Knightdramon's review: Clear Mirage
So it appears, we're getting a new Binaltech each year. Presumably before Ravage 2.0 and Rumble were given the green light into the assembly line, the line was supposed to end with Ginrai and Hot Rod. As a result of poor sales, they were both released in the now defunct Kiss Players line, with their originally american counterparts (Nemesis Prime and Mirage) filling the role of BT 17 and 18, respectively.
Whilst Black Convoy remained faithful to the american release with only a few colour changes (and the addition of die-cast metal to the outer frame), Mirage underwent a more radical change. This time the vast majority of the figure is cast in clear plastic (not clear blue like Botcon's Mirage, more like crystal clear) with only a few parts moulded in actual colour.
It should be noted that, almost like his predecessor, Mirage was produced by e-hobby and therefore saw a very, very limited release. I don't have an estimate of how many were made, but the aftermarket value of this one is over 250% its original value. Moreover, Mirage is all plastic and it is unknown at this point if a die-cast version of this character will be released later on.
With that being said, let's go on with reviewing one of the hottest releases from 2007!
All subsequent releases after BT-14 Wheeljack have had different packaging (Prowl and Skids had the same, but it's different from the original boxes) and Mirage continues this trend. A light blue box slightly smaller than the usual BT boxes is used, complete with a white grid (G1 Style). Two different illustrations for Mirage are used-a sort of aggressive stance that decorates the front and back and stance of him kneeling down that embodies both openings of the box. The e-hobby designation and the Ford logo are display prominently on the front of the box. Almost two months after the release, nobody has bothered with translating the BT story included on the side of the box, so I can't comment on that. Overall, a cool packaging that fortunately isn't like the fish-bowl of Black Convoy; much easier to store and prettier to display.
Mirage was an F1 racing car back in G1, this time however, he shares the Ford GT mould that Hot Rod used last year. It bears no resemblance or homage to his G1 form, but it suits him like a glove.
As with Hot Rod, the detailing is spectacular. Vents, sleek lines and angles are all replicated down to the finest detail. Coloured clear plastic is used for both headlights and taillights, same as with Hot Rod. The two white stripes are flawlessly painted on, same goes for the smaller stripes that run along the door frames. The interior is lavishly detailed, as usual, along with a painted dashboard (earlier BTs didn't feature that) and a black steering wheel-for those of you who own one\read my review, Hot Rod's s. wheel was red.
There's virtually no change at all in the mould from Hot Rod, the only difference is in the plastic used. Whereas Hot Rod used red plastic with red paint, Mirage uses clear plastic. All car mode panels besides the bottom are cast in clear plastic with a subtle "grayness" to them. Due to all the black parts on the interior, Mirage appears a bit "cloudy" if I may say so, more gray and less clear.
Like Hot Rod, all car parts that should open do so. The bonnet, doors
and back of the car all open to reveal the detailed interior. The engine is cast in clear plastic so all detail is lost, but the accelerator and the entire back piece in general are cast in black plastic with silver paint. The cockpit interior is cast in black with silver paint used on the seats, dashboard and gear board.
All in all, Mirage is the pinnacle in the BT line. An excellent car mode that, coupled with good QC (like the one on mine) presents a beauty of a toy. All parts fit together very tightly, there's no sloppy paint application and the mould is just too good to begin with.
Transforming Mirage isn't any different than Hot Rodimus; the joints are equally-if not more- stiff but everything is surprisingly easy to co-operate with. The only areas that require excessive force are the two black chest panels and the heels, both areas being extraordinarily stiff. A tricky part to transform is the roof of the car, which folds up and is placed over the dashboard. There are various joints on both the roof and the "engine" cover that, if not moved just right, may force the windshield more than they should and dislocate\snap it right off. Caution is advised on those parts.
Not many new colours show up for Mirage's robot mode, an amalgam of black, clear plastic, silver, white and navy blue. The entire torso (bar the car parts) is cast in black, which is also used for the leg joints and parts of the feet. Navy blue is used for detailing on the waist, feet and the joints of the arms\hands. The face is painted silver with gloss blue used for the eyes (rest of the headsculpt is cast in clear plastic). Mirage is one of the most aesthetically pleasant bots in the line (this is more due to the mould rather than the character, though), with very few kibble in the way of articulation and a solid body. Unlike the boxy Skids\Hound, he's very streamlined, elegant but not bulky like the fellow Mustang moulds. The entire front of the car hangs on his shoulders, with the doors doubling as majestic pseudo-wings. The legs are almost seamless, with minimal parts getting in the way of articulation. The only problem with this mould is that the entire top part of the car (from the cockpit to the back) folds on his back, and any movement on the waist will probably knock it back a bit.
Mirage is one of the most playable figures in the BT line. Much like Hot Rodimus, there's over 30 points of articulation all over the figure, allowing for extreme poses not possible on earlier figures in the line. Thankfully there's only five ball joints, focused on the ankles, hands and head. The rest is a combination of swivel joints, most very easy to loosen or tighten due to the parts coming together via screws rather than pins. Arm articulation is hands down the best in the line, with three joints on each shoulder BEFORE you reach the arm, where there's another six joints excluding finger articulation. Each leg has around seven points of articulation, making him a very stable figure.
Mirage's armament comes in the form of two handguns, one of which has an extended silver barrel. Unlike Kiss Rodimus, there's no additional fish pole that can be converted to an arm cannon, though if you have one from that set it fits with no problem.
Overall, Mirage is a fantastic addition to the BT line, using the best mould there is. The exclusivity of this figure adds a hefty price tag, which, coupled with the fact that it does not contain any die-cast metal, may shy some fans away. Unfortunately, just about every version of the Ford GT mould costs over 50 USD in the secondary market and this is probably the most expensive of them all. If you can get your hands on a regular Alt Mirage, he's just as good. Every collection deserves at least one version of the Ford GT, one way or another.
9. Very cool way of arranging all the car parts in robot mode, but gains a point over Hot Rodimus because it's harder to move parts due to the stiffness of the joints.
10. NO loose parts, very, very, very stiff joints and if you're careful when transforming the roof of the car, you just can't break this figure.
9. Not as cool a character as Hot Rod, and the exclusion of the arm blaster and visor does detract a point. Extreme poseability won't leave you disappointed.
3. Prices on the secondary market have reached the 180 USD mark. Being an e-hobby exclusive does not help at all.
9. Very cool figure, fantastic mould and the clear plastic adds a whole new level on awesomeness to the mix. A very stylish way to finish up the BT line. Highly recommended.