Release Date: March 2023
Price Point: $54.99 (3 Pack Price)
Retailer: Target Exclusive (boxed set)
Accessories: Hook weapons x 2, Sword
To align with the release of the Rise of the Beasts film, the toy line based on the film was segmented into three main silos: Rise of the Beasts "mainline", Studio Series and the Target exclusive Buzzworthy Bumblebee line. One of the Buzzworthy Bumblebee releases was a three pack featuring Cheetor, Nightbird and Wheeljack. The Terrorcon Nightbird is part of this three pack.
Nightbird first appeared as a human constructed robot in the G1 cartoon series. In time, she would appear in printed fiction as a Decepticon. There have been multiple figures of the character including the Generations Selects version from 2019. Now a version of the character is making the jump to the big screen in Rise of the Beasts as one of the creepy Terrorcons!
At Target stores in the United States, Nightbird is packaged in a long Buzzworthy Bumblebee box. The set is labeled as the "Jungle Mission 3-Pack" and a small version of the Rise of the Beasts logo is off to the side. All three figures are packaged in robot mode. There is no plastic used for the box, so the window featuring the figures is open. Underneath each character is artwork (presumably from stock Paramount Pictures art). Off to the left are the "Evergreen" designs for Bumblebee, Optimus Prime and Megatron featured on most Buzzworthy packaging.
The back of the box features the Rise of the Beasts logo and the "Jungle Mission 3-Pack" logo. Each figure is shown in both modes calling out their transformation steps (21 for Cheetor, 19 for Nightbird and 23 for Wheeljack).
For Nightbird's Rise of the Beasts "mainline" release, she is in an individual box. The graphics on the box are akin to those of Battle Changer Rhinox and other "mainline" figures. This features a largely green background with some other orange and bright green colors mixed in. Nightbird is packaged in an open window box (again, no plastic) in robot mode and artwork of her holding her sword is printed in front. The back of the box features Nightbird in both modes, calling out a 19 step transformation. In the corner is what looks like an ancient carving with the Terrorcon symbol.
Nighbird includes three accessories:
Based on Nightibird's character model, she appears to have two claw weapons attached to her right forearm. These small blades are the basis for these weapons. There are actually two pieces, each one forming a half of the two bladed weapon. Connect them together and they fit into the 5mm port on either of Nightbird's forearms. In a really neat design choice, these form the connection points between the car and spoiler piece. These pieces are gold plastic with no paint applications.
Nightbird's sword weapon features a straight blade with a curve at the top. The sides of the weapon feature rounded details. The sword has a 5mm peg at the end. This piece is gunmetal grey with metallic purple paint on the sides. What's really fun is that this doubles as the spoiler in the vehicle mode, using the claw weapons as posts to attach to the car!
Nightbird appears very briefly in the second Rise of the Beasts trailer but the best look we have at the CG model for the character is the character model revealed by Takara Tomy. This figure largely stays faithful to that design, though some smaller details are different. Here's a rundown of what it does borrow from the CG model:
- Silhouette: The basic body outline of this figure is based on the CG model featuring a classic Transformers "car front as chest" design with rear wheels forming part of the legs.
- Head: The head design takes the original Nightbird's "masked ninja" appearance and adds some additional detailing. The back and sides look like they have a "hood" piece on while the face certainly evokes G1 Nightbird with her narrow eyes and mouthplate.
- Shoulder Armor: Nightbird has shoulder armor pieces that resemble the "sode" from traditional Japanese armor.
- Kusazuri: The sides of the vehicle mode fold together to form a kind of skirt around the hip area. These resemble Kusazuri armor, especially in the character model illustration.
- Legs: The legs are formed from the rear of the vehicle and they wind up looking rather thin and rectangular like the CG model. Two of the wheels wind up forming "heel" pieces
Perhaps where this figure diverges most from its CG inspiration are the colors. In the trailer we only get a quick look at Nightbird, but between that and the Takara Tomy page it looks like most of this character is meant to be purple, black (or dark grey) and silver with some gold parts here and there. However, this figure mostly features a combination of dark grey (I would call it gunmetal as it is a bit metallic but not quite as metallic as some other examples I've seen over the years), gold and black plastic. Many of the parts that are silver on the character model appear to be gold here. My guess is that this is due in part to the way the mold tree worked out when the gold parts for the legs were laid out. It doesn't look bad mind you, but it does look quite different than the CG model used for the film (as far as I can tell without having seeing the movie yet).
Paint colors on this figure include metallic purple, silver, yellow and gold. I really like the metallic purple in particular as it is not a color we see often on Transformers figures. The detailing on this figure is really nice. I love the intricate way the head is painted and there is even a tiny Terrorcon symbol on the chest. Sure this figure may not have a super screen accurate deco, but it does look good!
There are twenty points of articulation on this figure. That includes three on each arm and six in each leg. The shoulders are ball joints, so her range of motion is good. Each fist has a 5mm port to fit a weapon. Her forearms also have 5mm ports. The claw weapon halves and the sword can all be stored on her back. Overall I like the play value here, but you do have to be a bit gentle as this isn't the bulkiest figure out there and all the various car part panels can get in the way at times when posing out the figure.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the chest/arms section up over the robot head. On the bottom of the car/chest section swing the panel in the middle back.
- Swing the robot arms in.
- Rotate each leg around.
- Push the robot feet against the lower legs.
- Swing the ankle/foot sections (with the wheels) out and forward against the lower legs.
- Swing each of the lower legs up over the thighs. Rotate that section and the panels on the side so they align to form the sides of the vehicle. This is the trickiest step and will require care and patience.
- Swing the top and rear panels of the car out and back. The rear piece should slide over the sections with the rear wheels.
- Swing the panels from the legs out and forward to form the sides of the car.
- Attach each of the claw weapons to the small openings on the sword.
- Attach the claw weapons to the back of the car to form the spoiler.
According to Paramount during a press event in 2021 Nightbird transforms into a Nissan Skyline GT-R sports car. Of course, this figure is does not have a licensed vehicle mode, so it is more of a "Nissan inspired" vehicle. I will say the vehicle does look very sporty between its smooth lines and large spoiler. It definitely looks like it could hold its own in a race. Unlike the Nissan Skyline GT-R, this vehicle is a bit more round, with an overal oval shape while the real life GT-R from the 90's was slightly boxier looking. I can see some similarities in the headlights and grille section but that's mostly it. So what we have here is a cool looking car that is not particularly screen accurate.
The colors from the robot mode carry over to this one, mostly the dark grey and gold colors. However, bits are broken up by the gold plastic. There are some really nice paint details that call back to G1 Nightbird's colors. These include black on the windows, yellow on the headlights and metallic purple on the hood and wheels.
Without having seen the film yet, it is hard for me to say how well this represents her on screen counterpart, but I will say that I really dig this figure. There are some tricky bits in the transformation, and I wish the panels held together a bit more solidly but overall this is a cool take on the classic "robot with a car chest" Transformers design. By itself I definitely recommend this figure. As part of the three pack you'll have to consider how much you want the other two figures.
- Cool sculpt in both modes (even if the vehicle is not licensed).
- Some really nice color touches that pay homage to G1 Nightbird.
- The way the weapons attach in vehicle mode is really creative.
- There are some tricky bits with the leg transformation, so be careful.
- The color break up leads to few uniform sections, mostly with gold breaking things up which is less than ideal.