Hasbro Kre-O Promo Transformers Optimus Prime Kreon Hasbro, 2011
Day #294: December 20, 2011
Optimus Prime Matrix Exposed
Kre-O Transformers Convention Freebie
Item No.: TBD Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Stand, gun, helmet, smokestacks Action Feature:n/a Retail:$0.00 Availability: June 2011 Other: Given away at Botcon, Comic-Con International, and New York Comic Con and as a contest premium
Part of toy marketing is getting kids to touch the product-- this is an important part of all marketing, but with toys, a sample or trial item often makes a big difference. To ensure kids tried Kre-O, Hasbro decided to distribute this Hasbro Kre-O Promo Transformers Optimus Prime Kreon at conventions and through numerous kid-targeted websites and other promotions, giving them (and their parents) a chance to look at just how much Kre-O was like LEGO, or better, or whatever. Based on some of your feedback, we'll agree to disagree in some cases.
This figure is very similar in construction to a LEGO figure, which is essentially a perfect toy as it is-- it's durable, has just enough articulation, and always can play with its accessories and vehicles. A LEGO man has about 7 joints, while a Kreon sports 8 plus the Kreon has more range of motion by employing ball-and-socket joints at the shoulders and hips. This is a mixed bag-- on one hand we as collectors are supposed to always
As far as sculpt and deco go, the figure makes the most out of a generic buck and makes it look and feel like Optimus Prime. A round head has been given Optimus' helmet, and the end result is unquestionably Prime-like. Snap-on smokestacks make his already blocky arms resemble the robot, plus they added wheels to his legs. While it does make Prime look more Primey, they do tend to get in the way during play and no doubt add to the cost. It's unnecessary bulk, but it's unnecessary bulk that sells the figure as the character. The paint job is pretty great, although the printing seems a little off-- it's not obvious at first glance, but if you look at the picture you'll notice that the Matrix' coloring is not entirely within the lines.
The additional articulation may not be an asset over time-- the legs and arms splay easily, meaning that just picking up the figure and plopping him on a few studs as a display stand may require a little more effort or skill-- the stiffer limbs of LEGO figures are much easier to plug into place. It's not that it's difficult, but if you're not properly coordinated it may result in a slight challenge. The smokestacks, while cool, pop off easily and may be lost in short order. The fists pop in and out with a unique design which, on some figures, stresses the forearms-- again, not a huge deal now, but over time it may result in discoloration or breakage.
Hasbro did a good job trying to outdo the LEGO minifigure, but I'm not entirely satisfied with the results. You can see a lot of influence from the Medicom Kurbick figures, particularly in the legs and the addition of a waist joint, but what's good for collectible Asian toys may not be ideal in playthings for American kids. We'll see how it plays out over time, as collectors are incredibly pleased with the quality of these figures so far. I'm not entirely sold just yet, but I do love the design and look of them, and as things you stick on your desk or on shelves, these are fantastic. This particular figure is a unique (more or less) shared exclusive, although some have reported seeing this version of Optimus instead of the regular, plain one in the large Optimus Prime Kre-O set. There's no way to know until you open to box, but as overall rarity goes, it's a safe bet that regular Optimus-- and not the Matrix version-- will be the rarer piece in the grand scheme of things. It's worth $4-$10 and comes in an unnecessarily large box, but hey-- it's neat.
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