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Kre-O Starscream Jet Mode Review

At BotCon 2011 I first learned about Kre-O, Hasbro’s entry into the building block toys such as Lego and Mega Blocks. Transformers is one of Hasbro’s most successful franchises so it makes sense for them to first market Kre-O replicating toys and characters of the popular robots in disguise. As a kid I loved playing with Lego. I had quite an impressive Lego collection growing up, with sets mostly from the Lego Town and Space lines, and some from the Castle and Technic lines. I had to leave many of these sets behind when we moved to the United States. Only some of my absolute favorites were brought with me, and today they’re sitting in a closet somewhere.

I still played with Legos after the move and I even bought some sets here, but then I also got into Transformers. My parents, being strict as they were, didn’t buy me a whole lot of Transformers. And so I built many of them out of Legos. Its too bad I didn’t take pics of my creations. I remember building a Metroplex that was pretty G1 accurate, for Lego standards anyway. He was fully transformable too. I studied his design from a TF catalog since I never had the figure. Metroplex is kind of a blocky character, a good choice to do in Lego.

Anyway, when I saw the Kre-O at BotCon, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. This is a combination of two of my favorite kinds of toys. Many people were looking at Kre-O at the Con and it sure appears that Hasbro generated a lot of interest with these sets. Of course, the obvious question that was on everyone’s tongue was if these sets could transform. At the Con it was unclear if they would, and Hasbro reps seemed to be dodging the question every time it was asked. We now know that Kre-O sets DO NOT TRANSFORM. You build one mode, take it apart, then build the other mode. In some ways this was kind of a letdown. TFs that don’t transform… maybe they should have called them Kre-O Actionmasters. But regardless, I was still intrigued by the notion of TFs made from building blocks, even if they did not transform.

The second questions that was on many people’s mind was how are the quality of the blocks themselves. I don’t have any Mega Blocks, but many online reviews have suggested they’re crap. Blocks that don’t stick together are reported often. Blocks that don’t fit is another popular complaint. Hasbro went the route of doing the blocks themselves instead of partnering with Lego. So it was anyone’s guess how the Kre-O blocks would turn out.

Less than two weeks ago Amazon had the Starscream set on sale for slightly more than $20. I figured this was the perfect time to find out about these sets for myself, so I got one. It took me about two hours to put this together. It wasn’t too difficult, the hardest part was probably finding the pieces (there are 316 in the set). If you’re used to building Legos than you won’t have any problems. I haven’t really built anything since I was 12 so I thought I might be rusty, but it didn’t feel that way at all. I guess some things you never forget, like riding a bike. Anyway, here it is.

The jet itself is quite amazing to hold in your hands once complete. The size is impressive, easily on par with a Leader class or Masterpiece figure (I go into size comparison below). There’s also some good weight to the finished figure. In jet mode he used almost all 316 pieces. There was only about 7 or 8 pieces that wasn’t used, 1 being the head and 2 being the hands. As far as quality goes, these pieces felt just like Legos to me. Everything fits just right, and with some minor exceptions, everything locks into place. The jet is very robust and it can withstand reasonable rough play. The core of the figure is very solid and I really don’t see any construction issues. The design on the layout of the pieces is on par with anything Lego has come up with, and so the jet is not likely to fall apart. Hasbro has done a pretty good job with the mechanics of this set in jet mode.

This Starscream is obviously G1 inspired. The shape of the wings suggest that he is an F-15. The colors are also true to the G1 incarnation with a base of light grey and bits of blue and red. Overall there’s quite a bit of detail for a building block figure.

I applied all the decals on him. The stripes on the wings are decals. The Decepticon emblem and markings near the cockpit are also decals. Once applied, they stick tight to the building pieces so you don’t have to worry about them falling off. However, I should point out that when I first opened the set, one decal was kind of falling off the sticker sheet. It was one of the long stripe patterns for the wings. Hasbro could probably use better QC in this area.

Here is a shot of the back. I like how they implemented the rear thrusters and I like the way they look. The tail fins are angled. This is done by placing them on hinged pieces. So you can also position them straight up if you want to.

There are landing gears on the jet and they are retractable. See the two shots below.

In these pics of the bottom, you can see that Starscream has more than enough missiles on the wings to punish some hapless Autobots running for their lives on the ground. The missile pieces are attached to the wings, but they can be a little loose and they come off the jet more easily than all the other pieces. But this is not an issue when the jet is only used for display.

The above shows that you can open the cockpit and insert Kre-Ons or Lego minifigs into it. Only the rear cockpit piece can be opened. One gripe that I have here is that it’s hard to place the Kre-Ons into the seat (more on the Kre-Ons later). The black pilot fig is designed to fit, but getting him in there can take some work, even if you choose to take apart the front cockpit piece first. If you want to get the Starscream Kre-On in there, you have to first remove the back wing piece (like standard Lego minifig backpacks) and his arm cannons. Another gripe I have about the cockpit is that it’s hard to get the two cockpit pieces to align with each other. Getting one piece in place is likely to pop off the other piece. It takes some fidgeting to get them flush.

Above is a pic for size comparison with the Kre-O next to Classics Starscream. The Kre-O is obviously much bigger. I don’t have MP Starscream handy or I would’ve took a pic with the Kre-O next to it, but I suspect the Kre-O is a bit longer than the Masterpiece figure in jet mode. Notice I built the Decepticon emblem on the wings so that the crown is towards the rear. This is how I prefer it to look. Hasbro can’t seem to make up their mind when it comes to the orientation of the wing emblem. Half the time they go one way and half the time they go the opposite way. The instructions does indicate you should build them the other way, like how they appear with Classic Starscream in the pic. But the cool thing about Kre-O is that the Decepticon emblem sticker is placed on a square piece, so you can easily rotate the piece to suit your preference.

There is one more feature I want to point out. The set does come with a ladder piece that can be used in jet mode for display. See the pic above on the back of the box.

And of course there are the Kre-Ons. A lot of people buy these purely for the Kre-Ons. On Ebay, auctions for the Kre-On figs alone can fetch a decent price, testament to their popularity. This set comes with two, a Starscream Kre-On and a black pilot fig. Kre-Ons are exactly the same size as Lego minifigs. The only key difference in construction is that Kre-On legs are on ball joints so you can move them pretty much any way you like. Lego minifigs on the other hand can only rotate the legs forward and backwards. Kre-On hand size is the same as Lego minifigs, so you can probably give them Lego accessories. Head size is also the same, so feel free to swap hair or helmets to your heart’s content.

To summarize, I’ll just quickly point out some pros and cons.

    PROS:

  • Great value at MSRP of $29.99. You get 316 pieces and a similar Lego set would cost you about $40 to $45. Amazon has this set on sale often at barely over $20.
  • Lego quality pieces! No crappy Mega Blocks here.
  • You can build 2 modes. I only built the jet mode here, but don’t forget there’s still the robot mode.
  • Fully compatible with Legos and Mega Blocks.
  • Jet mode is robust and solid.
  • Easy to follow color instructions that explains how to build both modes.
    CONS:

  • Does not transform.
  • Missile pieces a tad loose.
  • Difficult to proprely align cockpit pieces.
  • One sticker came half-way off the sticker sheet.
  • I got one wrong piece, it came in a different color than it was supposed to. In all the Lego sets that I bought, I never had any missing or wrong pieces. See if you can spot the wrong color piece in the pics above. 🙂

As for that last gripe above, I realize that Hasbro just started in the Kre-O business so I’m not going to complain too much. And I found that they will supply replacement pieces. I’ve provided a handy link here if any of you need it.

My final verdict is that I highly recommend the Starscream Kre-O set. I did point out some weaknesses, but there are way more positives here. If you are a Lego fan, or if you are a TransFan that like putting things together, then do yourself a favor and buy this. I know it doesn’t transform and that’s a shame. But if you approach this as more of a Lego toy then you won’t be disappointed. Hopefully in the future Hasbro will produce Kre-O sets that can really transform.

I will be taking this apart sometime soon and build the robot mode. Until then… Transform and Roll Out!

EDIT 09/14/2011:
Hasbro sent me the replacement piece. It took several weeks but it got here eventually. Thank you Hasbro!

Comments

comments

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews
  1. ferngesteuerte autos
    September 13th, 2011 at 08:44 | #1

    your blog is really awesome kids loves toys.

  2. December 22nd, 2011 at 12:32 | #2

    I’ve just received one of these as a christmas present and now I’ve read your post and see the pictures I can’t wait to build it. Thank you very much for a great blog post 🙂

  3. December 23rd, 2011 at 17:38 | #3

    thx Hannah! I hope you have fun building it. Couple of weeks ago I just took this apart and built the robot mode. That mode looks good too but I think the jet is better. Robot mode uses a lot less pieces.

    • JAX1975
      March 12th, 2013 at 07:25 | #4

      I realize that this is almost 2 years too late, but I think that I might know what happened when you stated the following…

      “I got one wrong piece, it came in a different color than it was supposed to. In all the Lego sets that I bought, I never had any missing or wrong pieces. See if you can spot the wrong color piece in the pics above.”

      The problem you had might be that you used a light gray piece for the HUD display in the cockpit instead of a dark gray piece. This would be the piece in the cockpit with the sticker on it. I originally made this mistake myself yesterday while I was putting my Starscream together because I chose the light gray piece which matched the sticker’s outline. I then ended up in the same situation as you originally did, so I had to backtrack in order to find out where I went wrong. Once I figured it out I decided to check out some pictorial reviews and I came across yours as well as someone else’s on the TFW2005 website who had made the same mistake that I did as well.

      I know that none of this matters now since Hasbro has already sent you a replacement piece, but I still wanted to post this and ask you if you happened to make the same mistake as well?

      Please let me know whenever you get a chance to.

      Take care and have a nice day!

      • March 12th, 2013 at 23:31 | #5

        hey Jax, thx for the comments. Yep, that’s the mistake I did. I realized it when i built the robot mode. Funny how a lot of people seem to make that mistake it seems. Thx for pointing it out tho.

        For those of you who intend to build this: make sure to use the DARK GREY piece for the HUD display!

  1. May 19th, 2012 at 04:57 | #1

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