I just finished building the Sideswipe Kre-O set. Overall, I was pleased with the toy although I see a few negatives. The pieces themselves are on the same level IMO compared to Lego which is good. Of course you can tell the difference between the two based on the unique features of the studs. The pieces snap together very well and are nice and tight.
Hasbro Kre-O Sideswipe
$19.99 at Walmart
Lego Creator Super Speedster (8567)
$19.97 at Walmat ($20.99 at TRU)
Even though it may seem like the Lego set is a much better value and counter to the thought that Kre-O would be priced lower than Lego, it should be noted that the Kre-O set features more specialized pieces. For example, the Kre-O set features quite a few ball joints that have two materials molded as one part. A rubber is molded over the hard plastic part in order to create a nice fiction ball and socket joint. The Kre-O set also features minifigures with printed parts. The lower priced Creator sets such as this one are known to not have minifigures or many large specialized pieces which tends to being the price down. I have no doubt that a similar Lego set with the kind of speical pieces and minifigures as the Sideswipe Kre-O set would be priced higher.
What I didn't like about the Kre-O sets was the quality of the stickers, some stress marks evident on the Kreons, and lack of rubber tires. Also, I feel the design of the car could have been better. This is noticeable on the rear fenders in particular.
With regard to the stickers, the cut of every sticker was off center. Some were so bad I simply left them off of the set. In any case I think the vehicle looks better with fewer stickers. The large Autobot symbol stickers had to be placed off center so that the symbol lined up centered on the part. No one likes stickers whether it be in a Kre-O set or Lego set. However, I do have to say that Lego stickers are designed and cut much more precisely and even stickers that are placed on complex curved parts fit and line up very well.
On the left is the most recent Lego Creator car that is very similar in size and style as the Kre-O car. Of course design wise the Lego car is better. Even though the Lego Creator series are designed to build multiple things (3 sets in 1), much like Kre-O (2 sets in 1), it's still not a completely fair comparison in that the Lego set builds various vehicles and not something very different like a robot.
Here's a pic with a flash to highlight the glossy nature of both sets and how similar they are in material. Although the all plastic wheels on the Kre-O set really look lousy compared to the rubber tires on the Lego. It's nice to know that you can easily put on the Lego tires on the Kre-O car as it truly can "work with leading brands". I should have taken a pick of that, but it's getting very late as I write this. Maybe I can update with a pic at a later time.
Some more side by side shots.
Here you can see that the rear fenders kind of stick out on the Kre-O car. Kind of a poor design. Although it should be reminded that the Kre-O set has less pieces.
Here you can see the stress marks on the Kreon where the ball joints were put together on the wrist and the hip joints. It's interesting to note that the instructions call to assemble the arms and legs, but they were already snapped on coming out of the box. The hip joint was loose on one leg of the human Kreon. Although Kreons look kind of neat more-so with the robots, the Lego minifigure still looks better IMO.
There are plenty of pics of the Kreons all over the internet so I won't take up more space here with lower quality pics of my own.
The instruction book is nice and glossy. Very similar to Lego. You even get the parts list sheet much like Lego instructions.
The box is pretty nice, and IMO better than Lego. It's easy to close back up and has a nice carrying handle to boot.
Overall I give the Kre-O set a thumbs up and a recommended buy for a building set fan that is really into Transformers. For someone that really cares little for Transformers I see no reason to buy these. If Hasbro can just provide better quality stickers, rubber tires, and work on making the models a little nicer they could give Lego some true competition. Heck, if they would actually print the markings on the bricks it would really be a lot nicer and would really turn some people on to the line more easily.
It's a good first step into the building set game by Hasbro. They are certainly head and shoulders about everyone else 2nd only to Lego. I look forward to see what other offerings they have in store.