Kreon Micro-Changers Preview Series
The new Kre-o blind bagged Transformers minifigures, officially dubbed the 'Kreon Micro-changers Preview Series,' are hitting retail now!
There are six different figures in this Preview Series, and although initially intrigued (I've certainly enjoyed the Optimus Prime and Mirage Kreons I have thus far) I did not think I would bite on these.
Ok, maybe I planned on grabbing the seeker Sunstorm, but that was probably going to be it.
That was before I realized one of the Preview Series figures was The Mighty Galvatron!
So upon discovering the display in store, and with no foreknowledge of a code (see below,) I squeezed until I found Sunstorm (which I found right away) and Galvatron (which took forever - I squeezed the whole damn shipment it seemed!)
I was focusing primarily on their helmets (haw haw) and found that to be an accurate way to identify them.
An initial look at the available figures in this Preview Series has me thinking that a couple of them are just quickie kit-bashes from already existing parts. Namely Waspinator, who just looks like a green Jazz. Although I admit no familiarity with Waspinator, so maybe he's supposed to look like a green Jazz? And I've never heard of Spinister or Crankstart before.
This kitbashed, cobbled together feel is why I originally thought I was likely to pass on these.
What do I think now that I own some?
They're pretty darn cool. Not perfect, but not too shabby after all.
First, the fact that these are designed to have a robot and alt mode (albeit very simplistic in nature) makes them all the cooler. I mean come on: a build-toy minifigure who is itself a build toy - of a Transformer who is by definition able to transform - with robot and alt modes similar to that of their counterparts in other media - what's not to love?
The fact that Kre-o and Hasbro designed the toys thusly, when they really didn't have to, allows for wide forgiveness in the fact that the transformations are simple and in some cases silly. Could you do better? I don't think so.
Like I said, when I briefly glanced at these online before they were released I initially only wanted the Seeker Sunstorm because, although he isn't one of the big 3, he is a G1 Seeker and G1 Seekers are flippin' badass.
Sunstorm looks wonderful as a minifigure, and his little plane mode is cute too. I love the fact that the extra pieces are useful as a weapon, again: stylistically simple but a very smart use of extra parts design wise, helping prevent loss of integral components.
I sure hope more Seekers make it into future Micro-Changer assortments. In the meantime I may go out and buy another Sunstorm or two.
When I found these guys I thought I'd only search for Sunstorm, but when I looked closely at the packaging I saw that a G1 Galvatron was also an available figure! Hokey smokes! I had to have him!
And Galvatron lives up to my desire. His little figure self is so adorable!
And his alt mode is again simple but fun. And again, I like the fact that all parts for his alt mode are integrated into his robot mode. A little bulky (and removable if you wish) but there for when you need them. And yes, there is parts re-use here too (his gun is not unique but a re-colored Megatron gun - but that's ok by me, since SPOILER: he was once Megatron!)
After playing with these two a while, I decided I wanted to return to the store for Scorponok. These little Kreon Micro-Changers are just too much fun!
Unfortunately Scorponok isn't as good as Sunstorm or Galvatron. The plastic of his forearms and scorpion-legs immediately began exhibiting stress discoloring when I constructed him. Continued conversion could lead to breakage there, or at least loosening of connections. Or more discoloring. The fact that it was so noticeable on Scorponok and I didn't notice it on the others may be due to the plastic color. Maybe the others were stressed as well, but it didn't show in the lighter colors? Regardless, no toy collector likes to see stressed plastic, ever.
Also, all the parts for his alt mode do not integrate into his robot mode, which means you have spare parts laying around, waiting to be lost. On a positive note, there are a ton of pieces here, way more than Lego would ever put into a single minifigure, so you feel like you are getting your money's worth. Also, he does make a neat looking robot with those claws of his! The translucent plastic really pops.
Not a bad figure, but the stress marks on the plastic remind us that the plastic used in Kre-o toys is sub par to that we are all pretty used to in Legos, and that really disappoints.
PS: I now know that you can easily identify the Micro-Changers by a number on the front bottom of the packaging:
Spinister: number series ends in 7
Galvatron: number series ends in 8
Sunstorm: number series ends in 9
Crankstart: number series ends in 0
Scorponok: number series ends in 1
Waspinator: number series ends in 2
The Kreon Micro-Changers Preview Series was $3.49 at my Toys R Us; the same price they charge me for Lego minifigures. With the alt modes and a large amount of pieces, I feel like these are a slightly better bargain than Lego minifigures, even with lower quality plastic. But that is also assuming you care about the characters - a Galvatron might be worth $3.49 but maybe a Spinister isn't to you. Fortunately the code is easy to break, or you can just squeeze like I had to.
In conclusion, while a couple of these figures feel rushed to production, just as many are great and worth tracking down. And although I think it odd to do a whole release of only Decepticons, that too may be due to the rushed nature of this 'Preview' wave.
But if the good points are any indication of what the future of this line has in store for us, I expect amazing things and fun Kreons that would not necessarily be marketable in larger sets (a Rodimus Prime or a Tripticon Kreon perhaps?) Although I worry the dual-mode gimmick may limit what characters they can make, I also have faith that Kre-o/Hasbro's engineers are smart enough to give us something fun no matter what the challenge.