update: F.A.Q. Page Created

This is something that I’ve been meaning to put together for some time now. Although I’ve written a number of reviews over the years, none receive more regular views than the ones I’ve written for Hasbro’s Kre-O Transformers Brick Boxes. As a consequent, those reviews are also the reviews that have received the most number of comments. I hope that with the creation of a F.A.Q. page, some visitors’ questions will be answered.

More reviews and other fun things are coming soon! Thanks for visiting!

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review: Kre-O Transformers Optimus Prime Brick Box (B2963/B2312 Asst.)

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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. Continue reading

gallery: The Goldbug Variations

bumble-rod-x-3When I started Building Up to Something a few months ago, I kept my expectations realistic. I hoped that I might earn a couple of views a month, and maybe I would have over a hundred views in a year’s time. Never during those early days did I even imagine that the blog would surpass 6,000 views and 2,600 visitors only twenty-five posts in.

I wish I could take all of the credit and say that it was my crackling wit and sharp insights into cheap building block systems that have driven so much traffic to this website. However, the truth of the matter is that two posts are responsible for most of the apparent interest in Building Up to Something. The single most popular blog post is my review of the Kre-O Bumblebee Brick Box, with the Kre-O Megatron Brick Box review running a modest second place. As it turns out, there are many visitors who happen to be fans of Transformers. Who would have thought…? Continue reading

review: Kre-O Dungeons & Dragons Lightning Cannon (A6737)

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This set is also sold as “Dungeons & Dragons Wallbreaker Javelin.”

One of the major advantages that Kre-O has over the other building block brands is its access to Hasbro’s plethora of intellectual properties. Transformers! G.I. Joe! Er… Battleship. Unlike Lego or Mega Bloks, Kre-O didn’t need to negotiate in order to acquire rights to produce sets based on these firmly established and lucrative brand names. When Mega Bloks announced that they were going to produce a line of sets based on the insanely popular World of Warcraft fantasy MMORPG, Kre-O responded in turn by releasing sets based on the legendary Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game universe.  Continue reading

review: Kre-O Transformers Bumblebee Brick Box (82962/82312 Asst.)

bumblebox-frontI wrote in my previous review that, “[T]he inventory of parts [in a set] has as much an influence as imagination on what a person can build.” As if to prove that point, we have this Kre-O Brick Box. Like the Megatron Box, it was also purchased from a Family Dollar store. The box art layout is practically identical, with the exception of the brick colors and Kreon. It should be noted that there are also eleven less pieces in this box. Continue reading

review: Kre-O Transformers Megatron Brick Box (82961/82312 Asst.)

megabox-frontWhen 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? Continue reading

review: Qiaoletong Kids Fun Warriors League – Crit (TS30100-02)*

* Before I begin this review in earnest, I must note that contrary to what online sellers will claim, the parts in this set are not compatible with Lego or other leading brands. While the pieces appear to share the same dimensions as Lego, the studs are slightly wider than those found on Lego parts. The spacing under the Qiaoletong parts is also different to accomodate the wider studs. You can stack a Qiaoletong brick on a Lego brick, but they will not clutch (or the clutch will be extremely loose). The opposite is also equally impossible: you cannot stack a Lego brick on a Qiaoletong brick. Caveat emptor!

Stock image of the Chinese packaging. The seller I purchased this set from did not include the box. If you look closely, you can see a Nazi air field in the background(!).
Stock image of the Chinese packaging. The seller I purchased this set from did not include the box. If you look closely, you can see a Nazi air field in the background(!).

One could argue that there are no more recognized fictional robots these days than the Transformers, and perhaps no Transformer is more well-known than Optimus Prime. Whether you know him as the paternal leader of the Autobots from the multiple animated series and comic books or as the homicidal warlord from the live-action films, Optimus Prime has earned a spot in popular culture and the public consciousness. He was a favorite of mine when I was growing up, but even legendary characters like Optimus Prime run the risk of growing stale.  My curiousity was piqued to say the least when I stumbled across this set while browsing the web. The head clearly belonged to Prime, but the rest was unfamiliar. It was a significant departure from the red-and-blue mechanical giant. It sparked my imagination in ways that the official Transformers merchandise hasn’t in years, so I decided to take the plunge. Continue reading