When I was a kid, I was really into LEGO, even more than I was into action figures. As the years went on, though, I noticed the sets were declining in quality, mostly due to the amount of effort they were funneling into the Star Wars sets. As a result, I got more and more interested in Gunpla and began focusing my efforts there. I can’t say I regret it, since I’ve gotten much better at that than I ever was at LEGO. Still, once in awhile, I go back to it or maybe even those neat HALO Mega Bloks sets. But I’m not here to talk about those—I’m here to talk about Kre-O.
Now as much as we want to forget it, Built to Rule happened. It was a great concept, but horribly executed. For those who don’t know, Built to Rule was Hasbro’s last attempt at a building block series, and it wasn’t very good. The bricks rarely stayed together and the end products were pretty disappointing once finished, especially the Transformers. This time, though, it seems Hasbro got a few things right, but there’s still room for improvement.
I made my first foray into Kre-O with Sentinel Prime, since I like buying the characters we DON’T see every year. And because he was cheap for me, but that’s neither here nor there. Unsurprisingly, his design here is based on his appearance in Dark of the Moon, but there are a few other influences which I’ll get to later.
His vehicle mode is the similar to the airport firetruck he transforms into in the movie, and it is surprisingly big; certainly bigger than any time LEGO did a vehicle like this. He has opening doors and a positionable, spring-loaded water cannon as well as ladders that don’t really do anything. Unfortunately he only has one seat for the driver, but I can’t say I’m that surprised.
There’s a bit of a blessing and a curse with the Kre-O sets. The Built to Rule sets had a basic frame they were all built around that could transform, with some parts being rearranged for the robot mode. Here, the ENTIRE SET needs to be disassembled to switch between the modes, which can take quite awhile. On one hand, both modes look better, but on the other, it’s very, very tedious, so I suggest just building it in the mode you want and keeping it there.
Much like his vehicle mode, Sentinel’s robot mode draws heavily from his movie incarnation. He’s a bit spindly, but the overall design is pretty cool. My only real complaints come from the weight that hurts his articulation, and the fact that his weapons are built into his hands. Of course, you can just take them out, but it’s an odd design choice. The joints are coated with a soft plastic, which seems to hold some poses, but not others. They’re like polycaps, but not as resilient.
What amazed me the most about this toy is the head—yes, it’s based on Transformers: Animated Sentinel Prime! It’s AWESOME, and I can see plenty of people buying this guy just to make customs.
But of course, nobody cares as much about the sets themselves as they do the Kreons, Kre-O’s answer to the minifigure. They’re awesome and adorable, and Sentinel comes with a Kreon of himself (based on his design from the comics), Skywarp, Soundwave, and… a fire chief with a ton of gear, but nobody cares about him. Of the four, my favorite is Soundwave. Just look at the mouth under the helmet! Awesome.
Kre-O is still in its infancy, but I can see it becoming much better as the years go on. Sentinel Prime is definitely recommended for his great design and Kreons. And before you ask—yes, FPNYC does carry these, so if you want to literally build your Autobot army, come on in!