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Transformers Kre-O
by yo go re

With a budget of $210 million and a running time of 165 minutes, Transformers 4 cost more than one and a quarter million dollars per minute. $21,000 per second. $883.84 per frame. And since Hasbro was nice enough to send us a bunch of freebies, the least we can do is keep reviewing them.

The new movie didn't just mean traditional toys: Hasbro also used the film as a chance to expand their Kre-O line - both with the normal sets, and a few of the Micro-Changers Combiners. Were there combiners in Age of Extinction? No. Does that matter? Also no. Tiny robots that can turn into other things and can also be assembled into a larger robot - that's all we ask.

The Kreons in this set are all Dinobots, and they're all new characters. That means you can make up any personalities you want for them. Just like a boy band! Our first one is Mollox, a name that doesn't seem to mean anything. It's like he was named by pulling Scrabble tiles out of a bag. Maybe that's why he looks so angry? Thee are tampos on his chest and legs to create robotic details: circular pads on his thighs, a ridge down the center of his chest, and sunken area around his waist. He's got wings on his back, and is armed with a gun.

Mollox's altmode is, uh... something with wings. Presumably it's supposed to be a pteranodon of some sort, but they didn't bother doing anything with his robot arms and legs, so he looks like a four-legged creature with wings. Maybe he's whatever Skylynx is? Because no one actually tried assembling the design as a real toy before okaying it, his bird-shaped head can't actually fit on his body in this mode - the back tip runs into the brick that holds the wings on. Smooth, guys.

Our next winner is Iquanox. Maybe. The instructions cann him Iquanox, but the packaging calls him Ironeye. And Hasbro's website replaces the name Iquanox with "Fracture." Of course, when you have new characters with new names and no personalities, it doesn't really matter what you call them. We're defaulting to the instruction booklet, because the packaging goes in the recycling, while the instructions get retained for future use. Longevity for the win!

Notice we didn't really tell you anything about the robot yet? That's because, other than the orientation of the helmet, the robot and dino modes are identical. It's neat that they designed a helmet that can fit on two different directions, but that's still kind of lazy. He's apparently some kind of raptor, judging by the shape of the head and the fact that he walks on two legs. There are two guns mounted on his back, a pointy tail (yes, even in robot mode) and is painted with vents on his thighs and cool armor plating on his torso.

Crackback! He has a name made of real words! He's armed with a spiked mace, and has a really cool tampo on his chest that gives him an armored look. He's the first Kreon in this set to not have a tall, pointy head, which makes him look shorter and stubbier than the rest of his friends. A portly little monster! It would be interesting to see this as a real toy.

The robot's mace becomes the dinosaur's tail, so presumably he's an ankylosaurus or something. Granted, his reused helmet doesn't have any kind of animal features on it, which kind of ruins the illusion, but he does have big armor plates on his back, and the tail has two balljoints so you can swing it whichever direction you like.

Our last team member is Ironeye (unliess he's Iquanox/Fracture, as detailed above). His helmet is short, but has a lot of points and flares making it look interesting. He's armed with two black guns, and has a sloped plate on his back. There are no details on his legs, but the tampo on his chest depicts a series of thin, interlocking armored plates, which makes him look powerful, yet mobile.

Ironeye's dino mode is no easier to identify than Mollox's was. It has a long black tail, a rounded back, and two guns pointing over the shoulders. The helmet isn't at all animalistic, so that doesn't provide any clues, either. The instructions show him bent over but standing on two legs, though there's no way to get the toy to stand like that unless it's pegged onto a base - he's just too heavy. So we can't even tell you if this dinosaur is supposed to have two legs or four.

So that's it for the individual Dinobots in this set. As it the way with these Micro-Changers Combiners, you don't actually combine them, you break them all into their individual parts, then rebuild them as the big guy. "The big guy," in this case, being Grimstone, a name first used in the Power Core Combiners line. Of course, back then Grimstone was a single 'bot at the center of a gestalt, not a gestalt himself. My, how times change! Assembled, Kreon Grimstone stands 4⅜".

All Grimstone's armor is gold, which is why it was surprising that the individual bots were so overwhelmingly green and orange. Mallox and Crackback's torsos combine to form Grimskull's torso, and the paint apps on their chests even line up to create one unbroken pattern... which then gets covered up by a big chest plate, so you'll never see it. So it goes. He's armed with a handgun, a long mace, and blasters mounted on his arms. There are spikes on his shoulders and head, and he has wings.

Following the instructions leaves you with a surprising amount of leftover pieces: three heads (with helmets), two arms, and a bunch of other random parts that look like they could have been built into the design. But hey, the Lego-like construction means you can rebuild Grimstone however you like, finding a way to work those into the complete body.

Grimstone may not be a classic Combiner, but that doesn't mean he doesn't deserve to become a Kreon. Unfortunately, the design of the individual Dinobots leaves a lot to be desired. I don't know if the development of the toys was rushed (possibly), or if nobody at Hasbro could really do any better (unlikely), but the robots show a level of care and creativity that the dinosaurs don't.

-- 07/08/14

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