I love Star Trek. Some of my fondest early memories are of staying up late to watch reruns on the old black-and-white television we had on the third floor of our duplex. With the exception of Enterprise (It's been a long... no) I've watched it all, but I couldn't make it out this weekend for Star Trek: Wrath of Abrams. In my sadness, I turned to Hasbro's LEGO alternative.
The LEGO folks have already left, probably to get pitchforks and torches. Kre-O is Hasbro's building toy, no doubt created in part to LEGO's reluctance to depict particularly violent properties in their iconic bricks. It's why Mega Bloks has Halo, World of Warcraft and Barbie. Hasbro, with their wide variety of violent properties, decided to make its own damn block toys, and they aren't too shabby.
My first encounter with Kre-O was with the Transformers brand sets, which feature Transformers that don't transform — you have to rebuild them. I bought many of these sets, just to get the little collectible figures — Kreons — included in each box. I still don't have them all, and this makes me sad.
My second encounter came with a set based on the movie Battleship. It had aliens and flippers and lasers and frankly I was no impressed. The whole project was silly, and the toys doubly so.
I was intriguied by the Star Trek Kre-O sets but hesitant to buy. Hasbro addressed my hesistation by sending me a set or three.
The first set I cracked open was the Spock's Volcano Mission set. Consisting of a shuttlecraft, a small volcano that shoots red dots, and Kreon representations of pensive Sulu and spacesuit Spock, it's a rather lovely bit of building for $14.99.
You can't see it here, but the set comes with a light-emitting block that makes the hatch on the underside of the shuttlecraft glow in welcome as it opens. It also features a bit of string, so Sulu can drag Spock across the ground like the uppity jerk deserves.
I am not a really big fan of J.J. Spock. More on that later.
Next comes the big daddy of them all — NCC-1701 — the USS Enterprise. This piece demonstrates Kre-O's main advantage over LEGO. The LEGO version of the Enterprise would cost $300 and include figures of all 300 of the ship's crew. This one's $50. Want to watch me put it together? I sure hope so — otherwise I wasted two hours clicking together 432 pieces.
This one lights up as well, but I didn't put the batteries in because I was already recording and didn't have a screwdriver handy. I'll get around to it. It doesn't, however, play RAC Agency's version of the Star Trek theme, which is never leaving my MP3 player again.
The set includes five Kreons — Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr McCoy and a pair of "specialists", whatever those are. I generally use them to beat up Spock while Kirk is hitting on girls.
Another fine set. I had some trouble (and continue to) keeping the saucer layers flush witch each other, though I suspect that's a problem on my end. If you watch the video closely, you can see where I had a little trouble. Basically, if the ship leaves the screen, I am struggling with it.
The whole build took me about two hours from start to finish. I am pleased with the result, as is Captain Kirk.
Finally we have the $24.99 Klingon Bird-of-Prey set, which I did not build because I got distracted making Kirk and Uhura make out while Klingons violated Zachary Quinto.
When all is said and done, I feel I've gotten much more enjoyment out of the Kre-O Star Trek sets than I would sitting in a theatre crying for two hours. My time with them has changed the way I look at everything. Once I thought I had seen it all. Now the world is an endless series of places to take pictures of Kirk flirting while Spock dies. Thanks for the new timeline, Abrams!