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Clone Review: Kre-O Battleship Missouri Set (38977)


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#1 Hikaro Takayama

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 12:52 AM

Welcome to my first ever Clone Brand review and my second review here on EuroBricks (and the second ever Kre-O review on EB, as far as I know).

While I'm normally not super enthusiastic about Clone Brand sets, there are two that I will swear by, namely Tyco (sadly discontinued, but provided my brother and I many hours of enjoyment along with our actual LEGO Bricks during the late '80s and early '90s) and Oxford.  Kre-O looked like it might also be a "pass" for me as well, but last weekend, while at the local Target picking up a discounted Jay's Storm Fighter set, I saw this:

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BoxFront by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

The Kre-O Battleship line's ultimate set, the Battleship Missouri.  Some of you, particularly regulars in the Sci-Fi forum, no doubt know that I'm a huge sucker for modern-ish/retro-futuristic Navy ships, so I decided to take a closer look.  I turned the box over to check it out....

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BoxBack by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

....When I saw this:

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Oxford by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

Not only is the set licensed from the movie and officially endorsed by the USS Missouri Memorial, but it also uses Oxford parts and accessories (the railing and the life jackets are exactly identical to the ones used in the Oxford NCM80000 "King Sejong the Great DDG" set reviewed here late last year), so I decided to pick it up.

Here's a quick rundown of the vital stats before continuing with the meat of the review:

Price: $69 US
Part count: 545 pieces
Minifigs: 5 Kreons (Admiral Shane, Marine, Soldier, Alien Commander and Alien Trooper)

Anyways, after I got my prize home I opened the box and took a loot at what was inside:

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BoxContents by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

Everything laid out neat and a big honking boat hull in three pieces.

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Instruction book & DSS by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

The instructions and DSS were nice and flat, something that even LEGO itself seems to have trouble with sometimes.... The set even included a brochure for joining the "Friends of the Might Mo" non-profit preservation group.

As for the Hull itself, you can see here:

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Boat Hull 14x65 by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

...That it comes in three pieces with the top two (after joining together) slotting into the single-piece bottom section, much like the current LEGO City floating boat hulls.  I know that it says that the product doesn't float, but I believe that if you built a MOC on this hull with a lower profile, and possibly added a couple of weights in the bottom, it probably would.  The hull, once assembled is 14 studs wide (two studs narrower than the standard LEGO Pirate ship hull) and 65 Studs long (about 15 studs longer than the Black Seas Barracuda), making this a fairly sizeable ship hull.  The only real disadvantage I can find with the hull itself is the printed "63" on the side, although the old Brasso print removal technique should take care of that, if you want to build up your own fleet of similar sized ships.

Here's a quick comparison in hull sizes:

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Hull Comparison by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

From Left to Right:  Oxford NCM80000 Hull, Kre-O Battleship Misouri Hull, WIP MOC ship that uses the same Hull as the Black Pearl, but with two additional Hull Sections, and the RNJS Tony Soprano, one of my ships using the standard 12x51 LEGO City ship hull.

This is perfect for me, since I use the LEGO City boat hull for Corvette/Frigate class ships, and the larger hulls (LEGO Pirates and Oxford) for Cruisers, meaning that this would fill the slot for a Destroyer.

Anyways, on to the minifigs or "Kreons" as they're more properly known:

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Figures by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

One thing that kind of struck me as odd was the fact that Hasbro decided, for whatever reason, to go with their own minifig design, rather than using the perfectly serviceable Oxford minifig design (pictured at the far left from the OCM 80000 set), which is far more compatible with standard LEGO minifigs (pictured at the Far Right with an Oxford head)...  My guess would be possible US Trademark infringement issues with the Oxford figures.  

I deliberately posed the Oxford Admiral next to the Kreon Admiral to show that, while the figures may be different, they use almost 100% Oxford figure accessories for the Kreons:  The two admiral's hats are identical except for the printing on the Kre-O Admiral.

The one thing from the Kreons, aside from the accessories, that IS 100% compatible with standard LEGO minifigs is the head piece:

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Headswap by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

As you can see, Kreon and Minifig heads and headgear are 100% interchangeable, although LEGO minifig heads tend to fit rather loosely on Kreon bodies.

Also, for those who frequent this forum and have seen many of CrossMR's Oxford Military reviews, this next photo should look familiar:

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Interesting Accessories by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

Here are the Accessories that came with the set, and the Fuel Can sprue, Radio/Binocular sprue and life vests have all been used in Oxford's own sets previously.  As a matter of fact, the life vest on the bottom is from the Korean Navy Destroyer set that I got in December of Last year.

While the standard Kreons are far more flexible than LEGO minifigs, I personally think that they are butt-ugly, and will most likely ONLY use them for their heads and hand pieces, which will fit into any hole that accepts a standard Minifig-gripable shaft.

The aliens, on the other hand, are IMO, quite awesome!  They are built along similar lines to the LEGO Life on Mars Aliens or the Star Wars Battle droids, or more precisely, the current Ninjago Skeletons:  They have mini ball sockets that will accept standard Kreon arms as well as their own, with a clip-on head exactly like the LEGO Star Wars Battle Droids and individual legs, like the Ninjago Skeletons.  The best part is that they have sockets in their arms for standard wrists, which is how I WISH LEGO would have done their skeletons and Star Wars Battle droids, but oh well, and I'll be more than happy to add them as yet another alien race to my LEGO collection, but use the Standard Kreon hands to replace the ridiculous drill attachments and such.

But now let's move on to the actual build:

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Instruction Book Contents by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

One thing I liked about the instructions was the fact that they had a table of contents so you could, if you wanted, just jump to the particular build you wanted to.  On the flipside, this build took considerably longer than something of similar size in LEGO would, mainly because Kre-O, like old-school LEGO sets, did not have numbered bags, and it would seem that the old Numbered Bag thing kinda had me spoiled.

One of the first things you built was the Alien Commander's nifty little jetpack:

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Alien Commander Build by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

I don't know about you, but I wish LEGO had something like those cool 3d flame elements, rather than the standard flat ones.  Also, the textured cheese slopes are rather interesting, as is the vented 1x1 round bricks (they also had standard 1x1 round bricks as well), and the 1x2 flat tile with grill pattern was slightly different from the standard LEGO ones as well.

Next, you built the RHIB boat and the main ship hull:

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Main Hull Complete by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

The main guns use some kind of spring-loaded missile, somewhat like the ones used in GI-Joe action figures, which are trigered by pushing down on the hinged piece on the back of the turret.  They have about the same range as your standard LEGO Flick-Fire missile, but are much larger.  Here I also ran accross one of my few peves with this set:  Aside from the ship hull itself and a 1x1 white newspaper tile, there were NO PRINTED PARTS!  Every Monitor/Radar Console/Control Panel were ALL STICKERS!  On the plus side, though, that makes it easier to recycle them into MOCs, since they are just standard 2x2 white slopes.

The next part to be built is the lower bridge/tactical control center:

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Tactical Complete by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

....And added to the main hull:

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Tactical on Hull by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

I was surpised at the amount of SNOT used in constructing the superstructure and how well-designed this set was over all.  They even had some interesting SNOT bricks that were essentially the 2x2x2 brick combined with this part: Posted Image, and should come in handy for MOCing.

The next part to be built was the upper bridge:

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Bridge by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

..and the Radar/antenna Mast:

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Radar mast by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

...Which brings up my OTHER major peeve with this set:  It was missing one of the 1x1 plates with horizontal holder, so I had to take one from the Alien Commander's Jetpack in order to attach the searchlight to the bridge. :hmpf_bad:   Seriously, they could have tried a little harder, especially since there were NO extra parts, and thus no room for error, but I digress....

Finally, here's the whole thing put together:

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Final Build Side by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

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Final Above Front by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

So, final thoughts:  As has been said before, the plastic of the Oxford bricks and the molding is pretty much on par with LEGO quality standards, and it seems that the price of these US sets reflects this, considering that it is close to the same price you'd pay for a similar sized LEGO set.  While I don't like the base Kreons, I just LOVE the aliens, and plan on getting one of the aliens' army builder packs or the Kre-O Battleship series impulse sets just to get more.  

In addition, here's something to note:  While the tan, dark red and dark gray colors are pretty much a perfect match for LEGO's Tan, Dark Red and Dark Bley colors, however the LIGHT Gray is the same as the OLD Light Gray used by LEGO. :laugh:  The only reason that I can think of is the fact that most of the light gray parts were also used in the Oxford King Sejong the Great DDG set (NCM80000) in that exact same color, and this is a way for them to cut costs by using the same production line/use up excess inventory.

In conclusion, I'd give this set an overall rating of 3.5/5 (it would have been 4 if it were not for the missing piece), and would reccommend ship builders to get this set, particularly if they can find it on sale.

Thanks for reading my review, and I hope it proved to be enlightening (no joke intended) and helpful.

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"Wot's faster than a warbuggy, more killy than a warbike, and flies through da air like a bird? I got no bleedin' idea, but I'm gonna find out."  - Kog da Flymek, pioneer of the Deffkopta


#2 Hey Joe

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 07:15 AM

Thanks for the review, it's useful.

It looks like a decent set to me. I scored a local brand battleship here in Beijing so I won't be buying this one but it looks ok.
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#3 Hikaro Takayama

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:32 PM

Thanks for the reply....  BTW, the "local brand" wouldn't happen to be Sluban by any chance?  They seem to like bootlegging Oxford sets for some reason.

Oh, I also forgot to mention, but the window pieces are in a really nifty trans LIGHT green color that appears to be the trans green equivalent of what the LEGO trans light blue is to the trans dark blue.  In addition, one of the elements in the set that I really liked were the 1x1 round plates with studs on both sides.... Something I've been wanting LEGO to make for YEARS.

Genderfluid and proud of it.

"Wot's faster than a warbuggy, more killy than a warbike, and flies through da air like a bird? I got no bleedin' idea, but I'm gonna find out."  - Kog da Flymek, pioneer of the Deffkopta


#4 Zarkan

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 11:21 PM

Thanks for the review. Oxford, and by extension Kreo, are probably the best non-lego building brands to this day. At least in my town, however, it looks like Kreo has been a flop: at my local Walmart, practically every set they had has been moved to clearance.

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#5 Hikaro Takayama

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 11:32 PM

View PostZarkan, on 26 October 2012 - 11:21 PM, said:

Thanks for the review. Oxford, and by extension Kreo, are probably the best non-lego building brands to this day. At least in my town, however, it looks like Kreo has been a flop: at my local Walmart, practically every set they had has been moved to clearance.

Yeah, NONE of the Wal-Marts in Central PA (including Harrisburg, Carlisle, Elizabethville and Chambersburg) had ANY Kre-O sets.  The only stores that I know of that DO carry them are Target and Toys Я Us.  Considering that Toys Я Us tends to jack the prices up by about 10% or so, that leaves Target.

Genderfluid and proud of it.

"Wot's faster than a warbuggy, more killy than a warbike, and flies through da air like a bird? I got no bleedin' idea, but I'm gonna find out."  - Kog da Flymek, pioneer of the Deffkopta


#6 Hey Joe

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:25 PM

View PostHikaro Takayama, on 25 October 2012 - 10:32 PM, said:

Thanks for the reply....  BTW, the "local brand" wouldn't happen to be Sluban by any chance?  They seem to like bootlegging Oxford sets for some reason.

Sorry for my late reply. Yes, it is a Sluban. Is Oxford a Korean brand? I never see Oxford in Beijing.
My family's collection on Brickset: http://www.brickset....?ownedBy=bjtpro

Check out my 1st review; 10250 Creator - Year of the Snake here

#7 Hikaro Takayama

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:20 AM

View Postbjtpro, on 05 November 2012 - 11:25 PM, said:

Sorry for my late reply. Yes, it is a Sluban. Is Oxford a Korean brand? I never see Oxford in Beijing.

Yes, Oxford is a South Korean brand.... Crossmr, our man in Korea was the one to bring Oxford to EB's attention.   When I first saw Sluban sets (in the Train forum), I was wondering if they were a legit company or another knockoff brand (like Elighten), since none of their sets seemed to be blatant LEGO rip-offs like Enlighten were.  After doing some searching and comparing, it turned out that about 90% of Sluban's stuff is direct copies (down to the box art) of Oxford stuff, but made with lower quality plastic.

I'm guessing that there MUST be some kind of price advantage for them to be bootlegging Oxford's sets, but I don't see how, considering the Oxford Navy Destroyer I got last year, even taking into the horrendous shipping and tariff fees I had to pay to get it from South Korea to the US (they almost doubled the price), it was STILL significantly cheaper than a similarly sized LEGO set (in terms of both piece count and overall size).....

Genderfluid and proud of it.

"Wot's faster than a warbuggy, more killy than a warbike, and flies through da air like a bird? I got no bleedin' idea, but I'm gonna find out."  - Kog da Flymek, pioneer of the Deffkopta


#8 Hey Joe

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:50 PM

View PostHikaro Takayama, on 07 November 2012 - 03:20 AM, said:

I'm guessing that there MUST be some kind of price advantage for them to be bootlegging Oxford's sets, but I don't see how, considering the Oxford Navy Destroyer I got last year, even taking into the horrendous shipping and tariff fees I had to pay to get it from South Korea to the US (they almost doubled the price), it was STILL significantly cheaper than a similarly sized LEGO set (in terms of both piece count and overall size).....

I guess it saves them the salary of a design team.  If you can just throw an already-made product in front of someone and say, "Copy it!", it's a lot cheaper. :wink:

Some of those Sluban sets are ok though, I think. They're very reasonably priced here in China.  I forget how many pieces the battleship is but it was a huge box crammed full of parts and I paid less than US$20 including shipping.  The plastic doesn't seem so bad, I can't really tell the difference.
My family's collection on Brickset: http://www.brickset....?ownedBy=bjtpro

Check out my 1st review; 10250 Creator - Year of the Snake here

#9 DaSmokeEater

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:26 PM

Kre-o is just too specialized in the market right now, they need to start weaseling into more common and generic builds to get momentum up. There's a TON of potential though!

For what is worth, I found one of these at Walmart on clearance for $34 recently. It'll be more for the kids than me, but as we're between holidays and birthdays I'm probably gonna claim first rights.

Edited by DaSmokeEater, 07 February 2013 - 04:27 PM.

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#10 DaSmokeEater

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:31 PM

BTW: any idea what the assembled Length and Width are for this thing?
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#11 TheAshTree

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 01:11 AM

I like your review, but my allegience still goes to LEGO. Sorry KRE-O.



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