With the Kreons, I have gained both a new appreciation as well as jealousy of the folks at Takara and Hasbro that design Transformers. It started with my experience bulking up and somewhat G1-ifying my Kre-O Wheeljack and has happened again with the new Kre-O Microchanger Combiners.
Before we get to that part, first let me go off on a bit of a tangent. With all of the announced Kre-O Microchanger Combiners — wait, back up: let’s start with the fact that the Microchanger Combiner teams based on their G1 releases even exist to begin with. Now, back to what I was typing about before my tangent went off on a tangent: even though each of the Kre-O Combined robots is only made up of four ‘bots; they are including the fifth ‘bot from the team as a single packed release.
Now I want one more person to tell me that Hasbro & Co. doesn’t love the fans. Just one.
There is absolutely no other reason they would include a single-pack release that is mostly indistinguishable to the average kid from the guys in the Combiner set other than for the fans.
For example, that way we (the fans) don’t miss out on Slingshot — released as Kre-O Quickslinger — with the rest of the Aerialbots that make up Kre-O Superion.
Quickslinger gets a different head and helmet from the rest of the Aerialbots, but other than that, has the same basic colour scheme as Firestrike — the Kre-O incarnation of Fireflight.
The remaining three are the ones that didn’t suffer a name change; Air Raid, the team leader Silverbolt, and Skydive.
Air Raid’s is pretty much the only one of the five of them with a semi-decent alt mode.
Mind you, this isn’t a complaint or a strike against these guys in the least bit for me. None of the Microchanger series and especially none of the Microchanger Combiners have been bought because they can actually transform. Just like the pre-Microchanger Kreons, they were all bought based on their robot modes and the awesome G1-ness of it all. Pretty much the same reason I own all of the widely released G1 Robot Heroes.
As much as I like Superion and the Aerialbots, I’m not too overly attached to them, which may be why I didn’t really feel the need — as so many other apparently did — to find a combination that included him in Superion. It wouldn’t be too difficult to do and still include a majority, if not all, of his pieces.
For some reason, I didn’t feel the same about Predaking and the Predacons. Not only did I feel the need to include the single-packed member of the group, Rampage, but I also felt compelled to correct the non-G1-ness of his combined mode’s legs.
For it to properly be Predaking, you have to have a rhino head for the left kneecap and a bull head for the right. What the instructions have instead is a — admittedly clever — single horn to represent the rhino and the double horned piece from Divebomb’s tail to suggest the bull head.
What I and countless others have done is to use the actual head pieces in place of the suggested ones. This presents a slight problem, because the combined mode uses the orange head piece for its head. All except Divebomb have an interchangeable helmet piece with holes to insert horns and make it into a rhino or bull head or left as is for the two cats. To solve this, I swapped out Rampage’s red head piece achieving even more G1 accuracy in the process. However, this wasn’t the end of the problems. As a further cheat, the red head for Rampage on Predaking’s shoulder is faked by using the red headpiece from the bull. I say “faked” because, remember, Rampage isn’t even included in the Predaking set.
I considered buying a second single-packed Rampage just for the headpiece, but for now I faked it even more by borrowing a couple of my extra red pieces for his shoulder.
By adding Rampage into the mix, I also made Predaking a little taller, which is appropriate given his comparatively hulking size in G1.
While I was adding extra pieces, I also increased Divebomb’s wingspan which in turn increased Predaking’s. Remember that appreciation and jealousy of the toy designers I mentioned? Divebomb is where a majority of it came from in this case. I had a lot of dislikes with Divebomb. First, his robot mode placed his wings directly on his arms, which is needlessly inaccurate. I moved those to his already existing backpack. I also used red for the wings rather than black in robot mode. I would have preferred a little more G1 accurate orange, but was lacking the pieces.
I also left his tail piece on his backpack. Speaking of his tail, that I changed completely. The double-pronged tail piece from the instructions just didn’t work at all. His entire alt mode was pretty much just him bending in half, it clearly needed further help. I kept the black wing pieces along with the added red and gave him a bigger wingspan and used the two slanting orange pieces from his combined mode’s legs to try to recreate his G1 tail. I also replaced the two horns with actual clamps to give his bird legs some actual clawed feet.
Still not perfect, but much better in my opinion. The appreciation for toy designers came in the fact that I would make improvements to his alt mode, but then it was too bulky and I was removing way too many pieces to convert him to robot. What I had to do was find a balance between a definitive alt mode and a clean robot mode without a pile of pieces left over. Luckily Kre-O has a precedent of a couple pieces left over after you transform them. A toy designer doesn’t even that much leeway. These days they have to try to make a convincing alt mode and a convincing robot mode and use all the same pieces for both. A mind-twisting exercise, but a fun one (which is where the jealousy comes in). With the exception of not putting the vest piece on Razorclaw, I left the other guys pretty much alone in both modes. The vest pieces have been particularly annoying because they cover up all the wonder detailing included on the Kreon’s chest.
I’ve left them off of any Kreons where they aren’t strictly necessary.
Despite the identical headpieces, the menagerie of animals for the Predacons has just enough differences. Though they still come off rather… impressionistic.
Once again, not a problem. The combined mode is where it’s at.
I have purposely tried to stay away from their Kre-O names because two of them are a bit of a mess. Razorclaw, Rampage, and Divebomb all retain their original G1 names, but Tantrum and Headstrong are no longer available. Hasbro replaced them with Torox and Headlock. Now, Torox has history, it is actually Tantrum’s Italian G1 name. The problem is that someone got confused and swapped their names along the way, with Tantrum being renamed Headlock and my favourite Predacon, Headstrong, being renamed Torox.
Either way, whatever they’re named, I seriously doubt anyone’s going to mess with them about it.