Kre-O Iceberg and Lifeline
The Kre-O brand is really weird. When it was first announced I thought, “Oh, I’ll just dabble in it a little” but now, two years later, I own all but two of the sets (sorry, I thought the Dragonfly set and the dojo were pretty lame) and have a large collection of the minifigures. The last two waves never showed up in my area, but thankfully, I accidentally hooked my older brother on Kre-O when I got him a Transformers combiner set right before a big job interview as kind of a good luck present and he’s been grabbing me things I’ve been looking for online while he’s been building his own collection. Part of what makes the Kre-O brand work, especially in the blind bag department, is the character selection. Since I’ve got a lot more Kreons than I do sets to pair them with now, I’m going to be pairing them together. Sometimes, they’ll make sense, and other times, like this one, it’s just more a combination of who’s left. I suppose, if I wanted to try and force some sort of theme, I could say that this is a pair that I have strong childhood ties to since I had Iceberg and my brother had Lifeline growing up, but that’s still not the most logical way to pair them. That said, though, Lifeline and Iceberg are two great Joes to get tapped for Kre-O treatment. They both have fan followings and they’re both very well executed.
I’ve loved Iceberg since I first got him. I don’t know why, but I just thought he was really cool. The Kre-O version takes that coolness and shrinks it down and makes it great. Through tampo work alone, the Kre-O team made a way better Iceberg figure than the GIJCC gave us a couple years ago. The paint team really did a great job recreating all the classic Iceberg details on this Kreon. He’s got the blue vest with green straps that I think was what drew me to Iceberg in the first place. It was a look that worked for an Arctic figure, but he wasn’t just an unending sea of white. The legs could have easily been left plain white, but the tampo team used a dark green to outline the fur at the top of his boots and the strap on his left leg. Even the little red logo on his right shoulder and the green trim on his cuffs are there. That’s some impressive attention to detail. Iceberg’s face tampo is great. Like most Kreons, he’s a little kiddified, but that’s fine. I love that Iceberg has got a grin on his face. Remember, the original filecard said that Iceberg loved working in the cold so I like that I can see that on this tiny Iceberg as well. Iceberg’s accessories are good though there are a couple things that I more wonder why he has than anything. First of all, he’s got a helmet and goggles. I wouldn’t necessarily call Iceberg’s old head gear a helmet, but it’s a decent stand in. However, I do kind of wish they would have done the goggles like they did for Lifeline. They were a molded element on the original figure, so he couldn’t bring them down and I was okay with that. Kre-O Iceberg’s goggles look great when they’re up, but “Iceberg with goggles down over his face” is just not a visual I’m used to, so I don’t really like it. I think had they been a green paint tampo on his helmet instead, it may have been a little better. Like the Kre-O Snow Serpent, Iceberg also gets a jacket he can wear over his chest. It’s a really detailed piece and I do like it, but I like the classic torso details painted on the figure so much more that the jacket piece just feels a little wasted on me. In that same vein of “good, but why is it here”, Iceberg also has a set of skis. I know most arctic troopers would be experienced on skis, but Iceberg didn’t have them back in 1986 so I don’t understand why he has them now. While I’ll admit that I think all the arctic Kre-O Joes would look good on skis, Iceberg is a bit of a man without a country because there just aren’t many arctic things for him to interact with. I didn’t have strong ties to Snow Job so I didn’t think of him as someone I needed to find and they don’t have any arctic Joe vehicles in the line. The key accessory for me is Iceberg’s big white rifle. He had a long white gun back in the day and I love that they went as far as to reference that in Kre-O form as well. I know it sounds like I’m a little harsh on all of Iceberg’s gear, but they are really great pieces, I just don’t know why Iceberg has them all. Iceberg is a great Kreon, I just wish that they had managed to get out some sort of arctic vehicle for him to interact with.
I’ve talked about a Lifeline figure on the blog before. Lifeline is a great character and the Lifeline Kreon probably has the most character packed into a tiny scale of any of them. I don’t know why, but I love Lifeline’s face tampo. He just looks so incredibly serious it’s hard not to be impressed with how they made him look so good with only paint. This is clearly more the filecard’s “tough as nails medic” version of Lifeline than the cartoon’s “overwhelmed at the drop of a hat” version. This is a Lifeline that knows his job is extremely dangerous but he knows he has to do it and will because the other Joes are depending on him. The rest of the Kreon is also amazingly well detailed. All the pouches on his chest are extremely crisp and his kneepads look great. The “RESCUE” printed on his left leg is exceedingly readable and the white coverage over the red is great. There’s no pinkish hue like on Hard Master. Lifeline is another wellequipped Kreon as well. He’s got a briefcase to stand in for his medkit that has a sticker for it. It’s a great reference to the original figure, though I do kind of wish it were done in white like the original Lifeline. He’s got a little backpack that you build yourself that has a communicator clipped into it. It’s a good look and it reminds me enough of Lifeline’s original backpack that I think it works well. Like the original figure, Lifeline is carrying a silver pistol. It looks right at home in his hands and like Iceberg’s white rifle, I’m amused that they went the extra mile to mold it out of the same color plastic the original accessory was. Hands down, though, Lifeline’s best accessory is his helmet. It’s a simple piece, but the tampo work is just amazing on it. The red top and silver goggles look great. As an added bonus, being made out of a round helmet instead of Lifeline’s original squarish one, you get another cool Easter egg. I’d never noticed it on my 30th Anniversary Lifeline, but the red and white on the top of the helmet look exactly like the red logo on his original figure’s case. Lifeline is a great little Kreon, though I did notice that my Lifeline’s right wrist is incredibly loose. He can’t hold his pistol in his right hand because the weight of the pistol automatically flips the hand. It’s a little weird. I don’t know how common that problem was, but I figure I should mention it. I don’t mind that Lifeline has now wound up as a lefty since he can only carry his gun in that hand, but at the same time, I do find it a little annoying when a problem with the figure keeps me from being able to put the weapon in which ever hand I please. Also, where were these ridiculously loose wrists when they made the B.A.T. in Wave 2? I’d love to have put in the attachments but those wrists were so tight I was afraid I’d break him if I tried.
Lifeline and Iceberg are two great Kreons and by happy accident, I did find a theme, so the pairing is intentional (wink). Both these guys came out of the Joe class of 1986 and it’s nice to see them together again. They may not really have anything in common besides the fact that they’re two great Kre-O versions of characters that originally came out in the same year, but that’s enough in my book. The later line Kreons were absolutely amazing. I’m very glad to learn that at least according to the Joe brand manager, Kre-O may not be dead yet. We’ve already gotten a great SDCC set, but there hasn’t been anything else announced yet, so who knows how things will shake out for Joe Kre-O. However, if this ends up being the end of the line for Joe Kre-O, there have been a lot of classic characters made and they look great. Maybe I’m just waxing a little poetic here, but I kind of saw the Kre-O Joes as almost a love letter from Hasbro to the fans. It may not have been the form that everyone initially wanted Hasbro to work in, but in just two short years, they gave us a lot of characters and sets we’ve been clamoring for since the 25th Anniversary line. Lifeline and Iceberg are just two examples out of a surprisingly large line of figures that were well-executed and just plain fun. I’ve said it before in Kre-O Field Reports, but Kre-O is the most flat out fun I’ve had with the Joe brand since the Valor Vs. Venom era and I really enjoyed playing around with these poseable little Lego-like guys.