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with Nightcruz & Nightscream

Series: Energon
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Combat Headmaster
Year: 2003

Prelude: It was the year 2005 and I reviewed an Armada toy called Sideways for my brand-new website called Now, close to two decades later, my site is still running, I’m still writing reviews, and I finally had a chance to take a look at Sideways’ Energon repaint Rapid Run. So let’s see whether my current self still agrees with my 28-year-old self about this figure. Let’s say go!

Many thanks to my buddy Fuchs Geronimo for loaning me Rapid Run for this review (and the 99 Days of Energon Countdown before that).

Robot Mode: Rapid Run is a Deluxe-sized robot (called Supercon back in Armada and Combat Class in Energon) and has traded in Sideways’ purple paintjob for a mostly yellow one. Fun side note: apparently the figure got finished so late that the back of its packaging still shows the Sideways paintjob. Second fun side note: the figure’s package art work shows the figure in its yellow color, but with totally different paint details. Apparently, no one was quite sure what this thing was going to look like until it actually came out.

Rapid Run has average articulation for an Armada figure, meaning not that great. He can move his arms at the shoulders and (sort of) has elbows, but no knee joints. His feet can move, making him capable of at least some dynamic posing, but overall (from today’s standpoint) he could easily do better. But for the time, average. Rapid Run’s main weapons are a pair of batons affixed to his forearms, which he can also launch as missiles.

Rapid Run’s main gimmick is, of course, the same as Sideways’. He can slide down his own (rather small) head and replace it with either of this two Mini-Con partners (see below). Each Mini-Con becomes a head, one causing a Decepticon symbol to appear on his chest, the other unveiling an Autobot symbol. The two Mini-Con heads look pretty cool, despite their ‘antenna’ clearly being robot legs. Personally I still think that the Autobot-head looks more menacing than the Decepticon-head, but that’s subjective, of course.

Bottom line: Rapid Run is a very interesting and well-done gimmick wrapped in an average figure. I would really love to see a modern recreation of this bot, but for the 2004 version: a nice robot mode.

Alternate Mode: Rapid Run transforms into a mostly yellow racing cycle. The transformation isn’t terribly complicated, but neither is it all that simple. The batons become Rapid Run’s exhaust pipes and his feet become the driver’s seat. His Mini-Con partners can serve as riders, either combined or individually (see below). The bike itself looks pretty good, though it has almost no clearance to the ground. So overall, a decent alternate mode, but nothing too special.

Partner: Rapid Run comes with two Mini-Cons: Nightscream (who turns into his Decepticon head) and Nightcruz (his Autobot head). The two Mini-Cons are, of course, repaints of Rook and Crosswise and, just like their predecessors, they can also combine into a larger robot called Nightcreeper. Not sure if there is some sort of joke here about having the Mini-Cons associated with the canary-yellow Rapid Run all having ‘night’ in their name. Anyway, they are remarkably well-articulated and quite large for Armada-era Mini-Cons and while they might look a bit disproportioned, they work pretty well. Both the head and combiner mode are nicely done. So bottom line: great Mini-Cons, though mostly useless without Rapid Run.

Remarks: Rapid Run was supposed to come out late in Armada as a powered-up version of Sideways. For some reason or other he was moved to Energon instead, where he became his own character. He never appeared anywhere, though, and his only characterization came from the Transformers Collectors Club magazine, which described him as a mercenary in the service of Unicron.

I am still a big fan of the Sideways character from Armada and, given the time, the gimmick with the interchangeable heads (which determine the allegiance) was remarkably well-executed. The figure itself has some drawbacks in terms of articulation, of course, but apart from that: pretty great. Personally I prefer the purple paintjob of Sideways, but Rapid Run also looks pretty good and is a decent alternative if you cannot find the Armada version for a decent price. Bottom line: recommended to fans of the Unicron Trilogy and well-executed gimmicks.

Rating: B
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