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Transformers Rise of the Beasts
by yo go re

Si-i-lent Night(bird), dea-ea-eadly Night(bird)

Nightbird and the Terrorcons fight back the Autobots to steal the Transwarp Key.

She may have a name that sounds like some kind of quaint British euphamism for a prostitute ("Blimey, our plans is scuppered, they is! That bloody Declan's only gone and got 'isself nicked by the rozzers for trying to hire a bloomin' night bird!"), but Nightbird is a member of the Terrorcons, the not-Decepticons who act as the Silver Surfers to Unicron's Galactus. We never get any info about her, but if she's anything like Scourge, she's the last survivor of some planet Unicron ate aeons ago. Or maybe she was a hero who got corrupted and turned to the side of evil.

Nightbird shares her name with a non-sentient ninjya femmebot from G1 cartoon. As the first female "Transformer" (being a robot built by humans, she doesn't actually transform into anything, but she still beat the others to air by a month and a half), she's quite popular among the fandom, and yet doesn't get many toys. Possibly due to the lack of an altmode. (Which you'd think would make her an ideal candidate for ReAction or R.E.D. or Super7's Ultimates, but no, not yet.) That popularity was enough to get her ported into the movieverse, though!

Or maybe it's just because this movie is about Beasts and she has "bird" in her name? The CGI model has wings hanging off her back, something none of the toys have properly copied. Like, this Studio Series Nightbird does... sort of have them? Tiny, vestigial versions above her shoulders rather than below, but it's more than any of the other toys have managed. Meanwhile the entire roof of the car is just stuck to her back as kibble, ready to be split in half to form those missing wings. Though she's ostensibly a ninja, the design has samurai-style armor on the hips and shoulders, and her translucent purple visor is based on G-Force/Battle of the Planets.

The stock photos of this toy make the robot mode look ridiculously thick - not "thicc," thick. Like, inordinately deep from front to back. Part of that was having a bunch of the kibble mis-transformed, but the toy really is much deeper than you'd expect. The tiny wings don't snap onto their pegs properly, and so will want to work their way off when you turn them. She's armed with one sword, though in the movie she used two, and the toy has storage options for two. Really seems like they were planning to do both, then cut one for budget reasons.

As we learned years ago with Drift, it's always cool when parts that look like faux-kibble turn out to be real, so the bumpers on Nightbird's chest being the actual ones from the car is nice. Pulling the skirt armor out to the sides so you can rotate them around is tough, and make sure you have the wings tucked away properly or they won't fit under the car in the final step.

Since Transformers need altmodes, most stories that have a Nightbird cameo make her a repaint of Arcee - that wouldn't really be suitable here (even less so if we were still in the first movie continuity), so instead she becomes a sporty Nissan GT-R R33 coupe. The majority of the body is dark grey, with brass coloration on those low racing panels and purple hubcaps. The glass is all clear, and her sword can store underneath the car, poking out like an an exhaust pipe. Two of them could, in fact, if she came with both.

Transformers: Rise of the Beats was... fine, really. Not the best, not the worst, totally middle-gound. So far, none of the Autobot figures have seemed worth getting, and I passed on Battletrap because I'd just gotten Scraphook and one tow truck Transformer was enough for the time, so it's shaping up to just be Nightbird and Scourge if they ever get him into stores. This could have been done better, and she should have come with two swords, but it's still a fun release.

-- 12/26/23

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