Richard Marsden wrote:2. The system is cut and thrust, but most the images show the use of the point. Should I read into that as a preference of the system? Not that you can't cut, but that stabby-stabb over cutty cutt when possible when using the rappier?
Yes and no. The system is actually quite similar to the contemporary Italian systems (which makes sense since, IIRC, Meyer says something to the effect of the Rappier being an "Italian" weapon), such as the Bolognese and "Florentine" systems, among others. In all of these, quite a lot of use is made of the cut and the typical weapons are definitely able to end fights with these cuts in a most final way (i.e. death or dismemberment). However, while the cut and the thrust might be about 50-50, I like to say that the thrust is "more equal" that the cut (this is also the time that many of the Italians start discussing the superiority of the thrust over the cut).
Richard Marsden wrote:3. Do you think the rappier blade needs mass? Hanwei rapiers are short, cheap, and good at cut and thrust in the 36''' blade version. The guard is a bit complex compared to the Meyer images, but the length looks good. But the blades are not very stout. Will this matter, assuming we'll be using matched blades to practice?
Ideally, I'd say that you need a heavier blade. Really, I think that it should have the mass and balance such that it should require your elbow and shoulder to swing well and the blade should be rigid enough so that when one blade strikes the other (such as in a beat or a defensive cut to the opponent's blade) there will be some "bite" as opposed to a "wobble". However, that would be an ideal; as nice as it would be to have a different sword for each and every system we practice, this tends to spend us out of house and home (and the good graces of our wives). In the past, I've used lighter blades similar to what you are talking about with okay results.
Richard Marsden wrote:4. Thoughts on the footwork as per Meyer for the rappier?
I think that the footwork you find in contemporary Italian sources (e.g. Manciolino) is pretty much the same. That is, passing steps, chasing steps, increasing steps, etc. Nothing to esoteric, but definitely more than the typical "fencing steps" of the rapier of the next century (although those are in there, too).