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Transformers Kre-O
by yo go re

Hasbro has a great track record of starting to do something cool, then not carrying through. The first series of Kre-O Micro-Changers had cute little biographies, but that was dropped by Series 2. Sadly, the same thing applies to the Micro-Changers Combiners, so we don't know anything about Kreon Piranacon. But let's make things up! He's a great swimmer and loves to splash other Transformers, but is super awkward when he's out of the water.

The Kre-O characters all have adorably bowdlerized versions of their existing personalities, but Nautilator's really doesn't need to be that different. He can't swim, he can't fight well, he can't follow orders... he's a lovable screwup! Or he would be, if anybody loved him; in fact, he tends to blame everybody else for his shortcomings (although, to be fair, maybe his bosses should have asked him if he had any aquatic warfare training before making him a Seacon.

The designers finally figured out that if you're going to put all kinds of cool details on the chest, then maybe it doesn't make sense to cover all those details up with a plain vest - the Seacons all have pieces attached to their backs, but now it's via rings around their necks. Nautilator has black legs sticking off his back, and a big unhappy frown on his yellow face. His chest is tampo'd with lines that recall the torso on the original toy - ditto the shapes on his legs. For some reason, he has round shoulders, like GI Joe Kreons, not blocky ones like the other Transformers. Mysterious!

Nautilator's altmode is a lobster, and the Kre-O version looks more like a lobster than the G1 toy ever did. It's only got four legs, but it does have claws and a long tail. Weirdly, the first step in converting the robot to its altmode is removing the hands. Remove the hands? Who does that? Who even knew that Kreon hands could be removed? The lobster does end up very front-heavy, so you'll have to rest at least one claw on the ground to keep him standing.

Overbite is kind of the diametric opposite of Nautilator: super efficient in the water, an unrelenting hunter, and completely brutal. He was the type of bot who would sink ships for fun and eat the survivors. Of course, that was all in the original comics, not in Kreoland; in the continuity of these little brick figures, he probably loves to play Marco Polo, and the other Decepticons can never get him to come out of the pool. And yes, it would totally be a pool, not the ocean, because that fits with the line's directive of "make everything safer and cleaner."

The details painted on Overbite's chest and legs do their best, but this really doesn't look very much like the original robot. For one thing, he's got a pointy hat, rather than the square head of the original, and it doesn't even come down as far enough to reveal his mouth - he has fangs we never get to see because the head covering doesn't fit the way the renders suggest it should. His design is also lacking one of Overbite's classic colors: he's got the purple and the teal, but no pink. If you're going to make an eyesore, you've got to go all the way!

Generation 1 Overbite turned into a... shark? With arms and legs? Because designing things is hard? This one is definitely a shark, and although it still has arms, we're expected to politely ignore them, and pretend they're not holding his fins at his sides. The vertical tail is cool, though, and the way it's built means you can move it side-to-side, just like a real fish!

I have no idea how Snaptrap's personality would have been converted to Kre-O, because he was a *@&$ing psychopath. He single-handedly destroyed an entire Autobot regiment, and takes joy in torturing his enemies. Even the other Seacons are afraid of him, because he's likely to murder them if they annoy him even slightly. How do you make the robotic equivalent of spousal abuse funny?

The paint apps on these Kreons are truly impressive. And not just the tampographs on the chest and legs, which really do reference the old toy very strongly (right down to having kibble from the original repeated here as a painted element), but the extra apps as well. His arms are gray, but his forearms and hands are bright teal. His toes are pink, presumably to match the apps on his knees (which, it must be admitted, are applied slightly too high - they's supposed to meet his feet, not hover above them). He's armed with guns on his back, and a... flaming sword, maybe? Some big thing.

Snaptrap turns into a giant turtle. Not a "giant turtle" as in the specific species, but a giant "turtle." Basically, the robot just puts his hands on the ground, so this isn't a complicated build, but there are only so many ways to make a turtle. He still has the two cannons on his back, but gets the addition of a shell - it has a sticker to create detail, but it's curved, so the sticker doesn't fit very well. I ended up cutting it in half so it would follow the contour of the brick appropriately.

Our final Seacon is Tentakil - if you're lucky. A not-insubstantial number of Piranacon sets shipped with two Overbites instead. Yow. The old toy portrayed Tentakil as something of a serial killer. He would pretend to be friendly and helpful, and once his target's defenses were lowered, that's when he would strike. That we can convert to Kre-O style very easily: he loves to pay someone a compliment, then quickly follow it up with a loud "NOT!" and laugh at them because they believed him.

Tentakil is a powder blue, with pink and dark blue details on his chest. As you'd expect, they're designed to recall the torso on the original figure, from the vertical lines at the top to the little triangle at the waist. They even painted the old "Scramble City" connector peg that folded out of his chest! What's really cool, though, is the way they did his legs: the original figure had legs that started wide, then tapered in to be very thin at the hip; the grey sections on this toy's legs do the same thing, in addition to having the pattern from the stickers. Someone was really paying attention when they came up with this!

Tentakil's altmode is a squid, presumably. The original was a very Japanese interpretation of a cephalopod, looking more like a Power Rangers villain than any actual creature. This one is long and lean, and would never be mistaken for an octopus. It's only got four legs, for one thing - the rest you'll have to imagine. They did go to the trouble of creating a "beak" for him in amongst the arms.

So that's it for the individual Seacons in this set. Yes, like Devastator, there were originally six of them: five for the body, and one to be a gun; the remaining two (Seawing and Skalor) were only available in the blind-bags, much like Hook and Long Haul were. Despite the name of the line, the Seacons don't actually "combine" to form Piranacon: you have to disassemble them all completely, then rebuild them into the big dude. In this case, "big" meaning 4¼" or so - it still makes him larger than the average Kreon.

Piranacon keeps his Generation 1 counterpart's "Miami Vice" colorscheme alive, a mixture of pink, purple, blue, black and teal. The way he's constructed is a little bit weird, in part because he had to go from five components to just four, but that's not the only oddity. Canonically, the right and left arms are Overbite and Seawing, and the right and left legs are Skalor and Tentakil; this set doesn't include half of those guys, so Nautilator('s kibble) becomes the left arm, and the right leg is made from Overbite's body and Snaptrap's head. Huh? Also, instead of a left hand, he has a built-in gun, like Shockwave. Maybe that's supposed to represent how the Seacons always made Nautilator be their gun?

Following the instructions leaves you with quite a pile of leftover parts. It's mostly just small incidental bits, but you've also got three guns, and one torso shy of an entire Kreon! The Lego-like construction means you could probably work all these extra pieces in, somehow; we suggest trying to add them on to the upper body, since Piranacon always had a very bulky chest, while this version has bigger legs.

If we were going by the size of the real creatures the Seacons turn into, Piranacon would be one of the smallest Combiners around - possibly not even as large as an average human being! Several weird choices were made in the design of this set, but it's still a good Micro-Changer Combiner.

-- 06/09/15

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