Robotmasters Toy Review: Rijie

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Robotmasters

Robotmasters Transformers

General Information:
Release Year: July 2004
Retailer: Japanese exclusive
Price: $15 (Depending on Import Retailer)
Accessories: Rifle, Gun


Way back in 1997, Beast Wars was all the rage but vehicular Transformers had not been completely forgotten. A small line of
Kay Bee exclusive Transformers popped up on the radar known as Machine Wars consisting of four new molds and four redecos of molds from European Transformers. One of the new molds was a race car used for both Mirage and Prowl in that line. Years later, the mold would be used again for the character of Indy Heat and Super Indy Heat in the Car Robots line. He would later be used again as Skid-Z in Robots in Disguise.

Through all these incarnations, it was always clear from the beginning by the toy's design that he was meant to be Mirage, based off the classic Generation One character. Aside from being an F-1 race car, the head sculpt for the toy was a spot on likeness of the character's look in the animated series. In its sixth incarnation, this mold finally comes full circle as Rijie, the Japanese name for Mirage - in Mirage colors to boot!

Tech Specs (Translated by Doug Dlin):
Function: Spy

Profile: One of the senior Cybertrons who awakened on Earth with G1 Convoy. Wields an electro-disruptor and is able to make himself vanish, but only for six minutes. An excellent marksman, this warrior is deeply trusted by G1 Convoy.

Weapon(s): Molecular Bonding Gun, JS Laser Gun, Electro-disruptor

Rank: 7 Power: 6 Defense: 7 Stamina: 8 Speed: 9

*Note: The proper translated name is indeed Ligier, the name of the team that built the car the original Mirage toy represented (which Rijie is based on). However, to keep consistant with the toy packaging the toy will be referred to as Rijie.

Robot Mode:
Rijie is packaged in robot mode, so that's where this review will start. In terms of size class, this is a basic sized toy. When originally released in 1997 (ans presumably, conceived of in 1996), this type of basic was intended to introduce a Transformer with three different design elements in one toy: spring loaded transformation, homage to a classic character and posability. The robot mode is of course meant to reflect the latter two elements.

No matter how he has been animated or deco'd over the past few years, this mold is still completely recognizable as Mirage. His face has the familiar crest with "vents" on the sides of the humanoid looking face. Add to that the distinctive F-1 racer front becoming his chest and you have a recipe for a Mirage toy. There isn't an overwhelming amount of detail here, and that's to be expected. The face is very well sculpted, and it's good to see after so many uses of the mold that it isn't degrading in any way. The lines are still crisp and sharp on details such as the face or the tech details on his legs.

Of course, at the end of the day - the color scheme can make or break a toy. In this case, the color scheme is a homage to the classic Mirage's colors: blue and white with some silver tossed in for good measure. It'd be wrong to say that this was the first time this color scheme was attempted. The Car Robots
Super Indy Heat toy attempted to use this scheme too, but it chose a lighter blue and was translucent. This time around, a more solid (leaning towards darker) blue was used and the toy isn't translucent. White and silver make up details such as lines on the arm (with the Robotmasters logo in white too) while
silver can be found on the legs and face, used sparingly and thus effectively. An Autobot symbol is painted onto the chest right above the number 26, the same number that graced G1 Mirage's body.

Aside from deco, one thing that differentiates this version of the toy from the others is the inclusion of an extra weapon. Aside from his rifle (all blue in this toy), he has a second rifle, a new design that looks like a long rifle with a clip at the end. The weapon is vacuum metallized silver,however what's interesting is the plastic that silver is placed over. Basically the plastic itself is translucent green. You can tell by the handle, which has been left bare. I sort of wish they had left this translucent green instead of putting the silver on it. The silver looks a bit "knock off toy-ish" while having just the translucent green would have had a nice "Energon Weapon" feel to it.

Rijie has nine points of articulation, which is quite a bit for a basic figure of the time. These include two points of articulation on each arm and leg.

Rijie's robot mode is a great way to make a new, yet simple version of a classic character. I've always liked this mold and nothing's changed.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons from Rijie's hands.
  2. Split the blue rifle in half.
  3. Place the half of the gun with the handle into the inner, right lower leg.
  4. Place the barrel half of the gun into the inner, left lower leg.
  5. Push the two legs together.
  6. Straighten out the arms to the sides.
  7. Pull the spoiler back and snap it into place.

Vehicle Mode:
For all you folks who love keeping track of variants, it seems the Machine Wars Mirage mold has been altered permanently. The copyright information on the underside of this toy reads "© 2000 Hasbro Inc. All Rights Reserved © TX/NAS © Takara 2000 Made in China". This suggests that this was modified for its Car Robots/Robots in Disguise release since the Machine Wars line was released back in 1997.

Appropriately, Rijie's vehicle mode is an F-1 race car, though a slightly different one than his original G1 form. Still, the basic sleek shape of any F-1 racer is enough to qualify as a potential Mirage-inspired vehicle mode, and this one does nicely. Again, most of this form is blue and white. The white is used nicely here, running a line down the center of the vehicle, and also being used on the sides for trim and the letters/numbers "RM-03" (his designation in the line). On the top of the spoiler and in front of the driver's area we have some silver. On top of the spoiler it says "Robotmasters RM-03". All four tires are black with silver on the sides.

Sometimes simplicity works, and here it does just that. There aren't any crazy deco patterns or other such details on Rijie, just the bare minimum of what you'd expect.

Final Thoughts:
I've always liked this toy sculpt/mold - and it is about darn time that it finally received the deco it should have had way back in 1997. The inclusion of the extra weapon is a plus, but if you already own this mold several times over, you may not be inclined to do so again. Basically if you're a huge G1 enthusiast or a completist, this guy's for you. Me? I fall into both categories!