Review: Transformers RID Paralon

While the warring combiners and returning titans have been largely dominating the fandom spotlight in the Transformers franchise, the Robots in Disguise line has been chugging along at its own moderate pace. The cartoon has just started its third season, with apparently at least one more (and a movie, maybe) on the way, which really just goes to show how successfully Hasbro has catered to the different demographics of its target audience. It’s easy to overlook the RID “Warrior” figures as being overpriced, simpler figures compared to the Generations main line, but the last few waves have actually delivered some pretty excellent toys, including the recent Scorponok… which I don’t have, so I’ll be reviewing his redeco, Paralon.

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Scorpion Mode

To the surprise of no one, the character named Scorponok turns into a scorpion, and therefore so does Paralon. This is actually one of the nicest scorpion modes I’ve seen in the franchise, boasting a fairly realistic shape and proportions despite being purple and mechanical. The most un-scorpion parts are the head and claws, the latter of which are more like big punching blocks since they can’t actually open. The jaw can, though! Just like real scorpions…!

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The bulk of Paralon’s beast mode articulation lies in his tail, which consists of a ball joint at the base and two hinges near the stinger. The stinger itself is sculpted to resemble a real scorpion’s, with a small inward-pointing barb. But if that’s too realistic for you, you can peg his scimitar in for a horrifyingly huge, jagged barbed thing. So that’s fun!

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Robot Mode

What makes the RID Scorponok mold so exceptional is that it bucks the trend of practically every Scorponok that came before it in terms of how it gets to robot mode in one major instance: the arms aren’t just the scorpion claws! The funny thing about this is that the arms actually are the same arms, but the “claw” bits basically hang loose on his arms, clamping down around his hands in scorpion mode, then detaching and sliding up to tab into his torso. It’s an extremely unique engineering choice that’s difficult to explain, and I’d say that alone makes Scorponok/Paralon worth the purchase.

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I decided to go with Paralon over Scorponok for two reasons: one, his colors are delightful. The two shades of purple just look marvelous, and the hints of yellow detailing really pop, particularly in scorpion mode. Second, check out that headsculpt. It’s totally Beast Wars Scorponok! Paralon doesn’t exactly make for a great version of that character for your updated Beast Wars shelf, but I can’t pass up that homage. 

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Other than the transformation tricks, this mold’s other great success is the articulation. The upper body isn’t too exciting: ball jointed neck (which really only just rotates around and can’t look left or right, so it’s only sort of useless) and shoulders, bicep swivel, and hinged elbows. The legs, however, are excellent: ball jointed hips, thigh swivels, and two knee hinges for digitigrade legs. This sort of leg design has been attempted plenty of times on Transformers (especially with movie designs), but this is easily the most well-executed example in the franchise. It helps that each leg segment is long and thin, and his heels provide good support, but you can achieve some really great poses with this guy thanks to those dynamic legs. The ability to keep them bent (which is show-accurate) for a more animistic appearance, or extend them for a more creepy, lanky look helps give the toy a lot of character, as well.

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If there is one gripe I have with Paralon, it’s that I wish he had a different weapon. There’s nothing wrong with the weird, almost organic-looking barbed scimitar, but it does fit the pirate-y Scorponok more than I feel it does for Paralon. I mean, he got the new head, why not a new weapon that continues the Beast Wars homage? 

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Overall

Paralon really is a testament to how much the RID toyline has advanced in the last two years. Bumblebee and Strongarm were alright toys, and later on Megatronus was pretty cool, but now we’ve got figures like Paralon and Starscream that are actually really excellent, standing up to some of the better Titans Return figures (and honestly beat alot of them in terms of fun and playability). The biggest downside is that Paralon is a RID Warrior figure, and a Toys R Us exclusive one at that, meaning he’ll cost you at least $17. I got mine for $12 thanks to some rewards points, but even at full price I’d say Paralon is juuuuuust worth it. Scorponok may be easier to find at a lower price, though, so I would at least recommend picking him up just to have this mold. Not gonna lie, Paralon is one of my favorite Transformers of 2016.

Where to Buy:

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