Kre-O
Built to Sell Last Updated: 7/22/14
MicroChange combiners wave 4 added.

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    Built To Rule™ was tied specifically to Armada and Energon, so I put the reviews there. But Kre-O appears to be its own continuity, grabbing elements from G1, the movies and other lines. So I suppose that means it gets its own page as a Side Line. However, for now I'll also put ConstructBots here, even though it's clearly not the same continuity. Hey, consistency is not only not a virtue in Transformers fandom, it's probably not POSSIBLE. If I get enough of the sets and they seem likely to last more than a single year, I'll probably spin them off into their own page.

   Kre-Os are the brick-built sets, while Kreons are the "we can't call these Minifigs without getting nasty letters from Lego" figures. The Kre-Os do NOT transform, you simply have enough parts to build either mode, usually with some pieces left over from the other mode. With the exception of the smallest sets, each set comes with one or more Kreons. Some Kreons are chibi Transformers, others are humans.

    Bolded names got Strongly Recommended, while italic indicates a rating of neutral or worse.


YEAR FOUR
    Age of Extinction dominates the fourth year, although the actual toys continue to be a mix of all continuities (i.e. entire blindbag waves with no AoE characters). Unfortunately, the line also becomes effectively a Toys R Us exclusive this year, although hopefully Walgreens will continue to carry the blindbags.

  • Wave 5 (Movie Wave 1): Skrapnel (Diaclone color Shrapnel), Fangwolf (Cybertron Snarl), Misfire (G1, strangely an Autobot now), Trypticon (now with robot mode), Mindswipe (Mindwipe), Nightbeat, Highbrow, Jarugar (from Victory), Jetwash (Jetfire), Wingspan Hawk (clone Wingspan), Torosaur (new unknown dino), Silversnout (new ankylosaurid)
  • Microchange Combiners Wave 4 (Movie Wave 1). These are all new characters, a mix of dinos and other beasties, clearly created to help expand the namespace owned by Hasbro.
    • Grimstone: Dinosaurs or dinosaur-ish things, Autobots. Mollox (flying beast), Crackback (ankylosaur), Ironeye (allosaur?), Iguanox (not an Iguanadon, that's for sure). Instructions swap Ironeye and Iguanox, which makes the latter at least kinda plausible as an Iguanodon.
    • Volcanicon: Decepticon team. I really have no idea what the theme here is...subterranean monsters? Would have worked better in volcanic colors rather than sandstone. Farside (Hodag?), Liftoff (flying thing), Power Surge (Therozinosaur?), Lugmutt (demon dog).
    • Obsidian: Decepticon Bugs in Diaclone Insecticon colors. Freefall (hell beetle), Bullwark (yes, with two L's, some kind of fly, maybe), Hemocron (earwig?), Stronghorn (Primus is inordinately fond of beetles).
    • Lazerbolt: Autobots. The theme is ice, water, and "to heck with it, let's start drinking now". I really have no idea what most of the beast modes were aiming at. Freezeout, Floodgate, Bullhorn, Roadhound.


YEAR THREE
   Beast Hunters takes over all the "regular" sets, and Microchangers get combiners! Not to mention pretty much taking over in general....

  • MicroChanger Wave 2: 12 more blind-bag figures, and they finally ditched the stupid flak vests. Bulkhead, Hardshell, Blight (Blot), Arcee (G1), Acid Wing, Vehicon, Scourge (G1), Powerglide, Perceptor, Lugnut (TFA), Hoist, Autobot Groove.
  • MicroChanger Wave 3: More plastic crack, whee! Nosecone, Thrust (G1), Nemesis Prime, Ramjet (G1), Huffer, Kickback, Long Haul, Guzzle, Sharkticon (G1), Cheetor, Beachcomber, Seawing.
  • MicroChanger Wave 4: They cannot be stopped, merely contained. In baggies. Alpha Trion, Barrage (G1), Brawn, Brake-Neck, Cyclonus (G1), Demolishor (Armada), Iceberg (Armada), Kup, Rhinox, Rodimus, Sandstorm (helicopter), Slipstream.
  • Dragon Rage and Mech Venom Assault: $4-5 sets with one MicroChanger Kreon and a buildable Predacon (dragon mode only). Okay, but not something to go nuts trying to find.
  • MicroChanger Combiners Wave 1: Four Microchangers and a bunch of kibble that combine to make one of the classic combiner teams.
    • Constructicon Devastator - Bonecrusher, Scavenger, Scrapper and Mixmaster. Also includes general stuff about combiners.
    • Decepticon Bruticus - Onslaught, Vortex, Swindle and Brawl.
    • Superion - They don't seem to be able to get the hang of jet-mode MicroChangers, plus this set cheats on stickers and has serious part-color issues. Silverbolt, Firestrike (Fireflight), Air Raid, Skydive.
    • Predaking - Razorclaw, Divebomb, Torox (Headstrong), Headlock (Tantrum). Best of the four.
  • MicroChanger Combiners Wave 2: Another three sets.
    • Abominus - Hun-Gurrr, Predacon Rippersnapper, Sinnertwin, Windrazor. Yeah, they kept Sinnertwin for this version, but not Cutthroat.
    • Defensor - Blades, First Aid, Hot Spot, Streetsmart (all with "Protectobot" prepended).
    • Piranacon - Decepticon Nautilator, Overnite, Decepticon Snaptrap, Tentakil.
  • MicroChanger Combiners Wave 3: Two more sets, hard to find in stores.
    • Menasor - Dead End, Motorbreath (Motormaster), Decepticon Breakdown, Decepticon Dragstrip. Brake-Neck (Wildrider) was in blind bag series 4.
    • Computron - Scattershot, Strafe, Afterburst (Afterburn), Lightstorm (Lightspeed). Nosecone was in blind bag series 3.
  • As before, if I get any larger sets, it'll be when they hit clearance and I probably won't review 'em.

YEAR TWO
   A shift away from the movieverse, and the ascendance of Kreons.

  • MicroChanger Preview Wave: Blind-bagged Kreons with extra pieces that let them more or less transform into altmodes. This preview wave includes Spinister (G1), Galvatron (G1), Sunstorm (G1), Waspinator (BW), Scorponok (G1), and Crankstart (RotF).
  • MicroChangers Wave 1: Autobot Springer (helicopter), Inferno (G1), Quickslinger (G1 Slingshot), Rampage (Predacon), Insecticon (TF:Prime), Singe (Euro-"G2" Scorch), Decepticon Hook, Warpath, Dirge (conehead Seeker), Blast Off (G1 colors), Airachnid, Decepticon Bludgeon (tank). Updated 2/27/13 with Bludgeon.
  • Cycle Chase and Decepticon Ambush: Armybuilder boxes, with one named character and three nameless "mook" opponents, plus a vehicle that can be rebuilt into a weapon platform. Both decent, I liked Cycle Chase more.
  • Larger Sets: I probably won't get any of these unless they go on really deep clearance. I like Kreons, but the main building sets don't grab me as much.
    • Rotor Rage: Vortex building set, Kreons of Vortex and two humans, plus ATV. $30 price point.
    • Stealth Bumblebee: Black deco Bumblebee (but a new build), Kreons of Bumblebee, three humans and a dog, a checkpoint scenery piece. $35 price point, grabbed on clearance with a coupon to boot.
    • Street Showdown: Wheeljack and Knock Out at sizes comparable to the year one $12-15 sets, plus Kreons of both, two humans, and a barricade. $35 price point.
    • Battle for Energon: Truck Optimus Prime vs. Cybertronian tank Megatron, plus Kreons. $40 price point, also grabbed on clearance with a coupon.
  • Devastator: A huge set with four Decepticons (Scrapper, Drillbit, Scavenger, Hightower) that can be built as vehicles, robots, or combined into Devastator. They come with a large building to demolish. $80-100 price point.

YEAR ONE
   The first year had a lot of movie tie-in, with emphasis on the large kits, with Kreons seen as accessories.
  • Basics: Bumblebee (Classics-ish) and Optimus Prime (G1-ish). The smallest sets, these didn't even have Kreons, and retailed around $8. Review also contains some general line comments. I found a slightly improved way to build Bumblebee's robot mode.
  • "Deluxe" Size: These are the smallest that come with Kreons, about $12.
    • Jazz (G1/movie hybrid, with G1 Jazz and Stunt Driver Kreons).
    • Mirage (sorta-G1, with G1 Mirage and Stunt Driver Kreons). Mirage is the better of the two, but neither is all that great.
  • "Voyager" Class: $15-20, with one human and one robot Kreon.
    • Prowl (Classics, with G1 Prowl and SWAT Police Kreons). Status: Own, not yet opened. $15 shelf price.
    • Sideswipe (red, but movie-style, G1 Red Alert and helmetless human Kreons). Status: Do not own. $20 shelf price.
    • Ratchet (movie-style Rescue Ratchet vehicle but G1 head, with G1 Ratchet and paramedic). Status: Do not own. $20 shelf price.
  • Bigger: Not enough at any price point to really clump them, they're notable for having either more Kreons or just being big.
    • Bumblebee (movie style, with G1 Bumblebee, G1 Red Alert, Stunt Driver). Status: Own, not opened yet. $25 shelf price.
    • Starscream (G1-ish, with G1 Starscream and human pilot Kreons). Status: Do not own, appears to be pretty bad. $30 shelf price.
    • Megatron (kinda movie-like but with TF:A head, with G1 Megatron, G1 Shockwave, human police and human soldier Kreons). Status: Do not own. $30 shelf price.
    • Sentinel Prime (movie, with G1 Blaster, G1 Soundwave, G1 Thundercracker, human firefighter). Status: Own, not opened. $40 price point.
    • Optimus Prime with trailer (G1, with G1 Skywarp, G1 blue Bluestreak, G1 Optimus Prime, 2 stunt drivers with movie-Optimus flame pattern jumpsuits). The trailer becomes a battle base with two Kreon scaled motorcycles. Truck with trailer is comparable to Lego tractor-trailer sets. Status: Own, but not opened yet. $80 shelf price.
CONSTRUCT-BOTS
    This isn't the first toy line to shoot for the Bionicle/Hero Factory niche, and probably won't be the last. But it's notable for being a Transformers building toy where changing modes doesn't require any more part-removal than with a "real" Transformer. The results are pretty strut-skeletal, but hey.
  • Dino Riders Wave 1: Much smaller sets designed to ride in Scout and larger size Dinobots. Introduced for Age of Extinction. All pretty similar in design. Hound, Crosshairs, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Drift, Lockdown.

  • Scout Wave 1: Ironhide (Cybertronian Truck), Starscream (Cybertronian Jet). I liked these enough I'll probably pick up more of the sets later, when I don't have to immediately pack them for moving.
  • Scout Wave 2: Bumblebee (with G1-toy-style faceplate), and Thundercracker. Thundercracker is not just a Starscream redeco, he has distinct wings anmd fuselage, a much better-looking vehicle mode, and a red skeleton. Thundercracker is recommended. Not planning to get BB.
  • Scout Wave 3: Cliffjumper (Bumblebee redeco, possible head swap), Dead End (something of a mish-mash, but not just an attempt at a Wheeljack redeco despite being TF:Prime's Dead End), Breakdown (truck), Silverbolt (jet).
    • Cliffjumper is a nice build, I found an alternate build for vehicle mode that I like.
    • Dead End is decent (if eye-bleedingly bright) in robot mode, but the official vehicle mode is really weak. I have come up with my own version which can still transform to a proper robot mode (only moving the front wheels from lower legs to the backpack). The instructions have the neon green parts listed as a dull gold, not sure if that represents a late change in the toy, or a printing error.
    • Breakdown is based on the TF:Prime version, and is built as a stripped down Elite Hound set. Nice if you want the parts without shelling out the extra five bucks for an Elite.
    • Silverbolt is a jet, looks nice, but no relation to any other Silverbolt in canon. Definitely one to pick up if you're getting any Construct-Bots, though.
  • Scout Dinobots Wave 1: Labeled as E3:01 through E3:03, but they're Scout priced and in Scout-sized boxes. Dinobot Slug, Grimlock (not reviewed), Strafe. Designed to let the Dinobot Riders, well, ride them.
  • Scout Dinobots Wave 2: Slash and Scorn. Haven't seen Scorn yet, but I got Slash on HTS. The instructions are a bit confusing, not helped by several parts being shown in the wrong colors. The gimmick chunk isn't terribly impressive, the head doesn't match other Slash toys, and the need to keep certain parts symmetric hurts the whole "raptor toe claw" thing.

  • Elite Wave 1 (capsule and brief comments): Soundwave (space jet) and Wheeljack (car).
  • Elite Wave 2: Optimus Prime (semitractor), Hound (sorta-jeep), Megatron (wheeled APC).
  • Elite Wave 3: Shockwave (WfC/FoC-style jet-cannon). I picked up Shockwave on HTS, proceeded to break a connector, and found a giant pistol mode that didn't need the piece I broke. Altered robot mode, gun mode.
  • Elite Wave 4 (3.5?): Smokescreen (more G1-influenced, something of a confused mess in vehicle mode), Dragstrip. A direct-to-TJMaxx sort of wave, I managed to find Smokesceen but someone beat me to the Dragstrip before I knew to look (thanks to their usual "random child shelf rearrangement" style, I only saw the reshipped Shockwaves until it was too late.

  • Dinobot Warrior Wave 1: These are the actual Elites of the AoE line, but come with partners that bump them up to $20. A transforming vehicle/robot with almost entirely new parts and very little compatibility with the earlier toys (including a sort of automorph in the torso), and a dinosaur partner that disassembles into weapons and armor. With the armor in place, the figures get very top-heavy, and their hip joints aren't really up to the task. And yeah, that's as much review as I'm doing. I got Optimus Prime with Gnaw (Dimetrodon/Axe) and Drift with Roughneck (Ankylosaur/Bow) on clearance. Didn't get Hound with Wideload, Bumblebee with Nosedive, or Lockdown with Hangnail (the only Decepticon-aligned Dinobot toy).

  • Triple Changer Wave 1: Blitzwing (jet, tank) and Bumblebee (jet, car). With these, you build a robot that can turn into one vehicle mode, if you want the other vehicle mode you rebuild the robot with different kibble. I ended up getting them when they clearanced for $10, don't really feel like reviewing them. Although now I know where Dead End's cockpit piece came from (Bumblebee).
  • Predacons Rising Predaking: A $25 (Triple Changer size) Target-exclusive set. Nice enough, the transformation is only a little cheaty (tail becoming a weapon is fine, but they also move the foreclaws to the shoulderpads). Really topheavy thanks to the clear red-orange wings, and the ankles are barely up to the task. Mildly recommended.

  • Ultimate Wave 1: Two-pack of Optimus Prime and Megatron. Ended up grabbing these for ten bucks on deep clearance, but they're just like the Elite versions with different colors and more kibble.