A few weeks ago, a handful of us toy collectors in the Boston area met up to exchange stories and have a few beers. Then we all opened our trunks in hopes of doing some trading, only to find each of us seem to collect completely different lines. But Josh from CollectionDX gave me his Optimus Prime Kreon exclusive because he doesn’t collect them (and the box was crushed).
Originally released at Botcon 2011, Hasbro way overproduced this exclusive Optimus Prime and then ended up mailing them out as promos for anyone who bought a KRE-O set or said hi at SDCC. And then some of them randomly ended up inside the giant Optimus Prime sets as well.
Packaged in a box that is shaped vaguely like a 2×4 brick, this set just makes me angry. Much like the LEGO VIP Collector’s Set, the packaging is excessive, wasteful and impossible to open without utterly destroying it. But I don’t usually keep packaging, so that’s okay – at least it is recyclable. It’s a nice little window area and includes a booklet (also glued in place) to show off the lackluster Transformer KRE-O sets (so lackluster, I couldn’t even bring myself to assemble any of the sets I bought).
The Kreon figures feel like they were originally designed as the best way to make a LEGO-like Optimus Prime. Every possible addition seems to be exclusively made with him in mind. Using his classic cartoon design, Optimus looks great. The bright reds and blues work wonderfully and the figure’s plastic parts are cast just the right way to ensure that the minimal paint applications were applied.
Clearly based off a LEGO minifigure, Kreons have a few unique differences. The arms are slightly bulkier with larger shoulders, but the big changes are articulation. Optimus Prime has ball jointed shoulders and hips, along with a swivel waist, wrists and neck. It’s the same number of joints as a LEGO figure but adds so much.
The only thing exclusive about this figure is the chest piece. Instead of showing his classic truck front, his chest is painted to be open and showing the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. It’s a neat idea, but the level of detail feels way too over the top when compared to the other, more simple paint applications. In a horrible missed opportunity, Hasbro didn’t do anything to make the Matrix look KRE-O-like. Something like how the Mandarin in Iron Man Super Hero Squad only had four fingers, so two were doubled up on one figure to give him his full set of 10 would have been great.
Stripped of his helmet, Optimus has a gray head with blue eyes and a straight mouth. It works, but I still find seeing Optimus’s mouth weird. To really complete the look, Optimus comes with a pair of smoke stacks that clip to his biceps and two tires that plug into the side of his legs. I’m surprised Hasbro didn’t make a special torso covering to give him extra bulk, like Galvatron.
For actual accessories, Optimus includes his helmet which looks perfect with the silver details painted on the face plate and crown. His Ion Cannon is included too which is a massive weapon – it’s almost as tall as the figure! The last accessory is a 2×4 black KRE-O brick to double as a display stand. By itself, it seems fine but when combined with actual LEGO bricks or other KRE-O bricks, you realize that while it looks near identical, there are small differences that really show the quality control is not the same. It’s compatible enough, but LEGO still has the best bricks.
Sadly, this figure is really missing that extra something to make him a worthwhile exclusive. A small addition like including a Kreon scale Matrix of Leadership or a chest piece that allow Optimus to have some extra bulk would have really turned this into a must-have. As it currently stands, it’s an interesting little variant but I would stick with regular Optimus Prime Kreon over this one. But LEGO, take note because as a minifigure, this guy is excellent.