Thursday, May 23, 2013

Yo Kreo!

If I really thought about it, I would have to say that Lego was my first real toy obsession. When I was a kid, my dad did a lot of travelling and when he would come home, he would never fail to bring home a nicely sized Lego set or 2 for me and my brother. I would spend hours building the sets according to the instructions, tear them down and then build my own creations. That was basically the “circle of life” for most of my Lego sets.

Years later, when I dove back into toy collecting again, Lego was purposely left off my whole nostalgia fuelled hobby, mainly because since the time I used to play with them, Lego become expensive. Crazy expensive! Anyway, for the most part, I have managed to stay away from Legos….although I have to admit, I have amassed a sizeable collection of Lego minifigures, but I have never gotten myself any actual Lego play sets. Another reason why I have managed to resist Lego’s pull is that I haven’t really been very interested in any of the Lego themes or major properties that they have released. I can live without Lego Ninjago, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Marvel & DC superheroes and even Star Wars. So just when I thought I was in the clear, Hasbro decided to enter into the big time into the whole building block game with their own like called Kreo.

Now I’m not sure the whole story behind why Lego never got the Transformers or G.I.Joe license since it seems like a no-brainer. But I’m thinking Hasbro wanted to hold on to their properties and figured they’d just do their own thing. While I would have preferred Lego to tackle these 2 properties, from what I’ve seen, Hasbro has done a pretty decent job.

I’m not a big fan of building my Transformers and having to take them apart and having to rebuild them unto their alt-modes so I pretty much stayed away from any Transformers Kreo. I did pick up a few Transformers Kreons though, which are their version of Lego minifigures. They don’t Transform but hey do look pretty cute.

G.I.Joe though seemed to be more suitable for the building block format so I have to say I was a little bit more tempted when Hasbro rolled out their G.I.Joe Kreo line last year. But even though Kreo sets are relatively cheaper than Lego, they can still get a bit pricey so I stayed away…until I saw this set in Toys’R’Us in Times Square.

Now I bought this set because well, for starters, it didn’t cost much, and it came with kreon versions of 2 of my favourite Joe characters. First you have Law & his dog Order for the Joes, and Firefly for Cobra. I’ve already written separate entries for these 2 characters explaining why they are my favorites, so seeing them both in this simple & cheap set was just perfect.

So without thinking, I bit the bullet and bought my first Kreo set. Anyway, it didn’t take long to put the whole thing together and pretty soon I had my very own Checkpoint Alpha stationed on my desk. Anyway, being my first real building experience with Kreo, I did make some observations. First of all, as a whole, the pieces (which are compatible with Lego bricks) feel a little more “plasticky” than Lego…yeah I know that they are made of plastic, but Lego pieces just seem more…solid with more weight to them…I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. Firefly’s motorcycle, while looking pretty cool can be quite troublesome to display and has a tendency to tip over or roll freely when Firefly is riding. Some sort of kickstand would have been nice.

Then we come to the kreons, which were probably the main reason for me buying this set. Admittedly, they’re not as aesthetically pleasing as minifigures. Something about the shape of the heads and how they try to make their faces realistic just comes off wrong. But other than that, they’re cool and even have slightly better articulation than your typical minifigure since they use ball & socket joints for the arms and legs. Plus they only use one large peg (rather than Lego’s 2) to attach the upper half to the lower half which gives them a waist swivel (which looks odd..but hey, its there).

But it’s not all bad. Like I said as a whole, the set is cool. And the security tower itself has a pretty neat gun that actually shoots out a projectile without the use of any spring loaded mechanism. It uses friction instead, Its kinda hard to describe but it’s pretty ingenious and from what I’ve read is something Hasbro came up with for their Kreo line…so plus points for innovation.

So there you have it. Another unplanned purchase, my first real taste of Kreo building and I’m quite happy with it. And unlike most of my past Lego sets, I’m pretty sure this set will remain in one piece.