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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Clay's review of: Alternators Mirage

Name: Mirage
Function: Spy
"You can't catch what you can't see..."

I never had an original Mirage. My cousin, whom I inherited most of the `84 and `85 toys from in 1986, had him, but it was broken and went into the trash as opposed to my own childhood. Fast forward 20 years, and everybody gets a second chance to own a Mirage that my cousin didn't break.

Of course, one would think Mirage would change radically over the past twenty years, but that's really not the case. He used to be a blue racecar with a white stripe down the middle; a Formula One. Now, he's a blue racecar with a white stripe down the middle; a Ford GT.

As a robot then, he was one of the few original Diaclone molds with near-perfect proportions. As a robot now, he again has near-perfect proportions; not too much of anything in any one place to be out of place.

It's that kind of nuance that really send the Alternators leaping and bounding beyond any of the other Transformers' lines. The combination of existing character traits and a near-pedigree level of engineering and ingenuity really make them worthy of the attention of not only nostalgics, but everyone with an appreciation of detail and precision.

But enough of waxing poetic about toys! Onto the review!

Ford GT

I am not a car buff. If someone asks me what kind of car I drive, I say a white one that drinks gasoline like a fish does water. However, Mirage's alternate mode is aptly chosen even to my layman's eye. Not only are the colors appropriately chosen, but like the F1 alternate mode of the original, the GT just looks fast. It's probably the stripes...

But that's not really what catches my eye. Mirage's GT mode has an absolutely uncanny level of detail applied to every plane. As usual, the interior is fully replicated, but where this new mold goes beyond the norm of the Alternators is the underside. Most of the mechanical belly of the beast is fully reproduced (though somewhat betrayed by Mirage's face and hands staring back at you), making the figure, as a model car, fully displayable from any angle.

Mirage

In robot mode, Mirage is almost everything an Alternator should be. He's perfectly symmetrical, articulated, and detailed. What's actually really brilliant about the design of this figure is that most of mechanical detailings of the car carry over to give Mirage the distinct look of a massive, complicated machine. Instead of his appearance being dominated by the smooth, almost natural, and curvy exterior of the car, Mirage is every bit the robot from any angle.

The execution isn't quite perfect, though: the back/car roof is secured by a series of complicated folding steps and is genuinely stable (you can shake the figure quite vigorously and not succeed in dislodging the back), but chest piece is completely loose. Gravity holds it down in most situations, but unfortunately my natural reflex to pick the figure up involves grabbing at the chest, which then becomes untaught as I try to catch the toy before it hits the ground.

On a related note, Mirage is pretty durable! This is a very good trait to have, especially since I did end up requiring the instructions to figure out how to get the arms out of the car mode without breaking them. Since the figure has not shattered nor chipped with my incessant fiddling so far, the new Mirage is most definitely not a complete homage to the original.

Transformation: 9. Really well designed. Pieces from the car are used to accentuate the mechanical appearance very well, and even without a peg, the roof/backpack is very secure simply by folding it correctly. Only the floppy chest piece makes wonder, "Did they forget about that?"
Durability: 10. As noted above, in this department the Alt. Mirage is no homage. Like any other Alternator, he's built to last, especially in the hands of the collectors they're marketed towards.
Fun: 10. It kept my attention for several days after its arrival on my doorstep. It's fantastic as either a display piece or a figure to pack around in a backpack to fight off the boredom of work or the college classroom.
Price: 10. If you can find it in US retail, it's a steal at $20. I had to pay almost $30 total for mine to get it from the internet, but that's more of a matter of the local stores' destitution of new figures than my breadth of options. I was still happy to pay the sum and have it arrive shortly. I can't help but think Mirage's new quote is derivative of Hasbro's, "You can't buy what you can't find" motto...
Overall: 10. Mirage is an absolutely fantastic new Alternator mold. After the hit or miss appeal of the Optimus Prime/Dodge Ram figure, Mirage should quell all fears about the line's future.
 
 
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