Review: MakeToys Paladin/Chaos

MakeToys is one of the most rapidly successful third party companies ever since their Battle Tanker and subsequent remolds, and especially after their Devastator stand-in, Giant. I can only speculate that after these successes, MakeToys decided it was safe to try and experiment a bit with their Mobine Series, which utilizes the less-than-stellar gimmick from Power Core Combiners, short-lived Transformers toyline from 2010, and makes it awesome. To add to the random craziness of the idea, the first release in the line is Paladin, a burly little guy who combines with a bunch of parts to become Chaos, who represents the Dreamwave design of The Fallen.

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Vehicle Mode

Paladin’s vehicle mode is an odd little space tank that just barely manages to pull off just that. It has nicely-sculpted (and nonfunctional) treads and a bladed turret that doesn’t rotate with a rather obvious chestplate hiding underneath the barrel. Despite the dubious nature of this tank mode, I find it kind of endearing. It’s just there to look like a space tank, and that’s really all it needs to be.

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Robot Mode

After a rather fiddly yet intuitive transformation, Paladin’s robot mode is short, stocky, and heavily armored thanks to his big shoulder pads. While he is inexplicable in the scheme of this toy representing The Fallen (unless you want to say he’s Megatronus, which only kinda works if you really want it to), Paladin is a pretty neat little guy. His arm articulation is hindered by their bulkiness, so it’s hard to get any real poses out of him other than “ready to fight” and “standing there looking angry.” This figure is really just a necessity for the gimmick, and I can forgive it for that, but I can’t help but feel like the arms could have been redesigned to have a greater range of motion, especially since they don’t do anything but fold out of the way in Chaos mode. The headsculpt is my favorite part of the figure and looks very suitably angry, but Paladin alone doesn’t appear to have anything to deliver his rage with. Until…

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Mobine Armor

The Mobine Armor (I don’t know if that’s the official term) comes in eight parts total: two legs, two arms, two feet, and two shoulders, as well as two fists and two gatling guns that can replace them. The central components combine together to make another tank-like thing that looks only a little more like one than Paladin does. Each of these components are modular thanks to their use of the Power Core pegs and slots. Each part has both a port and a peg, allowing for multiple combination varieties. You can even attach parts to Paladin’s tank mode to make… a longer tank mode! Attaching the leg components to the front of Paladin’s altmode actually makes for a more proportional-looking tank. Cool! Many of the parts also have 5mm pegs so that Paladin can make use of the weapons in robot mode. One neat touch is the flip-out handle on the foot pieces that allow Paladin to wield a giant leg cannon, or whatever else you come up with.

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Since the ports utilize the Power Core Combiners gimmick, it’s only natural that you would put the Mobine armor to use on the PCC figures themselves! The connections work just fine with each other (though QC may vary), and you can get some pretty nifty-looking Chaos-upgraded Powercore Commanders out of it! The modular system of these parts make them a ton of fun to play with, and really make me eye the standalone releases of the Mobine armor itself, which are specifically advertised as upgrades to the official figures.

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Chaos Mode

After converting Paladin into his torso mode and attaching the limb pieces, you have a very impressive and imposing figure that looks a lot like a certain War Within design. The visual effect of Chaos is incredibly striking, and the figure looks a lot bigger than he actually is. That’s not to say he’s a small guy; Chaos stands up to the tallest of Voyager-class figures, and certainly beats them out in terms of bulk. The balljointed head is sharp and delightfully square like other MakeToys sculpts, nearly spot-on to the design. The vibrant orange plastic and paint applications pop against the flat black plastic, and the incredibly subtle purple details break up the palate and make for a really gorgeous looking figure. It’s a good thing that Chaos looks so good standing still, because that’s really all he can do well. When you start trying to move Chaos around, the inherent tradeoffs of the PCC system quickly become apparent.

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While everything feels mostly solid, particularly the PCC pegs themselves, the figure overall just feels a bit… rickety. This is entirely a case of QC issues, but many of the swivel pegs on Chaos’s arms and legs are very loose, and make holding poses difficult. The balljointed ankles work well for standing still poses, but lack the necessary tilt for supporting action poses, even with the gatling guns utilized as heel spurs. His arms have all the necessary joints, but the bulkiness of the shoulders result in them bumping into the treads on his back and limiting articulation, and the elbows are set just a bit too high on the arm, greatly hindering their effectiveness. Also, the chestplate for Chaos does not push flush with the body’s frame, leaving a rather odd though scantly noticeable gap in his chest from a side view.

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As far as posing possibilities go, he does have a few thanks to his weapon selection. The two sword halves from Paladin’s turret (that he can also hold in that mode) combine to form a somewhat-goofy-but-undeniably-badass orange sword of doom. While his limitations prevent him from pulling any agile swordsman moves, he can wield it well. In addition, Paladin’s tank turret can split down the middle and, thanks to its PCC ports, can be mounted on the pegs on Chaos’s shoulders, arms, or even legs. The box shows the combined turret on his shoulder, but I prefer to give him twin arm cannons. Because of his bulkiness, it is difficult to really point the cannons at anything, but sometimes looking cool comes with sacrifices. Also, you can swap out his fists for a pair of gatling guns, and for extra firepower, you can flip out smaller gatling guns from inside the arms. The Fallen doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to use guns, but hey, whatever works.

Things to Watch Out For

Like all third party products, QC issues are to be expected. Chaos/Paladin’s plastic quality is excellent, and feels like a step up from the already-solid Battle Tanker. However, some of the plastic tolerances on mine provide problems, like the sliding mechanism on Paladin’s right leg being too loose to support the Chaos leg, or Paladin’s arms refusing to lock in when in Chaos or vehicle mode. Also, be careful with the two halves of the sword; I was careless with mine and ended up snapping the blade off of the hilt half and had to glue it back. Also, some of the PCC pegs can be ludicrously tight, so be wary of that.

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Overall

Rarely do third party toys rely so heavily on a central gimmick as Paladin/Chaos does. MakeToys saw the potential in  the Power Core Combiner engineering and decided to pick up where Hasbro left off, and in my opinion, they really delivered on the concept’s potential. The modular nature of the Mobine armor is a ton of fun to play with, especially in conjunction with the mainline PCC Commanders, and while the design does leave Chaos with rather limited articulation for his size and third party toy nature, the visual aesthetic of the figure is excellent enough to justify it. As an homage to the original The Fallen concept, Chaos is perhaps the best representation of the design we will ever get, and certainly blows the Titanium figure away. At $80, Paladin/Chaos does not come cheap, but with all the playability and quality of toy you get in the box, I would definitely say he’s a worthy purchase.

Where to Buy

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