Series: Generation 1 Who and what I am I hide from the enemy.
Categories: Autobot Car
Mirage is not thrilled about being an Autobot freedom fighter. Prefers hunting turbofoxes on Cybertron with his high-priced friends. Effective fighter, more effective intelligence gatherer. Electro-disrupter can cast illusions altering his physical placement and appearance for up to 6 minutes. Expert marksman with armor-piercing rocket-dart hunting rifle. Unsure of Autobot cause... can't be fully trusted.
Mirage has that typical, hard-to-describe look of the early Generation 1 Transformers. He's not particularly tall (slightly larger than one of today's Scout-class figures), rather boxy, and several metal and chromed parts are in evidence. His robot mode, which is pretty much secondary to a realistic vehicle mode, leaves no doubt what kind of car he transforms into. Much of his detailing is done via stickers and one has to respect the fact that most of them still look good 25 years after being applied.
Mirage is actually one of the more posable robots from the early days of Generation 1. His lower body is immobile, but he can twist at the hip (a transformation requirement), bend his arms at the shoulders and elbows, and can twist his wrists as well. Pretty good for a 'bot from '84. His weaponry is also nothing to sneeze at. He carries a silver rifle, as well as a black missile launcher that snaps onto his shoulder wheels. Mirage includes three silver missiles for his launcher (spares for the inevitable loss of small parts).
There is very little bad I can say about Mirage in robot mode. He bears a rather strong resemblance to the character we saw on TV, he is relatively posable, nicely detailed, and well armed. His only flaws are those he shares with pretty much all the Transformers from this time.
Mirage transforms into a JS-11 F1 racing car. He carries labels for the French oil company Elf (since merged into the larger company TotalFinaElf) and Citanes (likely meant to be Gitanes, a French cigarette company). Ligier, which is Mirage's Japanese name, is also the name of the company that built the JS-11 chassis, by the way. There is not a whole lot I can write about the actual car. It looks good and, as far as I can tell, relatively realistic (I'm not an F1-fan). I think today's F1 racers are less boxy than this one here, but he's an 80s model. No gimmicks to the actual car, but remember: In those early days, transforming into a vehicle WAS the gimmick. So no complaints here, a nice, solid car mode.
There are several reasons why Mirage, both as a character and as a toy, is among the more interesting G1 Transformers. Let's start with the character. In the cartoon Mirage almost single-handedly saved the day in the "More than Meets the Eye" pilot episode by sneaking aboard the Decepticon space cruiser and sabotaging it before it could leave the Earth. In a later episode he was accused of being a traitor, but actually managed to pit the Decepticons and Insecticons against each other to the Autobots' benefit. In the Marvel comics Mirage never had a big part, but he recently had a much larger one in IDW's All Hail Megatron series, where he was once again considered the prime suspect for an Autobot traitor.
The toy version of Mirage, like all early G1 toys a repurposed Diaclone figure, was available in (US-)stores 1984 and 1985 and also available by mail order in 1986 through 1988. He was later reissued in Europe in 1991. This was his last official reissue, though, as Hasbro and Takara have since issued statements saying that the Mirage mold was lost and/or destroyed. There have been multiple knock-offs since then, but the odds of Mirage making an appearance in the Encore series or any other G1 reissue line-up are pretty slim.
I got Mirage as a Christmas present from my wife, bringing me one step closer to completion of my line-up of the original Ark crew. Mirage might not be an outstanding toy by any definition, but he is a very good example of everything that was cool about that first wave of Transformers figures way back when. So if you're an upstanding G1-fanatic such as myself, this one here is pretty much a must-have. And even if you're not, if you ever happen to see a G1 Mirage for a reasonable price, you should snatch it up.