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.)

back of bag

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.

assembled bot laid flat

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.

starscream type build

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!

standing without stand

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!

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SpartanNerd Review…Big Lots Transformers figures

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Let me clear the air and say I didn’t purchase these.  I snapped the picture, and was highly tempted.  At $5 apiece, it was certainly do-able.

When I talk about being interested in Transformers, this is what I am talking about.  They look exactly like they did on TV.  If only these weren’t so much like “baby toys” or “dog toys.”  Aesthetically…they scratch the nerd itch.  They look the part.  They have a wist swivel, moving arms, and a moving head.  But do not transform.

It is a real wonder I didn’t walk out with Megatron and Soundwave, though.  Sound wave is one of my personal favorites.  And Megatron rarely looks like his TV self, (though Soundwave does.)  Optimus Prime is inescapable nowadays.  The Starscream looks good here, but has a weird smile.

I don’t know the exact name of the line these are from.  I tried looking them up…not much there.  I wish I had thought to take a better picture of the tag.

There are some other cartoon look-alike transformers on the shelves…the “Hero Mash-ups.”  If I got those, I wouldn’t “mash them up.”  They would stay vanilla, so they looked like themselves.  Those don’t transform either, so I’ll pass.

What would I rate these?

Well they look the part.  So there is at least one point.  Megatron and Soundwave look really mean, and they have their weapons.  (non-remavable.)  So here is another point.

They do not actually transform.  Their legs don’t move.  They feel like “baby toys” or “dog toys.”  Starscream’s face is a happy face.

So I give them a 2/5…being generous because they ARE cool.  They might be cool in my office at the school.  I would feel fine leaving these guys there, and I think the kids would recognize them too.  But they just aren’t the kind of toy that I buy.  So I passed.

SpartanNerd Review…Dollar General Market Starscream

Today I would like to talk about one of my growing interests…Transformers!

Not just “any” Transformers will do for me.  I really am only sort of interested in G1.  I am a fan of Megatron as a “Gun”…Not as a tank.  I don’t even like Galvatron.  (And definitely not Rodimus Prime.  That sissy…)

I’m interested in toys that resemble the G1 friends from the past.  I largely never owned many Transformers as a child.  They were generally too expensive.  Masters of the Universe was the perfect price level, at around $5 a piece, my mom didn’t feel she was dropping a lot on the SpartanNerd as a kid.  But Transformers were reserved as Christmas and Birthday presents.

And it seemed every time I had the money to purchase a Transformer, the ones I wanted weren’t available.  For instance, I never saw the “Big Guys”… Optimus Prime, Megatron, Soundwave, Shockwave, Starscream, Wheel Jack, Bumblebee, or whoever.  It was always guys never seen on TV.

So I am on the lookout for Transformers that look like their G1 versions, or like they appeared on the G1 cartoon.  I already found a Grimlock that I like pretty good.

The desire for the type of Transformer I’m looking for brought me to purchase this at the Dollar General Market in Pacolet.

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Starscream came in this package, and cost $6.oo.  (I purchased toys from Dollar General Market before to review. ) 

Notice the top says “Level 1 Very Easy”

To be fair, as a kid I did have some Transformers on this scale and level.  Most of them were trucks and cars.  The kind you pull the trunk down to make the spoiler into feet, pull the doors out for arms, and flip the hood back to reveal the head.  Starscream here is a little bit more complicated that that, as we will see.

But have a look!  He looks exactly like his cartoon version!  And this is why I purchased!

Here is the back of the package.

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You can see that Starscream can be transformed in ten steps.

Also prominent are Starscreams stats…Oh how I miss the age of “rub decals” and that little piece of red film that you could overlay a graph and read the stats in a “high tech” way!

Taking him out of the box, he looks like this…

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He is armed and ready for battle!  The guns are removable…

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Tell me that these guns don’t look “G1”!

Starscreams hands are really just sort of “hooks” that you fit the pegs of the guns, which serve as the handle as well.

I transformed Starscream without incident.

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To me, the niftiest part of the transformation is that the fore-arms fold back over the top of the jet, forming the area behind the cockpit.

The jet really does look like the cartoon version.  I affixed the guns to the wings on the underside, which seems to look the most natural…kind of like they are missiles…or kind of like the ships in the game “Galaga.”  Speaking of the underside…Starscream only looks good if you view him from the top.  Viewing him underneath exposes his chest, hands and face.

The only thing I don’t like is that the head is still visible as a black stripe right at the nosecone.

So is it really a “Level 1 Very Easy”?  Well, I let the SpartanKid give it a try…he hasn’t been able to do it without assistance, and he is nine years old…

SpartanNerd’s rating of “Starscream” from Dollar General Market is 4/5.  I am taking the point off because a nine year old has made two attempts and been unable to change it.  And then their is the issue with the nosecone.  But this is a perfectly playable Transformer, and it touches a certain “nerve” in the SpartanNerd.

If I see a Thundercracker of the same model, I will definitely pick it up.

Note…I have seen some “clacicized” transformers.  Almost none of them have seemed to me to be worth their price tag.

I hope to do more Transformers in the future.  I just am a picky customer…

SpartanNerd…Cool Idea- Photograph Toys with a Black Light!

Just some fun I had today…something really substantial forthcoming, however, oh Hub City Geeks!

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Skeletor is just about my favorite subject to photograph.  With a black light, his face looks extra gruesome.

I thought it would be cool to put the Havoc Staff that came with the Faceless One in the black light.  It isn’t that apparent in the pic below, but the pink translucent details on the “powered up” part of the staff changed bone white!

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Here is Modulock wearing the alternate Beast Man armor.  The unusual and unexpected thing is the plastic on the torso and visible in his joints at the knees and elbows glow a different color in the black light!  I noticed this with Draego Man too.  (Not pictured)

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I’ve never thought that the vintage Mantenna was a very menacing looking figure.  (This is my original toy from the 1980’s.)  Placing a blacklight on him changes this.  The red details become that salmon-isn color, which contrasts to the blue parts of his body that disappear in the blacklight somewhat.  His eyeball paint is about gone, but because of this it makes that weird thing that is his mouth seem extra creepy!

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The cool thing about Grimlock isis weapons.  They look translucent amber in person.  In the blacklight, though they pp like the science fiction things they should pop like.

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Last but not least, LILIANA!  The cool thing about this pic is as I was editing it with iPhoto, I was playing with the sharpness controls.  Lilliana almost disappeared when the control was at 0.  As you moved the slider, she would slowly appear or disappear!  Just like magic!  Because her substantially exposed skin is “flesh-tone”, and her clothes are all purple, this caused the disappearing effect.  I wish I had a modded Liliana card with this picture on it!