Cliffbee.com: Alternator Mirage Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Mirage
Series: Alternators
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Counter Intelligence
Alternate Mode: Fort GT

Thanks to Pulse for loaning me Mirage for this review



CAR MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 19cm Width: 9cm

   A dark metallic blue sports car with black tyres, silver hubcaps and transparent windows with black seals, Mirage has twin white racing stripes running down the top, a small blue Ford badge on the hood and a black grille at the front. There are twin white pinstripes along the bottom of the sides, which sport the word "FORD GT" on the doors themselves. While the blue is notably darker than that seen on the G1 Mirage, the idea still works well enough as Mirage. The colours here look classy anyway, and the use of metallic plastic is a welcome change to some of the tacky plastics used on many Alternators.

   Mirage sports the excellent detailing typical of the Alternators line. The headlights are silver with orange indicators while the taillights and rear indicators are transparent. There's a white license plate at the back reading, "MICHIGAN" and "GREAT LAKES" above and below "MIRAGE" - all in white lettering. There's a silver petrol cap on the right side of the hood and chrome side mirrors. There are black brakepads nestled inside the wheels, which sport rubber tyres.

   Inside the cabin Mirage has black seats, a stickshift, a black steering wheel (LHD, being an American model) and some silver vents and meters on the dashboard. There's also a handbrake if you look closely. There are some vents on the front of the dashboard, which are partially hidden by the black wipers on the windshield.

   Mirage has his share of play value here, although not as much as on many Alternators. The doors open, the wheels spin and there's a fairly weak fake rack-and-pinion mechanism in the front wheels. The hood doesn't open although we can actually see the silver engine underneath the rear window. The lower level of play value does give away this mould's heritage as an Alternator concept. You can actually lift up the rear to reveal the small engine, although it also shows up the robot feet, which detracts a little (although it works better than on other versions of this mould).

   Mouldwise, Mirage is of a slightly lower standard to most Alternators, but the excellent colouring makes up for that. This plastic toy wouldn't look out of place amongst the higher quality die-cast Binaltech vehicles - weight aside. The detailing is good and the plastic is much better than on the majority of Alternators - this is the most impressive Alternator vehicle mode I've seen, despite slight limitations compared to the earlier moulds.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I won't go through everything, since it's quite complex. The front fenders become his shoulderpads, the hood becomes the chest while the arms fold out from underneath - the most common BT trick. The rear fenders become his legs with the tyres on the front of his shins and the rear end becomes kneecaps. The engine splits to form two small handguns, the doors hang off the back of the shoulderpads while the roof and top rear section fold up on his back.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17.5cm Width: 12cm

   Mirage has more white now, along with some mid blue on various connecting pieces. Having said that, the dark metallic blue is still dominant. The centre of his torso and feet are black, while the hands, groin and elbows are mid blue. The stripe is limited to his chestplate. The thighs, guns and arms are white while the face and antennae are painted silver. The racing stripe is quite prominent on his chest, and there are some visible car details on his knees and shins, including his name on the license plate. The colour scheme again works well as Mirage, especially with the mid blue now in the mix. The designer has done a good job of making a fairly generic mould as much about Mirage as possible.

   The overall layout still feels more like a Binaltech than some of the later Alternators, which I appreciate. The face is nice and detailed, even if it doesn't really yell "Mirage" - although the colours help in that respect. The layout is quite attractive and there are some coincidental similarities to his G1 layout such as the fenders as arms and the central chestplate being the car front folded over. The chestplate doesn't really stay in place too well, which is annoying if not a major issue. It won't fall off or anything, but it just sort of rests against two black panels on either side, rather than clipping into place.

   The poseability is pretty much what you'd expect of a Binaltech. His head and waist turn, the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows are hinged with rotators above them. The wrists are ball jointed while the index fingers are hinged with the rest hinged as one, allowing him to grip his guns. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees are hinged with rotators. His ankles are tight ball joints with useful blue heelspurs at the back (these can be tricky to get out during transformation). The small guns look pretty lame, in truth - they're too small and look forced - especially the smaller of the two, which is best stowed on the calf. The shoulders don't quite play as well as they should, and the chestplate will flop around as you pose the arms.

   Again, Mirage isn't quite at the level of most Binaltechs, but he still manages to avoid that simple, static, feel of the later Aternators. There are some design flaws which hold this mode back - the chest bugs me considerably and the shoulders are a little off. The designer has done a fairly good job of making this somewhat generic robot mode into Mirage, to the point where this robot won't look out of place next to earlier characters in the line.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. TakaraTomy picked up the idea and did a transparent BT Mirage. The mould was also used for Kissplay Rodimus and Alternator Rodimus (Hot Rod).

OVERALL

   With a great vehicle mode, a nice robot mode and colours which tread the fine line between G1 Mirage and a more likely colour scheme for this vehicle, Mirage displays a focus not seen on many Alternators. The plastic is good, the paint job is good and the mid blue on the robot mode is a nice touch. There are some design elements which aren't quite up to the standard of Binaltech, such as the crappy gun and the loose chestplate. The robot mode carries most of the shortcomings, so his vehicle mode is the stronger mode, but Mirage works in both modes. While I'd say this one is about on par with the transparent Binaltech version, it's far more accessible (ie cheaper), so I'd recommend this one first - 8.5/10

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