Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Alexx Shorts: Kre-O G.I. Joe Blind Bags and Serpent Armor Strike (2/21/13)

Well, this is it: I've finally decided to start reposting my old "Alexx Shorts" G.I. Joe reviews.  They're the reviews that lead to what eventually became this blog!  I'll be posting them in straight copy-and-paste format, separating them with bold dotted lines so you know where they begin and end, and then I'll post some final thoughts on what I think of the figure currently.

For those unfamiliar: I used to take random pictures here and there, but by the time the Rise of Cobra toys came out, I was getting annoying with how much people had been bashing the figures which were clearly better than the previous 25th Anniversary offerings.  I set out to show people how awesome they were, and things went from there, forming into "Alexx Shorts", named so because I thought I was going to keep to a short format with a few pictures.  I did not do that.

Ready for the Last Alexx Shorts?  It's Kre-O! 

...wait, come back!


I went through and looked for posts where I start out with "Hey, it's been awhile!" or something to that extent, and MAN I take a lot of "breaks!" Meaning: uh...geeze, I dunno.

Anyway, I'm back again! And guess what I'm doing to you?

Yeah, that's right. ALL this time and I come back to you with Hasbro's new foray into the building-toy business: Kre-O! Well okay, so it's not new at the moment - they started with Transformers. It's new to Joes, though!

However, before I turn the chair backwards and rap with you guys, lemme explain something about my physiology: You see, when enough time passes without me doing some sort of insane toy jokes, the "Comedy Fluids" (of which I will never refer to as such, ever again) build up in me. Hence my return and the utter mess of jokes you'll be seeing below. Now, whether or not I'm filled with "good" comedy is up to you! I apologize ahead of time for anyone with a slow connection or hatred for Alexx (because I know you can't stay away, baby).

Now to start, since it's been so long, I bring a peace offering of Techno-Vipers as they open the new blind bagged Joes:

In case you didn't know: Blind-bagged minifigures are ALL THE RAGE right now. Everyone's doing them - even if they don't have a building toyline!  Thankfully Hasbro jumped on the train, 'cause they sell like hotcakes AND Hasbro makes it nice 'n easy to find who you want if you're not into the whole "blind" thing.  General's Joes has a nice post with all the numbers you'll need to know and who they correspond to. On the back of the package, on the far right edge, you'll see a line of numbers (should be visible on the pic). There will be a few numbers, a space, and two lone numbers: Those are what you're looking for. Happy hunting!

Inside you'll find the items inside another little bag along with some directions (in case you don't get how humans are shaped). They mostly explain everything, but a few figures have some particulars that I'll hit a little further down.

Kre-O guys are gona be a bit more articulated than your regular Lego minifigure (and a little less articulated than a standard Mega Bloks Halo guy). They've got ball jointed shoulders and hips, along with a separate legs and torso and a head that works just like Lego guys. The hands hold the same size weapons and accessories as Lego guys, and can even share items that go around their necks - but heck, they can share just about anything Lego! You'll see that later.

The final result is a pretty cool little dude! You're getting a standard buck painted differently, and they've kinda got these chunka-wrists, so there's always some fleshy bulbs there...but come on, who is gona be bothered by that when they're already all brick-like? These are minifigures - you expect this stuff.

Some figures come with extras, like Kamakura and Jinx:

You'll notice they're wearing some little cloth sashes around their waists. This isn't really new to minifigures, but it is in terms of waist items. It works like this:

The left circle goes on first, then the right on top of it. Sadly, the main body doesn't really clamp down on it well enough for my tastes, and they keep coming apart. Keep in mind, when opening packages: There is a nice little "tear here" area at the top, so don't cut with scissors! You risk cutting the sash or other items like the rope that comes with the Ninja Viper.

Sadly you gotta tie that rope on there yourself, and I'm always terrible with that, so I just took it off. The ninja Viper sports what all the ninjas have in these sets: A back holster that has three different places for blades! Two angled ones that allow sword to criss-cross and one on top for any extras. I'm pretty sure the Ninja Viper is pretty much what Storm Shadow will look like, sans the vicious teal color of terror.

Catch All my Ninjas from The Block tonight on Fox, 'cause it'll be canceled next week!

I had access to all the blind bag guys, but I only got the ones I was interested in, so not all are present.

You're never missing out on any details with these guys, 'cause Hasbro doesn't need to mold any new items - just paint 'em! So they are faithful representations (blocky ones) of your favorites. For the most part they also represent their accessories as well as they can. The Crimson Guard has a clip so you can attach the bayonet to the end of the gun, while the Trooper has an extra item to put on the end of the barrel to make it longer and more snipery....along with a "missile" item that normally goes on the arms of guys like Starscream. That's supposed to be the scope, but sadly it doesn't fit very well, so you gotta mess with it to get it to stay.

Now, before I get to my favorites, lemme go over the special guy to the party: The Adventure Team Commander! Yes, that is flocked hair. He's carried over from the old 12 inch figure days, so he comes with nice homages to his heyday, like a shouting head:

That shouting head is meant to mimic his pose on the front of his old box...which he...comes with?

Please don't mistake my confusion for distaste, however - 'cause this is hilarious and awesome. The little block comes blank though, so you gotta put a sticker on it. Along with said sticker, they give you a classic Adventure Team sticker to put where you like:

I haven't found a place for it yet; we'll see what happens. Main point is, I don't care how you decide to collect this line (or not at all): Don't skip this guy. He's number 85, just look for him and buy him. He's hilarious and I love him. If you buy no other Kre-O stuff, get this fuzzy SOB. 

Now, on to my vintage favorites:

Alley Vipers! I bothered to get two of these guys - I love 'em so much. They went all out with these guys and gave them a gun, the helmets (just recolored cycle helmets with the visors painted orange to match with the cobra symbol on them), backpacks, and a modified gun with a clip and a grappling hook that attaches to the back of the pack! Also, for some reason, they gave 'em two different sized shields...not sure why.

Here's where the real fun started! I realized that my building (to use as a background) was WAY too big and wouldn't really look like a building to these guys. I was looking around for something to use and then DUUUUUH - my wife collects the big Lego buildings! PERFECT! I mean this all lines up just perfectly, and suddenly the real awesomeness of these figures dawned on me: I have Joes to use with Lego sets!

*cough* And I'm insane -

But anyway, that's it for the blind bagged items! I didn't want to break the bank in one go, so I only chose one of the boxed sets so far, and of course I chose the mech!

First off, the pics on the directions and box kinda put things on differently. The gun arm has a separate flame thrower, but they look one and the same on the picture and....hey...

Those suckers stole my blazers joke!

Seriously though, it's kind of an awkward gun, and I plan on rebuilding it to be something less of a stick-and-a-sorta-flamethrower.

But lets get the Techno-Vipers to build 'em up real quick!

All done! So, that mech:

He's got a real S.N.A.K.E. armor vibe goin' on! In fact, I'd call it an upgrade, or perhaps a sideways-grade. Not so much an improvement, but a change and redirection on the original design. You can see stickers that match stickers on the old S.N.A.K.E. armor, and of course it matches the color scheme. The "Cobra Mech Pilot" (as he's called) fits right in the center under a harness:

He's got an awesome design and I'd love to see him and his mech in the Joe toyline proper!

The pilot comes with a grenade launcher for his side-arm, and you can attach that in any available area (I did it under the right-hand shoulder armor of the mech). The mech itself is very fun! He's got ball jointed shoulders and hips, and moveable elbows and ankles (no knees). It's just enough to have fun without having him get into a tangled mess from too much articulation. The neat part is the claw: it's set up in such a way that it snaps closed and open without any rubber bands or springs. He pretty much works as-is save for the wonky-lookin' gun arm.

UUUUUHHHH moving on! I dunno what you'd call the "main event" in this pack, 'cause I thought the mech was gona be my main love, but the VAMP is pretty rockin' as well!

See, the Tranformer Kre-O didn't impress me much 'cause they took out the fun part of Transformers - quick transformations. That's why I'm not as fond of TFs that are hard to transform...I usually end up leaving those in robot form. The Kre-O Transformer stuff has to be taken apart and built into vehicle or robot - UGH. Too much work! Granted, that's the point of building toys, but with Lego you eventually take things apart and build your own things. It's not like taking apart one thing and continuously building one other thing or the same thing you just took apart. On top of that, the Transformer Kre-O stuff has a TON of parts - they need joints to be a robot and other parts to be a vehicle. So you end up bricklaying layers and layers and layers of boring chunks that eventually build a vehicle, 'cause they need to use most of those other parts so not much is lying around afterward.

Obviously, we don't have to deal with that here! The builds are much more fun and simple, if not almost a little too simple. There's something you can tell, from building Legos for awhile, that says: "Those Lego people KNOW building." You know? Building a Kre-O thing trips little marks in a Lego builder's head that says "yeah, might wana reinforce that" or "hm, something is wrong here." Don't get me wrong: nothing is falling apart here, and it is way better than Built to Rule! Way way WAAAY better - don't even mention that in the same sentence as Kre-O. Still, there are tiny things here and there that says: This isn't Lego. Nothing that should stop you from buying these, of course.

Cool thing about Kre-O arms is that they can get close to grabbing the steering wheels! One thing though:

The car is a little tall, compared to the Kreons! Are jeeps usually that tall? Not that it matters - it looks just fine in all other respects. 

Final verdict is that I'm all about the G.I. Joe Kre-O! I was on the fence a little at first. I knew I was gona like them, but the Transformer stuff was just okay. However, these guys are much more fun, since the builds don't have to be anything other than what they are, and GEEZE MAN they're official Joes for your Lego sets! That's what really kicked me into gear. I LOVE LOVE LOVED having these guys crawl over the buildings 'n such, 'cause I've never had full sprawling playsets for anything before. Granted, I'm not sayin' you should all go out and buy these bigass expensive Lego buildings, but MAN do they help! It's so friggin' cool, I tell ya.

*AHEMCOUGHAGACK* and yeah, drive things on the buildings too! 'Cause that's a thing that happens. In my brain areaIDON'TKNOW

I love these things. I didn't think I would as much as I do, but I just love having little Joe block guys to crawl all over my existing Legos. I highly suggest them if you've already got a Lego collection. If not, then they may be an interesting little side collection (and cheaper to army build, if you're into that kinda thing).  If nothing else, pick up a set or get a blind bag or two and see what you think. I think having them in hand will change your mind if you're not on board!

HA-HAAAAAA OH MAN. Ha...yeah. I think I made my points. 



Yeah, Kre-O was pretty awesome, and I did end up buying more sets than this, but I never put them together.  Turns out I don't have the space!  Ha!  Go figure.  The minifigures are still pretty cool, though they seemed to have died off.  I'll most likely dump the Kre-O bricks into the Lego Collective bin and hold on to the Kreons, 'cause they have a unique Lego world they can still run around in (especially once my wife and I build a city block with her giant buildings).  If you love classic Joe, these are still worth hunting down.

This is it, folks!  The last one.  I stopped in 2013 because I don't know why.  Maybe G.I. Joe just wasn't exciting me anymore.  Maybe I just bought WAY too many figures.  Hard to say.  To tell you the truth, I can't say I won't go back and try to review some of the figures still bagged up with their accessories (which was how stored them for future review, so I didn't forget what accessories went with which figures). 

My thoughts on G.I. Joe have been scattered throughout these afterthoughts, but I'll compile the gist here: G.I. Joe needs a kick in the pants.  It's stagnate, and the previous efforts to revive it have either failed, or were just straight-up canceled.  There's something to be said for riding the Nostalgia Train, but even that train has stopped and can't move any further due to reaching it's weight limit; all the cars are piled high with remakes.  We've seen the popular ones remade many times over, and guess what: Most of the are from the 80's.  We know that's when 3.5 scale Joes started, but where are they going NOW?  Right now?  Is there something new to show us? 

The question you're probably thinking is: "Why do you care, Alexx?  If you're burnt out on G.I. Joe, what kind of revamp could possibly make you excited for the same characters and stories again?" And that....is a very good question.  Does G.I. Joe need a kick in the pants so hard that it's rendered unrecognizable, when compared to the source?

...maybe a little.  Not totally.  I'm not saying Snake Eyes needs to talk or Storm Shadow needs to be a cowboy (though I would totally buy a all-white cowboy Storm Shadow) but we need to put some distance between NOW and THEN.  The past is past, and there are plenty of other properties that could use a Nostalgia Train revival.  I'm not against that whole idea.  G.I. Joe just doesn't need it anymore.  They may revisit it, down the line, but for now, we need to unload that Train, let someone else have a ride, and walk into that great white light of rebirth.

Show me you care, Hasbro.  Show me something new.


  1. Honestly, they can do whatever they want to GI JOE, i've gotten my fill and then some from the past decade and more. Still looking forward to some of the next CLub figures if I can afford them when they appear. It will be interesting to see what it comes back as if/when they get it together.

    Kre-o was nice, but the could never get into them after Mega revamped it's figure construction.

    1. Yeah, it's hard to go back to normal minifigures once you've gone Mega Bloks.

  2. Long, rambling comment alert

    I think the problem with G.I.Joe is that its very rarely a priority with collectors. In a world where Star Wars and Marvel have movies and figures pouring out of every orifice every month, us collectors have no time or money for Joes anymore.
    Even if G.I.Joe had a massive comeback, could we still have the energy for it? I buy my Joes mainly at conventions where they cost £5 and I can pick one up and have a fun for an afternoon. In this day and age, new Joes would cost about £15. Especially when Lanyards The Corps cost like £3 each and feel like GI Joes from the early 2000s.

    This reads really harsh but I think its true. It's time we get ready for a world a without GI Joe. To be fair somebodies actually rebooting Bucky O'Hare, proving that you can get an economical viable toys to a really niche audience. So maybe there's hope, a fools hope but maybe Joes will find their place on the toy shelves once more.

    What a downbeat and really winding comment to write at 8:30 in the morning.

    1. Very good points! If G.I. Joe did make a significant change and comeback...I'm collecting so many other things that I don't know if I'd be able to get into it! And while Bucky O'Hare is a niche, it's unique and another nostalgia trip, so I'm not surprised that sold. G.I. Joe, I feel, could still be reorganized into something that would sell in today's market. I just don't know if Hasbro wants to.

      Like you said, though: Is there any point in remaking G.I. Joe again? The collectors are rolling in previous product and kind of keeping the story alive themselves (save for comics and all that). Plus, the scale is going strong in many different directions (Marauder, Vitruvian HACKS, the new Zombie line, etc) so it almost feels pointless for G.I. Joe to try and catch up to the massive jumps forward in quality that the scale has seen. Fans with their own companies have kind of taken it over! It almost feels wrong to keep calling it "Joe scale", like I have been for years. It doesn't really belong to Joes anymore.

  3. The Joe Kreos were better than the 25th Anniversary line. There, I said it. Although I guess it's true that I only picked up one B.A.T. and the ninja dojo set. But anyway. Yeah, you can still buy Kreos here and there - I see the blind-bagged Transformers Kreons at Walgreens regularly, and sometimes small kits at Dollar General, but I'm pretty sure Hasbro isn't making any new ones. All the kits and figures I see are reissues of older ones. I know there were some truly bizarre TF ones that came out around the same time as Age of Extinction and could only be found in certain countries during a particular phase of the moon. There was a cowboy Optimus. It was an odd time.

    Also I dunno about you, but when you said "laugh track," what popped in my head was the one from Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon.

    And now I will collect my five Calvin & Hobbes points.