Friday, June 5, 2015

Going Kre-azy

I’ve always loved Legos. As a kid, Legos were the first toys my dad really got me into. Every time he would go off on a business trip abroad, which was quite often, he would always bring home a new Lego set or two for me. Fast forward years later though, when I started seriously collecting toys again, I purposely stayed away from getting back into Legos. I did this for one main reason; they’d become so damn expensive!

In 2011, Hasbro rolled out their own building block line called Kre-o. And just like most if not all of the major building block out there, Kre-o was compatible with Lego. And since Hasbro owned the licenses, they launched Transformers and G.I.Joe Kre-o sublines. Now, pairing up a practically “Lego” product with 2 of my most beloved toy franchises proved too hard to resist, add to the fact that Kre-o was being sold at an overall lower price point than Lego practically sealed the deal for me.

For the first few years though, I was cautious and sort of in denial. I picked up a Kre-o minifigure blind bag here and there but practically avoided getting any big (or little) building sets at all. I was good. And then something happened. Kre-o didn’t turn out to be the big seller that Hasbro had hoped it would be. And by 2014, Kre-o prices were dropping so low that I just could not resist anymore. So looking back, 2014 will be forever be known as the year I went Kre-azy for Kre-o.

For the Transformers line, I mainly stuck with collecting the minifigures…or Kreons. These were mostly sold as blind bags but unlike Lego, Hasbro put serial numbers on the bags to allow collectors to easily identify the character inside. So it was quite easy to get the exact Kreons I wanted…which turned out to be most of them.

Where I really went all out through was when the released Kreon combiner sets….so sets of 4 Kreons that could combine to form a bigger one. They did practically all the classic G1 combiners…Superion, Menasor, Devastator, Predaking..they were all there. And the thought of having all those G1 combiners on my shelf, even in Kre-o form was just too good to be true. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. When these sets were originally released, they warmed the pegs like nobody’s business. But once they went on clearance at half the price they were practically nowhere to be found!

I’m a sucker for completing teams, which is why all these combiners were right up my ally. For some reason though, when it came to their Kreon combiners, Hasbro had an interesting way of releasing them. Like I mentioned, the Kre-o combiner sets consisted of 4 kreons….but every Transformer collector/fan knows that the G1 combiners teams consisted of at least 5 members…so what gives? Hasbro decided to release each teams’ 5th member through their blind bag line. While in principal this sounds like a good strategy since completists like me would buy more blind bags in order to complete the combiner teams, having their blind bags marked kinda backfired on this strategy. Oh well…their loss was our gain since it made completing all our combiner teams much easier.

Another hurdle was the fact that Hasbro’s official instructions only showed how to form the main robot out of 4 kreons. At first I relied on online fan tutorials on how to incorporate the 5th member but pretty soon my own creative juices got going and I was making my own combiner creations.

When it came to Transformer Kre-os, I went all in on kreons and kreon combiners, as for the actual building sets though, building transformers that you had to break apart and rebuild into their vehicle modes didn’t really appeal to me. So I stayed away from them. Hasbro wasn’t able to get my attention with Transformers building sets…..but it was a whole different story for G.I.Joe.