G.I. Joe Kre-O - G.I. Joe Wolverine vs. the Firebat
Is this really the same brand as it was only a year ago? Seriously? The same brand that gave us a bright green and yellow Dragonfly that looks nothing like the Dragonfly, and a large old school cargo ship that's supposed to belong alongside the WHALE or USS Flagg? It doesn't seem possible, and yet here we are. Here we are, where the Hasbro G.I. Joe Kre-O designers are taking these bricks and essentially recreating vintage vehicles out of them with amazing accuracey, and yet also maintaining a fun building process and some unique playability. It's pretty amazing.
I think I've mentioned before that I was never really a Lego fan as a kid, and still am not particularly fascinated by them. I can really appreciate their place in the toy landscape (which is, quite frankly, almost total dominance) but I've always been more of a "player" than a "builder". But I can't lie, I have a lot of fun assembling these Kre-O sets, and I can start to see where the Lego fascination comes into play with some folks.
Both the Wolverine and the Firebat are simply fantastic. The process for building them was quite easy to follow, yet took some time, having to be broken up over the period of a couple of nights for this particular building block rookie. The way the bricks were designed to be assembled works remarkably well, and gives you an extremely stable and playable vehicle, while still being fun to build and very reminiscent of the classics. The Firebat retains its awesome folding wings, a great opening canopy, and all of the flair of the great classic version. The Wolverine has the unique sloped armor, the rotating rocket launchers, and even the tow rope that everyone lost as a kid! There is a cool opening tool chest as well where you can keep some items hidden away from view. These vehicles just manage to take all of the best unique trademarks of the vehicles that inspired them and pull it together into a building block system that is loads of fun and somewhat challenging.
For some reason I really dig the sizes here, too. Both of these vehicles are obviously smaller than their vintage counterparts, which I actually find appealing, as they fit quite nicely in the hand, allowing for more easy play. They are the perfect scale for the Kre-Ons and don't take up a ton of display space, yet still manage to feel like they were worth the cost and trouble of assembly. These two small vehicles are about the perfect blend of fun design, fun brick building, and excellent execution.
Kre-On Mini Figures
Of course, what's the Firebat without AVAC, right? And what's the Wolverine without Cover Gir-- err... well, never mind that last part. The Firebat pilot is an excellent representation of AVAC, the original Firebat pilot, with a great combination of red and silver along with the familiar helmet and visor. Even with the limited deco work on the figure itself, you can immediately recognize it, and I love that Hasbro went with that design instead of making up a new Cobra pilot of some sort.
On the G.I. Joe side, we don't get Cover Girl for some strange reason, but we do get Recondo and Bazooka, and they are both fantastic as well. Recondo, with his trusty moustache, folded up hat, and excellent deco on his torso and camouflage pants really looks the part of the 1984 classic.
Bazooka's Steve Grogan jersey is in fine form as a Kre-On, but he also comes with a great flak jacket that can go over it, if you prefer a slightly more military look to your Minnesotan bazooka troopers. Even with only a couple of series under their belts, Hasbro is quickly ticking names off the G.I. Joe roster, and Bazooka is a big Sunbow character that was in need of a Kre-On version. Love that they worked him in here.
This set is spectacular. The vehicles are a great size, look vintage authentic, and happen to be a whole lot of fun besides. The mini figures are really great characters that ooze personality and fit the theme and concept of the set really nicely. This is an absolute home run, and one of the best Kre-O sets Hasbro has done.