G.I. Joe Kre-O - Kre-On Mini Figures Wave 2
I wasn't entirely sure how I wanted to handle the reviews of the second run of Kre-On mini figures. The first wave was done as one review for every figure, which works pretty well, considering the only real changes are deco and accessory related per figure. But it was obvious right off the start that the second wave was going to be considerably more involved and detail oriented.
So should I still do one review? I decided that yes, that was probably the right way to do it. Kind of an apples to apples comparison so that Waves 1 and 2 could be compared. After all, there was a distinctive leap in injinuity (I thought) from the first wave to the second and I wanted that to be reflected in this review. You can expect to see considerably more images for this one, though.
From the G.I. Joe side of things, Wave 2 contains some terrific additions to your Kre-On roster, and I love the obscurity that they pick from...or relative obscurity, anyway. I suppose it's tough to consider Blowtorch, Mutt, or Flash "obscure" but they certainly wouldn't be at the top of anyone's list of characters to pull from. Along with those three we get Snow Job and the Adventure Team Land Adventurer as an awesome companion to the Adventure Team Commander from Wave 1 (fuzzy hair and all!) Tunnel Rat is the last G.I. Joe entry in Wave 2, and is an excellent addition as well.
Hasbro manages to make some incredibly cool Kre-On figures with just a limited amount of accessory work and deco to these figures. Flash and Blowtorch are highlights from Wave 2, with their elaborate ball-jointed hose and weapon combinations for both the flamethrower and laser rifle. I love this combination of parts and it adds some real flair to the two figures. Mutt & Junkyard are really great, too, with the little telltale scare on Mutt's face, and the awesome oversized silencer on his Uzi to replicate his original MAC-10. Junkyard is a really great (and damn funny) representation of his dog self as well, looking short, squat, and fierce.
Snow Job with his awesome hood and full compliment of ski's and poles is spectacular as well, really coming to life nicely. It's a shame they couldn't add one more part to hold his skis on the backpack as well, but even as is, it works nicely. Tunnel Rat and Land Adventurer both are quality builds, too, even if they are somewhat unspectacular compared to the others on the Joe side. I must admit, Tunnel Rat's stern gaze on Kre-On form is hilarious and awesome. It's a 2 inch Larry Hama!
Where Wave 2 really excels is on the Cobra side, which is tough for me to type, considering how much praise I just lavished on the G.I. Joe mini figures.
We get Ripper (a somewhat odd choice for the first Zartan/Dreadnok character), Slice, Cobra Eel, Mindbender, Major Bludd, and the Cobra B.A.T. Honestly I can't find much to complain about with any of these selections.
Ripper has an awesome mohawk for his head, and I'm a huge fan of that great claw mechanism that we originally saw on the Cobra Mech from the Wave 1 vehicle sets. His camoflage is great, and I love that he comes with a fresh can of Grape Soda. Awesome touch to go with the YoJoe Cola we got last time around. Slice isn't extremely exciting (especially since we got pretty crazy with the ninjas in Wave 1) but the face deco is great and I'm happy that we have a Slice & Dice combination back again for the first time since the 90's. Cobra Eel is a great little army builder as well, and even though it was probably done more for tooling cost reasons, I like that they repurposed Copperhead's helmet for the Eel, as it ties the Cobra water forces together amazingly well. Even though the Eel head deco is a bit different, that painted-on facemask also works really nicely to tie this figure in with Copperhead. It never would have occurred to me that Copperhead and the Eels were tied together that way, but it really works nicely.
Major Bludd is another great addition to Wave 2. That scowl on his face, his unique helmet and the rocket backpack are all nicely represented in Kre-On form. His cybernetic arm looks really cool as well, and they even added his little deco on his left arm to match his original action figure version. I continue to be impressed with the detail they can add with some simple paint apps on the torso, and Bludd is a perfect example of this. My two favorite Cobra figures of Wave 2 would have to be the B.A.T. and Dr. Mindbender. Mindbender is so ridiculous and works so well in Kre-On form, it's almost amazing to consider he wasn't conceived that way to begin with. Those little silver suspenders, his angry porn stache and the fantastic black cape all compliment the figure expertly, and I thought the way they built his portable "mind bending" device was really clever. It seems appropriate that Dr. Mindbender would also come with his trademark Battle Android Troopers as well, and they are Kre-On perfection. They retain the exact right amount of detail in their chest panel, and the unique head deco is absolutely terrific. I love how they incorporate the swappable weapons on his hands, though I have to admit, removing the hands is pretty challenging. I gave one of my B.A.T.s to my 8 year old daughter, and she's been struggling with that hand a little bit. I love the accessory backpack and all of the different attachments...very clever use of all of those parts, and a great little army builder.
Wave 2 of the Kre-On mini figures takes all of the awesome hallmarks of Wave 1 and cranks them up even further. Awesome, unique characters in some terrific deco adds flavor and flash to what is already becoming an impressive looking line up of G.I. Joe themed characters. It seems unbelievable that they've already got an amazing roster of characters here, with a promise of more on the horizon. Quality stuff here from Hasbro on the Kre-O side of the house.
One addition to Wave 2 that has been especially cool is the deco on the back of the figures. The first wave of mini-figures lacked a lot of intricate paint work on the back of them...Wave 2, for the most part has some nice deco on the back to compliment what's on the front. It's a nice change that adds to the quality of the Kre-Ons.
I know there are plenty of Lego purists out there would greatly prefer the Lego format, but when it comes to the mini-figures, I actually prefer the Kre-Ons. Slightly better articulation makes a huge difference, and these little G.I. Joe and Cobra characters just leap off their small representations. Really nice work here.