Nightbeat - Generation One / IDW - Generations Deluxe Figure

Height: 13.5cm to top of head

Articulation: 22 total points - Swivel neck; five points each arm: triple shoulder joint, bicep swivel, elbow hinge; Swivel waist; 5 points each leg: Ball joint hip, thigh swivel, hinge knee, double ankle joint.

Colors: Molded blue, black, dark clear blue, yellow; Painted yellow, metallic blue, red, silver, black, light blue.

Accessories: Blaster x2

Release Data: Released in the United States in September of 2014 at a retail price of US$14.99

Author: ExVee

Nightbeat was almost Jazz. We had at least mockup images of a Jazz in Nightbeat colors with a new head and the speaker clip-on accessories replaced with search lights. Mind you, this was seen only in thumbnail-sized images posted by one obscure online shop, but it was borne out by comic book art showing a Jazz-bodied Nightbeat destined for a pack-in cover. ...and indeed, that very art is on the copy of Dark Cybertron Chapter 9 shipped with the toy. But of course, Jazz-beat never happened, as fans have long speculated that molds designed prior to 2012 or so most likely don't meet cost requirements for the Deluxe price point anymore. So we ended up with Goldfire given a Nightbeat head and colors, and sold with package art depicting Jazz. Um, oops? It's not like it matters, since at no point so far has Nightbeat been depicted in interior art with either body style, so...

To Nightbeat, the greatest threat to the universe isn't the Decepticons, it's secrecy. The Autobot sleuth is relentless when it comes to unearthing the truth. He'll stop at nothing to get to the bottom of things, even if it means confronting bots far more powerful than he is.

Robot Mode

The only change is a new head designed after the media appearance of Nightbeat. Which is to say the toy head of Siren, making it pretty convenient for Million Publishing to release a recolor of this retool as Go-Shooter. But I digress. The head is ...okay. It has the necessary bits, like the ear-guns, the glasses, but the face just doesn't especially read Nightbeat to me. That seems like it might have been an issue for whichever mold ended up being used for this purpose, as the cover art for the comic doesn't have any better of a Nightbeat appearance. I suspect due in part to the amount of space there was to work with, the face seems squashed down more than it should - like the head couldn't be tall enough to accommodate the taller face I feel like I'm looking for here. Along the same track, the ear-guns are pretty tight against the helmet and don't appear very prominent. The head is hitting all the broad strokes, but something's getting lost in the finer points. As presumably this head was made for this body after initial development, that's probably an unavoidable outcome, where pretool alternate parts may have resulted in slight design differences to the toy in the first place to make things work out a little better.

Another knock against the Nightbeatness of this is the blue chest. Rather than being a result of wanting the fake hood to match the real one, I expect this was a case of needing to sacrifice yellow there so as not to have to paint over some amount of yellow elsewhere. As it stands, there is no yellow plastic in the body of the toy; the only opaque plastic colors are blue and black. Although part of the chest is painted yellow, painting the whole panel yellow may have been too much to ask for. But given the general state of yellow paint work on the toy, I'm not too disappointed by that. There isn't a lot of yellow paint on Nightbeat, and that's really for the best. In most places the yellow coverage is so thin that it looks distinctly green. Thankfully at least on my instance of the toy, the face has enough yellow to look yellow, but elements held over from the vehicle deco are far, far worse off. It's honestly saddening to see various sections of the painted detail looking a sickly, tarnished green as they do. It's unsettlingly similar to the condition of paint on the original Bumblebee release of this mold. I'll add a quick caution here, the paint on the forearms is of a different finish than the rest and seems to scratch easier than usual, so you may want to take extra care with that, or if you're used to such tasks, possibly even apply a sealing coat over the forearms to help protect the paint.

Early reports of Nightbeat indicate that the sliding joints in the shins to slim down the legs a bit for robot mode have actually been glued in a fully open state. If done correctly it's not a problem, but sometimes they aren't quite fixed in the right spot, and won't meet for vehicle mode. It is possible to take the legs apart and carefully separate the glued connection to restore movement. However, later copies including my own don't seem to have had any glue applied at all. If you find movement difficult, it's easy to take the shins apart by removing a single screw and examine what's going on. Nightbeat otherwise behaves as Bumblebee and Goldfire did. Like Jhiaxus, the joints feel a bit tighter in places, but not necessary to a negative degree. If you want to have a different look for Nightbeat versus either prior instance of the mold you might have, you can leave the fenders and doors in vehicle mode position, flat against the arms. It can restrict some motion, but adjusting the angle of the parts will resolve that to an extent. And even aside from being similar to Nightbeat's typical appearance, it's a tidier arrangement than the awkward door wing structures the toy was designed with in mind.


Despite this Nightbeat having full movement of the shin panels, I found this to be the most difficult transformation of this mold yet. It strongly resists parts aligning and snapping in to place throughout the process. I may have possibly gotten one with an odd issue of tolerances that's preventing things from working quite right, but whatever the root cause what should be a simple transformation has become difficult and much less fun.

Vehicle Mode

While not perfect, mostly the panels do settle down and close pretty cleanly. The tail panels remain a problem in that regard, but that's not a new experience to this use of the mold. What's new to me is finally experiencing the chest dragging under the body of the car, which I had not found with previous uses of the mold, even if essentially only by a hair's width. That experience in mind, I'm thinking that assembly variance can lead to whether the chest drags or not, so your mileage may vary. Just take appropriate cautions; this toy may not be one for being rolled around desktops and such, if you're taken to that sort of activity as I sometimes am.

So hey, the yellow here is terrible. On the rear, my copy has different degrees of yellow paint coverage right next to each other, highlighting how poorly done the yellow paint work has been done in general. In fact this panel is the most green part on the whole toy. Good thing it's also clearly visible from robot mode! The doors have stylized flame tampographs which turned out just fine because they aren't yellow, and they help to dress the car up a bit. And as loathe as I am to suggest adding more yellow paint to what is already a near disaster in that regard, I kind of feel like some sort of yellow added to the hood would be a potential benefit, since that surface looks especially plain. There's something of a weird move in the deco. Nightbeat actually came out well in the number of paint operations for the vehicle. The hubcaps are painted, tail lights are done, a good bit of the detail on the front end is painted in, and Nightbeat even has the rear window painted on. It's painted on in metallic blue. Over blue plastic. Metallic blue paint that's nearly the same shade as the blue plastic it's applied to. From some angles you can see the surface is painted, and when light is aimed directly at it, there's a good shine off it. But for most cases you can't even tell that's been painted. I didn't even realize until quite a while of messing with the toy when I held it at just the right angle. This... this is a total waste. It might as well not be painted at all for as much difference it makes versus the base plastic color there. Why a darker shade of blue wasn't used escapes me. Maybe it seemed at the time like this would be the best color match for the clear blue windows, but if so that choice had to have been made in the complete absence of knowledge of any other colors on the toy. It just makes no sense!


Nightbeat again comes with those ...things... the previous uses of the mold had. Sadly I guess alternate accessories were never designed along with this mold. These for whatever reason are all made of yellow plastic with some light blue paint and of course the clear blue energy effect pieces. They behave like both earlier uses, and look at least as dumb too. The clear plastic parts can be removed, if you feel like doing so might improve these things' appearance as a weapon or other sort of tool or device. If we have to get this mold at retail again, I hope someone can get approval to have some sort of new accessory made for it. I barely even care what, I'm just sick of these things.

Closing Remarks

There's something to be said for being able to get a Nightbeat for around $15 with little effort, especially since he's become a character in More Than Meets The Eye and is shining under the pen of James Roberts. But in some ways I kind of think I'd like to have the old TFCC Nightbeat more than this. I'm probably one of the few people that doesn't kind of hate this mold, and on a design level I still don't. It's a perfectly solid figure and has some amount of versatility in how it can be reused. But it's not doing a great job of being Nightbeat. I think I'd be a little warmer on it if the existing yellow paint wasn't done so badly, and it could have had a yellow chest to better reflect the character it represents. As it is there are probably more than a few paint touchups in store for this Nightbeat to at least make the best of what it is right now.

Unfortunately after gaining some ground as Goldfire, this mold's going to have to backslide to where it started as Bumblebee and comes in as Could Have Been Better on the Non-Numeric Rating Scale. Not like Jazz is overall more fitting for a Nightbeat body, though it probably had a better chance of being good on the whole. Of course, a performance like this applied to that toy might have hurt my love for that mold, so maybe it's better it never got that far in the end.

DateSeptember 26th 2014  
Score 5 stars (5 out of 10)  
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