Kre-O Outpost Defender
While I didn’t have it growing up, ever since I got lucky and found the Wal-Mart exclusive Rise of Cobra Outpost Defender, I’ve been kind of obsessed with that little set. It’s a great little piece and the design is perfect. As a fan of the Outpost Defender, it’s pretty easy to guess what my feelings towards the “Outpost Defense” Kre-O set are. The Outpost Defender’s design translates wonderfully into the Kre-O scale. Just like the Checkpoint Alpha Kre-O set, the Outpost Defender works well not just as a Kre-O version of a classic small Joe set, but it’s a really cool addition to the Kre-O battlefield.
The Outpost Defender is built on a small 4×8 green base with a few pieces sticking off from the front. I don’t normally talk about the physical construction of Kre-O sets all that much, but I mention it just so you get an idea of how small the Outpost Defender actually is. The small scale just reinforces the idea that this is just a small defensive position out well away from the main base. Actually, with the way the original Outpost Defender was designed, you could almost see it as being something cobbled together quickly by the Joes to reinforce a position that they weren’t necessarily expecting to need to defend. My favorite part has to be the rounded 1×2 bricks. It wasn’t until I stacked them all up that I realized just how much they look like little sandbags and that’s really cool. I loved the sandbags of the original Outpost Defender and I’m really pleased they found a way to reference that look in brick form. Inside the little shack, there’s a communications console warning of a Cobra attack and that fits well with the tall antenna sticking out from the top of the Outpost Defender. I love the roof piece as well just because of its color. Rather than just a straight dark grey, they gave it a metallic color and it reminds me of the corrugated tin roof the old Outpost Defender had.
My only real complaint about the Outpost Defender is that they replaced its machine gun with a Kre-O missile launcher instead. I understand that most Kre-O sets have at least one missile launcher to make it a little more interactive, but here I think it just doesn’t quite work as well. It goes to my criticism of the original Snow Cat…missiles are great, but I don’t think any land vehicle’s only weapon should be a missile launcher. It kind of limits the outpost’s defensive effectiveness if it only has one real shot to drive off the enemy. Yes, Beachhead can add in some firepower from his rifle, but I’d rather have a heavy machine gun facing the enemy instead of a bazooka. Like the old school Outpost Defender, it’s also got a crate full of weapons and ammunition. The crate has a pistol, a submachine gun and an ammo belt that a Kre-O figure can sling over his shoulder all inside. It’s a nice nod to the equipment the Outpost Defender came with back in the day and I’m glad the Kre-O designers thought to make that little reference as well. The white stickers do still have a bit of a problem with brick color bleed through, but they’re getting better and I love the woodgrain stickers for the sides of the Outpost Defender. It’s another throwback to the original Joe set that was so detailed back in the day that the planks that made it up were molded with breaks for the 2x4s in them and woodgrain. That’s an attention to detail you don’t see a lot on toys anymore.
The Outpost Defender comes with Beachhead and that’s a great choice. Beachhead’s always had a strong fan following and it makes sense for him to come with a set like the Outpost Defender. I’ve always felt his character was a bit of a loner, so if there’s anyone I can see that would be happy pulling sentry duty, it’d be Beachhead. Beachhead’s mold details transfer very well to the Kre-O format. The vest tampo is very detailed and actually continues on to the back. The original molded details are all present and accounted for, from the ammo clips on his chest to the small red beret that he carries under the shoulder strap. The 75th Ranger Regiment logo is also present and the light blue used for it stands out very well against the very dark green used for his upper body. I really like how dark the green they used is here. It looks sharp though I do wish it were about one shade lighter just because it blends in a little too well with the black vest at a distance and his black eyebrows also merge in a little with it as well. The head tampo is okay, though it does seem to just be the standard “masked person” tampo and I think that’s a little bit of a shame. I realize it would have cost a little money to redesign it, but Beachhead’s always had a pretty stern glare to give him so character and I would have liked to have seen it here. I have a lot of masked Kre-O figures and it’d be nice if they didn’t all have the same facial expression. The brown for his legs looks good but it is part of why I wish they’d lightened his green a little bit. I think browns and blacks should be the darkest colors on a figure from aesthetic standpoint and here the green for his shirt is definitely far darker than the brown for his pants. As it stands, that makes his pants brighter and more eye-catching than his upper body and I think that’s a bit of a problem. The tampo work is excellent and the camo splotches are applied well but don’t make it look too busy. For accessories, Beachhead gets a satchel and an AK-47 with a suppressor on the front end. It’s enough to make it look a little different than your standard AK-47, but it’s still clear that he’s carrying that weapon into battle.
While I can see Beachhead manning the Outpost Defender on his own, I just couldn’t pass up giving him a partner in the form of Low-Light from the third wave of Kre-O blindbag figures. I don’t know why, but I’ve always liked the pairing of Low-Light and Beachhead and it makes sense here at the Outpost Defender. Low-Light can be spotting and picking off Cobras trying to sneak up to the outpost while Beachhead can deal with any that may slip past Low-Light’s sniper scope. I think the Kre-O version of Low-Light may have just unseated Pursuit ofCobra version as the best version of Low-Light. What Pursuit of Cobra Low-Light did through amazing sculpting, Kre-O Low-Light did through the use of nothing but paint and tampo work and I think that’s almost more impressive. The tampo work is absolutely incredible. All the tiny molded details, like his jacket clasps, are done with paint this time and the application accuracy is crucial for the look to work and they did not disappoint. There are a lot of tiny details all over Low-Light and they’re placed nearly perfectly. Low-Light’s face tampo is also very nice. The red goggles look very good and I like that he’s got a little bit of a scowl on his face. It fits well with Low-Light’s established personality and I like that even in Kre-O form, Low-Light isn’t exactly a happy-go-lucky guy. My only real complaint is that they didn’t give him a little hair. Hatted characters like Cutter and Duke both had a little bit of hair peeking out down their face to show that they had a bit of hair. Unfortunately Low-Light (and Lady Jaye—on whom it is a bigger problem) doesn’t get that and I think he looks just a little awkward without it being there. Beyond that, though, Low-Light is a great Kre-O figure and his look is helped by his great accessories. Low-Light gets his traditional knitted cap but also carries a backpack. They’re great pieces and help flesh out Low-Light’s look. Kre-O Low-Light also carries a very large Kre-O sniper rifle. It looks perfect in Low-Light’s hands and I love that they also gave it a bipod like you’d realistically need for a rifle this big. However, my favorite accessory is his little Joe MRE. If any Joe needs food in the field, it’s a guy like Low-Light. Snipers often spend days out in the field getting to their target and then laying in wait for the perfect shot. You can’t just head back to base for chow during all of that time, so you carry you food with you. As much as I smiled at the Frosted Fudgie bars that both Quick Kick and Bazooka came with, I love the MRE even more. It’s a great little addition and apparently the Joes go as far as to not only have their own cola, but they’re own brand of MREs as well. It’s fun little things like this that make me love the Kre-O line so much.
I’ve always loved the small Joe sets, and the Outpost Defender is no exception. The design is great and references the classic playset while still standing on its own enough to appeal to younger Joe fans that may not know it’s based on something from the line’s history. Add in Beachhead as the sentry and you have a set that really works well. While there are a few small things I’d like to change, they’re not deal breakers and the Outpost Defender is a fun little Kre-O set.