Energon Toy Reviews: Mirage

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Energon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: June 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $25.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2
Accessories: Missiles x 4

Images:

Sounds:

Mirage is one of the Transformers names that dates back to the beginning of the line. Since then, the name has been used for various characters in different Transformers storylines. The latest is a Decepticon in Megatron's army who bears some relation to Decepticon Tidal Wave (saying more would be a spoiler, so I'll just leave it at that).

Vehicle Mode:
Mirage's vehicle mode is a really sleek warship. I mean, if you took away the weaponry and Powerlinx points, you'd think this was some type of rich guy's luxury speedboat. But the bristling weapons definitely keep it from looking like a pleasure vehicle!

Mirage is about 9.5 inches (about 24.1 centimeters) long in this form. His sleek appearance owes a lot to him being longer than he is wide. He doesn't look like some big tub, he's a very slimmed down war machine. On the back and towards the front of the vehicle are fins on the sides. The rear ones angle backwards while the ones towards the front angle forward. The cockpit of the boat is shaped like the cockpit of a stealth bomber, further enhancing its sleek appearance.

Sleek can sometimes equal little detail, but in this case there's plenty to go around. Probably one of the nicest parts is the area near the cockpit. There you'll find vents, windows, cut lines for detail and even a sculpted Decepticon symbol. That's not to say the rest of the vehicle doesn't have a good chunk of detail. All along the vehicle you'll find raised parts, cut lines, even the fins on the sides have cool details etched into them. I'm really glad to see the designers tried to make sure that Mirage didn't suffer from being plain.

Mirage has eight weapons in this form. Under each forward fin he has two missiles. Topside, he has two cannons in the front (with missiles that double as machine gun barrels) and towards the back he has two more missiles that double as gun barrels. Since current regulations require a certain missile length,
it's nice to see the missiles designed to double as gun barrels (something which started a while ago, but has been done consistantly in the line since). The missiles fire when you push the tabs, which interestingly enough are made out of translucent plastic, making them far less obvious than say making them orange or something.

The built in weaponry not enough for you? No problem, feel free to add more! On the top of the vehicle are two Powerlinx points next to each other for you to attach Mini-Cons. Unfortunately, the two points are so close that it's difficult to put two side by side without spreading those pieces apart a bit. On the sides of the rear section are holes for Energon weapon pegs. With some fidgeting, this mode allows you to attach six additional weapons! I'm a proponent of keeping Mini-Con Powerlinx points on Energon and the standardization of Energon weapon peg/hole sizes, so this combines the best of both worlds.

Mirage's colors are reminscent of Gershark from Car Robots. He has a mixture of blues, yellow and purple with some gray. However, he also adds to the mix by adding in gold and a bit of metallic blue. These colors come together to make a nice, dark looking vehicle. The yellow is a subdued shade, keeping it from looking "knock off-ish" and the gold is used sparingly in this form, primarily around the cockpit area and on the edges of the missile launchers in the rear. What's impressive is that despite the use of lighter colors such as yellow and light blue, Mirage still manages to look "dark" thanks to the shades of the colors used and the black and dark blue that makes up much of the rear section of the vehicle.

Transformation to Vehicle Hyper Mode:

  1. Press the button in between the two forward cannons to flip up the cannons.
  2. Separate the dark blue section from the light blue section on either side of the ship.
  3. Flip out the side pieces with the missiles at the rear.

Vehicle Hyper Mode:
Due in part to the stealth bomber like cockpit on the vehicle, it looks like Mirage's Hyper Mode is more like an aerial vehicle than an aquatic one. The wings on either side really look cool, and they reveal even more details including circles resembling bolts and nice line patterns on the tops of the wings.

The newly flipped open wings show off some extra metallic blue, which looks great against the dark blue plastic the wings are made out of.

Unfortunately, some parts are a bit loose, so they don't exactly point forward. The front cannons droop a tiny bit and the wings kind of move to the sides a bit (about a few millimeters) because the parts which become the robot arms (which the wings are mounted on) are not very tight, but they can be pushed into place and they stay. I'm not sure if this will be a problem on every Mirage out there, but it is a bit irritating on mine.

Despite these problems, the mode looks very cool and is an interesting one.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Separate the dark blue section of the boat from the light blue (towards the back).
  2. Split the halves of the ship up in the front.
  3. Flip the boat over and separate the robot legs from the rear sections of the vehicle.
  4. Flip the front yellow section (with the two cannons) forward.
  5. Flip the section with the two cannons up (splitting it form the sound box section).
  6. Move the halves which formed the sides of the ship back.
  7. Swivel the cockpit section around.
  8. Twist the robot waist piece around.
  9. Swivel the yellow piece (with the two cannons and sound box) around, and then swing it up.
  10. Straighten out the robot arms and push the Powerlinx points forward to reveal the robot fists.
  11. Swing the shoulder sections down and to the sides.
  12. Swing the part above the cockpit down to reveal the robot head.
  13. Mirage's head rests on a translucent piece of plastic with a clip at the end. That clip attaches to the
    yellow part that makes up his back.
  14. Swing the feet forward and separate out the heel and foot pieces on each side.

Robot Mode:
Mirage's robot mode manages to serve as the robotic equivalent of his vehicle mode: a sleek machine of destruction. His proportions are not very large either in width or bulk, making him look like a fast moving warrior built for speed. The head sculpt is quite nice, looking almost like an exaggerated form of the Decepticon symbol. He has a large "V" shaped crest with two points, eyes that angle upward from the center of the face and even details on the side of his head that look like the pointy sides of the symbol.

There are some definite "Gundam-esque" influences with this figure, something which Transformers rarely have. This is most evident in the legs. their mecha-humanoid shape is nice, with curves and angles that give them a more muscular look while still being robotic (in other words, not techno-organic looking). The feet with their large front portion and heels in back really help complete the Gundam type look. While some may find this rather odd, it's actually quite appropriate. Long before Optimus Prime and gang were a sparkle in Hasbro's eyes, Gundam was already doing the big robot action thang. It's nice to see the influence there as a reminder of what was.

There is an awesome amount of detail on this toy. From the arms down to the legs, you'll find tons of lines, mechanical bits, vents and beveled surfaces. The designers definitely wanted to go for a very intricate look with Mirage. I'm a big fan of having a lot of detail, it shows that the designers wanted to put extra effort into parts that they could have easily just left as flat, plain pieces of plastic such as the tops of the shoulders or inner legs - all of which have extra detail on them.

Mirage has a whopping eighteen points of articulation in this form. It seems like the design team is rapidly making up for the articulation lost in Armada in Energon. These points of articulation allow for some really cool posing. Among my favorite points are the lower arms being able to rotate and the lower legs being able to do the same. The only point of articulation that kind of loses effectiveness i the waist articulation. Since the backpack attaches to the back directly, you can really only turn the toy so much at that point, but it's really more of a step in the transform than anything else, so if you wanted to knock the number down to seventeen, it's still a good chunk of articulation.

Mirage can achieve "Hyper Mode" by activating the missile batteries on his back. Just push the switch down and the missiles move up over his shoulders. Press the switch again to hear a firing sound effect. It's a simple "Hyper Mode", but the fact is, the designers left a lot of room open on this toy to connect Energon weapons and Mini-Cons. Each of his lower arms can accomodate one Mini-Con. The sides of his lower arms have holes for Energon weapons,
as do the wings on his arms and the sides of his legs. Altogether, Mirage can be one potent force by himself!

Final Thoughts:
Mirage is freaking awesome. He has a fantastic design, sleek looks and he's fun to play with to boot. Go buy one - now!