Transformers Classics (Mirage Review)

in 2006, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Classics, Generation One

General Information:
Release Year: December 2006
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $9.99 (Average depending on retailer)
Accessories: Electro-disruptor Gun

Images:

Tech Specs:
Motto: "You can't catch what you can't see."
Together with BUMBLEBEE, MIRAGE completes the AUTOBOT spy team. Where BUMBLEBEE focuses on information however, MIRAGE perfers sabotage. Smart and fast, he's always ready with a joke, even when the situation doesn't call for one. Though he is not totally dedicated to the cause, he cares deeply for his friends, and will do anything he can to protect them. His specialized electro-disruptor weapon can create complex illusions, and even allows him to
turn invisible.

Strength: 6 Intelligence: 9 Speed: 7 Endurance: 5 Rank: 7 Courage: 5 Firepower: 6 Skill: 10

The character of Mirage has flown under the radar for a long time. Most people will remember various incarnations of say, Optimus Prime or Starscream, but Mirage? Maybe not so much. Truth is however the character has been around in one form or another for years now. In Generation 2 he was one of the Go-Bots. During the Beast Wars years he managed to pop back up as Machine Wars Mirage. During the "Robots in Disguise" era, Mirage reappeared in his Go-Bots form, this time as a Spychanger in several color schemes. Later he would reappear (in his Machine Wars body but with G1 accurate colors) as Robotmasters Rijie. More recently Mirage was added to the Alternators line. However, his Classics form is perhaps the most pure return to his original self.

Vehicle Mode:
Like many of his predecessors, Classics Mirage is an F-1 style racing car. Unlike his predecessors however his form is much more curved and streamlined. G1 and Spychanger Mirage for example had the familiar T shaped front section which then led right back into a rear section that pretty much was flat and in a straight line (which makes sense for a race car). Classics Mirage also has the familiar T shaped front section. This leads to a nosecone shaped section connected to two front wheels. The profile is very low, but as you get towards th emiddle it begins to curve upwards. The center cockpit is enclosed, unlike his G1 incarnation where it was open. Vents on the sides angle out and then curve back and the rear of the vehicle slopes up a bit, leading to the larger rear tires and the rear spoiler. This overall shape is very sleek looking and also serves the purpose of differentiating this Mirage from previous versions of the character.

Despite being smooth in detail, there are some nicely sculpted details as well. The front section has sculpted details that look like pistons attached to each front wheel. The sides have vents arcing back to the part that slopes upward. Each wheel cover has eight lines sculpted inside angling inward. There are line details all ove rthe figure from horizontal lines in rows to rectangles towards the back.

Mirage is cast in four basic plastic colors. Blue and white (staple colors of the character), grey and black. The front end is mostly white, the back end is mostly blue. The grey can be found on the rear section with the exhaust pipes. The black is used for all four wheels. Of course, it's the paint applications and tampographs that make things interesting. The front section has blue trim around the edges of the T shaped piece. The pistons connecting the front wheels are painted metallic silver. The sides of each wheel are also painted metallic silver. The spoiler is cast in white, but the edges on either side are painted blue. Contrasting with the white in the middle is the cockpit cover, cast in translucent blue.

The designers had some definite fun with the various tampographed details on this vehicle. The very front has "Lithonian Drivetrain" in orange script, a reference to the unfortunate planet Unicron eats at the beginning of Transformers: The Movie. The number 26 can be found in black against a silver oval on the front nose and on the sides towards a middle. This is a direct carry over detail from the original Mirage, who also had the number 26 on him. On either side of the vehicle towards the back is a checker flag tampo with the words "F.P. Racing". According to Dave Van Domelen's review of Mirage this is a reference to fellow fan Dave Willis' RPG group. The checkered pattern is in black and bright orange. The spoiler itself has a very G1-centric reference, with the words "Witwicky Sparkplugs" boldly showing. "Witwicky" was the last name of the father and son whom the Autobots befriended from the original Transformers series. "Sparkplugs" holds a double meaning. While it of course can refer to the car part, it also refers to the nickname of Spike Witwicky's father: Sparkplug. Small tampos near the cockpit that say "Plasma Injection Energy". While this sounds very scifi (and really , it is) it is also a humorous reference to "Pie", which seems to tickle a lot of fans when used in reference to Transformers. This entire deco was well thought out and pays homage to G1 in multiple ways (as well as fans).

Despite looking fantastic, there is one slightly bad functional aspect to the figure. When you try to roll it along on its wheels, if the front section isn't pushed in enough (it detaches to form the weapon) the front wheels don't touch the ground properly to roll. I don't really "roll" my figures around so it's not a problem as a display piece. However it is worth mentioning.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the front section (this is the weapon).
  2. Swing the rear section of the vehicle up, then extend it back to form the robot legs.
  3. Swing the front section forward a bit and swing out the robot arms.
  4. Swing out each fist on the lower arms.
  5. Swing out each robot fist.
  6. Swivel the upper body around at the waist joint.
  7. Swing the section the arms are attached to down, then rotate the arms back accordingly.
  8. Swing down the nosecone section to reveal the robot head.
  9. Place the weapon in one of Mirage's fists.

Robot Mode:
One of the things that will strike you immediately about Mirage are the figures' proportions. He has a small head that is flanked by part of his torso and upper arms. These parts go rather wide, so it has a dual effect of magnifying how wide his shoulders are and making the head look that much smaller. The chest then leads down to a very thin waist which is very reminscent of Beast Machines Cheetor. The legs then get thicker until you reach the feet, which are extremely wide. This is a rather unusual and dynamic looking design for a Transformer, but it makes senes for the character considering he transforms into a super fast vehicle. His robot form's sleek look also gives this impression while the wide feet offer excellent stability.

Since the transformation involves taking Mirage's compacted form and expanding it, a lot of new details are revealed. The robot head is perhaps the most iconic part. The design is based on Mirage's animated appearance - which had a much more human look to it than its G1 action figure counterpart. He has the partial dome on the back with the front part of the helmet coming out at a curve and a regular robot face. His arms have sculpted details such as thin and thick horizontal lines sculpted in. The chest is formed from the front portion of the car, and even though this part is not where the cockpit is, there is an indented and angled section that very much resembles a driver's cockpit. Mirage's feet are also very reminscent of his G1 form with the halves of the spoilers becoming his feet.

Mirage is not cluttered with detail. He has just enough to look good. On a figure this sleek, too much detail would distract from the overall form. Among my favorite details are the circles and line details on the sides of his upper legs. The others are on his knee joints, where the exhaust pipes now look like joints instead.

Mirage's primary blue and white color scheme carries over. However a bit more black and grey shows up on his arms and waist. Bright red paint applications appear on his upper arms and on his waist panels there are blue details painted on. Because he carries all the various "Sponsor" labels from the vehicle mode, any more detail would clutter things up a bit.

Mirae carries a rifle that is a different design than his original gun. This one looks more like a tube ocnnected to the front "T" shaped section of the vehicle mode. At the very end of the barrel is a small blue spot painted to indicate where the weapon would discharge. Unfortunately the size of Mirage's hands made it difficult for the designers to create holes that could hold standard Energon weapons could fit into. They're just a bit too small.

This figure has twenty points of articulation, which is excellent for a deluxe scale figure. The best part is that most of these points are useful. The arms along each have five points of articulation including ball joints at the shoulders and swivel joints on the upper arms. Combined with the wide width of his feet, Mirage has fantastic stability in a variety of poses.

Final Thoughts:
Mirage is one of the perfect examples of a fantastic figure from the Classics line. He pays perfect homage to the original character in appearance and deco. His transformation scheme is different and fun and his posability is fantastic. Highly recommended!