Friday, July 29, 2011

Learn to waste time like me: Kre-O Prowl Instructions

So per popular request [I actually had a comment], I've done what I could to document how to build your less-than-stellar Prowl into my perhaps-better-than-official Prowl.

I've never tried to take photos of this nature before, so forgive me if the whole thing is a confusing, jumbled mess. You may also note, if you're super-observant, that I put a sticker in a different place, which helps sell the somewhat unconvincing junk-gun a bit more than it might otherwise. And, by all means, feel free to free-ball and change this up at any point. I won't be insulted.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Kre-O: Prowlin' Around

I'm not gonna turn this into some sort of toy review blog or whatever. There are plenty of others that do it better, if you're really after that sort of thing.

But I was out and about and I saw another Kre-O set on the shelf, and, well, being the hopeless addict I am, I snapped it up. I did say I'd keep giving this line a try, right? I think I did.

Anyway, so the set is Prowl, who is this guy:

That's a quote from the show.

He's the resident Transformo-cop, and all-around swell dude. I guess. For a fan of this stuff, I know remarkably little.

Anyway, so here's what the Kre-O set looks like, more or less, as officially built:

Tall drink o' water, ain't ye?

And right there you can see some of the major issues with the robot. Let's start at the start, however.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Kre-O: The Perfect Storm?

I've heard that the last two toys boys stop playing with as they grow up, at least in North America, are LEGO and Transformers. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because each are more technically advanced and interactive than most other toys you could come across, and are therefor slightly more rewarding for the kid. Maybe it's because LEGO has that special European mystique and Transformers has a movie with boobs and guns in it. Either way, they both stick around, and have stuck around, and continue to stick around for large portions of adults. I myself suffer from this two-headed addiction, appealing simultaneously to my unceasing need to fidget and my happy memories of youth.

This review will be aided by Warpath and Jimmy the Squid.

So when I saw that Kre-Os were a thing, I sorta plotzed. LEGO and Transformers blended into a single heady broth of plastic meaning? Too good to be true. [Yeah, it's happened before, but Built-To-Rule was, as far as toys go, barf-inducing.] These things had all the weight of the years of TF character and history piled up on top of them, on a foundation of LEGO-like constructible fiddliness.

Let's get some things out of the way first: Is this, I dunno, unfair of Hasbro to be doing? Are they making themselves into a lowly clone brand by ripping off LEGO engineering? Will the quality ever be able to compare to the impossibly high standards that LEGO and its fans have set [standards that LEGO itself doesn't seem to meet all that often anymore]? And do the damn things transform?

Simple answers: no on all counts. Sort of. The parts are made by Oxford, which, sure, is a not-LEGO company and has that taint about it, but it's certainly one of the higher-regarded brands among those able to acknowledge such things. And, really, there's a surprising number of elements that are not standard LEGO designs. [Some definitely are, and some that aren't probably shouldn't be, but take it as it is.] The quality is fine. Not perfect, not even great. I'll go with good. And they don't easily switch from vehicle to robot, although, really, technically they do transform. It just takes a long time.