Issued in 1986, Night Fright was one of seven Western-exclusive figures designed by Bandai at Tonka's behest for the final series of Super Gobots. As well as the Gobots release, the toy was issued in Europe under the Robo Machine banner. In common with Raizor (and unlike the rest of the Series 3 Super Gobots) Night Fright's European release was pretty small, making him one of the rarest Gobots. In fact, my extensive research (Oh, yes!) has revealed that only four Night Frights were ever made. Honest to Zod. An actual appraisal of the figure's rarity is provided by the glorious Machine Robo Wedge book, where the collators have managed to amass mint versions of things like the Lucky Draw Prizes and a complete set of Best 5 Giftsets, and yet the Night Fright featured looks like it's been blown through a wall.

Despite his late arrival, Night Fright somehow managed to land a role in the Challenge of the Gobots cartoon. It's a bit difficult to spot, as Hanna-Barbera coloured him green and called him Blades - presumably an early scheme/name. Aside from that, he got to appear (with many other neglected Super Gobots) in the final strip from the Official Gobots Magazine.


ALTERNATE MODE

Night Fright should have a rather distinctive five-blade rotor, but one of the ones on my set has snapped off. I could move them to a more conventional four-blade layout (two are moulded as pairs, with one single additional blade), but I thought I'd take the pictures with them arranged properly despite the missing part. Night Fright's vehicle mode is a Soviet Mil Mi-24 'Hind' helicopter gunship. It's not really a pretty thing, instead being a dangerous-looking, heavily-armed, hunchbacked death thing. Night Fright does sadly have some serious join lines on him, not to mention to giant washers screwed on just below the tail. Oh well, at least the camouflage is nicely done. You've got to love 1980s toylines, though - I mean, the guy's a Soviet, do you even need to ask whether he's a goodie or a baddie? That said, it's a shame Warpath is a Renegade too - Night Fright would be a nice counterpart. There are some nice touches, such as the metal undercarriage (and all three wheels retract, for a change) and I do like the moving cannon under the nose.

The helicopter mode suffers a little from wear and fragility - the engine housing section (which forms the robot arms) lacks rigidity while all the wings look thin and easy to snap. Bear in mind that the bottom of the blades also forms a cap for the engine housing effectively holding the top of this together, and if you either don't have the blades or are using the useful Warpath's set for Night Fright it won't hold together especially well. Overall though, it still manages to be an excellent vehicle mode.


ROBOT MODE

Despite being a variation on the transformation used for Warpath, changing Night Fright has enough differences to make it interesting. The only dodgy bit is flicking the tail around onto the robot's back, which makes a horrible clicking noise - I'm 99% it's just some ratchet joints to hold it in place securely, but it just sounds like breaking.

The robot mode itself is excellent. There's a boxy charm to it, which is impressive when you consider the slim streamlined helicopter alt mode. The proportions and layout are pretty sharp, with only the slightly stumpy arms as a drawback. The cockpit-as-chest thing might be an old one, but some things are classic for a reason. Articulation is limited to the arms and a little in the hips, and the overall look is great. Night Fright just looks mean, especially with that square head with a single expressionless visor on the front. It's a very neat robot mode, chunky and menacing.


SUMMARY

Despite his drawbacks Night Fright's still a very good figure. Both modes are excellent, if not perfect, and there's a decent, fun transformation in-between (well, apart from that tail). He's probably the best of the Renegade Super Gobots it's just a shame he's do damn rare. I wouldn't recommend spending a fortune on him complete and mint or not, but then I don't think many toys can actually justify a three-figure amount. Still, if you're going to blow a fortune on a Super Gobot, he might not quite be in the first rank of masterpieces with Defendor, Spy-Eye, Throttle and Psycho but he comfortably slots into the next bracket of excellent if flawed designs.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1986, Gobots Super Gobots Series 3 - 038: Night Fright
1986, Robo Machine - Super Gobots: Night Fright

PARTS:
1 x 5-blade rotor

WEAK POINTS:
None