Alternate Mode: Speedboat
Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Mirage for this review.
Height: 8cm Length: 25cm Width: 11cm
A multi-coloured speedboat, Mirage's hull is a jumble of cobalt blue and baby blue with yellow, black and grey on the deck. There are purple and gold highlights just to keep things complicated. On top of the bridge he sports both a purple raised Decepticon symbol on the port side and a Decepticon spark crystal in the centre. This colour scheme is way too busy, although the premise of two blues and yellow is a good idea, it just doesn't work with everything else going on here.
Long, sleek and armed to the teeth, this is a vessel designed to zoom in and sink the enemy. Mirage has twin missile launchers on either side of the stern and a rack on the deck with two more missiles. The missiles are long black affairs which double as gunbarrels and will fire about half a metre. There are also four purple missiles on the underside of the foils at the bow, which can detach and drop (with some effort) but do not fire. They're mainly for decoration and add to his arsenal.
There are six wheels underneath the boat, allowing Mirage to roll along the table. I'm pretty sure he doesn't float, and with the circuitry inside the toy I'm in no hurry to find out. There's a small yellow button between the launchers that lay flush on the deck, pressing it back will cause the launchers to pop up on their purple supports. Once the launchers are loose, pressing it again will activate a firing sound (if you have two AAA batteries inside - not included). I'm not a fan of electronic gimmicks in general, but with four useful launchers and wheels, the electronics are really a bonus on a boat that has a lot of play value already.
The boat mode holds together quiet well, and while the sides are little more than giant panels, they do the job. You can detach the rear panels and fold them out to form wings, but the powerlinx ports on top of the stern to which they attach will flop around, making the wings somewhat loose. I doubt there's a real boat that looks like this, but it's believable enough as an attack boat of the future, colours aside. The only real break in the hull is the back, but then you're not going to display this guy stern forward anyway.
This is a pretty good boat mode, and the boat mode itself makes Mirage pretty unusual amongst Transformer. The name is horribly inappropriate, not least because the original toy looks nothing like this. The colours are a bit of a mess, tampering my enthusiasm for what could have been a great boat.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Complex. The bow of the boat unfolds into backpack and side-plates, while the stern ends up becoming most of the robot itself. The head and legs are tucked underneath the stern, the arms are the top of the bridge while the bridge itself becomes his chest. The bow panels end up on his forearms. Far too complex to explain here, and trickier going the other way since you have to fold the arms just right.
Height: 18.5cm Width: 15cm
The cobalt blue that was very prominent on the boat is now limited to the wings on his arms. The arms and legs are a mix of purple and grey while his torso is black. There are gold highlights here and there and the head is black with a gold face, purple forehead and dark green eyes. The wings now hang off his forearms, giving him wrist launchers. The Decepticon symbol and spark crystal are now on his chest, the bridge is his waist. The yellow has mostly retreated to his backpack. The colour scheme is still a bit of a mess, but it's better than those of his boat mode, if only for the co-ordinated greys and purples of his limbs.
Well proportioned with a tall crown-like forehead, Mirage looks powerful with the launchers hanging off his forearms. You can extend the wings on his forearms if you like, and the deck launchers can also deploy overhead. The wings don't really add anything other than width but the overhead missilerack looks awesome - it's meant to be a powered-up mode thing, but I'd recommend deploying them as standard, since the pop-out rack trick doesn't really bring any play value now.
Ignoring the various weaponry Mirage has twenty-four points of articulation, which is pretty impressive. What really impresses me is that most of it is useful, thanks to the bow-panels which hang off his waist and can act as stabilisers. The head and waist turn, there are two joints per shoulder, _four_ per elbow, two per knee and hip and hinged ankles (with useful heelspurs). The button on his back can activate the firing sound and all four launchers are usable in this robot, making for a very playable robot mode. The rotators in his knees pop out very easily, while the hip joints are unnecessarily tight, which severely hampers the effective poseability in the legs.
The face is very dark, which is appropriate for a Decepticon which such a menacing arsenal. The torso is a weird fusion of panels, including the electronics pack, but it comes together reasonably well aside from the yellow back. The giant bow panels hanging off his waist are big and kibbly, but from the front they don't really detract and help make him stable. The purple missiles on these panels are a non-event now, but then with the kick-ass overhead missile launchers, that's no loss.
A well done robot mode with better colours than the boat mode. There's a lot of play value here but the dodgy knees hold the poseability quite a bit. A good looking toy with a lot of options, yet the dynamic play value is far more limited than it should be. It's a shame really, since the potential here is obvious.
None that I'm aware of, but Dreadwing and BotCon 2009 Banzai-Tron are repaints of Mirage.
Mirage is a really good idea, and there are few Transformer boats out there, which is enough to make him interesting. For the most part he's a well engineered toy, but the knees and the colours really hold back what should be a good toy. Mirage isn't a bad toy, but the flaws are annoyingly unnecessary. If the idea appeals to you, I'd recommend Dreadwing instead. Either way the mould is recommended to fans of the Armada/Energon lines - 7/10