G.I. Joe Convention 2013 - Kre-O
The G.I. Joe Collectors' Club tried something new this year, as they do from time to time, previously with mixed success. I remember quite a few years ago, they went with a Sigma 6 constructed figure for their paradrop figure, and while I enjoyed it, it did not catch on with the masses really, and ended up being available in their shop for some time after the show.
With all of the collector frenzy around Kre-O these days, it only makes sense for the Collectors Club to try and capture some of that, and I think they did it fairly successfully.
It seems to be pretty common knowledge that the Collectors' Club was originally going to go with a 4" paradrop figure as they normally do...most collectors agree Night Force Crazylegs was the obvious choice. However, they could not secure a location in Indianapolis high enough to successfully float a 4" figure, so they elected to use a Kre-O figure instead. As one of the elected "launchers" I was quite pleasently surprised at the success of the drop. The wind carried nicely, the figure floated well, and I thought the process was excellent, even with the different format.
But the Collectors' Club didn't just elect to use Kre-O for the paradrop figure...they went all out and gave us a whole 6-pack of Kre-O minifigures, a decision that I applaud.
Night Force Kre-O 6 Pack
I'm not going to break the 6 pack down and do full reviews of each figure, because I think we can all get the basic idea of how these things work in a group setting. Hopefully the plethora of images will help get the point across.
I know a lot of folks were confused about the shoulders of the Kre-O figures in this set, as they seem to be Transformers based robotic shoulders rather than more human normal shoulders. If I had to guess, I'd say that SAW-Vipers Transformers helmets were probably why. Sometimes tooling must be acquired in "kits" with the same group of parts and accessories allocated together. I'm wondering if the Club just grabbed Transformers "kits" when they got those helmets and decided it would be fine for all of the figures to have shoulder pads. I certainly don't have any major issues with it. It doesn't take away anything from the characters who clearly don't have them (Cobra Mortal, Repeater...) but it does add some nice bulk to characters that might be wearing them (SAW Viper, Charbroil, Spearhead). It doesn't harm articulation, and aesthetically it really isn't a big deal, at least to me.
The Cobra side of the 6-pack features Cobra Mortal leading a pair of SAW Vipers, and I love all three of them. Mortal has a Snake Eyes head in really nice silver, and the familiar webgear on his chest. The stark red Cobra symbol stands out nicely against the pure white of the rest of the uniform. SAW Viper is a mix of maroon and pink, actually a much different color combination than the normal figure in the convention set, but I dig it just the same. I love that the Club used the Transformers helmets, even though the green goggles don't line up exactly with the eyes underneath. Clever painting of the balaclava helps these figures stand out a bit as well.
On the G.I. Joe side, Spearhead and Charbroil are both pretty cool. Charbroil's colors are obviously more subdued compared to his very shiney 4" version, and I love that the Club actually spun around the vest, to make it look like an air intake on his chest. The flamethrower works well, too. Spearhead is a bit more plain, with just his normal brown uniform and machine gun belt. I would have loved it if the belt could have been gold, if only just to stand out a little bit more. I like that he comes with a standard black helmet as well as the black helmet with night vision goggles, even if his larger brother doesn't.
Like the 4" figures, Repeater is a nice standout, looking very much like his larger version with the green tactical vest and the "RANGER" themed cap. The stedi-cam machine gun is a little bit of a stretch, but still looks pretty cool. For some reason it's the little touches that I love, like the accurately shaped painted kneepads.
The 6-Pack is really a lot of fun. It was $33 at the Convention, which breaks down to just over $5 per figure...not a bad price considering the small production run. For Kre-O fans, it's a great inexpensive way to get some awesome parts fodder as well as building your Cobra Trooper armies and just broadening the character base somewhat. For folks who aren't big Kre-O fans, the inclusion probably wasn't a thrill, but it didn't take anything away from the 4" offerings, so I don't see an issue with it.
Night Force Hit & Run Para-Drop figure
Certain people might just call this the 2013 G.I. Joe Convention... I prefer to call it "Hit & Run Mega-THON 2013!!11!1". As the Internet's biggest Hit & Run fan, I was ecstatic that not only did we get a great 4" figure of Hit & Run this year, but there was a full color lithograph, a series of prints, a t-shirt, and this paradrop Kre-O figure!
Yes, like the 4" version, I would have greatly preferred a more vintage accurate rendition, or at least a character more reminiscent of the green camouflage infantry trooper, but beggars can't be choosers. The Kre-O figure is based on the Night Force version in the boxed set, and is a very nice looking Kre-On.
The parachute backpack fits nicely and worked amazingly well during the drop, too. It's not necessarily an accessory you'll display the figure with, but it's cool just the same.
I've seen many G.I. Joe fans latch onto the Kre-O sets and Kre-On figures, and I'm glad the Collectors' Club thought to dip their toes into that pool. They did a really nice job with character selection and parts selection, and I really love the deco work throughout. One of the greatest benefits of the Kre-On mini figures is the wealth of fairly straight forward customization they offer, and this is a perfect example of that. There's no doubt these did not sell as briskly in Indianapolis as the more standard formats did, but I only hope they gave the Collectors' Club enough return on investment to continue offering them going forward. My heart belongs first, as always, to the regular 4" format, but I won't lie...I'm loving the Kre-O stuff, too, and the Club did that format proud.