I’ve been a hard-core action figure collector since the old POTF2 days. Although action figures are all kinds of awesome, nowadays they are often more collectibles than they are toys. The industry is starting to veer towards more kid-friendly stuff (the Guardians of the Galaxy mini-figure line in particular is a lot of fun), but I’m still a little apathetic in regards to the whole action figure thing as it is right now. I just want a little more “toy” out of my toys, I guess.
So I decided to give building-brick toys a try. I didn’t have much in the way of Legos when I was a kid, but I’ve been swept up by the recent Lego craze thanks in large part to The Lego Movie. I just haven’t had had the impetus to take the plunge and get a set… until I saw the Kre-O Enterprise from Star Trek: Into Darkness on sale at Toys R Us for the impulse-purchase price of only $20! Clearly it's time to give the building-brick concept a try.
I’m no Master Builder so I was going into this completely green. At 432 pieces, this is a big set, at least for a novice like me, but it wasn’t that difficult to put together. There were a few instances in which I spent way too long fishing through all the random parts strewn across my desk trying to find that one little piece I needed for the step I was working on, but even then, I managed to knock the whole thing out in a couple of hours. And the building process was a lot of fun, too. It was cool to watch the familiar elements of the Enterprise come together.
This set has a couple of built-in play features. The top of the saucer pops off and exposes a bridge playset, with Captain’s chair, conn/ops, a view screen, and crew stations. The nacelles also have a hatch that you can open to expose the warp coils.
Not only that, but the stardrive section has a launching photon torpedo and battery-driven light effects. It certainly has a lot of play value, and the construction is designed so that the finished Enterprise is pretty stable.
I wouldn’t say that this is anywhere near screen-accurate, though, even for a building-brick toy. The saucer-section is a little funky because of the disproportionately large windows (it reminds me of the ship from the Lost In Space reboot) and the bridge is a pretty loose interpretation of the bridge from the movie. A few more familiar elements, like bridge's glass wall screens and railings, would have helped to sell the look. But the ship does have a few nice nuTrek-specific details, like the shapes of the nacelles and their fins.
The biggest disappointment is that the stardrive section and nacelle pylons are effectively all one piece (the nacelle pylons rotate to fit in the box, shown above). I was hoping that I would be able to customize this set into a bunch of different Federation starships, starting with the Kelvin, but with the stardrive and nacelle pylons permanently connected, customization becomes much more difficult. It’s possible I might be able to rebuild one of the nacelles into a Kelvin stardrive, but it would have made things much easier had the stardrive section not been a big, immutable hunk of plastic.
Kre-O Enterprise comes with 5 figures: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and a couple security officers. The aesthetic is similar to Lego people, but they’re just different enough to be distinctive. For one thing, they have a lot more movement with additional swivel waist and ball-socket shoulder/hip articulation. That means you can put them in much more dynamic poses than you could with normal Lego figures, but it’s not like I ever looked at a Lego figure and thought, “Now, THIS is a figure that needs more articulation!” The articulation makes the figures significantly more flimsy, unfortunately.
Still, I had enough fun building the Enterprise that I'd like to get more of these Kre-O Star Trek sets. I was disappointed that the one-piece stardrive section limits the options for customizing this set into different starships, but it's certainly a hefty toy with enough play value to make it worth the $20 clearance price. I'm not sure how well Kre-O did with Star Trek, but let's hope they eventually expanded into other Trek series like TNG and (dare I hope?) DS9. Scroll through for more pics!