design of this mold, you can fake it if you mis-transform him. Or as we call it, "Goldbugging." It's like "Planking," but requires less core strength.

Like Punch/Counterpunch, Runamuck gets a new head. Well, semi-new. It's the same one Runabout had. It's based on the cartoon more than the old toy, because it looks more like a face behind a metal ski mask than a head with a square surface. Does that make sense? The old toy's head looked like a solid head - this one looks like a head with a helmet.

The "autotransform" feature on the Battlechargers rendered them little more than unposeable bricks, but this modern version moves much better. He has all the joints you'd expect - head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles - and they all move well. Since the old toy couldn't even move its arms, the only way he could wield his gun was by clipping it on his shoulder. This one keeps that alive with two shoulder-mounted weapons, but he also gets a handheld blaster as well. Only took 26 years! Of course, feel free to use the large gun on his shoulder, and pretend the little ones are Cybertronian cans of spray paint or something.

Runamuck doesn't get any fancy packaging - he's just taped in a plastic bag and thrown in a white cardboard mailing box. And that's fine, because if you recall, Runabout's big fancy packaging has room for them both. It's a large box, with foam inserts, including one cut out to accommodate Runamuck. They look so cozy in there together! The art on the front of the box shows Runabout and Runamuck at the Statue of Liberty, a reference to Transformers #23. Fun fact: I only ever had one Transformers comic as a kid, and it was that issue; so I'm loving this set!

Runabout and Runamuck make for a nice pair of toys, expensive though they may be. And yes, even though I already had this mold (twice). Not sure they're worth dealing with all the credit card hassle buying them entailed, though.

-- 06/12/12

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