Timelines: Botcon 2013 Mirage Toy Review

in 2013, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Botcon, Deluxe, Machine Wars, Timelines

Timelines

General Information:
Release Date: June 27, 2013
Price Point: $87 (In a two pack with Thundercracker)
Retailer: Botcon Exclusive
Accessories: Blaster

Images:

The theme for 2013's Botcon exclusive boxed set is "Machine Wars". This was a relatively obscure line of "Transformers" figures released only in Kay Bee Toy Stores in 1997. This was a counterpoint to the main line, "Beast Wars" which focused on animals and creatures as the alternate forms for the "Transformers". "Machine Wars" focused on vehicles, mixing up previously unreleased sculpts with European exclusive sculpts given new decos, functionality and identities. Among the unreleased sculpts was Mirage, who was a "Basic" class vehicle (roughly equivalent to a modern day Scout Class figure) that transformed using a spring-based system to quickly convert form one form to another. This sculpt would later be used as "Robotmasters" Rijie (aka Mirage) and even later as Indy Heat in the "Car Robots" toy line.

Using the "Machine Wars" version of the figure as inspiration, Fun Publications took the "Classics" Mirage figure and gave it a deco inspired by the 1997 "Machine Wars" Mirage figure. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Vehicle Mode:
The one piece of continuity between G1 Mirage, his 1997 "Machine Wars" interpretation and this Botcon 2013 version are all some version of an F-1 style racing car. This works out really well as he not only shares some deco similarities with the 1997 "Machine Wars" version but also a basic form, complete with large tires, a big spoiler in the back and a seat only for one driver in the center.

The main plastic color used on Mirage is a metallic teal. The wheels are cast in black and clear plastic is used right over the driver's area. A tiny bit of white plastic peeks out the back in the form of the exhaust pipes. Paint colors include gold, black, white and teal - matching the plastic color. The gold is found on the outside of the wheels. White is used going from the front all the way to the back of the vehicle. Teal is used on the front sections that connect to the wheels and black is used on the top of the clear plastic. Overall, it's a really striking color combination. These colors draw inspiration from the 1997 "Machine Wars" Mirage but the teal shade used here is much brighter and metallic looking than the original.

The real charm of this vehicle form are the various tampographs found along the vehicle. The spoiler has the words "Illusions Motorsports" printed on it, an reference to Mirage's ability to cast illusions (which became an ability to turn "invisible" on the television show). Towards the back is a "sponsor sticker" for "Nobile Pistons" and on the other side is a "sticker" for "lamb shocks". This particular sticker is a direct carry over from the 1997 "Machine Wars" Mirage figure. To further solidify the connection between this version and the 1997 version of Mirage, there are three circular tampographs in red with the number 7 in the center in yellow. These two are direct carry over details from the 1997 Mirage. I really love the way the newer colors work in concert with older details to truly deliver an updated version of "Machine Wars" Mirage's distinctive vehicle form.

Trasformation 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:
Mirage's robot mode extends the figure in many ways, adding height and width but also revealing new colors underneath. Several newly revealed robot parts are cast in black and whte. This includes his shoulders, elbows and parts of his legs. The deco from the vehicle mode carries over here, but now extra colors pop up in the form of whte on his waist and head. Teal paint is used to fill out detailing on the head. A bit of red paint used used on the forearms and the area by the head, adding some extra splash of color. Again, this isn't an exact reproduction of the 1997 Mirage's deco, but in spirit and theme it connects perfectly with Mirage's 1997 predecessor.

Most of Mirage's joints are nice and tight, but one is a bit loose. Specifically the left arm on mine is a bit more loose than the right. It's not "floppy", but it's not as tight as the right either. In terms of functionality, that's my only complaint with the figure.

Final Thoughts:
Mirage looks fantastic in both modes. He's a fantastic homage in both form and deco. My only reservation is the loose joint on the left arm, but that oculd just be my copy of the figure. Recommended if you're into more exclusive Botcon collectibles.