Happy New Year! 2017 is well underway, but I thought we could take a look at a product that probably found its way under many Christmas trees last month. These Kre-O Brick Boxes can be found at discount retailers like Dollar General, but a reader of this blog (and other sources around the Internet) recently reported finding variants with different contents at Walgreens drug stores. If you haven’t yet read my reviews of other Kre-O Brick Boxes, you can read them here. Unsurprisingly, there’s not much different to report with this one.
The Brick Box packaging remains largely unaltered. However, there is one change worth noting. Let’s zoom in on the lower left-hand corner of the bottom of the packaging.
There is no mention of instructions. The removal of any mention of instructions strongly suggests that prior mentions of instructions on boxes was a misprint. Builders are implicitly being encouraged to construct whatever they can imagine with the supplied parts. Speaking of, let’s crack open the box.
Parts come in two bags. No instructions.
Perhaps what’s most interesting about the parts inventory is what’s not included rather than what is included. First off, there are no parts in blue. You would think there would be since it’s one of Optimus Prime’s signature colors. Given the colors that are included, I would guess that these parts originated from the old Kre-O Sideswipe construction set. The inclusion of a 2×2 tile with a neck post only strengthens those suspicions. Secondly, there are no wheels included except for the steering wheel. Their omission is more than a little weird since we’re talking about the leader of the Autobots. I mean, Hasbro even included wheels in Megatron’s Brick Box. Also, Optimus Prime’s vehicle mode in most continuities is a semi truck. We could have built a little big rig for Optimus Prime with some wheels.
You do get an Optimus Prime Kreon, at least (with a giant hand cannon, no less). The print on the torso is just about perfect. It’s a shame there’s no print on the legs. The smokestacks clip to the arms and are nice accents. Prime’s facemask is unpainted. I guess you could take a silver paint pen and correct it yourself, but it doesn’t bother me.
Prime’s helmet is removable, and the face is a little, well, strange. It’s strange in the way that seeing any incarnation of Optimus Prime with a mouth is strange for me. One final note about the Kreon: the helmet I received had a mold defect and would continually pop off Prime’s head. I had to take a hobby knife to the inside of the helmet and shave off a little plastic to get it to properly seat on his head.
What can you build with such a limited inventory of parts? Theoretically, you can build whatever your imagination can conjure. However, the amount of imagination required is inversely proportional to the usefulness of available parts. I began to build a base for Optimus, but it quickly became apparent that I would not have the parts to build a structure that would be sturdy or secure. Also, I wanted to find a use for that steering wheel.
Lazy Builder’s Protip: If you’re ever unsure of what to build with the parts in front of you, build a spaceship or a mech. As you can see, I chose the latter. It uses all the parts included in the box except for the two parts shown in the photo.
Why does a giant robot need a robot suit to pilot? I don’t know, but there were design elements that I knew that I wanted to incorporate into the construction once I decided to build a mech. For instance, I knew the mech would have to have a grill on its torso much like its pilot.
Obviously, there are things about the mech that I don’t care for. It has zero articulation. The upper limbs are rather flimsy. It has no hands of which to speak. It’s a squat, little thing. Still, it’s all Optimus Prime has for now. He’ll drive it, and he’ll like it!
The retail price for this Brick Box is USD$5, and I feel like that’s fair for the most part. It’s true: there was a small problem with Prime’s helmet that required me to use a hobby knife, and the parts selection leaves something to be desired. Of the three Kre-O Brick Boxes that I have reviewed, this one contains the smallest number of parts. On the other hand, you do receive a decent Optimus Prime Kreon at a reasonable price. The parts may be limited, but they do have satisfactory clutch. The lack of wheels in the box limits what you can build, but there’s nothing stopping you from combining Brick Boxes or using parts from your own collection (Just don’t expect to be able to build a ground vehicle out of the box). As a stocking stuffer, I can’t imagine many young builders being too disappointed getting this Brick Box. I wouldn’t mind seeing additional Brick Boxes on store shelves in the future if only to get more classic Transformers Kreons.