It’s Transformers Thursday again and as promised last week I’m back with a look at the Commander of my Sharkticons, Mirage. If you missed last week’s TFT, I gassed on about how I army built Energon Sharkticon and gave them to this guy as his own private armada. Basically, the Energon Sharkticons are the Sweeps to Mirage’s Scourge! But wait… Mirage? Mirage??? I’m usually fine with Hasbro recycling names of Transformers for the various series, but this instance just bugs me. To me, Mirage will forever be an Autobot Formula-1 racecar and taking that name for a Decepticon attack ship is something that I just can’t wrap my G1 head around. It’s too much of a leap. He was repainted later on as Dreadwing and that’s the name I tend to use for him. Anyway, let’s jump right in and check out his alt mode.
Mirage is a vicious looking warship. I don’t know what you’d classify him as, but he strikes me as a swift moving hit-and-run attack craft. Amidst the countless numbers of cars and jets, there aren’t a hell of a lot of seafaring Transformers so I’m always nice to get a new one. Mirage features an enclosed cockpit area and blade-like fins coming off the front and back of his hull. The front fins each hold two bombs (or maybe torpedoes?), which can detach. For additional firepower, he has two missile launchers mounted toward the back and two more on the front deck. The back launchers can fold out on wings and the front ones can pop up on a clear spring-loaded framework. I like to think that the folding rear wings make Mirage pretty suitable for use as a space faring ship as well as a sea craft.
The deco here is all over the place. There’s dark blue, light blue, orange, gold, grey, it’s just a crazy mix of colors that compliments the equally crazy colored Sharkticons fairly well. In terms of overall aesthetics, Dreadwing has a much better and more uniform paint job, but as the commander of my Sharkticon army, Mirage’s deco works just fine.
Mirage’s transformation can be a bit of a pill. It’s fairly complex and there are a lot of moving plates on ball jointed arms that have to be positioned just right. Things tend to flop around all over the place and if you don’t know what you’re doing it can be a disaster. The two halves of his hull also tend to get in the way and a lot of times I’ll just pop them out of the ball joints and set them aside until I’m done. If I haven’t picked this figure up in a while, it’s not uncommon for me to become frustrated with nothing but a half-transformed mess in my hands. It takes some fiddling, but eventually I get there.
Mirage’s robot mode is 100% Cybertron-Grade-A bad ass. The cockpit area of the ship forms a broad, boxy chest with a socket for an Energon chip dead center. It contrasts nicely with the sculpted organic contours of his legs. It’s a hybrid style aesthetic that reminds me a lot of the original G1 Transformers movie and I really dig it. The proportions are excellent, so much so that even his sizeable backpack doesn’t feel out of place or weigh him down. The side panels that make up his alt mode’s hull are left on double ball jointed arms so there’s a lot you can do with them to customize their look. I have seen some collectors that like to display him with these panels up, but I prefer to sweep them back like wings. That keeps them fairly out of the way and it also stabilizes him really well when standing.
Mirage’s head sculpt is mighty distinctive and definitely not very humanoid. I do get a vague nautical vibe off of it and while the helmet is completely different, he still reminds me a bit of Beast Wars Depth Charge. In retrospect, that would have made a better name for him than Mirage. Either way, this guy’s portrait ranks up there as one of my favorite Energon head sculpts. It also features some very effective light piping too!
The only real issues I have with this guy are the large panels that make up his arm launchers. From certain angles they look just fine, but it’s still hard to ignore the major kibble hanging off his arms. I think what frustrates me the most about these is that they could have probably been fixed with the addition of one extra hinge on each plate. It almost looks like that was the original design plan but it didn’t cost out at the end. Ah well, it’s not a deal breaker for me and I suppose he can use them as shields. The deck launchers that now reside on Mirage’s backpack can still be deployed by the push of a button and they angle straight over his head and shoulders. It’s cool that the design enables them to be used in robot mode, but they don’t rest evenly so they don’t look all that great. The one on his left is rather droopy.
I think Mirage’s deco improves a lot in his robot mode. The blue and orange parts are mostly confined to his back giving him a more cohesive black, purple and gold motif with the grey bits landing mostly on his limbs. Again, I think it makes for a pretty nice match with the Sharkticons. Also, that sculpted Decepticon emblem on his chest is pure money. I was going to dig out Dreadwing and take a look at his deco, but sadly I ran out of time, so I’ll have to save him for another Thursday.
Mirage and Dreadwing represent many of the things that I loved about the Energon line. The mold has an imaginative and unusual alt mode and an absolutely bitchin’ robot mode. Above all, it’s a well-designed toy that only stumbles a bit in the floppy and confusing nature of the transformation along with some shell-former shenanigans. Nonetheless, this is a figure that represents Hasbro designers willing to think outside the box and the result is a truly unique figure that stands out as something very cool and very different. I still hate the name, but he’ll always have a place on my Transformers display shelves.
Next Thursday I’ll keep the nautical Decepticon theme rolling for one more week with a look at Cybertron Thunderblast!