Hasbro's Kre-O Battleship line may have sunk and the Transformers had a rough start, but continues to back their homegrown building block line. This year the focus seems to be on saturation as they push four lines simultaneously while vastly expanding the Transformers line in a strategy to extend the reach of the Kre-O name.
Transformers is what Hasbro used to kickoff the Kre-O line and is clearly where their greatest focus is directed. The line will continue to offer large building sets allowing you to build bots and vehicles based on well established Transformers characters, but are being newly branded as part of the Beast Hunters line. The Kreon mini figures also continue to be a big hit as Hasbro announces not just new blind packed figures and four-pack combiners based on G1, but also a new series of custom sets. These sets come with a base Kreon and multiple weapons and chrome body parts for mixing and matching. The newest addition to the line is actual play sets that allow you to build command centers and whatnot.
G.I. Joe is also getting the Kre-O treatment and will cover a variety of sources. Figures, vehicles, and play sets will span the original cartoon series, modern movies, and even the characters from the original 12 inch line complete with flocked hair! It's a neat mix that also incorporates a few ships and vehicles from the former Battleship line. Only downside: they're Toys R Us exclusives, but they'll be sold both online and in stores so they shouldn't be incredibly hard to find. They're supposed to launch this month so keep an eye out for them.
Back at San Diego Comic Con Hasbro announced they got the Star Trek license for use in Kre-O. At first it seemed like they were only making the Enterprise, but at Toy Fair we were introduced to a ton of new Kreon figures for a variety of characters including several unique aliens. I can imagine this will expand even more after the new movie hits in May.
Finally, in a move that Hasbro probably should have made at the very beginning, generic Kre-O sets are finally being introduced. Untied to any licenses these sets come in tubs complete with Kreons and allow people to build from their imagination (and a few guided directions if you want). It's an idea that's so expected you have to wonder why it took so long to go there. [Sorry, we don't have pictures of these.]
It'll be a big year for Kre-O if they can get their demand to increase as they aim to take a bigger piece out of LEGO's pie.
[G.I. Joe images via YoJoe.com]
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