[Click to see the original commercial]

The largest of Tomy's Ideon range was the Miracle Combination Ideon figure - having used up the 'DX' designation on a 5" non-transforming figure, I guess they had to go for something melodramatic to hawk the 12" version that probably cost an arm and a leg even at the time... Again, I've no idea if 'Miracle Combination' was a planned name for the docking sequence in the anime, or if Tomy just made it up. I'm leaning towards the latter, seeing as each of their Ideon figures I have to date has reliably added at least one feature that seems to have been invented on the spot...

The Miracle Combination figure was the only Tomy figure to be able to form all three configurations shown in the cartoon - the Sol-* trucks, the Ideo-* jets and the Ideon itself. They did make a smaller combining version, the Scramble Combination Ideon, but this could only form the Ideo-* jets. The Miracle Combination figure was sold as three individual vehicles, or a giftset containing all three (the latter is most commonly spotted - God knows how few kids actually went out and bought just the Ideo-Nova...).

Now, I was really in two minds as to whether to review this figure at all... A complete Miracle Combination Ideon will set you back something like £300-400... I opted to get a semi-complete one for around a quarter of that. In addition to the peripheral sword and missiles, mine is missing the cockpit sections for the Sol-Vainer/Ideo-Nova and Sol-Conver/Ideo-Buster sections, so that's why some of the pictures are a bit... weird. So, many thanks to the excellent fanmode.net for making me aware of this link , which leads to a pretty thorough set of pictures of a complete version =)

The figure incorporates a rather interesting spring-loaded system, as seen in the commercial linked above. I've had several spring-loaded figures, from the Transformers Jumpstarters to the Machine Robo Winner Robo, but I don't think I've ever seen such a large figure with quite such a through implementation of the system.

Firstly of the three units there's the 'A Mecha' section. This is the only one of the vehicles I have that's pretty much complete (I don't have the missiles that can be fired from it). The Sol-Amber mode isn't bad, actually - very chunky, but recognisable (Hell, even the Soul of Chogokin version was hunchbacked). The tracks are moulded, but castors are set in the bottom so it can move along. The biggest blemish are the white plastic nosecone halves for the Ideo-Delta clearly visible on the underside.

Now comes the cool part - pushing the yellow buttons above the tracks forwards causes the launchers to spring back and unfold, revealing the engines and wings of the Ideo-Delta. You have to manually unfold the nosecone and raise the tail fins, and it doesn't look like it would wear well (though mine is 25 years old and looks like a played-with example...). The aesthetics aren't quite there either - the jet still has a big hump (to the point where the tail fins may well sit outside of the airflow...), the hollow hear section and the floor under the jets, but it is undeniably a fun gimmick.

Secondly is the 'B Mecha'. This one probably suffers more from missing its' nose than the 'C Mecha', as in Sol-Vainer mode it really is just the Ideon's upper torso. The cab section is actually quite a large part - and one Hell of a cheat, if I'm being harsh.

Pressing the white button at the back causes the box to spring open, revealing vague approximations of the Ideo-Nova's radar-type array thing (you know, the bit that always got blown off whenever the thing took a kicking and the forward missile launcher (though this does end up pointing at 45°). The chromed bits on the side I guess are meant to be the two big Glen Cannons. Less said about that the better.

Without the cockpit the 'C Mecha' looks weird again, but not quite as bad - it would probably form about the front third of the 'B Mecha', but here it's probably only about a sixth of the length. And in Sol-Vainer mode you can kind of imagine something being in that recess. Or I can, anyway, and it's my toy. With the robot's lower legs and feet one solid block, this is more stable than the Soul of Chogokin version, at any rate.

Pressing the yellow button on the top causes the robot legs to pop out, and pressing it again flips them to the sides to form the rear half of the Ideo-Buster, with the rear wings popping out as part of the motion. The front wings have to be folded down manually, but it's still a shamelessly fun gimmick. Click-chunk! Changing double action!

The combination itself (you know, the Miracle Combination) is rather well done as well. Considering the age of the toy (and Tomy's track record with such things) it's a passable imitation of the onscreen version, and it can be formed fairly easily from either the truck or jet modes. A further yellow catch on the underside of the 'A Mecha' splits the vehicle in half (well, sort of - there is a massive black plate holding the arms together... though this does go some way to banishing memories of all those bits where they'd fly around with just a head and arms while biffing Buff Clan mecha). The 'B Mecha' just folds back into Sol-Vainer mode, with the cab coming off if you're one of those fancy dans who has that part, and clips onto the aforementioned black plate. Then, if you're a completist whore (bitter? me? ), remove the cab from the Ideo-Buster, fold the legs inwards (or extend them by pressing the button once lightly if it was in Sol-Conver mode, add the fists and extent the antennae. Hey presto, Ideon. It takes a little while to get used to, and the Ideo-Delta wings have a habit of popping out of the forearms, but it is quite good fun to do.

The Ideon stands an impressive 11.5" tall, just a fraction shorter than the Soul of Chogokin figure. It does bear a fair resemblance to the onscreen robot, albeit with the usual Tomy variations. Again, the interesting thing is it doesn't look much like Tomy's other Ideons. Once again there's a new head design, a somewhat simplified version with more emphasis on the face, though I do like the little yellow antennae. Because of the composition of the figure, it is covered by flashes of colour - yellow on the chest (from the Ideo-Nova's radar array), white on the arms (from the Ideo-Delta's wings) and blue on the hips and shins (from the Ideo-Buster's wings)... While this does little for accuracy, aesthetically it breaks up the figure a fair bit, and if you've just bought your fourth or fifth version of the Ideon and are a bit mad, makes for a bit of variety.

The proportions are actually fairly solid. The only problem is a recurring one for Tomy, that of rather small thighs. That said, they do seem to extend another half inch, but the weight of the top half of the figure on the springs pushes them down, Not sure if this is bad design or just wear and tear on my example.

Articulation is minimal - we're basically talking the shoulders. The head and legs are solid, and while the elbows are jointed they're connected by springs and just tend to hang there. On my example, this sadly means while you can't actually bend the elbows, you can't have the arms straight either, as the springs tend to leave them bend at about 15°. The robot can fire its' fists (via the very fragile tabs on the outsides of the wrists) or hold the sword that I don't have, and that really is about it. It doesn't look bad, but most of the play value is in the combination sequence.

Durability and construction isn't the best. Presumably so the spring loaded parts are workable, diecast is limited to the ribs, front of the waist and the tops of the upper arms, everything else being plastic. There's probably more metal on the DX version. Judging by the pint chips and general wear to mine, this one has survived twenty-odd years of play, but the whole thing just feels very fragile. With so many connections, springs and bits of weak plastic, this figure is best handled with care. God knows what those springs might end up doing, even with careful care. Still, I'm not locking the thing away or anything, so we'll see how we go...

The Miracle Combination Ideon is probably the best of the Tomy figures, for what that's worth (don't get me wrong, I like the Tomy Ideons, I'm just not sure why...). It's interesting, has a very unusual set of transformation sequences, and looks good on the shelf. If they could regularly be found in good, complete condition for £75-100, I'd probably heartily recommend him to toy robot fans for a bit of variety and a nice chunky 1980s-styled version of the Ideon. At four time that I'd be hesitant, really - it's a lot of money to pay for an interesting but flawed figure. Dispassionately, the Soul of Chogokin version does everything better and is much better value for money. The Miracle Combination has charm, but probably not enough to justify its' price tag.