Thursday, April 25, 2013

If Hasbro was smart...

Recently hasbro released a toyline called Kre-o, which is their attempt to rival that perennial brand lego. Unlike their previous attempt, called Built to Rule, This one employs minifigs and has been more successful. Another key difference with lego is that the brand has only produced products based on Hasbro owned intellectual properties. This includes Transformers and Gi Joe, which have done well so far, Battleship (which tanked like the movie) and the newest sets, based on Star Trek, which will most likely sell as it's the closest we will get to Star Trek Legos and having a legoeque Enterprise to sit next to your lego Star Destroyer would be cool. The benefits of toys like lego and other building toys for a toy manufacturer is clear, the pieces can be repurposed by both the end user and by the manufacturer. Those grey bricks from the failed battleship line can still make use in Star Trek as starship hull parts. and the mini figures for the most part can be repainted with rare exception, requiring only a few potentially unique parts. So with this in mind I think Hasbro would do well to make sets based on some of their properties from the 1980s that don't get as much love. After all by continuing production does help with copyright claims and it does not require a full retool to make figures for a line in this format. also these figures can help to gauge interest in possible re release as full toy lines. here are a few of their lines that would make excellent Kre-o fodder.

5- M.A.S.K. Originally held by Kenner, this line was part of the buyout of Kenner by Hasbro, and in it's day was every bit as popular as G.I.Joe and the Transformers. In short M.A.S.K. was an espionage variant on the G.I. Joe theme with the mobile armed strike kommand taking on the forces of Venom, each having vehicles and accessories capable of transformations from mundane vehicles or terrain into combat vehicles and weapons emplacements. also the heroes has special helmets or "masks" that gave special powers to the user. while they did release the leader of M.A.S.K. as specialist Trakker in the GI Joe 25th anniversary line, this never panned into retooled or rereleased full sets, probably because it was cost prohibitive to retool some of the bigger toys to the larger 3.75" figure scale, mask figures were like 2.5" or so. but as kits even big sets like boulder hill could be released more cost effectively and they can be made mostly out of bricks they already produce.
4-Inhumanoids Created and sold about the same time as Jem, Inhumanoids were about a group of adventurer geologists called earth corps, who are defending the earth from the subterranean evils of the inhumanoids Metlar, Tendrill and D-Compose. along with other heroes and villians in the line it was pretty ambitious in it's day for it's 14" monsters like the repainted Tendrill above, but the line was not a huge seller. In a lego scale, titanic monsters could be kits more like lego's bionica or hero factory lines. more heroes and minions for the villains could be produced easily at lego scale and more cost effectively. Leading to the never released 2nd line and possibly more.

3- Visionaries Knights of the Magical light. as they were also known were a line of techno-fantasy figures that used holograms on their chests and banners to call forth magical forces. Hologram stickered kre-o figures and toys would be a breeze. Vehicles and figures again easily repurposed, and viola, fan favorite back at small cost.

2- C.O.P.S. vs CROOKS Another old school 1980s toy line that fits the G.I. Joe Mold, C.O.P.S. was about surprisingly enough police officers in the future facing off against a cartoony mob of villains for control of Empire city. Again Easy fodder for a legoeque re release.,

1- Sky Commanders Another kenner buy out and not extremely popular in it's day but it's main gimmick (I.E. zip lines)  has a high play value and is supremely easy to replicate on the smaller scale. It is probably more likely to work on the kre-o scale than in the M.A.S.K. Scale they originally sold in. this and selling blind bagged figures for these lines (like they do for transformers, GI Joe, and Star Trek) could allow them to hold on to their copyrights and put out some amazing kits. Well that's my opinion anyway.

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