Cliffbee.com: Machine Wars Mirage Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Mirage
Series: Machine Wars
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Spy
Alternate Mode: F-1 Racer



RACER MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 11cm Width: 5cm

   A dullish menthol green formula one racer with a white central stripe, mirage has black tyres and unpainted hubcaps. No longer number 26, he's now sports a yellow "7" on the front, which is on a big red circular sticker. He sports some random advertisers' decals on the sides, of varying colours. None of them really add much, and along with the red spot, the overall effect is haphazard. The colours aren't terribly inspiring, and while it's a close facsimile of Mirage, it doesn't quite work since it's green not blue, and he really needs more white. He does, however, sport his name in white on the spoiler, so there is no doubt that this guy _is_ meant to be Mirage.

   There's a small black seat back in the open cockpit, which is it's own piece of plastic, although there doesn't seem to be any need for this piece. Still, it's nice they bothered putting it in. Along with the moulded steering wheel inside, this means the cockpit has more detail than the original.

   There's not much play value in this mode - the wheels roll and that's it. The good news is that the front wheels are on an axle and all four wheels roll freely. I don't expect much more of a formula one racer than rolling wheels, so the fact that Mirage rolls well is enough for me. So he loses rubber tyres, but rolls a lot better. I guess we could ask for his gun to attach in this mode, but that would involve there being a hole somewhere on the toy, which would have meant a mixed blessing. The fact that the gun stows was pretty novel for the time, so I'm happy.

   It's a simple vehicle mode, but it does what it has to do, so mouldwise I can't really complain. There are some improvements in the detail of the mould, compared to the original, but then this toy has 15 years of toy technology advantage. The colour scheme isn't quite close enough to the original for me to really warm to it - and the red and yellow number sticker is just plain dumb.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   In theory, lift the tail and Mirage will transform himself thanks to internal springs. In reality you have to adjust his limbs a little as well - mainly for stable posing. It's about as close as you're going to get with an auto-transform on a poseable toy, mind you. His gun comes in two halves, one inside each shin. Remove the weapon, assemble and place in his hand.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10cm Width: 7.5cm

   Again largely menthol green with the white stripe of the car mode now on his chest, Mirage sports a bright white head with silver eyes and a silver section behind his head (abandoned lightpipe). The tyres hanging off his waist and ankles are the only other non-green parts of this robot. The colours don't really correspond to the G1 layout, and not just because there's no silver - the G1 toy actually had colour on it's limbs whereas this toy's limbs are all green. The front heels were behind the shoulders in G1, so the black tyres on his waist stand out - the cost of having an axle. His head has a pretty complex sculpt, but it's largely lost amongst the bright white plastic. The lightpipe gimmick would have probably been drowned out by the plastic too, had they actually given him one. I dislike this colour scheme, not because of poor G1 comparisons, but because there's so much green, a bright white head that doesn't really belong and that stupid red dot is now on his chest.

   Mirage has pretty good articulation - his neck, shoulders, hips and elbows are ball joints while his knees are hinged. The airdam forms his groin, and hangs over his thighs limiting his hips while the front wheels sit wider than his shoulders, limiting the arms. The hip restrictions bother me a little, since a lot of poses are ruled out. The tyres don't bother me so much, since they really only prevent the arms from resting at his sides, and I can deal with having to put Mirage in action poses.

   You can remove the front half of the rifle, leaving Mirage with a small green pistol, and both configurations look cool. I'm really impressed by the dual-section guns that Machine Wars brought us, and it's probably one of Mirage's best assets.

   The airdam and tyres getting in his way are the only substantial flaws in the robot mould engineering, but neither are enough to ruin it. The colour scheme does that - and it's frustrating because a little white paint on the arms and legs would have made it better - and more like the original Mirage toy. The articulation is meaningful and the gun is fun, so it's still a fun toy to play with.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although he was released concurrently with Prowl, who uses the same mould. Skid-Z of RiD and Liger of Robotmasters (who is the same character) are later repaints of this mould.

OVERALL

   A good mould with some minor flaws, but a lazy colour scheme really drags it down. To be fair, it's better than that of Prowl, but really should have been more like G1 Mirage's. While it's a mould I recommend, I'd recommend Liger or, failing that, Skid-Z instead - 5.5/10

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