"Generations" War for Cybertron Nightbird Toy Review

in 2019, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Deluxe, Fan Channel, Generation One, Generations, War for Cybertron

Generations Selects War for Cybertron Trilogy

General Information:
Release Date: September 2019
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer(s): Fan Channel (Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth etc.)
Asccessories: "Venomizer Blaster", "Nightshock Baton", "Flash Grenades" x 2

Nightbird

Official images and text below in italics are from BigBadToyStore:
Fans can take their Transformers figure collections to the next level with Generations Selects, a fan-dedicated line of figures featuring fan-favorite, special edition characters you can’t find in the main line.

This special edition Generations Selects WFC-GS07 Nightbird figure is inspired by the first female ninja robot from the Enter The Nightbird episode of the G1 series. Fans first saw Nightbird created to benefit mankind by Doctor Fujiyama, and know that experiment went a bit awry... But now, fans can see the mysterious masked enemy with marital arts prowess as a special edition Nightbird figure, too stealthy for the main line, created to benefit fandom-kind.

The alt mode of Nightbird is never shown in the G1 series. This figure's Cybertronian alt mode design is inspired by how Nightbird would have appeared on Cybertron. Converts from robot to alt mode in 15 steps.

  • 5.50 inch (14cm) scale
  • Made of plastic
  • Female ninja robot from the Enter The Nightbird episode of the G1 series
  • Alt mode of Nightbird is never shown in the G1 series
  • Converts from robot to alt mode in 15 steps

Nightbird is an interesting character in Transformers history. Introduced in the G1 episode "Enter The Nightbird", she was actually a robot constructed by humans for the "benefit of mankind". How a ninja robot was intended to benefit mankind is kind of besides the point. Nightbird proved to be a worthy antagonist (after some Decepticon reprogramming) and the character would pop up now and then in Transformers fiction. This version of the character speculates how the character would have appeared as a Decepticon during the Autobot/Decepticon war.

This figure is a redeco and retool of the sculpt originally released as Siege Chromia. That figure shared some aesthetics with the basic design that was used for Moonracer, Novastar, Greenlight and Lancer. I know, I know. I can hear eyes rolling as I type this. That is a lot of figures based on a similar aesthetic and I think Hasbro has used this particular look for the female Transformers quite a bit so I cannot blame you for being skeptical, but I am happy to say Nightbird is a figure I like quite a bit. This review will focus on the changes made to the Chromia figure for this release.

Packaging:
Nightbird comes in the standard cardboard Selects box. The outside has a large Autobot symbol (despite Nightbird being a Decepticon) in the front with a smaller "Transformers: War for Cybertron" logo on top. A sticker on the side wraps down to the bottom to seal the box. The sticker has the Takara Tomy and Generations: Selects logo on it. Slice the edge of the sticker and unfold the box to find Nightbird inside a plastic tray with her instructions underneath. The interior of the box has a hex pattern on it with Nightbird's "rank symbol". In a fun bit of packaging design, you can technically unfold the box completely and fold it back together inside-out so the hex pattern faces outward and it looks pretty cool!

Accessories:
Nightbird includes the same accessories that were included with Chromia. However, the designers took time to put them in a new context as a different set of weapon. Here's how they broke it down:

  • Venomizer Blaster: This is the same blaster included with Chromia. You can attach the extended barrel and flash grenades as targeting scopes or a barrel extension. This piece is cast in dark silver plastic with yellow deco.
  • Nightshock Baton: In "Enter the Nightbird" the character was shown using melee weapons, but this figure technically does not have any so the designers stuck together the grenades and weapon barrel to form a baton weapon. You can see this in the official robot mode photo above. The baton is silver with yellow paint applications on the "grenade" portions.
  • Flash Grenades: These are the same pieces as Chromia's "EMP grenades". They are cast in silver with yellow paint applications.

Of course, just because Hasbro and Takara Tomy recommend these three configurations, you can pretty much arrange them however you want. The various ports and pegs allow for a diverse range of combinations, offering some fun play value.

Robot Mode:
Nightbird uses the same body sculpt as Chromia, but she has a whole new head sculpt. The head is based on the G1 animation model. The design is meant to emulate the head covering and mask worn by Ninjas (or at least, the modern day perception of them). This means her head is roughly an oval shape with a mouthplate that looks like a mask that she has pulled over her mouth. Like the animation model the "mouthplate" has several segments to it and she has raised circles on either side of her head. If we were to continue the "real life" clothing analogy, from an aesthetic point of view it is easy to imagine these circles being "ears" under the "head covering". For those curious, this is not the same head sculpt as the one used on the Legends figure. The proportions of that design are different even if the two share aesthetic commonalities.

The rest of the figure is the same sculpt as Chromia. However, the designers have done a fantastic job of making the deco so different from its predecessor's that it looks almost like a different sculpt. Taking inspiration from her animation model, Nightbird is mostly a combination of dark silver, black and translucent purple plastic. The silver makes up most of the figure, with black used on smaller parts like the forearms and feet. Thanks to a liberal use of paint, the designers were able to very closely match this figure's deco with the animation model. Perhaps the most distinctive of these animation-based details are the purple and yellow on the head and mid-body. These colors really help break up the silver and black, giving this figure a nice splash of color here and there.

All nineteen points of articulation on this figure are just about as tight as those on my copy of the Chromia figure. That is to say they're not super tight, but they're not floppy either. You can pose her out and not spend too much time trying to get her to stand. Nightbird has all the same connection points as Chromia, allowing you to attach 5mm peg weapons and of course, Blast Effects from Siege figures. In a fun bit of design coincidence, you can attach the weapons from Legends Nightbird to this figure. This includes attaching the Sai weapons to her forearms to look more like Nightbird's animation model!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing the robot feet back.
  4. Rotate the wheel wells on the legs down.
  5. Clip the feet together using the tabs on each.
  6. Swing the wheels on the back forward.
  7. Lift up the back piece and swing the panel on the inside out.
  8. Swing the back piece down to form the cabin section and front of the vehicle. Use the tabs on the front wheel wells to connect them to the middle section.
  9. Push the robot head back into the chest.
  10. Rotate the upper body around.
  11. Raise the robot arms up.
  12. Swing the rear wheel well pieces in.
  13. Swing the arms back, then swing the fists inward.
  14. Connect the grenades to the two small pegs at the back of the vehicle.
  15. The other accessories can be attached to the top or sides.

Vehicle Mode:

The vehicle mode has not been altered from the Chromia release and yet, thanks to the new deco the car has a menacing look to it that did not come across with Chromia. Most of the vehicle winds up being black plastic or parts painted with a very shiny black paint color. The center section is mostly translucent purple and some silver winds up showing towards the back. I absolutely love the look of this mode. The deco is not only appropriate to the character but it also looks like a vehicle you'd expect to see rolling alongside the Decepticon army.

There are six 5mm ports on this vehicle. Two are on top and four are on the sides, offering up a lot of play value. There are five Blast Effect connection points in this mode. Four are in the front in sections that you could consider headlights. That said, you'll need to use thinner Blast Effects to attach there since the pegs are so close together. There is a fifth one on top of the cabin section. You can also attach a couple to the grenades (now exhaust pipes) in the back to make it look like she is using small rocket boosters.

Final Thoughts:
Nightbird is a fantastic retool and redeco of Chromia. I know some fans may be tired of seeing this base design being used over and over (especially in such a short time frame) but I think this figure looks great and represents the character well. More importantly, it's a fun toy! Recommended!

Pros:

  • Very nice new head sculpt.
  • Fun accessories.
  • Nice detailing on the figure in both modes.
  • Good articulation.
  • Fairly obscure character choice.

Cons:

  • Some fans are likely ready for Hasbro and Takara Tomy to move on with a new female Transformer design at this point.