Rijie was issued in August 2004 as one of the initial RobotMasters figures, coded RM-03. The figure was a recolour of a 1996 Machine Wars Basic. It was initially issued as Mirage and Prowl. Four years later, Takara recoloured the figure as Indy Heat for the Car Robots line. Later that year, another recoloured version, Super Indy Heat, exclusive to Jusco. The original Indy Heat was modified slightly and issued as Skid-Z in a double-pack for the American Robots in Disguise line, in a double-pack with Wind Sheer.

The RobotMasters recolour was clearly based on the 1984 Mirage. This figure was issued in Japan in 1985 as Ligier - named after the type of Formula One car the figure was based on. However, by 2003 Takara couldn't sneak this one past the copyright people, and thus altered the name slightly. Apparently pronunciation is the same in Japanese, so it doesn't actually matter.


Rijie's alt mode looks splendid. The colour scheme is superb, like the original Mirage, but much sharper thanks to a deeper shade of blue. It's a nice, sturdy model of an Indycar. Detail's a bit low, but this doesn't really detract.

I'm generally not a fan of line branding on figures - one of Takara's recent penchants means the toy code and line are plastered on the side and rear wing, but it's not too bad here. Shame Takara couldn't use a little imagination even if Gitanes branding was out of the question - y'know, make something up like toy car companies do all the time; this isn't Binaltech, we're not going to all compare them to real racing cars, and it's better than having a toyline name on the sidepod.


Unlike the Machine Wars jets, the "flip-change" transformation gimmick (by just unlocking the rear wing, the car automatically folds into the robot mode) works nicely, and doesn't feel like cheating. The robot mode looks awesome. The colour scheme meshes perfectly, with some fine detail work. It looks like Mirage always should have done, and it's amazing how much the head looks like the 1984 character after just a new lick of paint.

The articulation is excellent, especially for a mould pushing twelve years old, and Rijie can run a full sequence of cool poses. The weapons storage is also neat, and the new weapon looks very good indeed (though I tend to leave it off due to the lack of alt-mode storage). Rijie is fairly durable too - the only real weak point would be the shoulders, with the elbows and hips using ball-joints, and the knees seeming very sturdy. The weakest bit's probably the handle of the new additional gun.


Rijie is an absolutely superb figure. He looks great in either mode, a wonderful figure with a classic colour-scheme. This is one to pick up while it's still around. Rijie can be found at a decent price both on ebay and other online retailers, and is highly recommended as a small display figure, or something simple to fiddle with - the Flipchanger gimmick is rather addictive. Excellent. Steer clear of the oversized knock-offs in circulation, though - while the size may look better next to Universe/Classics Deluxe figures, the plastic is cheap, the gimmick doesn't work at the moulding and paint job lose a lot of the refinement.