It seems like forever since my last Transformers Thursday and that’s because holidays and other real life nonsense got in the way the last couple of weeks. Today I’m trying to get things back on track and I decided to dig deep into the glorious TOTE OF C.H.U.G. to see what I could draw forth. After a couple of tries getting figures I already covered, I finally wound up with Classics Mirage. Excellent! The packaging was thrown away sometime back in 2006, so let’s get started with his alt mode!
I have a special fondness in my heart for the original Hasbro toy. For some reason I could never get him in the stores, but my friend had him and I worked out a trade for some odds and ends from my own toys. I think he got my Clash of the Titans Perseus and Pegasus out of the deal. I loved Mirage in the cartoon and I thought the vintage toy was fantastic, so I was willing to do whatever needed to be done to get him. Keeping true to his G1 origins, Classics Mirage is a blue and white Formula-1 racer and a pretty good one at that. He’s sleeker than the original car mode with better contours and he’s just all around less stocky. He also has a fully enclosed translucent blue canopy.
While the sculpt is certainly detailed enough, it’s all the paint and tampos that make this car really shine in my eyes. Mirage is sporting his familiar racing number “26” on the front and sides as well as other markings like, “F.P. Racing” and the lovely “Whitwicky Sparkplugs” on the spoiler. The blue and white deco looks great and there’s a little silver paint thrown in on the front axle and suspension. And you also get that rub sign with the retro goodness baked right in.
Mirage has one of the more unique transformations of the Classics line and it results in what is easily the most creative re-imagining of a G1 character in Classics. Some may take issue with the fact that the front of the car is removed and re-purposed as a gun, but I’d hardly call it parts-forming. I’ll be honest, I hated this figure when I first got it all those years ago and I regarded it as the black sheep of my Classics collection. But, I chalk that up to being younger and foolish. Sure, I do wish the designers could have bulked out the torso a little bit more, but either way when I pick up this figure today I find myself having a whole lot of affection for it. Maybe a hinge and swivel to move those wheels from behind his head and relocate them to bulk out his torso would have been cool, but as it stands, I’ve certainly grown to love him.
Classics Mirage is lanky and possibly a wee bit creepy in his proportions and I think that’s kind of neat. He served the Autobots in the capacity of spy, so it seems appropriate that he should be slight of build and super agile looking. I can still understand my reluctance to embrace this guy. He’s a far cry from the boxy G1 Transformers we all know and love, and Classics was, after all, meant to be a love letter to the fans of those days. Had the engineering focused more on tweaking what the original toy offered, I think we could have gotten something more familiar, but then we would have also lost this really distinctive looking robot. The head sculpt, as tiny as it is, is pretty fantastic. They definitely nailed Mirage’s G1 look and even though the head sits in the middle of the torso it still features a nice degree of articulation.
Speaking of articulation… what’s also cool about Mirage is that despite his weird proportions, he’s wonderfully solid action figure and tons of fun to play with. The arms feature ball jointed shoulders and double hinged elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and the feet are ball jointed. He has a ball joint in his neck and he can even swivel at that tiny waist of his.
Mirage’s gun is possibly a bit of a reach. It’s pretty obvious that it’s the front of the car and there’s nothing about it that harkens back to the original toy’s gun, which is a shame, but it still works fine to me. Honestly, I find the absence of his shoulder rocket a lot more conspicuous than the new gun design.
I have no memory of how this figure was received back in the day, but I can remember being tempted to unload mine on Ebay a few times and I’m sure glad I didn’t as he’s become one of my favorite figures in the Classics line. He’s certainly aged better than the Classics Datsun mold. This guy has been repainted by both Hasbro and Takara more than a few times, and it still bugs me that I don’t own the Dragstrip version because I think it works really well as that character. In the meantime, playing around with Classics Mirage made me realize how badly I want a Masterpiece version of this guy, but I reckon Hound is still number one on my MP want list.