So, when the Combiner Wars toyline reached the UK I wasn’t massively impressed. All the figures looked a bit same-y to me, perhaps because the Aerialbots were (mostly) the first wave to arrive, and they’re all jet planes. I liked the Optimus Prime, but I wasn’t impressed with much of the others. I decided to just buy any figures who stood out and looked interesting, rather than try to collect a whole team. (I figured early on that this policy would produce an anomalous result towards the end of this year: “known Decepticon sympathiser” AddAltModeR loves all the Combaticons, so the whole team have been pre-ordered.)
Autobot-wise, I’ve been largely disappointed. Among the Protectobots, only First Aid tickled my fancy, and among the current wave, which is made up of previously non-combining characters joining to form a new combiner called Ultra Prime (I appreciate the RID2001/Car Robots reference!), I’ve only really liked Mirage. Now, Mirage is a re-tool of the Decepticon Drag Strip, with a new head that more closely resembles the G1 cartoon version of Mirage, and a white colour scheme. I didn’t like Drag Strip much, on the grounds that he’s super-garish: lemon yellow and magenta is not a tasteful combination. Mirage is, suitably for a robot aristocrat, a much-more classily-attired bot.
So, my thoughts on this figure…
You might assume that the comic packed-in with the figure – seeing as it is packed with Mirage, and features Mirage on the cover – might be about Mirage, or at least feature him in some capacity? You would be wrong. Mirage isn’t even in the comic at all. He appears to be packed with a random issue of the Combiner Wars comic. It’s not a bad comic; the art is pretty and the dialogue is witty, but I fail to see why this issue is packed in with this character. I think that the pack-in comics were much better when Hasbro were packing in the (now-discontinued) Spotlight series. At least then, the comic was always relevant to the character with whom they were packed.
The giant hand/foot/gun is pretty similar to any other from the Combiner Wars series. It’s useful for when you want to make a giant robot with some of these Deluxe-size ‘bots as limbs, but its gun mode is rather weak.
Overall, I like him, though. His blue-and-white colour scheme is pretty nice, with a richer, brighter blue than I remember from the G1 toy, who I remember as sort-of- navy (though I could be wrong, it’s been nearly 30 years). His racing-car nose being on his back, rather than on his chest (“Heresy!” cry the G1 purists) isn’t the end of the world for me, and nor is the lack of a shoulder-mounted missile launcher. If the latter does get to me, I will probably model one myself, or possibly buy Tresob’s sculpt from his Shapeways shop, once he puts it on sale.
Mirage’s new head-sculpt is very G1. His face is a little bit human for my tastes — I prefer my alien robots to be a little less anthropomophic and more alien — but I love that sneer. This Mirage is clearly demanding, in a dismissive tone, as to how some lower-class Decepticon peasant dares to face him in single combat. His expression says “Do you have any idea to whom you are speaking?”.
I’m less pleased by the four large screw-holes in his chest. I suspect I’ll fill those in at some point when I’ve finished my current customisation project (which will be another post). The combiner joint in the middle doesn’t bother me as much as it does some of the more hardcore Geeeee1s, because it looks fairly science-fictional. Nonsensical arrangements of plates and pipes are a fine visual shorthand for hyper-advanced technology that has been used to good effect since back when George Lucas made good movies.
Mirage’s car mode looks very nice. He transforms into a Formula-1 racing car which bears a more-than-superficial resemblance to a Ligier JS11, as did his G1 counterpart. It’s less heavily decorated than the G1 version; notably, the “26” numerals have become “62”, and the cigarette-adverts (accurate to real racing-cars in the 80s, but controversial on a child’s toy) and petroleum brands have disappeared, which is no great loss.
Mirage makes a pretty nice arm; there is generic robot kibble on his vehicle-mode underside that adds visual interest when he’s in arm mode. The fist/hand/gun thing looks awesome as a fist: the pale grey & silver colour combination really suits it: compared to the solid black hands and feet that came with the Protectobots (such as First Aid) it’s a lot nicer, IMHO, since the details are much more visible.
In leg mode (image thumbnailed, because it’s very tall, and not wide), there’s not a lot to say about Mirage. He’s a perfectly serviceable leg, and his “foot” accessory looks reasonably nice. Unlike First Aid, it’s quite clear what to do with Mirage’s own arms to fold them away when he’s busy being a limb. Mirage’s weak spot in leg mode is a lack of storage space for his sword, but I presume that if you have a combiner worth of character’s weapons you can probably stick them all together to form some vast weapon that looks suitable for a combiner to wield.
I vastly prefer him as an arm, since his leg mode hides a lot of his interesting sculpted details.
All in all, Mirage is an elegant, nicely-sculpted figure, whose combiner features don’t really detract from his individual appearance. He homages his G1 counterpart, but not slavishly. I’m quite happy displaying him as-is, but when some of the 2016 waves of Combiner Wars arrive in the UK, I expect to be able to flesh out a full Combiner of Autobots (to fight R’s Bruticus, lol), and I will have to re-appraise this robot aristocrat’s role on my shelf.