There are few things I love more than Star Trek so with the new movie, Star Trek Into Darkness, opening this week I figured I'd dedicate a Spoils to all of the nonsense Hasbro is forcing me to buy. See, just as with the previous film (released four years ago!?!?), I am getting slammed with a hardcore (nerd/"first world") dilemma – My love of Trek versus my loathing of undesirable toys. Well, in both cases Trek won out, and VERY slimly this time around. What I have to believe is that if enough of this junk moves then Hasbro will see Trek as a viable property and make some proper action figures rather than just ab/using it to push their struggling "we outright stole someone else's idea" products.
I'd also like to take a moment to bemoan the death of the multi-category marketing tie-in program; I had a remarkably fun time collecting up all of the Burger King toys and glasses, the cereal pack-ins and mail-aways and just all of those "special packaging" things. It reminded me of being a kid and how excited for something we were able to become, but nowadays, with a "major" blockbuster opening every week I guess that kind of thing is over. I was really looking forward to a new set of BK toys and glasses.
Hasbro – Star Trek Fighter Pods: Enterprise
I haven't really decided how deeply I'll commit myself to this Toys R Us exclusive line, but I certainly couldn't pass up the Enterprise at its reasonable price of $19.99. It's a pretty good size at 6¼" wide at the nacelles, 9¾" long and just over 5½" tall. Both nacelles, the saucer and the hull all open and there are a handful of pegs around the exterior for the micro-figs to stand on. I was pleased to see that within the saucer was a "playset" of the Bridge which, best of all, can be removed with a little effort for a nice stand-alone display piece. Also included are six micro-figures done the "totally not Squinkies" style, four of which I believe are exclusive to the set – T-Shirt McCoy, Phaser-up Cadet Uhura, Phaser-up Captain Kirk, Un-helmeted Heat Suit Spock – plus two figures from the basic line (I got Gaila and gray-uniform McCoy). All around I'm liking this more than I expected so at this point I'll probably get more, but it will really depend on how I feel about the new movie before I commit to the hassle of tracking down all 36 micro-figs.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kre-O: Klingon Bird of Prey
I have to admit this turned out better than I expected. It looked like an okay vehicle in the photos but the final build is quite sturdy and highly swoosh-able. The wings are articulated so they swing up and down and each has a launching missile. There is a small trapdoor on the roof to access the interior of the ship, which also houses a light brick (whose "on" button is difficult to reach) that can illuminate the cockpit. I've always had a love/hate relationship with the Klingon Bird Of Prey since it was intended to be a Romulan ship, so I have mixed feelings about this one which pushes the design similarities even further; still though it's the most "fun" build of these sets. You also get two Klingons and a boring civies Kirk, but at least you get duty uniform Uhura to help fill out the bridge crew.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kre-O: Space Dive
This is the "cheap" set of the line and it's just as exciting as it is low-priced. You get two Kreons, only one of which is really unique to the set, and a mediocre build of, yes, doors... No play features, no figure launchers, just two hinged doors. One of the figures is just a "Specialist," who is relatively, if not totally, identical to the ones that come with the large Enterprise, and Kirk in a Space Suit. What makes the latter special is that his torso is actually a light brick which illuminates his head with a yellow LED to replicate the glowing helmet effect. It's a neat idea but a weird effect and, worse, you have squeeze the torso REALLY hard to get the light to illuminate. The cheap set of a line should also be one of the strongest – it's the way to hook in new buyers and up-sell the other sets – but in this instance it is by far the weakest.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kre-O: Spock's Volcano Mission
I was looking forward to this one the most since it had a recognizable Shuttlecraft and the neat, brightly colored volcano build. Weeeeell... it turns out the volcano is a single, large mold that only duplicates the angular look of the bricks – that's a fairly epic building set FAIL, and exactly why us snobs look down on the Lego-pretenders. What's worse, that volcano bit doesn't have studs on it so you can't easily pose figures on it or even build anything in, on or around it. Epic. Fail.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kre-O: Transporter Trouble
And you thought the doors were boring! Well, this is one of those classic "I really see what you tried to do there" releases, and the Transporter room side is fairly solid but the planet side, which only creates a planet scape by using stickers, is pretty bad. It's also built around a unique, big unit which has a built in slider/spinner and light. The feature works well, but again feels a bit counter-intuitive to the nature of Building Brick sets. You get yet another Klingon so, once more, it's Duty Uniform Scotty that is really driving any purchase of this set.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kre-O Micro Ships: Kelvin
The first official toy of the USS Kelvin to hit shelves is here. It's a nice little build that does a decent job of recreating the ship. It uses pieces that all (but one) come from Lego's library. This set also relies on an abundance of stickers, which is always disappointing. I'm particularly frustrated by the semi-circle sticker with the name and numbers that is supposed to go on a domed brick but since the sticker's back edge is a straight line you will get a couple of wrinkles. Plus, the adhesive is of such high quality (sarcasm) that within 24 hours the stress will start unsticking the sticker at those points. Nice.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kre-O Micro Ships: Klingon D7 Battlecruiser
This is my favorite ship in the micro line mainly because it's design is the least impacted by the brick format. It's also the darkest colored ship which means the few stickers aren't that necessary. I presume this is the "J.J.-iverse" version from the first movie and likely appearing in the new one which allows me to accept its "not quite right" look a bit more. It's also the one ship in the series to not have a blue and silver stand. The stand is a two piece thing with a large translucent stand with a slot for a 2x3 light brick (Kre-O does them translucent and with a white LED) which then inserts into an Insignia-Star base. When you squeeze the tips together, the lower apex pushes in on the light brick button and illuminates the stand. It's a sweet thought, but since the ships don't light up I fail to see the point and would have preferred a lower SRP to its inclusion.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kre-O Micro Ships: Jellyfish Ship
I have pretty mixed feelings about this ship, and this build doesn't help too much. It uses translucent blue, dark and light gray and silver bricks and ends up being darker than I recall the ship being. This set seems to have the most bricks and is thus the most enjoyable to build though I'm not crazy about its final appearance. The build does use a peg system at the end of the "inner prongs" which allows them to spin which I do appreciate. It also comes, intentionally per the instruction sheets, with two extra trans-blue handle-bricks oddly enough. Speaking of which, the instructions are printed in full color on one long rectangular sheet with number steps on both sides – a pretty nice affair. All in all, this series of Kre-O is solid and I'd likely continue getting these if they continued.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kreon: Nero
We start off the ubiquitous line of blind-bagged figures with the great character of Nero from 2009's Star Trek. He's a basic Kreon body with a new head featuring pointed ears sculpted on and a plastic trench-coat not dissimilar to the old Kenner Star Wars figures. He also gets his staff thing made from a pole and a unique four-pronged tip piece that fits on the pole snugly. I'm sure they did his tattoos in brown to make them distinct from the facial features but they're almost invisible on the darker-tan plastic used for his head.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kreon: Keenser
Here we get one of my least favorite characters from the last film. Sure he's a cool looking little alien guy, but I have a real pet peeve for cheap "cute" gags, and unfortunately that's what they turned this dude into. He's cute cause he's short, and Hasbro pulls that off in Lego fashion by just giving him shorter legs here. The head is cast in a soft rubber and sculpted with WAY too much detail to fit in with stylized aesthetic of the line, but it's the inaccurate skin to that really hurts him. At least they did paint in his little stalk eyes. He comes with a, presumably, wrench and a Kre-O logo brick. All Kre-O sets come with one of these bricks and it's cast in red for the build sets and black for the Kreon blind-bagged series.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kreon: Grasia
Yup, these are blind bagged but thankfully Hasbro included a printed code on the back to indicate what's what, which I've included in the alt tags. Grasia is my favorite of the series and while he does have an overly detailed head I really, really like the multi-tone paint on it. He comes with a phaser which can connect to the peghole in his leg for a "holstered" look or also hold in his hand. Speaking of which, the hands here are rotten. For some insane reason they're pegged into the arms at an angle so unlike all other stylized mini-figures there is a definitive up side and down side, but there is no sculptural indicator so it'll take you a moment to figure out what's correct once you get them in hand.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kreon: Klingon
This figure is identical to the three other Klingons that come in the sets above making him the most pointless figure in this series, especially considering there are only six. The only thing that sets him apart is the plastic trenchcoat thing, which fits over the shoulder pegs and the arms clip on over it. The Kreons do in fact have balljointed shoulders, which I surprisingly like as they work quite well. They also have balljointed hips, which seemed neat at first but in actuality make it a real pain in the ass to get them to stand on studs correctly and snugly with both feet. He also comes with a bat'leth that has terrible extraneous prongs on either end ruining the sleek perfection of this weapon. If it's in the movie I chalk these bits up to J.J. having to change every little thing to prove he's better and different than what came before.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kreon: Gorn
I really, really, really hate this design. I presume it's based on the new look from the video game. Remember that time you were like "man, no wonder the Gorn IS NOT an iconic Trek villain – he doesn't look like a terrible, low-rent rip-off of the Lizard from Amazing Spider-man"? Yeah, neither do I, but apparently that's how you think when you create video games. This dude uses the standard Kreon torso and arms but gets new chicken legs, a tail back-pack piece, head and giant axe. I hate the look of it but he is arguably the most interesting looking of the whole series.
Hasbro - Star Trek Kreon: Lieutenant Sprog
No idea who or what this is, but I guess we'll find out this week when Into Darkness hits theaters. Another overly detailed head but it nor its paint are all that interesting. Add to that an all black outfit and you get the least compelling Kreon of the series. This is, in general, a surprisingly lackluster initial outing from Hasbro and it's hard to get excited about such odd characters. No wonder the second series will be "Prime Universe" based.