Among some of the stuff piling up this last month are some of Hasbro’s “Not-Lego” Kre-O sets. I had this last weekend off, so I took the time to build a couple more and today we’re going to check out one of those… it’s everybody’s favorite Autobot Medic, Ratchet.
As always, the set comes in a nifty cardboard briefcase that you can use for convenient storage. I really like the concept, especially since the Kre-O sets usually have extra pieces left over, depending on whether or not you’re building the robot or the alt form. I can usually fit the built robot into the box by only taking a few pieces off, and I can store the sets in their original boxes on one of my book shelves. Inside the box you get an instruction booklet, a sticker sheet, two individually bagged Kreons, and three un-numbered bags of parts. The set includes a total of 187 pieces; making this one the smallest Kre-O set I’ve built. Let’s go ahead and look at the Kreons first.
Ok, so I’m not terribly impressed with these guys. You get an ambulance driver and you get Ratchet. The ambulance driver is ok for what he is, and gives you someone to sit in Ratchet while he’s in ambulance mode. He also comes with a stretcher that fits in the back of Ratchet. Ratchet, on the other hand, is pretty flawed, since his helmet and the printed face on his head don’t line up very well. If you put the helmet on so that you can see his face, it pops off really easy. If you put the helmet on all the way, it covers his eyes. Ratchet also comes with a tiny gun.
As always, I built the alt mode first. Ratchet is a pretty decent looking ambulance for a Lego style construct of this size. The build is comprised mostly of red and white bricks and there are some well thought out stickers to help it along. It’s not terribly large, with room in the cab for only one Kreon. There’s no steering wheel or dashboard inside, and there are no doors on the sides either, so you need to take the roof off to get him in there. There are, however, working doors on the back of the ambulance, and there’s room inside for the stretcher. Ratchet also has clips on the sides and back to hold the bevy of tools that come in the set. If you compare this build to a Lego vehicle that you might get in a $20 set, it stacks up pretty well, and overall it was a fun little build. There are a bunch of parts left over for the robot build. I can usually find someplace to stick these, but in Ratchet’s case, I just tossed them all into the back of the ambulance.
While I do enjoy getting two builds out of each of these Kre-O sets, I really hate tearing them apart. It’s also a pain to keep track of the bricks with stickers on them, as you need to use them at specific points of the robot build to make him look right. This time, I had the foresight to set them aside, rather than have to root through all the pieces to find the one I need.
In robot mode, Ratchet is a cool enough looking guy. He’s kind of on the lanky side, which sets him apart from the G1 Ratchet design that I identify with the most. His windshield and front bumper are positioned on his chest, but it looks like he needs a little more oompf in his torso to make the proportions work. He’s mostly arms and legs and his head is a tad too small. On the other hand, he’s a nice clean looking design, I like the way his wheels are positioned on his legs and shoulders and the front wheel wells are on his feet. Once again, you wind up with some left over pieces, most of which I was able to attach to the figure and still make it look good.
Ratchet features good articulation, with ball joints for his head, shoulders, hips, and ankles, and hinges for his elbows and knees. He also feels a lot more stable than my Sideswipe, and he can hold his poses better without flopping over or doing the splits.
I have no idea how much this set went for when it was originally released. I seem to remember getting this one on special for around $12, which is quite a steal considering you get close to 200 pieces. I know that Kre-O gets a bad rap by Lego purists as being inferior and all that, but I don’t have a lot of issues with these sets, and I certainly build my share of Lego. The quality has been overall good, the designs are solid and the builds are plenty of fun. Ratchet is probably my least favorite of the sets I own, but he’s still not a bad set by any means. I just wish his Kreon was a little better.