Sunday, 8 February 2015

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2012 Exclusive (Timelines) Over-Run Runabout

When I wrote up the Club's 2012 membership incentive figure, Runamuck, almost three years ago, I fully expected that I'd never get my hands on his partner. He sold out almost immediately, prices on the secondary market were ridiculous and my finances were pretty terrible at the time. Thankfully, the secondary market is very variable, with plenty of bargains to be had on eBay and, in 2015, prices are not that far off the original retail price of the exclusive figure (better, if you take shipping into account and buy within Europe, as I did!)

Let's get one thing straight: while this box has the name 'Over-Run' plastered all over it, this character is Runabout. It's a misnamed Timelines update of the second G1 Battlecharger. The artwork on the box neatly references the Marvel G1 comics story 'Decepticon Graffiti', with Runabout in the foreground and his Club freebie partner Runamuck perched on the Statue of Liberty. Neither seems to be carrying their oversized spraycans but, since no such accessory was included, that's no great loss.

Inside the box is the club's usual foam packaging, with a cutout within the bio card cutout for Runamuck, should you wish to keep them as a boxed set, rather than on display. The box shows the correct spelling of 'TransFormers'  where it refers to the 'Hasbro TransFormers Collectors' Club. I'm very glad that got changed, as the misspelling on the early boxes really annoyed me...

Vehicle Mode:
Whereas G1 Runabout was a Lotus Turbo Esprit, this Timelines version uses exactly the same mold as Timelines Runamuck - the Wheeljack retooling of Generations/Classics Tracks. It's a shame they didn't use the original Tracks parts for one or the other, just so they looked different... but I guess having the Battlechargers as a matching pair isn't so bad.

What I like about this one is that he's not black, just a very dark - and slightly metallic - grey. It's good that the Club didn't cop out because, while I love a good black repaint as much as the next guy, it's a rather overused motif these days, and superdark grey doesn't swallow molded details. Runabout's secondary colour remains red but, while the original used (very fine, and annoyingly prone to peeling) metallic print stickers for its linework, the Club figures uses a flat red. It's a disappointing choice considering the way it's used and because Runabout got his gold paint. Metallic red would have looked phenomenal on the dark gunmetal car body, while the flat red really does look flat. It's also perhaps a shade or two too light, considering the translucent red plastic used for the windows. Still, it doesn't look awful. The main use of red is a large strip running down the bonnet and on the spoiler, bypassing the roof, but there are also touches on the extended front of the vehicle and on the exposed exhaust pipe things below the doors. This is rather more decorative than the minor trim work of the G1 models' stickers, but it suits the mold well enough.

Like Runamuck, Runabout's headlights, rear lights, rear windows and hubcaps are painted in, and he has a nice, large Decepticon insignia over the centre of his bonnet.

Robot Mode:
Runabout and Runamuck are straight repaints of the same model with the same remolded head. This is the more typical-Decepticon-coloured version, and looks pretty good. This mold is certainly well suited to Battlechargers though, again, it would have been even more cool if one or the other had been made using Tracks parts - possibly even a new front, unique to the Club exclusive - to further differentiate the characters.

The head sculpt is a closer fit to this character, but it's a little plainer on this model because it's largely bare plastic with only the eyes painted in, whereas Runamuck had his 'face' painted silver. I know both were depicted in the comics and cartoon as having eyes, but I do rather wish these had been given their G1 toy-accurate visors.

Not much to say about transformation or articulation that hasn't already been said, but I'll certainly stand by my earlier opinion that the version of this mold given away free by the club is superior - its colourscheme is so far removed from what one would expect from a Decepticon that it stands out more on display, and the fact that its secondary colour is metallic gives it additional visual punch. That's not to say that Runabout is terrible... just that I'm glad I didn't pay (significantly) more than the original retail price for mine on the secondary market.

Regarding the bio card, I find it interesting that reference is made to Runabout's "low intelligence" when his technical data gives his intelligence as 6/10. Runamuck's is 5/10, but his bio doesn't call him stupid... and also, 6 - or even 5 - are hardly 'low' on a scale of 1-10. Timelines Runabout retains his airs of refinement from his G1 characterisation, though that wasn't mentioned in the toy's tech specs.

Runabout is definitely worth having to complete the Battlechargers pair in the Timelines/Classics universe and, since I rather liked the pair - both the toys (underachieving as they were, even by the standards of the day) and the Marvel Comics interpretation of the characters - I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to complete the pair in my collection.

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