Cliffbee.com: Nightbeat Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Nightbeat
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Detective
Alternate Mode: Porsche 959



CAR MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 13cm Width: 6cm

   A mid blue Porsche 959 (thanks to Andrew Walker for the model). Nightbeat's windows are grey and there's a spattering of yellow plastic here, including the door edges of the doors and the bottoms of the front fenders, as well as some hinges on the roof and hood. The tyres are black plastic and the hubcaps are moulded, but are sadly left black - silver stickers would have worked a lot better. There are red flame stickers on the doors, of the plastic variety that curl easily. The colour scheme is for the most part pretty good, but I can't help wondering why he doesn't get hubcap stickers when the headlights get silver stickers.

   The car is a little higher and shorter than it should be, but it's a fairly well defined Porsche despite relatively low detail. The distinctive headlights of the 911 are a giveaway, and the spoiler is also typical of this model. As mentioned, the detailing is fairly low - the taillights are moulded and the grille is moulded, but only with seams that don't really show on the blue plastic.

   Aside from the black hubcaps, the other flaw in this mode is the number of breaks in the Porsche body - especially on the roof and hood. There's a socket on the roof for his large gun and two smaller holes on the hood for the smaller guns, both near the hinges. The hinges on his roof allow the lid to open and reveal a cabin in which Muzzle can ride. The helmet forms a blue seat for Muzzle, although this seat slides over the seated Muzzle's back without attaching to Nightbeat as such. The cabin and rolling wheels represent most of the play value here - the three optional weapons rounding things off.

   Nightbeat was the first Transformer attempt at the Porsche 911, a stylish car that I've always liked. I don't mind the colours (even if the yellow is a little out of place), but the bare hubcaps give this car mode a cheap feel, which is reinforced by the hinges and holes on top of the car. The play value is about what I'd expect of a Headmaster, making this a reasonable car mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove Muzzle if you have him in the cockpit, fold over the rear to form his boots and flip up the hood to reveal his hands. Pull the arms out from his sides and rotate, lift out his fists. Attach Muzzle as the head, attach the helmet and the small guns as antennae.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   A blue robot with yellow chest, face and thighs. His face is orange and helmet blue, while his eyes and antennae are black, along with his fists. The boots are the back of the car, and the grey of his rear windows works well on his feet. It's obvious that the colour scheme was thought up with this mode in mind, since the yellow really fits in well with the blue here, and the pale orange of his face provides excellent contrast with his eyes. A very nice colour scheme.

   To go further, there's a lot to suggest that Nightbeat was really designed with emphasis on the robot mode - it's much better than the car mode all over, really. The proportions are good, the car sides work well as his arms, the doors form shoulder stacks and the headlights are on his wrists. The head works well and the facial sculpt is superb, with more detail than on the heads of the more expensive Headmasters of the previous year.

   The shoulders rotate on two axes, giving Nightbeat good arm poseability, although the arms represent all of his movement. The black gun can rest in either hand and the yellow chestplate can fold down to reveal his tech spec meter. Unlike the previous year's Headmasters, which had three tumblers, Nightbeat's mechanism is simply a plate that slides down when the head is inserted, although it still gives a reading of (SPD, STR & INT). Incidentally, there's an Autobot logo on the right side of the chestplate - Nightbeat's only allegiance symbol.

   This robot mode is well and truly above average for those of 1988 - which saw some of G1's laziest designs. Granted, it's not perfect - but the only shortcoming worth singling out is the single piece forming his boots. The colours work, he's well proportioned and the face has exceptional detail.

Muzzle
   A short yellow Nebulon with black legs and painted blue face. The yellow matches Nightbeat's but the blue is slightly off, since it's a matte paint. Nightbeat's face is clearly visible on his back - which lacks the fold over panel of the larger, more poseable Headmasters of 1987. Muzzle can bend at the hips to sit down, but otherwise he's really all about the head mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although the much-talked about Minelba was a repaint for the Japanese market. Minelba was the first female Transformer toy. Nightbeat himself was sold in Japan, by mail order only.

OVERALL

   Nightbeat is one of those otherwise obscure toys made memorable by the Marvel comics. Unlike many of those characters, this is actually a pretty satisfying toy in it's own right. Granted, Nightbeat's car mode has quite a few flaws, but the choice of a Porsche 911 is nice. The robot mode is great for what it is, making for a good toy, and one I definitely recommend to those who like the character - 7/10

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