"Transformers Energon" Rapid Run Toy Review


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General Information:
Release Year: December 2003
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $9.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Accessories: Missiles x 2

In Armada, one of the stranger characters in the series was Sideways, a mysterious Transformer who had two Mini-Cons who could transform into heads; one a Decepticon, the other an Autobot. This toy has been brought into the Energon line to help fortify the first wave of toys. This review will cover the changes made to the toy, for a more detailed review, please read the review for Sideways.

This time around, this toy has been assigned a new identity: Rapid Run. Unlike Sideways, there's no question of its affiliation. The packaging no longer has the split Autobot/Decepticon symbol that Sideways had. Rather, he is a full fledged Decepticon this time around, which would seem to indicate he is more of a double spy type character. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Rapid Run was the name for one of the Trainbots in Robots in Disguise.

Rapid Run has two Mini-Cons: Nightcruz and Nightscream, both redecos of Crosswise and Rook respectively. Both names are carry overs from previous lines. Nightcruz was the name of a Vehicon redecos in Robots in Disguise. Nightscream was the young Maximal everyone loved to hate in Beast Machines (okay, almost everyone).

Nightcruz's color scheme is darker than Crosswise's. He is mostly dark gray, with purple used for his arms and the joints in his legs. Tiny bits of yellow paint are used for his eyes and mouth, a welcome addition since Crosswise's face was never painted with any details. When you transform him into his head mode, his eyes are red, which is appropriate since he activates Rapid Run's Decepticon symbol in robot mode.

Nightscream has a bit more deco than Nightcruz. He is dark gray and purple as well. However, on the sides of his chest are nice, metallic silver paint apps. On his chest is a nice, triangular yellow design, and his lower legs have nice, angled yellow designs as well, running with the "bee/yellowjacket" color theme for Rapid Run.

In head mode, Nightscream's eyes are blue, which is appropriate since this is the head that activates the Autobot symbol on Rapid Run.

When the two Mini-Cons are combined, the colors really work well together. They're both the same basic colors, and the yellow adds a nice splash of color to what would otherwise be a very dark, grim looking toy indeed. The robot head of the combined form has yellow paint for its eyes and mouth, which is very welcome since the original Rook's "combined mode head" had plenty of detail, but no paint to draw them out. I only wish that after all this time, they would have found time to give the combined form a name.

Rapid Run:
In its own way, what we have here is an interesting homage that goes back to Beast Wars and relates to Beast Machines. Sideways, whom Rapid Run is a redeco of, was a purple motorcycle with "eye" type headlights, reminscent of Thrust from Beast Machines. Thrust was actually the reincarnation of Waspinator. In Beast Wars, Waspinator was given a new deco and made into the character known as Buzz Saw, who was a yellowjacket. Rapid Run's color scheme is very similar to Buzz Saw's, mostly yellow with black stripes and patterns. So, as much as Sideways was a homage to Thrust/Waspinator, Rapid Run is a homage to Beast Wars Buzz Saw. It's a fascinating way to have gone about a redeco and obviously shows some historically leaning thought went into the process.

Rapid Run's primary colors are yellow, black and purple. What I liked seeing was that the designers stayed cognizant of the fact that this was an Energon toy (at least in name) if if not by design. Rapid Run's missiles and the front portion of the motorcycle are made up in green, translucent plastic, which is the same coloring that other Decepticons in Energon such as Battle Ravage have had for their weaponry. With that in mind, it's not hard to imagine that Rapid Run's weaponry, and part of his body are created from Energon.

The black striped pattern on the toy is nice because it is not used excessively. The front of the motorcycle is partially painted black, with red headlight "eyes". The combination looks really nice. In robot form, the "regular" robot head has a black face with red eyes, so it keeps continuity between modes.

Unfortunately, as you use a mold over and over, there will inevitably be mold degradation or factory mess ups. I'm not sure which happened to my Rapid Run figure, but the front section of the motorcycle, which is on a ball joint, tends to pop off during transformation. I haven't heard anyone else report this on theirs, so perhaps it's just mine. It's not a huge deal, nothing a little nail polish on the joint won't solve, but it's something you would have hoped wouldn't have happened to a mold that's barely two years old.

Sideways is not the strongest mold to come out of Armada, but it was one of the few they had not given a new deco yet after the "Powerlinx" craze, thus its inclusion in Energon. I think I like this toy more for what it tried to achieve with its color schemes than the actual toy itself (which is okay, not spectacular). In general, I'd say if you already have Sideways, you're not getting a whole lot by picking this redeco up. But if you're a completist, its definitely worthwhile.

On a side note for more hard core collectors, Rapid Run, like Treadbolt is most likely a low production number toy made just for wave one of Energon. As of wave 1.5, it may be possible that he will start vanishing off shelves like Treadbolt did. That may make it a worthwhile purchase for this section of the fanbase.

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