Transformers Legends LG 15
Item No.: No. ??? Manufacturer:Takara-Tomy Includes:2 swords, 2 guns, 2 sai Action Feature:Changes from sports car to robot Retail:3,100 yen (or $21-$30 at importers) Availability: October 2015 Other: Recolor of Arcee
Fans of the original The Transformers show - because that's its actual name - may recall seeing the inspiration for Nightbird Shadow on an episode called "Enter the Nightbird," which gave us the gleefully stupid premise that a scientist developed a robot to help humanity that just went around fighting people with ninja weapons. She was corrupted by Decepticons to steal some fake Autobot science, and her animation model just happens to look a lot like Arcee's recent toy. A remolded head and chest give us a genuinely good Nightbird, complete with features she didn't have on the original show. (She was not originally a transforming character.) Given that we already have a black Arcee repaint, this take on it gives us something neat - a new toy of a character who has never been a toy before. While I've heard some eye-rolling over how dumb the character was, these sort of things make me happy. I mean, I was happy enough to shell out import prices to get her. Even if she does have some unfixed flaws.
The car shell is largely black plastic with a grey or silver robot mode. Some body parts are grey plastic, while others have a perfect silver paint coat. She has little dabs of yellow on her belt and as lights on her car mode, with a wonderful new head sculpt that looks like it plopped right out of the cartoon. The clear yellow eyes are a bit of a downer - painted yellow would be brighter and give her more personality (see: Slipstream) but she ain't bad. The toymakers at Takara Tomy really did make a decent remold of Arcee... but it would be nice if they finished the job.
One of my biggest gripes about Arcee was that the regular US release of the toy had terrible hands. They skipped 5mm pegs in favor of a new "bar/slot" system with a weird barrier at the bottom of the hand preventing full insertion of the weapon. In other words, the swords and guns are awkward as all get out and may fall out of her hands. Hasbro fixed this for SDCC Arcee, and I don't understand why Takara didn't take advantage of that already-paid-for work. It's not just a little better, it's a lot better. You can still plug in Nightbird's weapons to her car mode, her thighs, and to a lesser extent the hands, but it's always maddening when something as simple as figure/accessory compatibility can't be fixed.
Transformation from car to robot is not bad. I was a little frustrated by the toy originally, but now it's no big deal. (I've grown to utterly hate Slog.) In either mode she looks great, and Nightbird's conversion isn't exactly difficult. For all intents and purposes, you have a skinny robot with car backpack parts.
I cant read the pack-in comic, so I'll just say the car is a lot like Arcee. There's a Decepticon symbol on the hood - but none on the robot, more or less true to the cartoon - and you can plug in weapons all over the darned thing. There are just enough ports plus gun storage under the car, so I have to assume Nightbird may have been planned from the get-go. The wheels more or less turn acceptably, but as a futuristic car from 2005 it's not like this is a selling point. The detailed interior with dash console and steering wheel are pretty impressive. The black coloring looks great, and it's not like we have a lot of non-club/con Decepticon cars. Shadow Striker and Roulette come to mind... "movie" Override too.
To ignore this toy simply because the episode from which she originated is silly is antithetical to the notion of being a fan of a show with alien robots that come to earth and become cars. If you bought into that idea, you'll probably like the toys and this figure is a nifty part of Japan's 30th Anniversary Transformers celebration. As a cranky toy fan, we've seen a few lines more or less peak around the 30th - look at what we got out of G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Masters of the Universe, and what followed. I'm not saying it's all downhill from here - thankfully Transformers renews its audience with legit kid-driven toys - but as we age I don't know how many of these nods to a program we loved with the eyes of children but mock gently as adults. Maybe there's room for the likes of Beta or Greasetrain, but I can't assume we'll see many more. I like Nightbird - she needs remolded hands, but I can't deny that the new head does wonders for the mold and makes this feel like a totally new toy. Get one if you're an old G1 fan, you'll dig it.
Additional Transformers Legends October 2015 Wave Images
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