G.I. Joe Kre-O - Battle Platform Attack w/ Duke, Roadblock, Cobra Commander, Cobra Trooper x 2
When I first saw images of this set, I of course saw similarities between this and the Tactical Battle Platform. I loved the TTBP as a kid, and thought this was a neat homage, even though it did borrow many elements from the Battleship Battle Platform playset as well. Because of the re-used parts and because of the price tag, I had determined that I wouldn't try too hard to pick this item up. I do like playsets for sure, but vehicles often offer more "fun factor" to me. Not only that, but the Tactical Battle Platform, while great, was restricted to water use only, and you know me, I'm not a big fan of characters (or playsets) that are relegated to a specific environment.
Not to mention the fact that the G.I. Joe version actually looks smaller than the Battleship version... but there were plenty of add ons to make the G.I. Joe one more appealing.
Once again, the size of the Kre-O offerings makes them very appealing. While many fans are clammoring for larger, bigger, better, my available display space screams at me to downsize, and the Kre-O stuff is downsized quite nicely. It's a great playset that practically fits in the palm of my hand. They use the different platforms in unique ways with the twin cannon, the trio missile launcher, and the distinctive control center with seat and computer consoles that look very cool.
The helipad fits the Dragonfly (although just barely) and judging by the box art, this platform is meant for ground use as well as water use, which makes me very happy. Of course, the whole platform angle doesn't make as much sense in a ground environment (all Cobra would have to do is blow out the legs to take out the whole thing) but the play value part of me is glad to see the flexibility. The build set was very time consuming, though not overly complicated. I took it in chunks, doing the mini vehicles first and building towards the platform itself, and I had an absolute blast, even though it took a few hours. The brick colors are spot on to the classic Platform as well, clearly identifying the vintage homage.
Along with the Battle Platform is a small prison cell (that also came with the Battleship version) which is pretty neat as well. These miniature prison cells are a trademark of G.I. Joe playsets, appearing in the original '82 Headquarters, the '87 Mobile Command Center, and the '91 HQ as well. I dig seeing it here, and I love the flip up prison doors, too.
Adding to the vast appeal of this set is a trio of excellent classic vehicles as well as the platform itself. First and foremost, on the G.I. Joe side is the RAM motorcycle. Using the same template as the motorcycle that came with Firefly/Checkpoint Alpha, but using some creative measures for the sidecar and gatling gun, this bike is surprisingly vintage accurate and a terrific addition to this base set. I just love the fact that within the first series of the Kre-O line we have a VAMP w/ Clutch, a RAM w/ Rock n Roll available, and suddenly all these great classic elements are coming into place.
Along with the RAM, we have a FANG Gyrocopter as well, which is a great addition to the set, too. You do have to kind of stretch your imagination a bit to see the FANG in that design, but all in all, it's not too bad. It's a neat little miniature vehicle that serves the purpose of attacking the G.I. Joe Battle Platform. I like how the front rotates down to allow the pilot to sit in the cockpit. The whole "shotguns upside down to represent red missiles" is kind of lost on me, I'll admit, and even though the dual propellors is vintage accurate, I kind of wish there were two more there as well. The rear tail looks a little sparse, too.
Not a bad little vehicle, but not a huge selling point of the Platform itself.
Now the Trubble Bubble, on the other hand. THIS is a selling point. I am absolutely in love with how the Kre-O line did this Trubble Bubble. It was a very fun, unique build with what appeared to be a few pieces specifically for this vehicle. The missiles are a bit short and stubby, but I love the dual engines, the rotating canopy is terrific, and the way it all comes together works very nicely. It also makes for an awesome companion piece of the Serpent Armor, too. I was almost giddy when I finished putting this thing together.
The Mini Figures
As if the vehicle additions weren't enough little add ons to enhance the play value of this set, the mini-figures certainly help rationalize costs. Considering the upcoming G.I. Joe: Retaliation film release, it's tough to argue that three of the most important characters in the G.I. Joe mythology are right here in this set.
Rumor has it (still) that Duke might just bite the big one in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, but in the Kre-O world he is alive, well, and still sporting tan and green. Like every other Kre-On G.I. Joe figure, Hasbro does amazing things with the simplest of deco, creating a whole dress shirt, bandolier, and even with the eagle pin on his chest. His eyes and little smirk are perfect Sunbow Duke spirit, and he truly bleeds bad ass.
I can agree with some folks who complain that he needs some sort of hair. Yeah, once you put the helmet on him, you don't notice so much, but considering how much time Duke spends running around helmet-less, I do wish he came with an add on blonde "wig" to represent him without his dome.
All of these Kre-O sets come with a plethora of weapons, so it's sometimes tough to isolate who comes with what, but from all appearances, Duke has his helmet and pistol that he can use to run around the Battle Platform, kick Cobra ass and take Cobra Commander prisoner.
Remember ten years ago when Hasbro didn't even consider Roadblock an important enough character to keep his trademark current? That was cool.
How the G.I. Joe world has changed for Marvin Hinton...from obscurity to headline character in the most expensive and elaborate G.I. Joe Kre-O set to date, Roadblock's future is looking bright. We see the gourmet chef in his familiar '84 garb, which is a welcome appearance for the vintage enthusiasts who are drooling all over this Kre-O old school greatness. The colors are great, and the simple, yet accurate camouflage works wonders on Roadblock's familiar tank top. His distinctive facial hair looks spot-on as well.
Apparently there are no Ma-Deuce's in the Kre-O world as Roadblock comes equipped with a massive chain gun that can be used to single-handedly dispatch a horde of invading Cobra Troopers. The helmet covers his little knob on his bald head, and he looks pretty threatening...or as threatening as a Kre-On can look, anyway.
I love this little figure...but am I sick to think that G.I. Joe: Retaliation themed Kre-Ons would be bad ass as well? I'd love to see The Rock's little mug on a Kre-On figure with the Battle Kata vest, or even Flint and Duke with their angled body armor. And think of the vehicle possibilities...
Critical character number 3 in this set is immediately recognizable to everyone. Cobra Commander himself. With his distinctive chrome face mask, his baby blue colors, and Sunbow accurate helmet-stripe, this is the Cobra Commander everyone recognizes (as they should).
As with everyone else in this set, the simple paint apps on his torso do wonders for the character, truly bringing him to life and etching personality into every inch of this tiny figure.
Getting the helmet and his trademark hair dryer laser pistol equipped only serves to prove the perfection in this little miniature Cobra Commander. I just want to hug him. I can already imagine his pissed off squeaky voice barking commands at his hapless troopers and firing lasers at pesky Joes. He resonates awesome.
Look at this dude! This is exactly what I'm talking about with my love of how flexible the Kre-Ons are and how minor paint applications can make a world of difference. Although this guy is simply called a "Cobra Trooper" in true life, he is more a comic accurate Cobra Officer as well as a Cobra Air Trooper, first seen in the Valor Vs. Venom comic packs. But what kills me with this guy is his awesome sunglasses and red facemask, which totally separate him from other troopers and truly cast him as either a special ops guy or a true officer. I grabbed a red beret from the Battleship Land Defense Set and he looks pretty neat that way, too:
Of course the main way this guy is supposed to be equipped is with his gas mask and weapon and as a Cobra Air Trooper, even though there's no reference to that on the packaging.
The flexibility of these little Kre-Ons is truly awesome. I love how they can evolve from such simple little mini figures and branch into all of these different existing G.I. Joe elements.
Along with the other figures, we have a totally different kind of Cobra Trooper...unlike the Mech Pilot or the Heavy Cobra Trooper, this one has no real different designation, just crossed straps on his chest. I'm not sure if there's a specific reason for this figure to be different, or if Hasbro was just trying out different deco's, but it works for me regardless. He's another great variation on the Cobra Trooper formula and fills out the existing Cobra squad quite nicely. I love that Hasbro is using these blue shirt templates and building on them in just the right ways to fill in some gaps, but not make figures or characters too separated.
The helmet, weapon, and bayonet appear to be what this Cobra Trooper runs around with, and I think they all suit him pretty well. Nothing fancy, but considering he's either going to be piloting the FANG or Flight Pod, he's already got some handy weapons at his disposal.
While I might have some minor quibbles about this set all told, those quibbles are just that... minor. And considering everything this set has to offer, it's tough to complain. Five mini-figures, three of them critical characters, three small vehicles, two of them amazing (one of them only so-so)...and a really cleverly designed base for the G.I. Joe team to defend.
Oh! And holy crap! YoJoe Cola. Almost forgot to mention that Easter Egg with the opening refridgerator and the cola inside.
Really, though, guys... the brand is "YO JOE Cola"...not just "Joe Cola". That's gonna cost you in the star ratings. ;)
In all seriousness, there is a lot of coolness here, a lot of playability, a lot of customizing potential, and this went from a set I wasn't sure I was even going to buy because of the cost, to a set that I am thrilled that I picked up. Absolutely a worthwhile purchase.