Cliffbee.com: Runabout Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Runabout
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Shock Trooper
Alternate Mode: Trans Am



CAR MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 10cm Width: 4.5cm

   A black 1980s Pontiac Trans Am with red windows, rubber tyres, white hubcaps and red pinstripes along the sides - very 1980s. The front and rear windows are actually red plastic, while the side windows and pinstripes are stickers, the latter shiny with the windows are matte. He has a rubsign (and indent) on the roof and a Decepticon sticker on his hood.

   The level of detail is pretty low, although slightly better than on his mate Runamuck - there's moulded pop up headlights and door seams, as well as taillights, but no rear vision mirrors or windscreen wipers. Also in his favour are the rubber tyres - a lot of better Transformers down the years haven't had rubberised tyres. Of course, he needs rubber tyres for his gimmick, but gimmick or not, rubber tyres are still a positive.

   The gimmick of the Battlechargers is a pull back motor. Basically, you pull back the car and when you let it go he rolls along and eventually pops up into robot mode. Of course, this means he has axles and rolls quite well. Unfortunately the pullback mechanism used is nowhere near as sturdy as the Throttlebots got the year after, if it wears out the first thing to go is the latch that actually controls the transform - so he's either stuck in robot or car modes. Mine still rolls along very well, and even transforms, but it's not the most elegant or interesting gimmick. But hey, at least Runabout transforms, my Runamuck's gimmick gave up a long time ago.

   For what it is, it's a reasonable car mode. The level of details is a lot lower than similar Transformers at the same pricepoint, but the rubber tyres and axles do give him quite a bit of play value. I'm not totally sold on the colour scheme, since the black hides most of what little detail he does have. The black and red do work together, but the white hubcaps are a little weird.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Theoretically, pull him back, let him go and let the springs do the rest. Oh, and attach his gun to his shoulder.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11cm Width: 7cm

   Still mostly black, Runabout has red on his torso, which is the cabin section, thanks to the windows. His shoulder section is grey and his head is black with a red eyeslit. He's got a black hood formed from the rear section of the car behind his head. The rubsign is on his chest and the Decepticon symbol on his feet.

   Completely unposeable. The feet are a solid piece, same for the legs although there is a split in the piece of plastic to simulate separate legs. His head is attached to the grey hood support piece. His eyes look as if they're actually painted over the grey of the support piece and the head is laid over this.

   Runabout isn't much to look at from behind - since he's got a giant third leg (well, second, really) in the form of his pull back motor, which is grey. At the base of this are the rear wheels, and since the front wheels are under his feet, you can actually use the pullback feature in this mode (although he wont transform back to car mode). Aside from attaching his gun to his shoulder, that's it for play value in this mode. Not even the arms are poseable.

   For a toy based solely around one gimmick, I suppose Runabout succeeds in what he's designed for, but it does compromise the robot mode an awful lot. His comic incarnation takes a lot of artistic license to make this mode look good, because the toy itself doesn't look all that great. Like the car mode, the abundance of black doesn’t really work in the robot mode's favour, it hides what detail there is.

VARIATIONS

   None I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   Based purely on the pullback gimmick, Runabout fails to impress. The colours work against him, too. The pullback mechanism is too fragile to really outweigh all the negatives in Runabout. The Throttlebots got this right the next year - if you want a sturdy pullback Transformer, get a Throttlebot. If you do want a Battlecharger, get Runamuck, his colours work better. I'd only really recommend Runabout if you like his cartoon or comic appearances - 2/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.