G.I. Joe Kre-O - Outpost Defender vs. Cobra Ferrett w/ Beachhead and Storm Shadow
Say what you want about the way the G.I. Joe Kre-O thing started, but I'm really liking where things are going. Certainly, the initial releases felt like no more than somewhat hackneyed Battleship and Transformers repaints (because that's what they were), but as time has gone on, they've become much better developed, much more well engineered, and much more faithful to the source material, which is what many G.I. Joe fans have longed for.
Even in the Built to Rule days, where Hasbro first tried to capture the building block magic, there was a disconnect between what Hasbro was doing with the building blocks and what fans were looking for. They seemed to want building block versions of their favorite vintage items, not totally new concepts that just happened to be made out of building blocks. When Kre-O first hit, Hasbro kind of married the two ideas, using some vintage homages, but at their core, the sets were still just rehashes from other branded items. The mini figure Kre-Ons, though, knocked it out of the park.
Now, Hasbro is doing a far better job bringing the two concepts together.
This particular set features the Outpost Defender and the Cobra Ferrett, and both items, while small, are very fun and very reminiscent of the "good old days" of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. The builds are quite simple and straight forward, yet end up bearing a great resemblance to their source material. Each vehicle/playset only took me about 10 minutes to build, yet they were still very fun to put together and I was surprised at how well each one was engineered, even at such a small size. For the Outpost Defender, I love the little computer in the building itself, and they even constructed a small weapons case as well.
The Ferrett has four rubber wheels, some great angled fenders, and nicely applied side rockets and front guns. They elected to omit the large red cannon on the side of the vintage vehicle, but the rest of it feels pretty natural and works well. It makes for a great foil for the four wheeler that Flint came with. They're very quick builds, but still fun.
Kre-On Mini Figures
These two small items come with two Kre-Ons that work quite well. Beachhead is nice and vintage accurate, with blacks, grays, and camouflage, even coming with his little ammunition case and machine gun. He's got the fantastic 75th Ranger Regiment patch on his arm, and really nice iconic deco for his tactical vest. He's a terrific mini figure rendition of everyone's favorite cranky Army Ranger.
With the Cobra Ferrett, we get Storm Shadow, in his very unique 1988 digital camouflage deco. The intricate paint work for the deco patterns looks awesome on the Kre-On, and I love the rope slung across his chest and the additional hood, matching the secondary hood that the original figure had so many years ago. The Arashikage tattoo is on his right arm, and everything fits together really nicely. Interestingly, even though this version of the character is technically a member of the G.I. Joe team, he is clearly shown as Cobra here, riding the Ferrett and shooting at Beachhead, but considering they don't want to go into a whole elaborate story telling rabbit hole, I think keeping him a Cobra character is fine.
This is the smallest of the new Kre-O sets, but still manages to be pretty fun. There isn't much to these little vehicles and battle stations, but they do add some cool variety to the Kre-O brand, and have been improving dramatically as time as gone on.