COBRA EEL (Kre-o)
A couple of months ago the action figure world of G.I. Joe collided with the brick figure world of Lego and thus Kre-O Joes were born. Kre-O is Hasbro’s in-house brand of Lego which is completely compatible with the king of brick toys. The first major Kre-O crossover was with Transformers. The initial sets allowed you to build large-scale Autobots and Decipticons out of bricks and then reassemble them into their vehicle modes. Small Lego-men style versions of the characters were thrown into the boxes, seemingly as a bonus toy afterthought. I had no interest in building Transformers out of Lego but the little men intrigued me. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who fancied the little guys because Hasbro has shifted their focus to the little men instead of the larger construction sets. Once the Transformers started getting released in small blind packs, retailing for around $4.00, I got hooked. It’s been less than a year since I bought my first Kre-O toys and now my collection has outgrown the new bookshelf I bought for them.
The main reason my collection has grown so fast isn’t because of the individual figures but because of the larger vehicle sets that came out once G.I. Joe got in on the action. I don’t usually buy vehicles for my regular sized Joes because they’re expensive and take up too much room. The Kre-O vehicles on the other hand are small, relatively affordable, and you get to build them yourself. The Kre-O toys actually allow me to have some fun with my purchases as I snap them together.
Earlier this week my pal Andrew informed me that our local Toys R Us had stocked the second wave of blind packed Joe figures. The first wave proved very difficult to find (I still need half the figures) so I didn’t want to waste anytime snatching up wave 2. Andrew told me that the box had already been picked through when he was there so I didn’t have high hopes when Vanessa popped into the store for me last night. Luckily they must’ve restocked because Vanessa texted me to say that they had all 12 unique figures. Luckily I armed her with my credit card before she went out and I told her to grab the lot of them. On that note, $4 a figure doesn’t seem like much until you buy 12 of them, they add up quickly.
I feel that the wave 2 selection of characters is far better than wave 1. There isn’t a dud in the bunch. I’d be hard pressed to name my favorite but it’s probably either Major Bludd or the B.A.T. For my first wave 2 review I’ve opted for the Cobra Eel.
The Cobra Frogmen known as EELS were first introduced to the brand in 1985. It was an excellently designed figure that filled a need in the Cobra ranks. They had cool accessories like flippers and an air mask. My brother Doug owned the EEL figure when we were kids. Doug also owned Undertow, the Lamprey, and Copperhead. The closest thing I had to an aquatic Cobra was Secto-Viper.
My Cobra dive team began to fill up in the early 2000s with new troopers like the Morays and the Electric Eels. In 2008 I finally got a decent representation of the original 1985 Eel. The 25th anniversary version had a really cool fully removable helmet with a “glass” visor. Otherwise he was quite similar to the original in design only more detailed.
This Kre-O version is much less detailed but equally awesome. I’m very impressed by how much care the Kre-O designers take to recreate the looks of the original figures. Even the knife belt on the lower leg of the 1985 figure is recreated here with a dash of paint. As far as the helmet goes this little guy has more in common with his 2008 counterpart. The helmet is removable and has a glass visor which can be lifted to his brow. Underneath the helmet is the same little masked face present on many of the Cobra Kre-O troopers.
This figure’s accessories are near perfect representations of the original’s gear. He comes packaged with 2 flippers, a 2-piece harpoon gun, and an oxygen tank backpack. he also comes with a Kre-O display base which unfortunately can’t be used when he has his flippers on. This little figure is awesome. 8 out of 10.