The Transformers Club just announced via Twitter that the upcoming club exclusive toy which was to be called Runabout, and was an homage to the original Generation One Battle Charger of the same name, will be called Over-Run because they apparently never bothered to check the trademark status of the name when they were coming up with the idea.
That’s a 59-word sentence. That should indicate I’m annoyed.
First off, let me say that these toys look awesome, absolutely amazing. They really do. Both are made from the Transformers 2012 Generations Deluxe Wheeljack mold with a new head. These are better than some of the 2012 convention toys. I would give them grades of A if not for one little thing.
Runabout’s name being changed ruins it. I’m no legal expert. I don’t know if making him “Decepticon Runabout” would satisfy trademark. That works for Hasbro with Brawl and Barricade, but neither Brawl nor Barricade are trademarked names (I think). They got creative with the 2010 Streetwise using his Japanese name, and though I hate the toy, for 2011 changing Ironfist to Fisitron at least had some basis in canon.
Now, as much as the name change annoys me, if that were it, I would do as I did in 2005 with Flareup/Firestar, Chromia/Moonracer, and Fallback/Outback, and others along the way. I’d groan, roll my eyes, and remember back to the good old days before Fun Publications, when it was truly a fan convention, and things like this didn’t bother me so much. But they didn’t just change the name. It’s more than that.
It sounds like in the comic they are still going to call him Runabout. So now there is a toy and a character, and they are, as far as I’m concerned, completely separate entities. I know things like this have happened before. We can look all the way back to Jetfire/Skyfire, but this isn’t 1985. We’re shelling out piles of money for overpriced toys that they aren’t even bothering to put enough thought into that they aren’t crap.
That is just stupid.
A toy/character’s name is not something that you can pick and choose for convenience, unless you’re just pretending to give a damn about what you’re making. Either he is Over-Run or he is Runabout. Choosing what to call him whenever it is convenient is stupid.
Do I even need to point out, that calling him “Decepticon Run About” would have at least been a worthy effort? A friend of mine just suggested to me “Runaround”. Okay, I’ll buy that. With either I’d have still groaned and rolled my eyes, but it wouldn’t bother me so much. They would have at least been trying.
Thanks for reading!