KRE-O Microchangers Crankstart Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, KRE-O, Microchangers

KRE-O Transformers

General Information:
Release Date: August 2012
Price Point: $2.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Parts List:

  • Helmet
  • Head
  • Torso/arms x 2
  • Torso cover
  • Waist/Legs
  • Blaster base piece
  • Blaster
  • Wheels x 4
  • Smokestacks x 2
  • Cabin section cover


*Images above with an asterisk(*) are from both the Official Hasbro KRE-O site and the Official Transformers web site.

One of the biggest demands made by fans after KRE-O was revealed was the chance to purchase the cute little KREON figures separate from the larger (and more pricey) playsets. Hasbro listened, and in 2012 the "Microchangers" sub-line of KRE-O was released. This sub-line focuses on the KREONs themselves instead of larger playsets. Assembling and reassembling is still part of the play factor, but these guys are a lot faster to convert from one form to the other given their small size and limited parts. For the most part, these are recycled parts from other figures in new colors and put together in creative ways to represent characters spanning different eras of "Transformers" history.

The first Micro Changers released were the "Preview" wave, a set of six characters who were "blind packed" in bags in a cardboard box case. On the surface, it appears you just have to keep buying these until yo have tons of extras, but in fact each KREON has a code printed on the bag that tells you just who is who. The codes for this assortment break down as follows:

  • Crankstart - A1010 (214510)
  • Galvatron - A1008 (214518)
  • Scorponok - A1011 (214511)
  • Spinister - A1007 (214517)
  • Sunstorm - A1009 (214519)
  • Waspinator - A1012 (214512)

Crankstart (aka Crankshaft) is one of the few Micro Changers who doesn't seem to be directly based on any single past Transformers character. He appears to be a wholly original creation, though is personality is paranoid enough to be based on past characters like Red Alert or Breakdown. He is a rarity among Decepticons in his alternate form, a ground based 4x4 style vehicle.

Vehicle Assembly:

  • Attach the waist/legs piece to the torso cover piece (the hole on the torso cover piece goes into the peg on the waist).
  • Attach the torso piece to the peg on the waist piece.
  • Swing the arms up.
  • Attach the head, then put the helmet on it.
  • Attach the smokestacks to each arm, with the curved part near the shoulders.
  • Attach a wheel to each hand.
  • Attach a wheel to each leg on the sides.
  • Connect the cabin cover piece to the peg on the top of the vehicle.
  • Attach the blaster base piece (with the rounded end) to the right leg.
  • Attach the blaster to the base piece.

Vehicle Mode:
Crankstart's vehicle mode is a rather loose interpretation of a 4x4 or even Dune Buggy style vehicle, but it works for me. Each of the wheels are thick and look substantial, giving him a rough and tough off road appearance. The cabin section in the center helps sell this as a vehicle, as do the exhaust pipes in the front. I like the addition of the blaster piece in the back, giving him some offensive capability in this form. The only shape is that the helmet is so big that it ruins the vehicle mode illusion a bit. Instead of a sleek or narrowed front end, his front end looks like a battering ram. It's not ideal, but it works.

Crankstart is a mixture of yellow, grey and black parts. The wheels and torso are black, the arms, head, helmet and torso pieces are grey. His legs and smokestacks are yellow. The blaster is cast in translucent purple. The colors come together nicely in this form, especially the purple which pops nicely against the more flat yellow/grey/black colors.

I do like this mode for one thing above all else: all the parts are utilized in this form. As you'll see with the robot mode, sometimes KREONs wind up with extra parts left over in some forms, which can be a bit of a headache for fans fearing misplaced parts or wanting to display the "complete" figure in either form.

Robot Assembly:

  • Attach the torso cover to the torso piece, but using the hole to go through the neck peg this time.
  • Connect the head to the torso, then the helmet on the head.
  • Attach the waist/legs section.
  • Attach a wheel to each leg.
  • Attach each smokestack to one of the arms.
  • Attach the cabin cover to the chest.
  • Place the blaster into one of the hands.

Robot Mode:
As mentioned earlier, some modes on KREONs leave parts out, and in this case a few parts are left out: two wheels and the weapons base. You can't really make them into anything significant which is a tad disappointing. I recommend using small Zip Lock style bags to help store your parts. They're quite small and easily lost if you're not careful.

Another oddity in the design of these figures involves the torso cover pieces. Here, Crankstart's torso is painted with grey details that look like windshield windows on his chest and a grille in the center (similar to the traditional Optimus Prime design). There's even a Decepticon symbol on the right side of his chest. Unfortunately, his robot mode obscures all this with the torso and cabin cover pieces on his chest. Don't get me wrong, I do like the cabin cover on his chest. It has a very traditional "Generation One" appearance to it, but knowing there's all that detail underneath is a bit disappointing.

On the other hand, I do like a lot of the other details on this figure including having the smokestacks on his arms (again echoing Optimus Prime) and the rather gloomy look on his face with his red visor eyes and mouth set in a bit of a frown. We also get a look at his brown hands in this form which go nicely in tone with the yellow.

Crankstart has seven points of articulation in this form, including two in each arm (shoulders and wrists) and his head. Technically he has waist articulation as well, but you wand up popping off his chest "cabin cover" piece when you turn him too far.

Final Thoughts:
Crankstart is a fun little KREON and he's a neat new addition to the Transformers universe in terms of personality. It is a shame he doesn't use all his parts in both modes, but this is not uncommon among the KREON Micro Changers. If you want to bolster your KREON forces with a neat ground vehicle dude, this little guy is worth the purchase. Recommended!