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TRANSFORMERS TOYS AND MERCHANDISE SECTION

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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Blackjack's review: Dune Runner

Name: Dune Runner
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Off-road Decepticon hunting; looking a lot like Landmine

Ah, Dune Runner. I had passed him numerous times whilst browsing for ROTF toys. Sorry, but compared to the likes of Depthcharge (warship), Scalpel (microscope), Detour (futuristic sports car), Dirt Boss (forklift truck) or Ransack (biplane), a dune buggy just seems... all too generic.

This isn't helped by his robot mode, who really, really looks like this guy (review courtesy of numbat). Deluxe Class Landmine from the 2007 Movie toy line, who transforms into a Sector 7 Assault Buggy. Their robot modes look so alike that their resemblance couldn't be coincidental. Again, Dune Runner really looks like ole' Beachcomber, including a dopey face, but the colour leans more towards Armada Dune Runner. Surprises me, actually, that they would reference Armada's Dune Runner.

The name Dune Runner had only been used once before this, for an Armada Mini-Con, who transforms into a dune buggy. That Dune Runner was packaged with fellow Adventure Team Mini-Cons Iceberg and Ransack. Therefore, this is the second Transformer to bear the name Dune Runner.

Since Landmines are generic robots brought to life by the AllSpark (see: Transformers Alliance) and are never named, Dune Runner could very well be among those Landmine drones. However, since his bio states he came from Cybertron, it's likely that he's a new arrival like Sideswipe and pals. But since toy bios are never reliable, we'll just have to wait and see when IDW's writers use him.

ALTERNATE MODE

Dune Runner is an assault dune buggy. Basically it's a downsized Movie Landmine, but with a few major differences.

First, the weapon of choice. While Landmine had a single, teeny-tiny one-man railgun-like weapon on the top of his roof, Dune Runner's weapon of choice is two triple-barreled... well, machine-gun things. I was never good with identifying weapons. Regardless, the two machine guns look threatening, powerful, whilst not unrealistically big.

Also, since Sector Seven is disbanded after the first movie, Dune Runner doesn't have any S-7 decals. Being a Scouts class mold, Dune Runner also has less detailing, such as the rivets. While Landmine was simply covered with molded rivets and bolts, Dune Runner has less of those molded rivets, though his windshield is full of them. Dune Runner has a noticeably different hood and upper windshield decals, and his back lacks the gas canisters that become toes for Landmine. Other than that, though, Dune Runner looks like a clone of Landmine. The front, the sides and the back of the vehicle resemble Landmine too much to be called a coincidence.

Dune Runner has the numbers 0315 and a fake military symbol (i.e. with an Autobot insignia inside it, a la Barricade or Ratchet) tampographed on his doors. No idea what 0315 means though. A silver Autobot insignia adorns the roof.

The guns, attached to Dune Runner between the roof and the flat part of his back, can be posed individually, and can be adjusted to aim high or low. Compared with previous Scouts class figures, Dune Runner has the biggest guns.

He also rolls pretty nicely on those treaded wheels, and is a charming little vehicle. Dune Runner is coloured a 'camouflage' army green. Not bright enough to be Hound, but not blue enough to be Landmine (who I suspect is using Beachcomber's colours). So that boils down to the simple fact--this wee guy is a homage to an Armada Minicon. Black colours the bumpers and wheels, while golden-chrome paints part of the windshield and the flat part at the back. A silver finish is applied to some of the detailing, and yellow to the headlights. Dark gray colour the guns, and a greenish-blue colours where the gun connects to the vehicle and the seats.

Speaking of seats, Dune Runner's robot mode hands and flows are just visible, trying to masquerade as seats. Guess anyone thinking Dune Runner's a normal buggy would be in for a surprise... Turn him around, and surprisingly he's almost kibble-free. His upper legs is molded into the bottom of the hood, and you could glimpse his hands again, but other than that, nothing much. To be fair, there isn't much else to be hidden...

ROBOT MODE

Dune Runner's robot mode is much more different than Landmine, though they do look similar from afar. For one thing, they have different transformation schemes. Landmine's chest is from the vehicle's front and his (rollerblading) legs are from the vehicle's back, but Dune Runner's chest is from the windshield-roof assembly, while the vehicle front forms the leg. Dune Runner's leg is more generic compared to Landmine's kickass rollerblades, but then, this is a Scouts class toy.

Dune Runner's doors form his arms, and the machine guns slide neatly into the top of his shoulders. The windshield-roof folds down and the flat-luggage-thing at the back folds backwards to reveal and pull up his head.

Damn, his head really looks like a movie-ized version of Beachcomber. While Landmine's head was a four-eyed hockey mask, Dune Runner's face has a dopey, easy-going look to it, with a big eyeband coloured baby blue. For some reason, two tiny pinpricks of gold is on the bottom part of the eyes, resembling pupils of sort. The head is coloured in that golden-chrome hue used for his windshield, while more blacks (on his thighs and stomach) and the green-blue (hands) appear.

Dune Runner has adequate posability, like many of his Scouts class compatriots. He has shoulder, elbow, knee, hip and waist posability, and his ankle/toes are on a hinge joint, making him very stable. However, the knee joints and waist joints are a bit too tight. Regrettably, the head isn't able to move much.

Coupled with the shoulder joints, the guns can point in numerous directions. Dune Runner's a charming little Autobot, and it isn't hard to imagine a Beachcomber redeco soon. After all, Hasbro still has the trademark to Beachcomber, right?

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation 6/10 The transformation is easy enough, but counter-intuitive, and tricky at times. I needed to look at the instructions at times to properly do it.
Durability 9/10 Dune Runner's very solid. Nothing to break or lose, though the gun might snap off in the hands of an overeager child.
Fun 8/10 Big guns! Two of them! He's awesome!
Price 7/10 Nice toy. Definitely worth your money compared to Rollbar.
Overall 8/10 Dune Runner is an excellent toy. Posable, durable, detailed and has big guns. The thing it lacks is visual appeal. I've passed him over and over again a lot of times, thinking he's going to be just an 'average' toy. There's nothing unique or special about him, unlike, say, Depthcharge or Scalpel, but he's an excellent toy as far as toys go.
 
 
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