Series: Beast Machines
Function: Recon Specialist
Alternate Mode: Cobra
Height: 6.5cm Length: 19.5cm Width: 5.5cm
A silvery-blue and midnight blue cobra with red highlights and some yellow pieces around her head. The blue plastic and red paint are metallic while the yellow plastic is slightly transparent. His eyes yellow but this doesn't translate into a working lightpipe - the angles are wrong anyway. As Beast Machines goes this is a pretty muted colour scheme, and the light blue, midnight blue and red work well together. The tail is brown for most of its length with a blue tip while the head is mixed, with three colours in roughly equal amounts (and some yellow here and there).
The bulk of the toy's mass is in the head, which is much wider than the tail. The torso and arms of the robot form the hood while the actual head itself fold over in front of the hood. The tail is long and thin, and Nightviper is unable to slither with his hood being at a right angle to the tail (in a "dancing" pose). He's technorganic anyway, so while a snake with a right angle isn't quite realistic, he's not aiming for realism. He's able to stand on the base of the hood, in a dancing pose and while can't straighten out, it's worth remembering that the only other snake Transformer, Corahda can't really do much while straight.
The yellow patch on the back of his head is actually a trigger - when you press it the head itself pops forward and the mouth opens to reveal an orange tongue - Nightviper is able to lunge and strike. You can leave this mouth open, pushing the lower jaw shut if you like (it'll stay closed only as long as you hold it, since the action feature relies on a spring). There's a midnight blue hatch on the back of the hood which opens to reveal a green Maximal spark crystal. The tail has two hinges at the tip, another at the base and six ball joints along the length. All of these joints are tight enough for Nightviper to hold a pose, making this a very useful little snake mode. The end result is a more playable snake than Corahda's despite Nightviper being a smaller toy.
There's some robot mode visible from the front, but nothing awfully revealing - just joints and the like. With a decent sculpt, good colours and excellent play value for a basic, Nightviper's snake mode is a success. The striking gimmick is successful without getting in the way of anything. Considering how few snakes we've seen the choice of beast mode is appealing in itself - and it's done well.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Pull the tail through a loop, so that it's half in front and half in back, then fold the halves down to form legs, with the tailtip and a counterbalance becoming the feet (complete with heelspurs). At this stage we have a gerwalk of sorts, a bipedal snake. Unclip the sides of the hood to form his arms, rotate them into position. Lift up the snake head to reveal the chest and robot head, tucking the snake head behind the chest, with the base of the head forming a sort of cape behind the robot head. While this transformation is fairly simple, it's awfully clever - especially the innovative legs which are a great way of integrating the tail into robot mode and avoiding kibble.
Height: 12.5cm Width: 9cm
Again based on two blues, with the chest, head, boots and forearms being silvery-blue while the upper arms, groin and thighs are midnight blue. There's extensive red paint, including the entire hands, much of the chest (fading to yellow near the waist), ankles and toes. His robotic-snake face has dark blue eyebrows and yellow eyes. The eyes are painted so we don't get a lightpipe - but with that cape towering behind the head there'd be no point anyway. The colour scheme again works well - in fact it works better now that we've got virtually no kibble (and no jointing as the front of the hood had). There are silvery-blue armguards mounted on his forearms, the hatch with his spark crystal is now on the left armguard.
Nightviper would have to be contender for the most poseable basic Transformer ever. The shoulders, elbows, neck, hips and knees are all ball jointed and there's another pair in the middle of his thighs. The waist turns while the ankles and heelspurs are hinged (with another pair mid shin for good measure). The armguards can swivel around and lift out on ball joints, which I especially love since he can stand in a "blocking" pose, with the two guards forming a nifty little shield in front of his torso. Other than ball jointed ankles and wrists (which would be asking an awful lot of a basic), you can't really ask for me. What's better is that all the joints are sufficiently tight. The fantastic leg poseability and heelspurs gives you a wide range of dynamic poses.
While the poseability is definitely the highlight, Nightviper still has an action feature. There's a transparent yellow scythe blade hidden inside the right armguard. While this blade simply swings out, the poseability of the arm means he can use it in a variety of ways. Nightviper cuts a distinctive figure with the cape behind his head and a torso that's roughly arrowhead shaped - the groin ends in a point (no, not that sort of point!) and the shoulders rise sitting quite nicely on either side of his head. Yes he's skinny but it suits him.
A fantastic robot mode with a truckmode of play value thanks to eighteen meaningful joints and four more in the legs that can lend a hand. The colours are nice and his weapon can't be lost, while the built in shield is great. Nightviper looks technorganic but in these colours it works, and of course he displays well since you can pick virtually any pose (I like the shield).
None that I'm aware of.
Easily my favourite Beast Machines toy thanks to the jointing. His technorganic look doesn't really dominate and while Nightviper doesn't look like a real snake, at a basic size the play value makes him worthwhile on its own. The colours work, the gimmicks are simple but they work without hampering Nightviper. The transformation is clever without being difficult. If you only get one BM Maximal, get Nightviper - 10/10