As strange as it may sound coming from an adult collector, one of the biggest disappointments from a G.I. Joe perspective I’ve experienced this year is the apparent end of a mainstream Kre-O toyline. After clearancing the majority of their stock, it appears as if Toys “R” Us has gotten out of the G.I. Joe Kre-O game, relegating us to convention exclusives.
That’s not a bad thing, and I really enjoyed the G.I. Joe Convention Kre-O set, but man, after getting that Terror Drome, Firebat and other great items, I can’t help but at least slightly lament the loss of a higher profile Kre-O presence.
This ComicCon exclusive set does two things… it satisfies me greatly, yet also gives the knife a little bit of a twist. It’s a terrific set that I love whole heartedly, but also puts a big magnifying glass on the bare shelves where G.I. Joe Kre-O used to be at Toys “R” Us.
The theme of this ComicCon exclusive set is spectacular. With a box designed like the classic VHS Boxed sets of old, each individual “video tape” pulls out into an individual component. One tape is the Iron Grenadier figure set, one tape is the Marauders figure set, and the third tape is the Triple T tank. Magnificent. The animated Kre-O themed artwork across the box and the inner tapes pulls me back to the FHE days where I’d go to my local video store and rent the “Revenge of Cobra” mini series back in the day…and the artwork is very reminiscent of the DiC series box art, too, especially with the Slaughter’s Marauders. Fantastic presentation with the box and artwork for sure.
I think I share most folks’ surprise in seeing that Hasbro was once again able to get license to Sgt. Slaughter’s character, even if it was just in Kre-O form.
Slaughter himself is a great looking figure, using the typically fantastic Hasbro design aesthetics. Kre-O designers seem imminently capable of focusing on some very key elements of the characters and translating them perfectly to toy form.
Footloose is another great looking Marauders update with just the right touches of green, brown, and blue, as well as a neat assembled RPG and machine gun.
Low Light has his familiar Marauder paint scheme along with a great sniper rifle and Uzi to call back to the vintage version that had the same equipment. It’s neat comparing these versions to their classic originals in the Kre-O line and see what was changed.
Using a gas mask, night stick, and submachine gun, Hasbro gives us a good looking Mutt in the updated Marauder paint scheme, again a nice separation from the classic version that already appeared in the Kre-O line. Just a note – Junkyard is bagged in with the Triple T, so if you don’t see him in the action figure package, look in the Triple T box, he should be in there.
Unlike some others, Spirit never actually received a classic Kre-O version yet, something that didn’t occur to me until I was doing this review. Spirit is the consumate Sunbow character that would have made perfect sense to have done in Kre-O form, and represents just one more reason why I hope to see Kre-O continue in some form somewhere down the line. We need a classic Spirit!
Lastly we have Marauder Barbecue who comes with a great flip up Barbecue mask and fire extinguisher, along with his handy battle axe. Like the others, he has a great Marauder paint scheme that’s very evocative of the figure, and awesomely colorful.
On the enemy side of things we get the Iron Grenadiers, which serves as a great tie-in to the Convention Set this year, which also contained some key members of the IG crew.
Destro leads the team in his Pimp Daddy Destro deco, another ComicCon throwback, which is a great touch. The leopard print collar and red cape are both so tacky and fantastic.
Voltar is second in command looking great in his pink and gold uniform, with an awesome helmet (even though the eyepiece is on the wrong side), a great weapon, and even his trusty vulture.
Darklon is far and away my favorite figure in this set, with great chainmail deco, an awesome sinister face, his gatling dart gun and all the trappings of Destro’s cousin.
Taking a closer look at the three Iron Grenadiers as well, some things become apparent. First of all, one of them is an officer while two of them are troopers. The officer’s Kre-O deco is actually themed like the modern Iron Grenadier update (using the Battle Armor Cobra Commander body) while the two Troopers are the vintage design with the more familiar clasping buttons. All three figures have red bandanas, but if you remove them, you see the classic Grenadier visage glaring out from behind. As an unabashed Iron Grenadier fan, I love these three troopers and they compliment the rest of the set perfectly.
Also, using a Kre-O Grunt head and a random red beret I found kicking around, the Iron Grenadier Officer quickly becomes a nice looking Sgt. Major.
Sgt. Slaughter’s TTT
Just looking at the figures themselves this set would already be a sure fire winner in my opinion, but Hasbro took it one step further and didn’t just give us 12 great looking Kre-Ons, but they also gave us a full blown ready-to-build Triple T tank!
Like many of the Kre-O items we’ve seen, the Triple T really made its mark in the Sunbow cartoon especially when Slaughter made his dramatic entrace, leaping from the oddly shaped white tank and single-handedly dispatching with a few dozen Battle Android Troopers. To be honest, in its toy form, the Triple T never did much for me, but as has happened in the past a vehicle I might not have cared much for gets whole new life as a Kre-O set. No matter how many times I’ve put these sets together, it always amazes me that I can dump out a pile of random bricks, and moments later, an actual physical form begins to take shape, eventually resulting in a vehicle that actually resembles something that I know. Early Kre-O efforts were mixed, giving us vehicles that bore only the most passing resemblance to their vintage counterparts, but recently, things have gotten much better, and the Triple T is a perfect example of that.
This is a very unique looking vehicle from G.I. Joe history, and the fact that this Kre-O build represents it so accurately is simply amazing. Using a majority of white bricks, with a healthy mix of green and brown, the TTT is an amazing feat of brick engineering that completely lives up to my expectations for these Kre-O sets. From the size and shape to the “fit” with this year’s theme and the vintage resemblance, I may actually like the Kre-O TTT even more than the regular vintage one. It wasn’t a really complex build, and as always, I find myself incredibly amused with how small these items end up, but it was a lot of fun, and the final result is 100% worth it.
From the packaging to the Kre-On mini figures, all the way to the TTT vehicle, this set is simply amazing. A truly enjoyable and yes FUN addition to the already impressive Kre-O library. I thoroughly enjoyed this set while at the same time it made me lament the sparse offerings of Kre-O going forward.
Slaughter Marauders vs. Iron Grenadiers Kre-O Set
Something that often gets lost in the shuffle of collector toys is the notion of “fun”. TOYS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FUN. I think that’s why I’ve been drawn to Kre-O so much since it first came out. Even when the builds weren’t 100% accurate and even when some of the figure designs were a bit weak, the base concept of the entire thing was G.I. Joe as a fun toy. No Kre-O set to date has captured that sense of fun more than this ComicCon set, which takes the essence of what was great about G.I. Joe in the 80s and boils it down to a single boxed set, from the packaging to the filecards, and the individual pieces themselves. Terrific characters, an excellent vehicle build, and an all around impressive package. This set is a must have!
Another superb review Justin. It’s so great to see a collector speak so passionately about this line. When this set was announced it gave me so much hope that Kre-O GI Joe would continue. To see two new, never produced mainstay Joes not in their original decos makes me think there will be more product in the future. When, and where it will be offered of course is a complete mystery.
For me Kre-O is the most exciting thing that has happened to GI Joe since the 25th line premiered. It is a great opportunity to enter into a hugely popular and lucrative space that Hasbro has left untapped (no, I am not counting BTR :D). Lego has taken over the toy market, and Mattel’s Mega-Bloks line has seen a wide growth in licenses, set releases and quality. The construction toy play-space is something Hasbro needs to succeed in. To reference Joe specifically, even after the seemingly poor performance at retail this is how you make GI Joe relevant to children again.
I think it’s a great strategy to release this set at Comicon coupled with an autograph session with the Sarge himself. I hope it generates enough buzz with the community to put this line back on the radar. I love Kre-O and I just want to see it succeed. They have come so far in such short a short time from the early days of frail off-the-mark Battleship redecos to the amazing Terror Drome amd Wolverine. There’s no where to go but up for Kre-O. Great builds and a smart brand strategy will make all the difference. I just hope the IP is strong enough to survive in a market place overflowing with stronger properties and brands.
What’s the price on this sucker?