Transmetals 2: Nightglider
Height: 10cm overall height in Robot Mode, 15.5cm long in Beast Mode(with sword stowed in tail).
Nightglider is the most skillful Maximal spy. A creature of the night, he operates best alone. Can virtually escape detection- emits an electromagnet cloaking field, is soundless in flight, disappears in subdued light or shadow. Electro-disruptor can cast illusions, altering his physical placement and appearance for up to 10 minutes. Devoted to the Maximal cause; despises Predacons. Wields serrated energon sword.
"Do not go gently into that good night.
Er, that should be gentle, not gently. His other superpower is misquoting Dylan Thomas. I bet he and Dinobot had some great conversations. Either way, the important thing here is that he's a bright orange flying squirrel spy.
...why am I suddenly thinking of Naruto?
It's a semi-robotic flying squirrel, and that made the sale right there. Anatomically it's a bit off, as the legs aren't actually connected to the patagium the way they should be. You can arrange them as though they are, but by default, they're not. Of course, we're talking a giant robotic flying squirrel, so there's a certain amount of leeway.
The Fuzors mixed robotic and animal parts in odd but largely symmetrical ways; Transmetals had entirely mechanical Beast Modes and largely organic Robot Modes. Transmetal 2- at least on Nightglider -goes for asymmetry, with fur here, robot parts there, and in some places maroon vac-metal mechanical parts peeking out from under blue fur or orange membrane. Very striking! No two parts are perfectly alike- even the turbines on his wings are different. The serrated edges on the wing even travel in opposite directions.
Functional articulation in this mode is pretty much the forelegs with their two ball-joints- and like I said, they technically shouldn't even move the way they do. But that's about the only complaint I can mount. Well, that and it has Transformers Jet Disease- there's a whole lot of robot hanging off the underside of that squirrel...
It mostly involves flipping the entire squirrel over the robot's head and onto his back, stopping in the middle to swing out the Robot arms. When going back to Beast Mode, be sure you turn his head around backwards or it'll get stuck and possibly fly off. Not that I'd know that from experience. Nope. Never happened to me. Never had to go searching for a tiny robot head. Honest.
The face is a Beast Wars kind of face, kind of robotic, noseless, but with furry details. It's the most symmetrical part of his body, but still not entirely so- he's got a bit of a Bill The Cat squint. Otherwise, everything else is not quite matching, the same as on Beast Mode. It's a bit hard to make out on the orange bits, though.
He kind of reminds me of Terrorsaur in that he carries most of his Beast Mode on his back. Unlike Terrorsaur the Beast head is a bit better hidden, which I appreciate. He's also a fair bit bulkier all told, with most of that on his back. The orange dominates the color scheme for Robot Mode, with most of the dark red-brown chrome relegated to the backpack. There's a bit more of the gunmetalish color here now on the limbs and also the sword. And also, he's got a (relatively) gigantic Maximal Spark Crystal in the middle of his chest. Seems kinda... shootable, to me. You can use the squirrel-arms in this mode to continue the bonus-arms motif of the earlier TM2s if you like, or rest them atop the wings as the card art shows. But I find that they fit very neatly in a small hollow on Nightglider's back, hidden away. Almost as if they were meant to rest there.
The head's got one of those ball-joints where the ball is part of the neck and set into the torso. It's good at looking up, but otherwise is pretty much a swivel. The articulation is otherwise Basic Beast standard, with ball-joints at the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees plus a swivel waist and ankle joints. Since the Nightglider I got was significantly less used than Terrorsaur, the joints are all pretty tight and they also have a solid 90-degree range. The ankles have a nice range as well, and allow him to lean into a pose nicely. This is actually the first Basic I've gotten with ball-joint ankles- it's something I take for granted now, so I actually didn't notice the change until I pulled out my old Basics to compare. And I know you may be shocked to hear this, but the gigantic chunk of flying squirrel on his back means that he balances best when leaning forward a bit.
The tail stores a longsword with a kind of triangular, arrowhead-like (slightly spinal?) pattern up the length of the blade. It's the only symmetrical part of the figure, and fits either hand just fine. I almost wish it carried over the asymmetry of the figure, but that might make it difficult to get stowed in the tail.
When Buying Loose
There's only one accessory, which makes things pretty easy. Nightglider doesn't have any known chrome issues either, so it's smooth sailing as much as buying any used toy is. Curiously, the going rate on eBay as of this rating is almost universally $15, packaged or loose. I split the difference and bought one in an open package.
I've yet to find a Beast Wars Basic I dislike- but that seems to be because I dodged the extremely wacky first wave of Transmetal 2 Basics. Nightglider is a fun little toy with solid articulation and is a big bright orange flying squirrel. I cannot stress that enough. He's a Very Good figure on the patented Figurereviews.com Non-Numerical Rating Scale.
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