Let me state up front, I am not a Lego guy. Yes, the little brick building sets and Minifigures are cool, but I only have so much space (and money), and that’s one toy avenue I usually leave alone. That is, until Hasbro announced they were releasing a line of GI Joe Kre-Os. In case you don’t know, Kre-O is the Lego-esque building toy line created by Hasbro, and in the past we’ve seen Transformers and Battleship (along with the upcoming Star Trek series), but the Toys R Us exclusive GI Joe sets are by far the coolest we’ve ever seen from the Hasbro building toy universe.
The GI Joe Kre-Os are available in a multitude of sets, ranging from blind bagged minifigs to small playsets like Checkpoint Alpha, to larger sets like GI Joe Headquarters. When I saw the end cap display of everything at Toys R Us this week, in an attempt to be reasonable, I limited myself to some of the blind bag figures and Checkpoint Alpha. Between the Kreons in that set and the bags, I managed to score Law * Order, Firefly, Crimson Guard, Cobra Trooper, Alley Viper, Torpedo, Rock N Roll and the Adventure Team Commander.
The minifigures are great, making excellent use of paint apps and colors to make the blocky figures unique and character-appropriate. These are the first Kreons I checked out, and with the increased articulation I actually kind of prefer them to Legos. Each figure includes one minifig, accessories (including guns that act as mini-builds, with clip-on sites, muzzles and bayonets), a character-specific assembly sheet, and a block display base.
There’s lots of cool little extras with each figure, too, which add to their coolness. I was impressed by the flip-up visors on Torpedo and Alley Viper… but I was completely charmed by the Adventure Team Commander. Not only does this retro figure sport flocked hair like his 12″ counterpart, he even includes a block in the shape of a vintage GI Joe doll box… and a swappable second head with his signature vintage talking feature!
Some collectors (I’d assume) love the blind bag concept, although I personally find it kind of annoying. These figures are blind packed in small baggies, but it took some clever Joe collectors no time at all to decipher how to tell who’s inside the bag– as such, if you’re cherry-picking certain characters or looking to amass a Cobra army while sticking to only one Scarlet, I have the answer: Each baggie has a product stamp in black ink on the back of the baggie, and each figure corresponds to the final two numbers of that stamp. I’m posting the key to figure numbers in white SPOILER TEXT at the bottom of this review, for the reference of those who want to know.
And as promised, below is the blind bag minifigure key– remember, look for the ink stamp, NOT the bar code.
SPOILERS BELOW– HIGHLIGHT WITH YOUR MOUSE TO READ!!