When Hasbro first announced that they would be reentering the plastic building block market with the Kre-O brand, most building fans were a little apprehensive. Hasbro’s previous foray, Built to Rule, had been a failure on all levels. However, early looks at Kre-O’s initial offerings stoked great interest in the brand. Now, only four years later, Kre-O is showing up at discount retailers in new, cheaper packaging. Does it mark the end of this once anticipated building block system?
It’s a shame the instructions weren’t included, because it’s extremely difficult to see what Hasbro intends for us to build from the supplied parts. Also note that there are no purple pieces or spare minifigure helmets as shown on the box. In a way, it’s almost liberating not having any instructions. Theoretically, what you can build is only limited by your imagination. The reality, though, is that the inventory of parts has as much an influence as imagination on what a person can build.
Thankfully, the minifigure (called a “Kreon” by Hasbro) is a straightforward affair. No instructions needed to assemble the fearsome leader of the Decepticons. The shoulders and hips are ball-jointed to allow for a greater poseability than the standard Lego minifigure.
You can see here that Megatron has the same height as a Lego astronaut. The printing on Megatron’s chest is quite nicely done with many of his trademark details intact. If there’s only been one positive benefit from Kre-O’s existence, it’s the opportunity to acquire minifig versions of popular characters like Meg.
While I thought the fang-like grill came out really well, I wasn’t really happy with the overall blockiness of the vehicle. I would have liked to have given it a few more curves, but I did what I could with cards that I was dealt.
I really would have preferred to build Megatron some sort of tank, but the parts simply do not allow for such a construction. Which leads us back to the mystery of the missing instructions. What, exactly, did Hasbro expect us to build? Did they forget to pack the instructions? Was it a misprint on the box? Creativity is fine and good, but a complete absence of guidance can be frustrating at times. Since this photograph of the Battle Zamboni was taken, it has already gone through multiple alterations. None of them have looked “right.”
With a retail price of USD$5, these repackaged Kre-O sets signal Hasbro’s capitulation to the building block market. It’s a pity, because the brand showed such promise when they launched only four years ago. With that said, the parts have decent clutch; and the included Kreon is arguably what makes purchasing the set worthwhile. Instructions would have immeasurably added more value. Sadly, the somewhat misleading packaging and mediocre assortment of parts in this set cement Kre-O’s new status as a “budget” brick system.