SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Lego Speed Champions

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LEGO SPEED CHAMPIONS!  These caught my eye at Toys ‘r’ Us in early spring as I walked through with the SpartanKid…bored out of my mind.  When I told the SpartanTeen about it, well…he was seriously psyched.

Finally, we had the chance to go together and pick one out.  I chose the Porsche 918 Spyder, and he chose a Ford Mustang GT.

Was all of the anticipation worth it?  Keep reading!  This will be a double review…

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The box for the Porsche looks like this, showcasing the car, driver, and the little flag in the background.  We see the target age of 7-14, and 151 pieces included to build the kit.

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The back of the box gives us some action views, and some specs for the real car.  0-60 in 2.5 seconds….WOW!

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The side of the box shows off the mini figure driver.  Not sure if he is supposed to represent a real person.  He’s cool in his green and black color scheme.

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The Mustang GT has a similar box, showcasing LAP TIME instead of a flag.  I imagine if you collect all of the sets, the little pieces will add a lot of details to your racetrack!  This set is notably 185 pieces…odd, because it was three dollars less expensive than the Porsche.  ($17.99 and 14.99, respectively.)  I theorize it has something to do with the pack-in ratio.

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We get some action poses on the back.  But no spec information like the other model.  And model is the operative word here…

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The driver sports blue and white.

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Both boxes have this easy access feature.  It is a perforated tab and flap to keep the box reusable.  So that’s nice.  If I was a kid, I would be interested in looking at this box over and over.  As a grown-up SpartanNerd, I am keeping the Lego boxes of all of the sets I open for organized storage.  I’m just crazy like that!

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Both sets have the pieces polybagged.  No numbers on these bags, like in the Ninjago Dragon.  Just all-business polybag.

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I won’t chronicle the build of the Mustang so much…The SpartanTeen put it together his own way.  I put mine together my way.  So I patiently organized my parts by color.  (He just free-for-alls with his pieces.)

After I built the car, I had these pieces left over!  Was it difficult to build?  Not at all.  Not the most interesting thing to build…I mean…it’s a car.  My only complaint is that the flag only had a sticker for one side…it clearly should have had two.

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Here is the final build.

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The wrench is a tool for the driver to hold, but it also serves another function as a separator tool for the hubcaps.  You can replace them with those seen above in the extra pieces.

Here are the leftovers from the SpartanTeen’s Mustang GT.  Not as many….He hit a snag in that one of his pieces was missing.  But he went to the spare lego parts and accommodated.

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And here is his final build.  (His driver is inside the car.)

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And the burning question I suppose everyone is asking, which car is faster?  We tested them by rolling them down a flat ramp.  The Mustang GT is fastest by a mile.  It is heavier, having more pieces.

So what do I rate these two Lego cars?  I mentioned that the build was kind of unremarkable.  It’s true.  But It IS just a car.

As a model, it looks like a lego version of the real thing.  BUT, there are a few things that could be improved.  The wheels stay straight.  There are no opening and closing doors.  No lights.  No spring action.  No working motor.  It functions as a push toy…like a big, plain hot wheels.

It is a great looking model.  It comes with exclusive mini-figures.  The extra accessory pieces could come together to make a great play set.  It was pretty affordable…the SpartanWife thought a little too expensive, but really, $15 is about par for the course when talking about basic toys nowadays.

I could see a grandparent buying ten of these for a grandchild at Christmas and keeping them busy for hours.

I have to rate it low because of what it lacks, but high because of how cool it is, and the playability.  Additionally, they are pretty durable, taking a pretty forceful hit against a paneling wall and only losing an exhaust pipe (In the case of the Mustang GT.)

So I am going to rate it 3.5 out of 5.  I don’t usually do decimals, but this is a little better than a 3/5.  I had fun doing something with my teenager, and tons of other adult fathers could have a similar experience with their child

I am catching a bug for building Lego sets…first Nexo Knights, then Chima, then a Ninjago Dragon, and now Speed Champions…What will I do next?  (I’m thinking about the girls oriented Elves!)

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SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Lego Ninjago Sensei Wu Dragon

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The SpartanNerd has been thinking of building a Ninjago Dragon for the blog for quite some time..around a year ago I first mentioned it.

But too many other nerdly pursuits caught my attention…add the fact that these aren’t cheap, and this is why I haven’t done so yet.

Enter the SpartanTeen and SpartanKid.  Both of them received Lego sets as gifts, but they have been sitting in their rooms, doing nothing.  And this was among them.  I paid the SpartanKid $15 for his Sensei Wu Dragon, and built it for review.

So, did the build make him regret it?  Keep reading!

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The top pic and the photo above show the packaging.  I found it oddly textless, with only the most functional wording…except for one thing.

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NOWHERE on the package is the name of this product in English.  So I assume Sensei Wu’s Dragon is the title.

I’ve seen this dragon on store shelves, but passed on it several times.  It IS one of the lesser expensive ones.  But also, it doesn’t have as much shock and awe as some of the others.  This dragon is white, and has “dog related” designs.  Remember The Never-ending Story?

I spent minimal time looking at the box, deciding instead to “dive in.”

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Here are the contents of the box.  I have a confession to make.  This is actually the SECOND Ninjago Dragon I have assembled.  The first was when Ninjago was All the Hotness.  Now, some of the luster has worn off for the public at large, and I am just getting interested.  I DO think the cartoon is cute…even pretty dang funny.

I have been assembling more legos lately…two Nexo Knights mini-fig sets (Lavaria and Aaron.)  And a Lego CHIMA tank thing.  Some of these I have reviewed, and others I haven’t.  I have really been trying to figure out my identity as a reviewer of these toys.  But I think I’ve found my niche.  I like to organize the pieces first, so I’m not hunting for them.  The Ninjago Dragon tried to have the steps organized into poly bags.  I’m sure this helps the target age group 8-14 years.  I’m 37…

The first thing I did was separate the pieces by color.  This took about 45 minutes.  Here is what all 575 pieces look like organized roughly by color.

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After this, I began my build.  I decided I would only talk about any TROUBLE I had during the building process.  Luckily, I only had one complaint.  See the piece listed on the left?  This is a CRUCIAL piece for attaching the horns to the dragons head.  And I couldn’t find it anywhere.

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I decided I would try this instead…I dug through our extraneous legos, and this was the closest I could find.  The problem here was one of the “clips” was cracked.  And when you attached the horn piece, it made them go to a side rather than be centered.

Turns out, I actually assembled the correct piece into the body of the Dragon the wrong way.  This was easy to miss…when I got to the part where I had to attach the flagpole, I realized I had put that piece in a spot where a ball joint of similar color and shape, but not a clip.  So I had some minor correction, and I threw that double clip piece away.  (Because it was broken.)

So the only snafu…Was user error!  I would like to point out, my sense of color isn’t all that good.  LEGO tried to make clear in the instruction manual which color of which piece to use.  But I always had lingering doubt.

Of course, after the build, there were a few leftover pieces.  Useless?  Well, some of them are extra weapons.  SWEET!

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So what does it look like already?  Decided to photograph this using the boxes suggestion…a blue colored background.

First, a weaponized “rickshaw.”  It can launch the little discs with faces drawn on them.  The spring action here isn’t as good as it was on the last thing I built with the same mechanism.  (It was the Chima thing I mentioned earlier.)  It must be the condition of the built in springs.

Notice the minifigures.  WOW.  Some of the coolest ones I’ve seen.  The purple, black, and ghostly green color scheme are great.  And these ninjas are decked out and armed to the teeth!  There are actually four..the little guy at the back counts!  The colors seem to be made of glow-in-the-dark stuff.  But I haven’t been able to make that happen.  Still, they look cool!

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I’ve built stuff like this before.  A “battle station?”  A “base?”  Both of the Nexo Knight things I own came with one.  But I’ve built some small Ninjago ones too for the Spartan children.  We have Lord Garmedon’s fortress assembled somewhere.

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Cole is the NINJAGO character that came with this set.  Check out his dog!

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All that said, now for the MAIN EVENT.  The DRAGON!

 

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The dragon is mostly white…it uses pieces similar to what we used to see on BIONICLE, as well as traditional lego pieces and some Ninjago mainstays, like the flags.  The last dragon I assembled was from an earlier set, and the whole head was pieced together out of printed rubber.  This time we had to build the head.

The legs, neck, and tail all have a ball joint.  The ankles have locking ball joints…you can feel the articulation click into place.  The mouth opens, and a nice effect is a yellow roof of the mouth and tongue to mimic fiery breath.

The tail is made of multiple joints, and is very posable…it is capped off with a saw blade on the end!

 

I thought I would give you some action scenes!

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I have all of the mini figures in this picture.  One getting eaten.  Little ghosty trying to attack Cole.  The farmer guy getting whacked by the tail.  Sensei Wu getting attacked by a the sword guy.

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Here’s another battle scene.  This time the dog and little ghost are fighting.  The rickshaw is firing at cole, who is fighting off the sword guy.

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Here is a clear Bad Guy vs Good Guy scene.  We have Sensei Wu, Bow, Cole, Soul Archer, Ghost Warrior Pitch, Ghost Ninja, and Hackler.

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Finally, some poses with the dragon.  The wings don’t have all that dynamic of articulation.  The feathers aren’t movable.  But still, you can make him sleeker.  Here is the head cocked as he aims an aerial maneuver.

 

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You can really see the tail articulation here.  Pretty good tail really…it could have more bulk.  But it is a fine tail.

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Here is Cole in a dive bomb on the dragon.

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The pilot is supposed to sit in this box…I think lt looks cute with the dog in it.

So how does the SpartanNerd feel about his first DOCUMENTED NINJAGO DRAGON?

The negatives first…

Not much.  I guess the box could have the English name of the set.  The dog’s name never appears on the box…I found that online.  I SUPPOSE, the tail could be a little meatier.  But that isn’t the design, so…

Maybe the spring could work better in the rickshaw?  But that isn’t all that uncommon on toys nowadays.  Safety concerns make weak springs seem to be desirable, even

So really.  No negative.  I’m just nit-picking!

The positives….

Where to begin?!

Incredibly cool, unique  mini figures.

A three piece build.  Rickshaw, Battlestation, and Dragon.

An impressive dragon centerpiece with nice articulation.

An easy build.  I did all of this and took the pictures in under three hours.

Fun.  Such a subjective word.  But it IS fun.  Lots of “finger food” to keep you occupied.

 

So, I give Lego NINJAGO “Sensei Wu Dragon” a 5/5.  What more could I ask for?  I posed the question was this worth $15?  Absolutely.  I would have bought this at Big Lots for that amount.

And did the SpartanKid have “sellers remorse” after he saw how incredible it was.  You bet he did!  But he already spent the money…so no take backs!  And the dragon will now adorn my Nerd Closet or my classroom!

So, do you agree with the SpartanNerd’s rating of 5/5?  Let me know in the comments!

 

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Lego Nexo Knights “Ultimate Lavaria”

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The SpartanNerd spent some time this past weekend at the Toys R Us in Spartanburg, SC, this weekend.  I was immediately drawn to the display right at the entrance….a new item, “Lego Nexo Knights.”  I don’t know why…I kept coming back to it.

A little research unearthed the fact that this line just launched on January 2, 2016.  (Saturday was January 9.  So the line was only a week old.)

I expect it will replace Lego Ninjago and Lego Chima.  Or maybe it will be an attempt.

There were a wide variety of different things for the new line, but I didn’t want to commit too much…or anything at all.  But since I kept coming back, I decided to make a purchase.

I purchased “Ultimate Lavaria.”  Keep reading for a review of my experience so far!

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Lavaria came in this little box.  Above is what caught my eye, and then there is the backside, showing that there are things that can be done on tablets and phones with the figure.

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I’m not a Lego collector, and have talked about the price of Minifigures before.  But if there is even a CHANCE I am going to get into these, I want to have a system of keeping them organized.  So I opened the box carefully from underneath in order to preserve it as a storage space.

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As  expected, there was an instruction book and polybags with the bricks inside.

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The instructions are your general instructions.  Large simple pictures with arrows.  (I had a picture, but lost it somehow?)

There was also lots of cross-sell for this new line.

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And here was the parts list.

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I went ahead and arranged the bricks the exact way they are listed, because I’m insane like that…that’s why.  I found there were a few anomalies…

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These extra parts.  Also, there were some bucks with a long peg that weren’t listed.  I went ahead and began assembly.

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I don’t know why, but I decided to pause here, seven minutes into the build.  I took this picture.  I think this was right after I put the wings on.  Its a pretty ingenious idea, making a backpack out of a two-studded flat piece by adding a part that fits over the neck.  The legs here are on a thing that looks like a floating thing from a boat or something.  I have seen this design before on Ninjago things.

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And here is Lavaria completed.  Next, I put together the “base.”

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The base doesn’t really make sense.  The character is a spider, sitting on an amber thing, and there are two “wings.”  This is actually a weapons rack.  You can change the front of the shield to have the fireballs or the beetle on it.  The “wings” are a storage area for those.  Also, the right side had a shooting mechanism.  Only today, three days after assembly, has it dawned on me that that is another weapon, a crossbow!  (I would have taken a pic with Lavaria holding it if I had figured it out.)  The other side has two tiny rubber snakes either as weapons or as guardians over the beetle shield.  (who knows.)

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There is al alternate pair of legs, so Lavaria doesn’t have to be on four spider legs.  Also, you can turn the head around to get a different expression.

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I think what caught my attention with Lavaria is the similarity to Darth Maul.  The double sided spear.  The mechanical spider-legs.

It dawned on me that Lavaria is a female!  And I was pronouncing it “le-VAIR-EE-ah.”  But it must be LAVA-ria.

Remember I mentioned the electronic features of Lego Nexo Nights?  I have played through the first level, and this character has made no appearance whatsoever.  But all of the enemies have some “lava” component to them.  The main enemy is named “Jestro,” a cross between the Joker and Destro?

But that gave me a hint about the characters intended name, and also what that amber thing on the base is (it’s lava.  DUH!)

As far as the game is concerned, I have encountered a glitch already.  The game feels “unfinished.”  It is the kind of game that you just tap the screen to make the character attack the enemies.  So far, you can only be the “good guys.”  These are Clay, Lance, Macy, and Aaron, with the promise of another character coming soon.  The name of the app is Merlok 2.0, which points out the futuristic knight theme that these guys are to have. (Merlok’s voice in the game is the exact same voice as Sensei Wu from Lego Ninjago.)

How does the toy interact with he game?  Remember those different shield that came with Lavaria?  The app can scan those, and this adds special moves to your chosen Nexo Knight. (What does “Nexo” mean anyway?)  It is notable that choosing “beetle bomb” causes your Nexo Knight to suddenly have the four legs that Lavaria has, only in their color scheme.  So maybe she isn’t supposed to always have those spider legs on?

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The shield shown here is “incinerate.”  Basically it makes fire fall out of the sky to burn up your lava enemies?

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And you can see the Venom attack on this shield.

The game encourages you to “re-scan” your shields over and over to increase their power. I think this is to discourage people from “faking out” the app.  I could be wrong.  It seems it only let me scan in three within a few minutes.  (The game comes with two to get you started, so I have five special moves unlocked, basically.)

But it looks like there are dozens of moves you could unlock if you collected the whole line.

SO was this a good impulse purchase?

I’ll admit.  Whatever I thought was cool about it in the store has worn off a little.  Maybe it’s the simplistic game.  Or maybe it was that the kit wasn’t the least bit challenging.  Or maybe it is because this is the only thing I have from this set.  Not sure.

Will I get more?  Not sure!

I think Lavaria is cool looking.  She is pretty fun to play with.  She has to get a 4/5.

The app has to get a 2/5 for now.

So the SpartanNerd Rating of Lego Nexo Knights Ultimate Lavaria is 3/5.

Do you agree or disagree, Hub City Geeks?  Let me know in the comments!

 

SpartanNerd Review…KREO Transformers “Micro-changers” (Blind Bag)

Bored and nearly broke…buying dish detergent and looking for cheap content…I came across this gem for a mere three dollars at Dollar General Market in Pacolet, SC.

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A couple of things bears discussing here, first.

This isn’t my first experience with Kreo Transformers.  One of the Spartan-children had a Kreo BumbleBee once.  They were really too young.  So I had to do the assembling.  Which was quite tough.  I specifically remember putting pieces on, only to have others let go.

Ranking building blocks…LEGO is king.  The blocks go tog enter comfortably.  There are certain “design standards” that LEGO adheres to.  Then there are the iconic Mini-Figures.

Mega-Blocks…second place…at one time these felt like generic LEGO blocks.  Nowadays a kid might just as well be talking about LEGOs and Mega-Blocks interchangeably.  Mega-Blocks has its own figures, and cool licenses such as Halo.  They don’t market to as young of a crowd of kids as LEGO.  But they don’t have the same design standards as LEGO.  So they might just wing a big rectangle on a single stud, and call that a moving part.  Not the best our soundest solution.

Then KREO has to be last.  These blocks are meant to be interchangeable with the other two.  But there are some problems. They tend to be smaller.  And the studs don’t stick together so well even with blocks in the same set.  And forget about design standards…a part might be held together with tension, or whatever.  I remember that BumbleBee having layers and layers of underside.  This was neither fun to build, and seemed to be lacking in function.

When I saw this KREO Transformer, I remembered the BumbleBee experience.  I also know that that particular set was among the first KREO sets.  I wondered if things had moved along any and improved?  Keep on reading for more of the review!

The back of the bag looked like this…featuring many transformers…most of whom I have little knowledge of or care for.  Rodimus Prime was among them, making me think these must be Transformers from season three of the Generation One cartoon.  (Longtime readers will know that I never cared much for Rodimus Prime.)

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Opening the package revealed these two items…a poly-bag and the instructions.

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I believe the instructions have an error…The ad for Computron and Menasor are BACKWARDS.  Compton is the one at the top. I could be mistaken however, not being that much of an expert on Transformers.  But as a kid, I had Scattershot.  Furthermore, I saw a “Combiner Wars” version of Computron at Big Lots.

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The Transformer I got was “Cyclonis.”  Here are the instructions…

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Here are the assorted parts.

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Here is my first build of Cyclonis.  As I look at him, I scour my memory to see if I can remember this character.  The wings on the arms really bother me.  So I re-arranged him to have a more “Starscream” build.

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One thing that is immediately apparent is the helmet doesn’t want to stay on.  He has a head-barrel almost exactly like a LEGO mini figure.  But that helmet doesn’t snap on well.  And it keeps popping off.

After rebuilding him into “Thundercracker” or similar re-colored Starscream, I put him back the way he is supposed to be according to the instructions.  I am certain, however, if there was a Starscream KREO, he would probably have the same pieces with a different coloration.

Cyclonis…who was he?  The back of the bag tells me that he is probably from the episodes of Transformers I would only OCCASIONALLY watch.  I was very upset when they killed off Optimus Prime.  I also preferred the Autobot and Deception war to be on Earth, and finally the vehicle modes of the last season of Generation 1 Transformers tended to be science fiction things like ships, futuristic cannons, etc.  This made sense for a group of warriors on Cybertron.

Saying all this doesn’t change the fact that I owned more Transformers from this era than from the earlier era.  Transformers were expensive.  The ones I had were gifted to me.  And usually going to the store with money to purchase one meant that characters I knew would be out of stock…

Finally, It came to me.  A little blip in my memory where Galvatron is using Cyclonis name.  I broke down and looked at Wikipedia.  Indeed, Cyclonis was Galvatron’s “right hand man.”  And yes.  His wings are on his arms.

jet mode

Transforming Cyclonis wan’t difficult.  He becomes one of those “futuristic” vehicles I mentioned.  The transformation really isn’t anything more than the figure on its belly, with an extra nosecone piece instead of the helmet.  And the wings re-arranged.

I much prefer the robot mode!

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Cyclonis stands just fine without his KREO block-stand.  He comes with this purple gun, which is one of the coolest parts of this set.  That translucent purple reminds me of another Transformer I DID own, Shockwave…

SpartanNerd Review of KREO Transformers “Micro-changers” (Blind Bag)

I haven’t reviewed alot of LEGOs.  But as it goes, this is worth every bit of three dollars.  I really like the color scheme.  He is menacing, with guns on his back and a purple gun accessory.  You immediately know he is a Decepticon!  (I have always been more of a Deception, even though I regarded the Autobots as awesome as well.  But my toys were usually Decepticon.

Sure, it has some problems.  The helmet doesn’t like to stick to the single stud on top of his head.  He stands better without the stand…both feet don’t want to plug into it.  (That’s why you saw me posing him standing on one foot.)  There is ugly branding on the underside of one of the wings.

The SpartanNerd rates  KREO Transformers “Micro-changers” (Blind Bag) a 4/5.  For three dollars,you have something way cooler than most LEGO mini figures that come in blind bags.  For instance, I remember SpartanKid opening a Cheerleader, a clown, and a caveman.  At least this was a Decepticon!