Rapid Run is proud of being the toughest member of the Bullet Train team. He is always ready for a fight and loves a good brawl. He fires his grenade launcher to confuse the enemy with a blinding wall of smoke, so that his fellow Autobots can send in the heavy weapons. His aim is always accurate, so he never has to fire more than once.
In my Midnight Express review, I discussed my love of trains. Mix that with a fondness for old-school Transformers, and there was no way I'd be ignoring this series of toys.
A few moments of research reveals that J-7 (Rapid Run's Japanese counterpart) was patterned after a Hikari Rail Star, the 700 series shinkansen of JR-West. The grey, navy blue and gold paint is even the same, right down to the tiniest detail; an authentic Rail Star logo is screened near the cab (admittedly with "Cybertron" replacing "West Japan Railway")! While the real train is 27.35 meters long and its 3.65m tall, it's been reduced to a manageable 8" x 1 1/2" size. The wheels roll freely, and the train can be coupled to its locomotive brethren. The same problem plagues Rapid Run as mars all three trains - the line of the vehicle mode is broken up by dozens of joints and seams that permit them to transform. Is there any way around this? No, but these trains aren't display pieces, so I think it's okay.
This is a Level 3 (Advanced) transformation, and pictographic instructions are included in the package. The sheet has instructions for all three train robots, and full instructions for combining them into Rail Racer, which is handy - you don't need to keep track of three booklets to know what you're doing.
Begin the transformation by raising two flaps in the passenger section and removing the roof; this section, along with the coupling, form Rapid Run's weapon. Rotate the remaining passenger sections forward to expose the robot's arms, which you can straighten out. Folding the nose down will reveal the figure's head, and the entire cab area of the train folds downward to become his chest.
And now, an aside: I really admire the amount of work that went into the design of these three robots' heads; they've all been sculpted to look like the cab of their respective train, despite the fact that that cab could be a foot, a chest, or a shoulder on the finished robot. It ties together the vehicle and robot modes in a really nice way. But enough about that! Transform and roll out!
Turn the waist around, and pull the legs down. Rotate the wheels down, extend the feet, and uncurl his toes, and you're done. The stripes that carry over from the vehicle mode give Rapid Run an almost militaristic look. His head turns, his shoulders, elbows and wrists can be posed, as well as the waist, hips and knees, giving him 12 points of articulation.
The three train figures combine to form Rail Racer, and Rapid Run has the most complex transformation to combination mode. You can begin by folding the chest up and putting the head away. Then turn that nosecone completely around, and slide it forward. Leaving the arms and shoulder flaps as they are, rotate the waist before folding it up into what was until recently the chest cavity. Stow the figure's heels, and point the toes downward, but don't push the feet back up. Move the legs (at the hips) out into a split, and bend the knees down. While this may look like a short list, it was actually somewhat confusing the first few times I tried it (even with the printed instructions open in front of me).
To combine this waist/jetpack section with the legs made from Midnight Express, fold the front of the train in half. The engineer's compartment snaps into the hips, and the train's nose plugs into the small of his back. The Autobot logo on the roof of the train can now be found on the rear of this piece, which is a nice display feature.
This is a good-looking figure in both forms, and has a sufficiently challenging transformation. It moves well, and is a cool part of a three-piece set, well worth buying.
Up next: Railspike.
What's your favorite form of mass transit? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.