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ICEBERG (KRE-O)

Kreo-Iceberg fullG. I. JOE: KRE-O

Today I have a quick little review for you.  Why quick?  Because I have very little to say about this figure.  But not because it’s bad; its actually pretty great.

I love these G.I. Joe block figures and have sung their praises many times in past reviews of Tripwire, Tele-Viper, Mutt, and others. However, they all share the same body construction so there isn’t much more I can say about the design.  Where these figures really shine as individuals is in the paint jobs and accessories.

Iceberg has an awesome paint job.  All the sculpted detail of the original 1986 Iceberg figure have been accurately recreated with paint.  He’s got his powder blue vest, furry cuffs on his gloves and boots, the holstered gun on his chest, and even the red patch on his sleeve. I also like the smirk on his face.Kreo-Iceberg-ski

Hasbro is pretty crafty about recreating all the classic Joes’ signature weapons while using pre-existing pieces.  The ’86 Iceberg only came with one large white rifle but  Hasbro still managed to show some of their ingenuity with this figure.  Kre-O Iceberg has the large (ridiculously so) white gun but he also has a pair of skies (previously included with Snow Job), a removable fur collar (which is actually just the Snow Serpent’s vest reversed) and a pair of removable goggles (previously included with multiple figures).   Now Iceberg can wear his goggles up on his helmet (which was the original figure’s only option since they were sculpted as part of his helmet) or down over his eyes where they would actually be useful.

Kreo-Iceberg jump

 

The other reason this review will be short is because I previously reviewed the 1986 Iceberg as well as the 2011 abomination produced by the Collector’s Club.  In those reviews I exhausted any Iceberg stories I may have had.

So in closing, this is another great Kreon and another great black action figure.  Stay tuned for more Black History Month reviews.  8 out of 10.

Snow Buddies

Snow Buddies

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TELE-VIPER (KRE-O)

Kreo-Televiper fullContinued from Part 3

G.I. Joe KRE-O

The most recent version of Tele-Viper is the KRE-O brick figure released in a wave 5 blind pack.

Don’t worry, this is the last Tele-Viper review I’ll subject you to for a while. I have other Tele-Vipers in my collection but I promise to wait at least a year  before I tackle another one. Besides, I’ve pretty much run out of things to say about Cobra’s communications specialists after the last 3 consecutive reviews.

The reason I wanted to review this last figure is because I wanted to go out on a high note. The original Real American Hero Tele-Vipers were alright. The new-sculpt era Tele-Vipers were vastly superior, and the modern sculpt versions hit a new low. But this little buildable figure proves that even the crappiest character can bounce back with the right toy. Clearly the original Tele-Viper design still has legs because this Kreon is totally classic and totally awesome.Kreo-Televiper back

As with the recently reviewed Kre-O  Tripwire Hasbro has managed to take a mediocrely designed vintage character and create an amazing little brick version that’s faithful to the classic while avoiding all the original’s shortcomings.

All Kre-O figures have the same body construction so there’s no room to screw up the proportions or articulation. The big head, gimpy wrists and crooked ankles that plagued its predecessors are nowhere to be found on this figure.

Kreo-Televiper bubble

 

 

 

Hasbro could’ve screwed this guy up by giving him a big doofy helmet but fortunately they gave him some slimmer fitting headgear more akin to the new-sculpt era design. All of the details on this figure are simply painted on the flat body and there aren’t even that many of them but it looks awesome. I’m consistently impressed at how well the painters are able to reproduce the sculpted details of the original figures so perfectly on these little bodies.

For accessories Kre-O Tele-Viper comes with a big backpack which is clearly inspired by the 1985 pack. He also has a hand held device that connects to the pack via a bendy rubber hose. I assume this is supposed to be the scanner that came with the original figure but it could very easily be viewed as a weapon. Whatever it is it’s ridiculously over-sized but that’s the norm for this line and part of its charm. Figures like this make me wish this line could last for years. Sadly I think we may have seen the last of them, at least for a while. 10 out of 10.Kreo-Televiper group

TRIPWIRE (KRE-O) (2014)

Kreo-Tripwire fullG. I. JOE : KRE-O

Not too long ago I reviewed Mutt, a G.I. Joe Kre-O figure. Kre-O is Hasbro’s in-house Lego knock-off which is completely compatible with the real thing. I actually think Kre-O is superior in some regards because their mini figures are better articulated. In my Mutt review I lamented that the G.I. Joe Kre-Os in particular are very hard to find in my neck of the woods. While you can find the Transformers stuff everywhere, the Joe line is exclusive to Toys R Us and the one Toys R Us in my city doesn’t seem to carry it. It looked as though I was doomed to track the figures down on ebay which would cost me a pretty penny when you factor in the cost of shipping to Canada.

However, within days of posting the Mutt review my friend Darryl, who owns the comic shop Giant Robot Comics in Dartmouth, messaged me on facebook. He said that he was venturing down to the U.S. of A to take advantage of Black Friday sales and that he would keep his eyes peeled for Joe Kre-Os for me. Score.Kreo-Tripwire back

He messaged me after his shopping spree to tell me that he picked me up 4 playsets and nabbed nearly 50 wave 4 and 5 blind bagged single figures which he would divvy up between me and our mutual friend and fellow Joe collector, Glenn. I picked up my stash from Giant Robot a few days later. I was expecting a sizable bill but between the Black Friday discount and Darryl’s generosity it ended up being a very affordable haul. My Kre-O woes are behind me. I still don’t have a complete set but after that score I’m pretty damn close.Kreo-Tripwire collection

I still haven’t opened all of the playsets yet because I’m saving them for Christmas morning (I’m gonna need something to do while bumming around my parent’s house for a couple of days) but I have opened all the blind packed single figures. You’re not supposed to know what figures are inside the blind packs but there were discreet codes perforated into the foil of the first few waves of figures so nerds in-the-know could pick and choose the figures they wanted without opening the packages. But Hasbro has done away with the codes on waves 4 and 5 so I was as in-the-dark as the average consumer when I ripped into my latest blind packs. Out of the 24 packs I ended up with 6 doubles which isn’t too bad.  Fortunately Glenn also got 6 doubles so we promptly made a swap.

Each wave of G.I. Joe Kre-Os has been impressive and 4 and 5 are no different. They featured a wide array of Joes from various eras of the brand. I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite as Kre-O versions of some of my favorite characters were included this time around, such as Zarana and Nemesis Enforcer, but if I were forced to single out the best of the bunch I think I’d go with Tripwire.Kreo-Tripwire unmasked

Tripwire is the Joe team’s explosive ordnance disposal expert. The first Tripwire action figure came out way back in 1983 and was one of the first Joes in my collection. His file card described him as clumsy and jittery so I always saw him as kind of a goofball and played him for comic relief.  It was hard to imagine him as anything but a background Joe since the original toy didn’t even come with a gun; just a mine detector and a couple of mines for detecting. While his military specialty wasn’t very exciting and he was never the hero of my bedroom battles he always seemed like an integral member of the team anyway. I really liked the design of his outfit, with the padded vest and the goggles, but unfortunately the ’83 figure didn’t quite pull it off; it looked kind of wimpy to me with its scrawny arms, big round head, and dopey expression. The first modern version of the character (version 5) was released in 2008 and it helped to make Tripwire seem less goofy but it still didn’t come across as a “cool” figure.

Kreo-Tripwire minesOddly enough, I think this little brick figure is the “coolest” Tripwire we’ve gotten yet. I can quite put my finger on why but I just really like this figure. I don’t think his padded costume has ever looked better and, within the confines of being a brick person, I think this is the most well proportioned Tripwire to date. It’s also the first Tripwire figure to show his eyes beneath the goggles and I think it helps to humanize him. He’s got angry eyebrows and a stiff lip which make him look like a guy you wouldn’t want to mess with for the first time ever. While the removable helmet is a neat new concept the rest of his accessories are very familiar. He has a rounded backpack and his classic mine detector, complete with a hose to connect it to the backpack. The detector is a little oversized but it looks pretty cool.  It’s amazing what some creatively made accessories and a slick paint job can do for a simple brick figure. 10 out of 10.Kreo-Tripwire compare

MUTT (Kre-O)

Joe-Kreo-Mutt fullG. I. JOE: KRE-O

I love these Lego compatible Kre-O G.I. Joes but they also frustrate me to no end.  The Joe Kre-Os are exclusive to Toys R Us which means there’s only 1 location in my city where I can buy them at its not the most convenient place for me to get to; it’s not like I can just pop in there every day. My local Toys R Us got the first wave of playsets and the second wave of blind packed figures. As far as I know that’s all they’ve ever carried. I managed to get half of the wave 1 figures from a comic shop but I haven’t had any opportunity to buy the wave 3, 4, or 5 figures or any of the vehicle or playsets released after the first wave. Re-Os have been on sale on Toys R Us .com a few times but they don’t ship to Canada. We have our own website, Toys R Us.ca, and they never have anything good.Kreo-Mutt side

Now I could buy these figures on ebay but the figures are blind-packed which means they’re completely sealed in a foil package and you don’t know what figure is inside. Now, keeners like myself are aware of the hidden code perforated into the foil that identifies each figure so when I’m in the store I can examine the packages and select the figures I want, thus avoiding getting doubles. When I buy blind packs online I don’t have that luxury so I have no idea which figure I’ll end up with. Some sellers do sell the specific figures opened but they tend to charge a premium for those. So rather than spending a fortune on secondary market purchases I’m holding out hope that maybe my Toys R Us will eventually stock the latest Kre-O releases.  Until that time I’ll have to remain satisfied with the few figures and sets that I do have.

Mutt, the Joe team’s dog handler, was included in wave 2. Hasbro has done a great job of capturing the essence of the original 1985 Mutt figure and distilling it down into this little brick man. This figure is immediately identifiable as Mutt. Not only are the colors spot on but the torso has all the familiar elements (sheathed knife, pockets, red shoulder pads) and the face has Mutt’s signature mustache and sneer. Even the accessories are recreated quite well. He has his Mac 11 submachine gun (though this one is comically over-sized), his nightstick, and his trusty K-9 sidekick Junkyard.Kreo-Mutt gun

For some reason Hasbro decided to make Junkyard a bulldog this time around. I’m not sure why since he’s always been a Rottweiler (i think) in the past. It’s not a big deal though I would’ve preferred a more vintage-accurate Junkyard.

Kreo-Mutt dogIt’s also interesting that Mutt has a couple of scratches under his eye. Are we to believe these  wounds were inflicted by Junkyard? I can’t imagine Junkyard ever biting the hand that feeds him. Perhaps it’s just regular wear and tear one incurs while battling an evil snake-themed terrorist organization determined to rule the world.

This is a cool little figure. 8 out of 10.

WARPATH (KRE-O)

Kreo-Warpath fullKRE-O : TRANSFORMERS

I think it’s time for another Kre-O review. I’ve accumulated a hefty little collection of these Lego wannabes over the past year and a half but I’ve only reviewed a couple of them. The main reason for that is I find them hard to photograph. I’m a pretty sucky photographer at the best of times and these figures, with their flat bodies, tend to reflect the flash so badly that I lose all the detail. I shall try to take decent pictures for this review but I’m not promising anything.

The first wave of Kre-O blind packed Transformers, called “Micro-Changers”, consisted of 6 figures, a couple of popular characters and a few B-listers. I found them for sale for a buck-fifty in a drug store sometime around Christmas 2012. I never had any interest in block figures as an adult collector before but for that price I figured I’d check them out. I bought 2packs, hoping for Galvatron and Sunstorm but I ended up with Scorponok and Waspinator.  I found them to be a cute novelty but I assumed they would be my first and last Kre-O figures.Kreo-Warpath G1

But shortly afterwards Hasbro announced that they were planning a line of G.I. Joe Kre-Os.  I’m much more of a Joe junkie than a Transformers guy so I knew I’d have to get those. And if I was gonna amass a brick army of Joes I figured I might as well pick up a few more Transformers to help populate the shelf.

The second wave of Transformer blind pack Micro-Changers consisted of 12 figures; this time about half of them appealed to me. I was paying full price for them now (about $4.00) so luckily I had since discovered that there were character identifying numbers discreetly perforated on the sides of the packages; meaning the blind packs weren’t quite so blind. Wasting money on doubles is never fun and these numbers were a big help in avoiding that. But, while it was nice to be able to pick and choose the characters I wanted, it did cost me some dignity as I rooted through the box of blind packs placed by the front cash of my local Toys R us, carefully searching for specific numbers.

Kreo-Warpath compareA few more waves of figures have come out over the past year and a half and each time I go through the same embarrassing search. My rummaging has paid off though because I have almost all of the blind pack characters I want and none of the duds. Warpath is one of those figures I sought out in wave 2 (package number 43 if you’re interested).

Warpath is an Autobot who transforms into a little red tank. He’s been around since the very beginning with his first figure being released in 1985. That original toy left a little to be desired but it was still pretty great in its simplicity. Warpath was far from an integral character in the Transformers mythos but every line he spoke in his cartoon appearances was memorable. “BANG! BOOM! POW!”

This Kre-O version of Warpath is okay, not great. I’m sure it’s not easy to turn Transformers into Lego men and have them look accurate to their original toys but with Warpath they really missed the boat. Warpath always has a distinct grilled faceplate, not a smile. The red color, the tank treads on the arms, and the gun turret on his chest, all identify this as Warpath but I really wish they had put the proper face on him.  It wouldn’t have cost them any more money or required any more pieces to be included.  A few streaks of paint to represent his grilled faceplate would have made a world of difference.  It’s a shame.Kreo-warpath chestless

Another thing that bothers me about this figure is that there’s some really nice painted detail on his chest but it gets covered up by the red vest that slides over top of it.  This was an issue on many of the early Micro-Changers but Hasbro seems to be doing a better job of not hiding all the detail on more recent releases.

His tank mode is pretty ridiculous looking but I appreciate the effort that goes into working two build-able modes into one teeny little figure like this.  5 out of 10.Kreo-Warpath tank

SNOW JOB (KRE-O)

Joe Kreo-Snow job fullG. I. JOE / KRE-O

Yesterday I reviewed one of my major Hal-Con purchases, Snake Mountain.  Today I had planned on reviewing my other major purchase, an electronic Godzilla.  However, yesterday’s post ran a little long and I feel that Godzilla could run long too so I decided to break it up with a short and sweet review.  Today I’ll be looking at Snow Job from wave 2 of the G.I. Joe Kre-O blind packs.  Kre-Os of the Transformers variety can be found just about everywhere these days.  Unfortunately the G.I. Joe themed sets and figures are exclusive to Toys R Us.  There’s only one Toys R Us in my area and even that one isn’t easily accessible to a guy like me who doesn’t drive.  I never found wave 1 of the blind packs at Toys R us and to this day only have about half of the figures.  When my pal Andrew notified me that he spotted wave 2 at Toys R Us a while back I sent Vanessa over to grab me whatever they had.  I was delighted to find out they had the entire wave, including the Cobra Eel I recently reviewed.  Toy hunting can be fun sometimes but it can also be very satisfying to snatch up an entire wave of new figures in one fell swoop and be done with it. Joe Kreo-Snow job art

Like the Eel, and most of the Kre-O figures for that matter, this block figure is is an excellent representation of the vintage 3  3/4″ figure.  The Joe team’s original Arctic Trooper was first released way back in  1983.  All of the details from that 80s figure are present here (on the front at least.  The backs of these figures still leave a lot to be desired).  Snow Job’s belt, shoulder straps, breast pockets and shoulder pouches, which were sculpted on the original figure, are all recreated here simply with paint.  He’s got his signature orange beard and big black goggles.  This tiny figure even one-ups it’s predecessor by having a removable hood.Joe Kreo-Snow job back

All of the vintage figure’s accessories are represented here as well.  He’s got his rifle, skis, ski poles, and backpack.  The poles can be stored on the backpack just like in the good old days but for some reason they failed to make the backpack able to store the skis as well.  I’m not sure why they would have omitted this crucial feature as I’m sure it would have been easy enough to replicate with the inclusion of a single brick.  Instead the pack has some weird circular piece on the back which I haven’t figured out yet.Joe Kreo-Snow job side

 

 

This is an excellent figure and I really hope this line lasts long enough for me to get Lego-ized versions of all my favorite G.I. Joe characters.  8 out of 10.

COBRA EEL (Kre-o)

Kreo-EelG. I. JOE / 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.

1985 original EEL

1985 original EEL

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.Kreo-Eel unmasked

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.Kreo-Eel back

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.Kreo-Eel pair

 

 

 

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.

 

ARCEE (Kre-O)

TF-Kreo-Arcee fullTRANSFORMERS KRE-O

Arcee was part of the new generation of Transformers that were introduced in the 1986 animated Transformers movie.  I’ve talked about the film plenty in older posts when I reviewed other new characters that were introduced in the film such as Cyclonus, Unicron, Kup, Quintesson, and Wheelie, so I won’t rehash it again.  But in case you haven’t read those posts or seen the movie basically all of the Transformers from the first few years of the brand were killed off and a bunch of new heroes and villains were introduced to replace them.  It was quite jarring at the time and it took a long time for me to embrace the new characters.  The comic books published by Dreamwave and IDW have helped me with that.  In the comics all of the new and old characters interact together.  Even baddies like Galvatron and Scourge  are unique characters now instead of being reincarnated versions of old characters as was the case in the animated universe.  Once the “new cast” was no longer the “replacement cast” it was a lot easier for me to accept them.  Now, some of those next generation (not to be confused with generation 2 ) characters have become favorites of mine.TF-Kreo arcee art

Back when the movie came out the toys available in stores reflected what we saw on screen.  Gone were the race cars and airplanes, replaced by cybertronian spaceships and whatchamacallits. The reason for this was because many of the new characters had never been to Earth and therefore never adopted Earth vehicle alt modes.  I never owned too many of the next generation/movie toys as a kid.  I had a Sharkticon and Doug had a Rodimus and Wreck-Gar but that was about it.  However, if you were a fan of the new characters almost all of them were available in toy form.  There was no Unicron figure in the 80s but a transforming planet was kind of tough to pull off so his omission was understandable.  The Quintessons were also absent from toy stores, but again, since they were basically just hovering eggs I can imagine that Hasbro didn’t think they’d sell all that well and they were probably right.  But there was another omission from the movie based toy line which was much more appalling…Arcee. TF-kreo Arcee toon

It’s not hard to figure out why Arcee didn’t get made, she was a girl, and a pink one at that.  But still, as the first and, at the time, only female Transformer I feel that Hasbro could have taken a chance and released a figure of her.  Who knows, maybe she would have sold like hot cakes because boys and girls would both have wanted her.  I mean, there was one girl in Voltron, one girl in the Smurfs, and probably one girl in plenty of other toy lines geared towards boys, but those characters got made.  Hasbro’s other major 80s property, G.I. Joe, had 5 or 6 major female characters by this time.  The fact that Arcee never got a toy back in 1987 seems crazy to me. TF-Kreo Arcee pose

What’s even more crazy is that to this day we still haven’t got a decent Arcee figure.  She’s been released as a spider, and a big clunky car and while they may have got the colors right, those figures were a far cry from the G1 accurate Arcee that fans like myself wanted.  Arcee appeared in the second live-action Transformers movie and got a toy based on that but the toy was just as brutal as the flick itself.  The Arcee that I have on display on my Transformers shelf is her blue motorcycle version from PRIME.  I actually like that figure but I only bought it because it seemed like I would never get a decent, cartoon-accurate one. TF-Kreo Arcee car

I should mention that there have been some nice busts and statues of Arcee released and some cool non-transforming PVC figures as well.  But those aside, I think this recently released KRE-O version is the best transforming Arcee toy ever released.  Granted, these KRE-O figures don’t actually transform, you need to disassemble them and rebuild them as vehicles, but that’s close enough.  I picked up this blind bagged figure along with a handful of others on a recent trip to Toys R Us.  Once I got her all snapped together it just reminded me what a crime it is that there are no decent figures available of this character.TF-Kre0 Arcee promo

I’m always surprised at how well Hasbro is able to capture the unique look of a character in Lego..er…I mean KRE-O form.  I’ve built up a decent sized army of KRE-O figures these past few months and each one is unique despite them all having the same basic  block body.  A simple paint job and a couple of add-on pieces goes a long way in differentiating them.  As you can see, Arcee has the basic block body as a base, nothing fancy, but the pink and white color scheme immediately make her identifiable as Arcee.  The white helmet isn’t completely accurate to the animated look but it’s a decent approximation and the little red lips really sell it as the lone female Transformer.  I like that she’s got dual pistols; I believe she wields them in the IDW books.  Her vehicle mode is pretty damn cool when you consider the limitations of such a small block toy.  I say hats off to Hasbro for making them “transform” at all.  I’m amazed at how many variations they’ve come up with to transform one of these figures into a vehicle or an animal.  This is a very cool little figure.  A must-have for any Transformer or block collector. 8 out of 10.

QUICK KICK (KRE-O)

Kreo-Quick kick fullG. I. JOE : KRE-O

I was not planning on spending any money today.  However Vanessa and I had accumulated a fair amount of recyclables which were taking up a lot of space in our laundry room.  She was adamant that we get rid of them today but the recycling depot that we usually visit down the street isn’t open on Sundays.  So she found a depot across the bridge in Dartmouth that was open and away we went.  Once we were finished with that task and I had a fresh $7 in my pocket I suggested that we pop into Giant Robot Comics, a very nice little shop on the Dartmouth side that I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like to because of it’s location.  My reason for visiting today was not for myself but because my sister had tasked me with finding a plush Hulk for her son who’s having a birthday next weekend.

No luck on the plush Hulk unfortunately.  They had plush daleks and walking dead characters but I don’t think either of those are up Ty’s alley; he’s turning 4.  However I did notice that they had recently stocked the G.I. Joe Kre-O blind packs.  Toys R Us has an exclusive deal, at least here in Canada, to sell the Joe Kre-Os.  They hit the shelves here a couple of months ago, right around the time that Retaliation was hitting theaters.  My local Toys R Us got in all of the various vehicle sets but they didn’t get any of the blind bagged single figures.  Originally I thought I would probably only get the blind packed figures but when they failed to show-up I caved and bought all of the vehicle sets.  You may recall that I reviewed the Checkpoint Alpha set a while back.  I’ve checked back several times in hopes of finding the blind packs but to no avail. Kreo-Quick kick package

I had a lot of fun building the vehicle sets but I don’t really have the room to display them so I’m not sure that I will continue buying future assortments.  The single figures though are small and easy to display so I figured that I would collect all of them, if I could ever find them.  Well today I found them.  The single packs are blind, meaning you don’t know which character you’re getting when you buy the little cellophane packet.  Luckily there is a code on the packages that is not supposed to be known to consumers which tells you which character is inside each pack.  Thankfully Darryl  (owner of GRC) had saved me the trouble of matching up the codes to a list online because he had already labelled the blind packs himself.  If he had the entire assortment there I probably would have bought them all but since he only had seven of the twelve available figures I decided to pick a few choice characters.   I bought Joe Colton, Jinx, Scarlett and Quick Kick.Kreo-Quick kick instructions

Quick Kick was first introduced in 1985, arguably the best year ever for the G.I. Joe brand.  He was a Hollywood stunt man turned soldier who specialized in martial arts.  His portrayal in the cartoon was pretty goofy, what with his bad John Wayne impressions and all, and his comic book appearances never left a big impression on me either.  His most memorable tale from the Marvel comics was probably the one where he was killed. 😦  Kreo-Quick kick animated

And yet I always liked this character.  Yes it was silly that he was barefooted and bare-chested on the battlefield but the diversity that he brought to the team was welcome.  The more Joes that could pass for village people the better I always thought.  Quick Kick was one of those classic characters that I didn’t own for a very long time.  Doug owned the ’85 original and the character didn’t get updated during the new sculpt era.  It wasn’t until a modern sculpt version was released in 2008 that  I finally had a Quick Kick to call my own.  And now I have two.Kreo-Quick kick fight

This Lego style KRE-O Quick Kick is pretty great.  I like the smirking face and the hair piece is very well sculpted.  He’s got “working” nunchucks, a sword that can be sheathed on his back, a couple of throwing stars (which he doesn’t hold very well), a frozen fudgee bar  which comes directly from the cartoon, and a display base.  Not a bad lot of accessories for a figure that’s only about an inch tall.  The only real issue I have with the figure is that the blocky wrists and shoulders look extra weird considering that this guy is topless.  However I can forgive that type of thing on a block figure.  7 out of 10.

CHECKPOINT ALPHA (KRE-O)

Kreo-Alpha attackG. I. JOE /KRE-O

Just 14 more days until G.I. Joe: Retaliation hits theaters!!!!!  Unfortunately my excitement had been somewhat dampened by the fact that I couldn’t find any new G.I. Joe product anywhere.  I’ve been visiting multiple Wal-marts and Toys R Us’ at least once a week in hopes of finding new figures.  It’s been killing me seeing all the other Joe news and review sites showing off their new Retaliation figures which they’ve had for weeks now.  I finally caved this past weekend and ordered wave 2 of the movie figures online from Big Bad Toy Store.  Ordering online is quick and easy but it’s more expensive and part of the fun of collecting is “the hunt”.  However, failed hunts are only fun for so long.  So I am pleased to say that I should have some new Retaliation figures to review leading up to the release of the movie.Kreo-Law

I told myself I wouldn’t get into collecting them when I first saw images of them online, at least not with vigor, but the other items that I’ve been hunting for recently are the new G.I. Joe KRE-O sets.  KRE-O is Hasbro’s in-house Lego knock-off which is fully compatible and virtually identical to the real deal.  The promotional images of these sets did get me pretty excited but I knew I couldn’t let myself be swayed into collecting them.  I’m running out of room in my man cave as it is and building blocks has never really been my thing.  But damn they looked cool.  I love the original 80’s Real American Hero line.  And I love the modern Joe action figures which I feel present a more detailed, and realistic, and maybe grittier version of those 80s figures.  As a grown man I appreciate that my favorite toy line has matured.  KRE-Os are the complete opposite.  The KRE-O line is loaded with vehicles and bases, the colors are bright and the characters are downright adorable.  I didn’t think a brick-based cutesy line like this would hold so much appeal to me but I have to admit I’ve been won over.  Over the past few weeks I’ve watched as other sites have shared their thoughts on these new Toys R Us exclusive Joe KRE-Os and I’ve been wanting to get in on the action.  There are multiple sets available in a variety of sizes and price points and then there are also blind packed individual figures.  I told myself that I should try to have some restraint and only buy the blind packs, and maybe the HISS tank set when it’s released eventually.Kreo-Firefly

Well Andrew texted me last Thursday to tell me that he was in Toys R Us and that they had the KRE-O sets.  He picked up two of the cheaper sets himself.   As soon as I got home from work I made the trek over to Dartmouth and there they were.  My Toys R Us did not get any of the blind packs in, and it’s the only Toys R Us in the province so I was S.O.L on that front.  This meant I was going to have to buy some of the larger play sets to satisfy my craving for new Joe goodness.  I got the two cheapest ones, the same ones Andrew got because I’ll be damned if he has Joes that I don’t, and I also picked up two larger sets.  On the way out the door I impulse bought 5 of the blind packed Transformer Kre-Os as well. Kreo-alpha real

The 4 sets I bought were: The G.I. Joe Battle Platform or Air/Sea Base as I referred to it as a kid.  This set includes Cobra Commander, Duke and 2 Cobra Troopers.  I also bought the Joe’s boat (why isn’t it a hovercraft Hasbro?) which included Cutter, Stalker and Copperhead.  I bought the Ninja Showdown set that comes with Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and 2 red ninjas and finally I bought this set: Check Point Alpha.

Kreo-Alpha backThis set was the cheapest of the bunch, only $12 and my favorite of the bunch.  Checkpoint Alpha is exactly what it sounds like, a military checkpoint.  The kind you’d see along the road or at the front gates of a military installation.  There was a Checkpoint Alpha set released as part of the RAH line back in 1985.  It was one of the more affordable play sets back then too.  Doug owned it and we both loved it.  It was just one of those little things that anybody could afford and it just made the Joe’s little world seem that much more real.   This KRE-O version is a fantastic representation of the original and it serves the same purpose of fleshing out the world and giving kids who can’t afford the bigger sets a very cool base of operations for their Joes. Kreo-Order

The tower is pretty much exactly how I remember the original.  It’s got a little laptop computer inside, a search light, a ladder and 2 levels of play.  It also comes with a separate rail fence.  The original had a swinging fence attached to the base which is the only thing I’m sad to see is absent.  The original Checkpoint didn’t come with any figures, this one provides much more bang for your buck by giving you the Joe team’s Law, his dog Order, the Cobra saboteur Firefly and a motorcycle.  I actually can’t believe this set only cost me $12 especially considering the price most little Lego sets go for.  I love this set.  Building this was so much fun and it brought back nostalgic memories of snapping together my old Joe vehicles (modern vehicles come pre-assembled) as well as my days of playing Castle Lego.  I’m actually looking forward to having my nephews over to play with these sometime.

I was actually so impressed with the sets that I went back the next day and bought 4 more.  I also bought the rest of the blind bagged Transformers so I suddenly find myself with a rather large KRE-O collection.  I highly recommend you pick these up, whether you’re a Lego fan, a Joe fan or both.  My pictures don’t do them justice.  I had trouble avoiding glare on the flat surfaces.  If you like what you see check out other online reviews as there are others out there with far superior photography skills better able to showcase all of the fun little details on these figures and play sets.  8 out of 10.

My guinea pig Winkerton wanted to check out my sweet new KRE-O collection.

My guinea pig Winkerton wanted to check out my sweet new KRE-O collection.