You can read my reviews of last year’s Kre-O sets here.
Well, I’d like to start out by saying I was wrong. I never expected to see the second series of Transformers Kre-O sets get released at all. Series one (which are now all available on clearance or discount) sat on the shelves. They did seem to move a little bit around Christmas, but once replenished they just took up shelf space. When Hasbro decided to make it’s second Kre-O release based on the Battleship movie, I thought that was like throwing in the towel. The movie, no matter how much I liked it, was always going to tank and the toys were never going to sell. Add to that, that the original intent (at least as I recall it) was that they would do GI Joe Kre-O and then Marvel Kre-O, which never happened (the GI-Joe movie was pushed to next year and Avengers went to Lego and Spider-Man to Mega Blocks) and it seemed like the end of Kre-O was all but certain. Then San Diego Comic Con came and we got all kinds of new product info. So, it seems to me that Hasbro is invested in pushing Kre-O to be successful, and are going to stay with it at least through next year’s Star Trek sets. (For which I am incredibly excited!)
I will have a separate review up (linked below) for each of the seven new sets. However, I thought it made more sense to talk about the overall issues separately rather than to repeat it seven times.
On the good side the 2012 toys have better proportioning than last year’s robot modes. They have also done a better (if still not perfect) job painting the Kreon’s faces. Really I think I only had one that seemed a little off. The instructions books are better, just a few places where stickers weren’t noted and parts were missing from the pictures.
Overall these things were improved greatly. Unfortunately, problems still remain.
As I had hoped they would, they have scaled down the size of the toys. Unfortunately, instead of including the ability to build both the robot and vehicle at the same time, they included play sets and vehicles for the Kreons. Some of these aren’t bad, but most are awful. (I really don’t see the point of Optimus Prime and Megatron coming with a bank and security guards unless that is where they are storing energon.) Also, they seem to have fewer Transformer Kreon figures, which has always been the best part of these toys. Though, more are coming out in blind buys, I wish they had included more with the toys and fewer of the humans.
A few other notes on these sets.
As you can see from the above piece, quality control leaves a lot to be desired. The above piece is supposed to be six pegs long. Clearly there was not enough plastic I the mold, leaving the piece deformed. I’ve never had this happen with a Lego set. Additionally, some pieces have bits of flash on them as if they were cut from model kits. It was only a small number, and most could be easily pulled off, but it still shouldn’t happen.
This wasn’t the only quality control issue. I’ve noticed that the wrists on the Kreons easily develop white stress marks when you twist the fists around so they are the right direction. I’ve noticed this happening around peg holes on other toys lately too. Seems Hasbro is having QC issues across the board.
Now, I realize that it is common practice to use larger than necessary packaging to give the appearance that you are getting more product for your money. This happens a lot and not just in toys. Still, having a box be literally twice as big as it needs to be is excessive. The toys are still over priced and this is nothing more than an attempt to make them seem like more than they are.
A new incentive has been added to make you buy all seven toys. Each comes with parts to build the grossly underwhelming Dark Energon Weapon. If it could light up or something, then maybe I’d give them some credit, but it’s just nothing. I don’t even see how any of the toys could use this as a weapon. Even worse, they don’t even include instructions on how to build it. I think I got it right going by the picture on the box, but I’m not certain. There is a note in the instructions about going to Kre-O.com for more information. Unfortunately there are no instructions there either.
The Autobot and Decepticon Kreons’ weapons are now made of translucent plastic (blue for the Autobots and purple for the Decepticons). Each set also includes a translucent replaceable chest. Unfortunately, the translucent chests are unpainted, however that does make them interchangeable.
So, the improvement is minimal, though some of the sets are really nice. Follow the links below to the individual reviews.
Rotor Rage (Vortex)
Street Showdown (Wheeljack & Knock Out)
Battle for Energon (Optimus Prime & Megatron)
Destruction Site Devastator (Drill-Bit, Hightower, Scavenger, Scrapper)
Thanks for reading!