Transformers Adventure Dogfight vs Runamuck Toy Review
Release Date: June 2015
Price Point: $45-60 (Depending on retailers)
Retailer: Million Publishing
Million Publishing is a company that produces magazines dedicated to toy lines such as Transformers. Along with their magazines they produce exclusive figures that often have more deco than the average release. They also tend to represent characters from "Generation One" such as 2014's Go Shooter. In mid-2016 they released a new set featuring two Legends Class figures in a versus set: Dogfight versus Decepticon Runamuck!
The sculpt used for Dogfight began life as "Combiner Wars" Powerglide and was later retooled and given a new deco as Decepticon Viper. The sculpt used to create Runamuck began as "Combiner Wars" Blackjack. It was retooled and given a new deco as Rodimus later in the line. More recently it was released as the Generaiton 2 themed Blackjack and "Transformers Adventure" Runabout. You're best off reading the Decepticon Viper and "Transformers Adventure" Runabout reviews as this review will focus on the changes made to the sculpts for this release.
Dogfight is a follow up of sorts to Override. Both characters were originally "Triggerbots" in Generation One, characters with flip out weapons. Dogfight was the only aerial member of the team, making the use of the Viper sculpt appropriate. So why use Viper's head instead of Powerglide's? I think there are two reasons. First, the Powerglide sculpt was already used in "Adventure", making this tooling much more distinct in Japan. Also, the head sculpt has very pronounced "chin/mouth plate" piece that resembles a similar detail on G1 Dogfight's head. This is about as strong as the similarities get between the two because their bodies are otherwise very different from one another. For example, G1 Dogfight's wings were mounted on the outer part of his arms whereas here the wings are in between the arms and the torso.
Using G1 Dogfight as reference, this figure is cast in two shades of blue: a light blue and a more medium tone blue. Both are very soft colors, almost pastel in tone. The light blue makes up parts like the shoulders and thighs. The medium blue is used on other parts like the wings, forearms and lower legs. A pretty significant amount of light blue paint is used on this figure to help match it up with G1 Dogfight's color scheme. This includes the entire front section of the torso and the "helmet" section of the robot head.
Smaller details include blue eyes (in a different shade than the other two blues) and red on the mouthplate. The torso has two tampographed details on it that look like a rectangle with two circles inside. These tampographs have a silver outline with light blue circles inside against a black background. These are a direct call back to sculpted details on G1 Dogfight. The center of the torso has a large scannable Autobot symbol. This is meant for use with the Japanese version of the Transformers mobile app.
I did find myself slightly disappointed that some more detailing wasn't included on this figure. I guess I'm a bit spoiled from my experience with Go Shooter who was choc full of detailing and tampographs. Specifically I think a paint app on the knees and perhaps a tampograph on the feet would have been nice and helped match the figure up more with the G1 version of the character.
All the joints on my copy of this figure are nice and tight, so no concerns with functionality.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Turn the robot head so it is facing the back.
- Straighten out the robot arms and legs.
- Swing the robot feet up.
- Push the lower legs together.
- Swing the stabilizer fins on each of the lower legs out to the sides.
- Swing each of the wings out to the sides then rotate them forward.
- Pull the plane cockpit piece on the back of the figure forward, then push it down.
- Under each wing, bend the robot arm at the elbow then slide the tab on the forearms into the corresponding slots on the wings.
When looking at Dogfight's vehicle mode I had to remind myself that this may be based on G1 Dogfight, but it's not the same character. Otherwise trading in a sleek mode like a Grumman X-29 fighter jet for an A-10 Thunderbolt alt mode seems like a strange stylistic change. Either way both are cool aerial vehicles and it's the deco that ultimatley sells this form.
This mode shows off a lot more of the medium tone blue than light blue. The light blue winds up only making up smaller parts such as the nosecone and the rear stabilizers. Gunmetal grey (one of my favorite paint colors on Transformers) is used for the cockpit windows and the edges of the boosters in the back. Each wing has a distinctive tampograph featuring silver, red and blue lines with an Autobot symbol on top of it. This is directly based off stickers found on G1 Dogfight and they look really great. As far as homages go, this mode does a good job calling back to G1 Dogfight.
Transformation to Weapon Mode (Starting in Vehicle Mode):
- Swing the rear stabilizers down.
- Rotate each wing forward, then swing it up to attach it to the tabs on the sides of the vehicle.
- Swing the front landing gear down (this will serve as the handle).
- Swing the middle panel on the top of the vehicle to reveal a targeting scope.
I really do like this weapon mode. Between the middle booster, the two larger boosters and the rocket pods from the robot arms Dogfight winds up being a pile of firepower packed into one 'bot. In its own way this calls back to G1 Dogfight's robot mode, which not only had two large cannons, but smaller rocket launchers mounted onto his shoulder area.
Dogfight shows off a few additional deco points in this form. This includes red on the targeting scope and middle booster. The rocket pods on the arms are painted gunmetal grey, giving them an industrial look and feel. I've enjoyed this weapon form since it was introduced with Powerglide and I still love it.
Like Dogfight, Runamuck is a follow up to a previous "Adventure" release based on a G1 character. In this case Runamuck is a follow up to Runabout, who used the same sculpt. In the G1 era, both Runamuck and Runabout were "Battlechargers", whose gimmick relied on an automatic transformation using a pull back motor. This use of the sculpt is most appropriate because the design was originally meant to be a Battlecharger sculpt, but was first released as "Combiner Wars" Blackjack instead. Now with Runamuck fans can finally have their modern day Battlechargers in the "Prime" universe.
Runamuck is cast mostly in white plastic with black used for smller parts like his wheels and elbow joints. Depending on the artist G1 Runamuck looked either white or light grey (or even light blue in the 80's comic book) so the designers of this figure seemed to have decided to go for a bright white color. Now, this is not necesarily a bad thing. White can be a nice canvas if there are enough other details on it, unfortunately Runamuck falls a bit short in that regard.
Runamuck's deco mostly relies on black and yellow colors. The black is found on his chest, where it paints in the windows from the vehicle mode. There are small yellow details on his shoulders and feet. The eyes are painted red. Like Runabout he has two tampographed Decepticon symbols on his shoulders and another scannable symbol on his chest. And well...that's it. Now, don't get me wrong, G1 Runamuck was not exactly exploding with a rainbow of colors, but there are a couple of decos that could have been added to make this better. For instance G1 Runamuck had orange in his robot mode, but there's no sign of that color here. Perhaps some on the waist would help break up the monotony of the white color in that area. Also Runamuck had gold lines on his arms. Some yellow could have been added to the arms to provide that detail. For a mass retail release this would be fine, but for a Million Publishing exclusive I thought there would be more detail.
The joints on my copy of this figure are just as tight as those on my Blackjack and Runabout figures, so no worries there. He can also still hold his weapon nice and snug.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the axe weapon and set it aside for now.
- Straighten out the robot arms and legs.
- Rotate the forearms out (lining up the car door panels with the wheels).
- Push the chest panel up and connect it to the back panel.
- Push the two lower legs together.
- Swing the panel with the car windows on it down and push it into place.
- Swing the robot arms up to form the sides of the vehicle. Connect the tabs on the forearms to the notches on the hip area.
- Attach the axe/spoiler by connecting the tabs on the weapon to the notches on the back of the vehicle.
Runamuck's deco pattern follows the same scheme as Runabout's, replacing the black plastic with white. This mode features four Decepticon symbols. One on the hood, one on each door and then the one you can scan on the back window. The windows are painted black and the headlights are painted yellow. This is a pretty good match up to the G1 toy except for the sides. Really, I would have preferred the extra Decepticon symbols be eliminated and replaced with yellow stripes running along the doors. The extra Decepticon symbols are a really odd design choice, and I'm surprised that Million Publishing didn't try to go for a more G1 accurate deco.
I haven't forgotten about the "armor" mode that you can form by repositioning the axe. However in "Adventure" there isn't a Combiner to really attach him to. Sure you can make him the chest armor for Menasor or something, but it falls out the same way Blackjack does so I think he's best as a standalone figure.
I'm rather conflicted on this set. It's not a bad set by any means. First, the toys themselves are cool and fun. If these were mass release figures (even only in Japan) I'd say the decos were good and I'd heartily recommend them. The thing is, this two pack was going anywhere for around $50 on average via importers, so you're paying about double the retail price of a Legends Class figure in the U.S. for each. For that price I would expect more deco with a bit more fealty to the G1 deco schemes. If you can get them on sale (say around $40) then it may be worth it depending on how much the characters and figures appeal to you. At the average price, this set is more for completists than your average fan.