Cliffbee.com: Nightglider Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Nightglider
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Intelligence Operative
Alternate Mode: Flying Squirrel


SQUIRREL MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 19cm Width: 10cm

   Nightglider is an orange, grey, chrome maroon and metallic blue flying squirrel. The wings, legs and neck are orange, the claws and tail tip are grey with maroon on the back and parts of the wings, while the blue is on his face and back, painted on areas that feature sculpted fur, which contrasts with the mechanical maroon areas. There are red turbines on his wings, as well as red eyes. I'm not totally convinced the grey arms and tail fit with the rest of the colour scheme, but the blue and maroon paints work well, and the orange is quite tasteful, despite being inherently bright.

   The claws on the front sort of "sit" there on the front of the wings. They can actually move on ball & socket joints, both at their attachment points - which I guess qualify as shoulders - and at the elbows. They can reach forward, since nothing binds them to the front of the wings (which would be skin flaps attached to the arms on a real squirrel). The head doesn't move, the tail has two fold joints at the base and the legs have pretty much full movement thanks to ball joints needed for the robot mode, although a lot of the poses are pretty unnatural since the legs attach under the wings and are way too long.

   You have the choice of trailing the legs behind the wings or hidden underneath them, and you're also given the choice of giving Nightglider a long tailtip in the form of his robot mode sword (which I prefer) or a much shorter one with the sword's handle exposed and the blade tucked away inside the main section of his tail.

   The underside is where much of the robot mode lives, so he's not much to look at from below, since the robot head and torso can be seen, as well as the hands and legs. Of course, you're meant to lay him on his belly, which makes this belly kibble more or less invisible.

   It's certainly one of the more interesting beast choices in Beast Wars, and it's something you'd expect more from Beast Wars Neo than the Transmetal II line. The sculpting on this mode is excellent, as you'd expect of a Transmetal II. The nature of him being a mid-glide squirrel is almost asking for an inflexible kibbly toy, so I'm really glad they gave him the somewhat misguided arms and shoved all the kibble underneath where it doesn't really get in the way.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the tail tip. Turn it over and flip the robot torso & legs up over the squirrel head. Swing out the robot head. Press down on the gold plate on the squirrel neck till it gives, flip the robot body until it sits against the spine of the squirrel mode. Turn the head around so he faces forward. Fold down the arms. Fold the tail and squirrel claws behind the wings. Position the arms, position the feet and give him back his tail tip as the sword.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10cm Width: 9.5cm wingspan

   Again orange is Nightglider's primary colour, with some blue on his chest, as well as a blue head, grey upper arms and thighs, with the chrome mainly on his now swept back wings. His eyes are red, the mouth orange and there's a transparent green Maximal spark crystal in the centre of his torso. I really like the effect of the blue head and the swept back cape (complete with a maroon hood behind his head) - he has a swashbuckling sort of look, especially when holding the sword. The colour scheme works best in this mode, and surprisingly well for this group of colours.

   It's a pretty poseable robot mode. The shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles and head are all ball joints, and with the stiff ball jointed ankles, the heavy wings on his back don't hold back the potential of all this articulation - Nightglider can be put into all sorts of poses. He has has a swivel waist, which just adds to the fun. The swept back wings mean that his arms aren't restricted, yet as mentioned they don't holding you back when you're trying to pose him. You do have to make sure the feet are flat - he can keel over fairly easily, but most poses are stable enough provided you plant his feet right.

   I'm impressed by his weapon, since while a lot of BW tail weapons are little more than a case of them trying to put the tail somewhere, Nightglider's tail really does look like a sword. This is one of only two removable weapons in the basic sized Transmetal II's, and I'm glad it's quite worthwhile.

   A really good robot mode, the colours work and the sculpt is detailed. Nightglider's Play value in this mode is fantastic - better than an awful lot of later boxed Transformers, and with the great sword and cape, the designer's really created an appealing motif here.

VARIATIONS

   Recoloured as Gildo in Car Robots, AKA Dark Scream from RiD. Gildo's colours are probably slightly better, but since I don't have Dark Scream I'm not sure how the scheme works on that version.

OVERALL

   Great colours and a fantastic robot mode make Nightglider a toy that's well worth picking up. The squirrel mode has some problems, mainly with it's limbs, yet the choice of animal makes it interesting despite it's flaws. The poseability and decoration of the robot mode really make him work, and even if you never Transform him he's still worthwhile - 8/10

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