Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year to one and all in the year of the snake from Night Viper Transformer

It's the Chinese New Year today and this is also the Year of the Snake so what a better way to wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year than with a post on snakes about snakes or a snake toy since this is a toy blog after all

This is the Hasbro Transformers Beast Machines Heroic Maximal Night Viper Cobra toy action figure that was released in the year 2000. Night Viper is a Maximal from the Beast Machines portion of the Generation 1 continuity family.

Night Viper is a Recon Specialist and according to the description on the card which he came in, Night Viper is the stealthiest Maximal. His tail acts as a repulsor rocket, providing supersonic speed. Internal radar scramblers allow him to move virtually unseen in both robot and beast mode. His robot mode features frictionless surface, increasing his speed and making him an extremely hard target. Armor alloys deflect most energy pulses. Recycles enemy fire into plasma venom blasts that short circuit Vehicon circuitry.

Night Viper's motto is "I'm very good at what I do - maybe too good!"

Night Viper transforms into a midnight blue, blue-gray, red, and yellow technorganic cobra. His snake-mode head is spring-loaded; pressing on the clear-yellow part of the hood directly behind it launches it forward slightly, opening his jaws to bite. The sides of his hood form arm-mounted shields in robot mode, the right shield being armed with a flip-out scythe blade. His left shield contains his spark crystal.

Because this Transformer toy is part of the Beast Machines line of figures, the animal looks pretty metallic in keep in sync with all the animals / beasts in the series. The snake head and the torso look pretty cool although you can make out the visible hands. The tail is formed from the legs of the robot. It starts on one foot and ends on the other. The legs / tail are multi-jointed so that you can articulate them to make it look more like a snake.

The Cobra is any of various species of venomous snakes usually belonging to the family Elapidae, most of which can expand their neck ribs to form a widened hood. In this toy Transformers version, the latch on the left side of the hood hides the spark crystal while the right hood hides his weapon which is a yellow, transparent scythe which Night Viper uses in robot mode.

It's hard to imagine that a snake / cobra would be a heroic maximal. Snakes have always been associated with evil since the devil disguised himself as a snake to deceive Eve and caused the fall of Man in the garden of Eden. The serpent alas has always had a bad reputation.

Phrases like "You snake in the grass", "slimy like a snake", "double-headed snake", "never trust a snake", "speaks with forked tongue" and "having a hissy fit" all veer towards the venomous.

Even in local terms, "chiak chua" (eat snake) is to skive, to "sell snake oil" is to be smarmy and glib. When we were young, the childhood game of "Snakes and Ladders" sealed the slithering creature's fate by associating it with the downward spiral.

Even in movies, snakes were always bad news - think Indiana Jones and Samuel L. Jackson's tirade in the B-movie "Snakes on a plane". In mythology, snakes gave Medusa bad hair days everyday ;p

But some nice events did come out of the Snake year. Most importantly, Singapore was born in the Year of the Snake in 1965 and so was yours truly :)

Night Viper's mouth / jaws close when the head is retracted or pushed back. Pressing the easily visible, hard-to-miss yellow button above the head releases the head which snaps forward, opening its jaws again to simulate the cobra biting action.

Hasbro Transformers Beast Machines Heroic Maximal Night Viper Cobra toy action figure in robot mode seems rather fragile due to the thin arms and the multi-jointed legs.

Scroll down to see the rest of the pictures of Night Viper (Cobra) in robot mode

This was probably one of the last few toys that my eldest son bought as a child back in 2000. He has since outgrown them (he will be 19 years old this year) but we have never felt the need to throw all of their toys away as most of them are still in very good condition and I think when they are all grown up, they'll look back at these with some nostalgia.

There are pictures of most of the Beast Wars Transformers that he had collected (over 45 beasts featured) in my earlier post HERE as well as pictures of some of his other toys under the label "Blast from the Past".

Have a Happy Chinese New Year everyone :) Huat Ah!!!

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