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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
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Numbat's Review: Cybervese Dino (Mirage)

Name: Dino (Mirage)
Function: Italian Stereotype (as per order of Ferrari)
Subgroup: Robots in Disguise (RID) Dark of the Moon (DOTM) Cyberverse Legion Class (Legends Class)

Mirage was a classic G1 character that has a strong fan following. A down-to-earth spy, Mirage could easily infiltrate the Decepticons – and in those particularly tough situations could actually become invisible in order to do so. Back in the day he was a striking blue and white F1 Ligier JS11 – ironic given this would rarely serve as a suitable disguise for the master of espionage!

Given his popularity, he seemed a likely character to get the live action movie treatment at some point, and it was no great surprise when leaks revealed his inclusion in the third film, Dark of the Moon (DOTM), fairly early on. There had also been leaks that a red Ferrari 458 Italia – although perfect in design and colour for Sideswipe, he had already been introduced as a silver Chevrolet Corvette 2009 Stingray concept car in Return of the Fallen (ROTF), which was known to be making its return in DOTM, albeit as a convertible.

Many people no doubt hoped (as I did) that the red Ferrari may herald the film appearance of Hot Rod, but unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately…) it was not to be and the red Ferrari is, instead, Mirage.

I said perhaps this was fortunate as, well, there were several creative control issues using the Ferrari alternate mode that fairly impacted on the character and toys. Ferrari are not renowned for being easy to work with, and DOTM proved no exception. Mirage was forced to have a ridiculously stereotypical Italian accent that really doe nobody any favours, while we never get to see him transform or in a weaponized mode – which seems rather odd for a warrior. And his name was changed to Dino (probably for the best – if you really want you can argue he isn’t Mirage anyway). Then there’s the toys – really cool super sports car that kids and adults alike dream of transforming into a frankly superb sleek dangerous robot would surely fly off the shelves at multiple size classes. Plus he’s a new movie Autobot character to boot. How many toys did we see as part of the DOTM line? That’s right, zero. While Hasbro did admittedly completely balls up the DOTM toy line by releasing stacks of non-screen characters and multiple Bumblebees in the early waves instead of favouring the new characters (for which moulds had been made) who as a result never saw Western release, in this case I think Ferrari further doomed the chances of any Dino toy.

I just keep thinking, thank Primus they didn’t do this to Hot Rod.

Over a year after the release of DOTM, though, while passing through Inverness I happened across a Legion Class toy boxed and named as Mirage in the current Robots in Disguise (RID) line alongside Legion DOTM Soundwave (repainted black) and Transformers the Rid (TFTR) EVAC, clearly meant as the DOTM character. This confused me a little, as so far I have only seen Prime figures in RID packaging.

In fairness the figure did not look great, sitting there packaged in robot mode, but there was only one on the shelf amidst a sea of Prime characters, and I’m a bit of a completist, so I took the plunge just wanting to have a version of this movieverse Autobot car.

Do I regret this purchase? Absolutely.


Alternate Mode:

Dino’s alternate mode is a Ferrari 458 Italia. That’s how I’d like to start this review. Next best thing would be: ‘Dino’s alternate mode resembles a Ferrari 458 Italia as closely as possible without infringing on licensing issues, being a non-licensed toy.’ Can’t say that either. Let’s start properly now:

Dino’s alternate mode in no way resembles a Ferrari 458 Italia other than being a red car.

Although I was unaware of it at the time of purchase, DOTM Legion Dino is actually a repaint of ROTF Legends Sideways. Of course, Legends Sideways was himself an attempt at reproducing the film character’s alternate mode without infringing on licensing issues, although in this case for the Audi R8. In fairness, the alternate mode better resembles the R8 than the Ferrari, but it’s not fantastic. But, yeah, you get the point.

The car mode is red, with silver headlights, black grilles, windows and also weird mechanical details where the rear window should be. These mechanical details look just as out of place on Dino as they did on Sideways – why the designers used them originally we’ll never know but the least they could have done for a new Autobot they couldn’t be arsed giving a dedicated mould would be to replace these with a windscreen. An Autobot insignia is outlined in silver on the bonnet.

Measuring 3” (7.5cm) long, Dino would be 1/59.5 scale if he were a Ferrari 458 Italia, but it’s hard to assign scale to a non-car that bears no resemblance to this.

To make things worse, the designers have modified the mould but in no useful way in the mode – Dino has sockets in each door (ruining the otherwise sleek look in a similar way to those random mechanical details on the rear). These are for attaching the tiny weapons that now come with Legion Class figures. In Dino’s case this is a transparent pink blade, and looks totally ludicrous attached to the side of his car mode.

All in all, it’s safe to say that this mould’s alternate mode works less well for Dino than it did for ROTF Sideways. And then the designers went and made it a little bit worse.

If Dino had to be a straight repaint, the DOTM Legion Sideswipe mould would have been a better choice (especially if they decided to modify it and give it a solid roof).


Robot Mode:

Dino’s transformation is almost the standard car chest affair we’ve been used to since G1, but there is a slight twist. The legs actually unfold backwards from underneath the car. Why the designers decided to mess with something tried and tested at this scale I am not sure. Normally I like a new take on things, but this just seems to have been done for the sake of it, and makes the robot mode worse, not better, as we’ll see.

Standing 3” (7.5cm) tall, Legion Dino doesn’t looks about as much like the CGI model as his car mode does a Ferrari. The legs are ridiculously spindly, which looked daft for Sideways and looks even worse for the sleek but powerful Dino. Then there are the arms – massive gorilla affairs with the entire rear of the car hanging off the hands! If you squint and try real hard you can imagine these as the blades Dino uses when fighting in the film, but it’s a stretch… While I appreciate Dino’s CGI chest would have been tricky to do well in a Deluxe Class mould, I am sure that they could have done better than the bulky car front hanging past his belly in Legion Class – he’s obviously gone on to be Leadfoot’s drinking buddy and is on his way to replicating that robot’s epic gut. Either that or he has Fembot hormonal problems going on…

The colour scheme does not at all help. Dino is almost entirely red in robot mode in the film – something that should be easy to achieve with a red plastic based car mode. Instead, the designers have slapped generous amounts of black paint on his arms and moulded his lower legs in black plastic for no good reason. Well done guys, if you hadn’t totally screwed this figure up before, you have now.

Dino’s only saving grace is the head, which is what fooled me into thinking this was a dedicated Dino toy (albeit a bad one) – it really is superb at Legion scale and looks great with the details picked out in silver and eyes delicately painted in blue. The head is such a contrast to the rest of this disaster it almost makes it worse… By slapping such a good Dino head sculpt on such a poorly suited mould really just highlights how unlike Dino this toy actually is. The real irony though is that the head is not new – it’s amazing what a lick of paint can do to a detailed head sculpt at this scale.

Dino only has four points of articulation – shoulders and hips. Thanks to the randomly weird leg transformation, the knees only bed forwards which is no use at all for posing. Of course, Dino could have all the articulation in the world and he’d still be useless for posing – he’s so ridiculously top heavy with such spindly little legs and tiny feet it’s challenge enough to get him to stand on his own accord.

Of course, I need to add that the mould has been modified to allow Dino to hold these Legion Class weapons in his hands. Again, that pink blade just looks stupid.

So, what’s the verdict? Well, basically, this was a bad mould in the first place when it was made for Sideways, and it’s not been improved any for use as Dino – in fact, it has been made worse by the addition of weapon sockets in the car doors. While the mould sort of worked for Sideways, it bears no resemblance whatsoever to Dino in either mode save the fact it’s largely red and has a superb ‘Dino’ head sculpt (although this is no different from Sideways’ head – it just looks good as Dino).

This mould was terrible first time round, and it’s much worse for a character it looks nothing like in either mode.

EPIC FAIL.


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 1 – The designers have taken the tried and tested car chest design and put a twist on it for no reason, and this does not work for DOTM Dino (Hell, it didn’t work for ROTF Sideways…).
Durability: 5 – Dino seems solid enough, but the paint on the windscreen is already scratching off, and I worry about those spindly legs.
Fun: 1 – Dino is not fun in either mode. He’s a non car that looks nothing like the awesome super sports car he should be, and his robot mode has no articulation, is top heavy and looks nothing like Dino. That, and the transformation is annoying as a more standard model would have delivered a better figure.
Aesthetics: 1 – RID DOTM Legion Class Dino bears no resemblance to a Ferrari 458 Italia and no resemblance to the CGI robot mode. While the head looks pretty good, let’s not forget that the designers didn’t even bother remoulding it from ROTF Sideways – it’s just lucky it worked out.
Articulation: 1 – DOTM Legion Dino has no articulation to speak of – just hips and shoulders. Even if he had stacks of articulation, though, it would be useless with those spindly legs and ridiculously top heavy robot mode.
Value/Price: 1 – I paid £6.97 shelfprice for RID DOTM Legion Dino in Tesco. That is totally ridiculous! It would be poor value for an excellent Legion Class figure, and is a total waste on this terrible one. (I can’t believe that I bought my first Legends of Cybertron Class figure [the original name for Legends and now Legion Class] at £2.97. Now that was great value.)
Overall: 1 – RID DOTM Legion Dino: EPIC FAIL. Need I say more? Even completists out there shouldn’t buy this guy – he’s Dino (erm, sorry, Mirage) in name only.
 
 
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