From the start, Hasbro’s GI Joe Kre-O really knocked it out of the park. There was something so perfect about realizing the sci-fi/ military world of the Real American Hero in building toy format that was not only insanely fun, but left me baffled that it hadn’t been done in the decades previous.
Each time we get a new release, I recall again just how cool this little collection is, and the latest reminder comes in the form of the fourth series of single packed mini figures. Series 4 brings us another killer lineup, borrowing from many corners of the Joe universe with seven new good guys, two Cobra characters and three villainous army builders.
For the Joe team, this set delivers six classic Real American Hero characters– Tripwire, Airborne, Alpine, Chuckles, Wetsuit and Budo. Each character is featured in their classic 80s uniforms, making clever reuse of Transformers parts like Tripwire’s helmet and Budo’s samurai armor. The Joes are joined by the Air Adventurer, a new addition to my personal favorite sub-series, the 70s style Adventure Team. Like the previous Adventure Team guys, the Air Adventurer features a block-based replica of his vintage box packaging, as well as flocked hair, which adds so much to his retro charm.
Of course, a new set of GI Joe Kre-Os has to mean more Cobras, too, and we start out this wave with one of the heaviest hitters we had yet t see in this collection– Zartan. The Dreadnok leader makes for a really cool figure, packing a second head to represent his familiar bearded “mask.” Joining Zartan is Nemesis Enforcer, the bodyguard of Cobra-La, who sports a pretty awesome pair of bat wings that make him look appropriately enormous next to his fellow mini figures.
The other three Cobras are troop builders, starting with another Cobra Trooper variant, this time with some unique uniform coloring and an all new bazooka mini build. This guy adds some nice variety to the Cobra soldier display, keeping the team uniform without having to look completely identical. The Night Viper also gets the brick treatment, complete with green scopes for both his helmet and his sniper rifle. My favorite, though, is the classic Cobra Viper, always one of the coolest looking designs in GI Joe’s history. Borrowing again from a Transformers helmet, and sharing the same blue tone as his Cobra Trooper associates, the Viper is perfect, and he’s already really making me second guess my “only two for army builders” rule.
Technically, this is the fifth wave of blind bagged Joe Kre-Os we have seen– Series 4 and 5 flip-flopped, with 5 getting released about a month ago– and much like that last set, the incredibly useful production stamps on the baggies are nowhere to be found on these latest figures. It’s a bummer, especially for those of us less adept at feeling out packages to make a guess as to who’s inside, but it really does make this a legitimate blind bag experience, so I guess I can’t really take issue.
The fourth set of GI Joe Kre-O was another winner, and with this release we are really starting to see a big and fun universe taking shape in this format. Between this wave and the Terror Drome playset, every toy we know of from this series has now been released. I’m hoping Hasbro carries the collection into 2015, because I can’t get enough of these awesome building toys.