Adventures in Off-Brand LEGO: The Mini KRE-O Enterprise

Last summer, to tie in with Star Trek Into Darkness, Hasbro released several Star Trek-themed KRE-O sets. KRE-O is Hasbro’s LEGO-compatible building set series, and they’ve released Transformers, Battleship, and zombie-themed sets in addition to Star Trek.

I’ve built some of the Transformers sets, and I’ve liked them. The bricks may be a little slicker (in a tactile sense) than LEGO’s bricks, but they snap together and apart cleanly and, when finished, it looks like something built with LEGO. (Much better than Hasbro’s earlier “Built to Rule” Transformers sets which, frankly, were god-awful.)

I’ve had all four miniature ship sets, but I’d only built the USS Kelvin. This morning, while eating breakfast and drinking coffee, I built the Enterprise.

Here’s how it looked.

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It went together quickly, and the result looks okay. But just okay. Because, unfortunately, it doesn’t look a lot like the Enterprise.

Let’s take a look from another angle.

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There’s no neck. There’s a weird catamaran thing going on with the engineering hull that looks like it belongs on Captain Picard’s Enterprise. And the nacelles are mounted at the front to the pylons.

Fortunately, I have a box filled with old LEGO pieces, and I was certain that I could make the KRE-O Enterprise look more like it should.

And here’s what I came up with.

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I found four flat 1×2 white pieces. Two were affixed to the nacelles in the place where the pylons would mount. Then, I attached the nacelles to the pylons one stud back of the front. The other two flat 1×2 white pieces went under the catamaran-like structure to make the engineering hull look a little more substatial.

And as you can see from that angle, I rebuilt the Enterprise‘s neck.

Here’s a better angle.

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Except for the two 30% slope gray pieces, the neck is now 100% LEGO.

I found two flat 2×2 white pieces, and I mounted them atop a flat 2×3 white piece. Then I found a sloping gray piece of unknown provenance, and that became the rear of the neck. I removed the KRE-O 2×4 flat white piece that was the neck and rebuilt the neck as you see here.

I put it all together, and it looked better than what it was.

The more I thought about it, the more it seemed that the saucer was too small. And, really, the nacelles should have caps.

Back to the LEGO box!

First, the nacelles.

I removed the 1×2 white flat pieces I had added to the nacelles and replaced them with 1x3s. Then, I added flat yellow 1x1s and capped them with the 1×1 translucent blues that came in the set.

Second, the engineering hull.

I wanted to move the nacelle pylons back. There’s now a 2×6 flat white and 3 additional 1×2 white flats. One of the white 1x2s went behind the 1×2 translucent blue, then the nacelle pylons, and this was topped with the 2×6. Then, to finish off the engineering hull, two 1×2 whites were stacked and affixed to the 2×6’s overhang.

Finally, the saucer.

It’s now wider by one stud, and it required a great deal of experimentation. I found 2 1×6 white flats and 2 1×3 white flats. Treating these as though they were 1x9s, they intersected at the 5th stud, then 1×4 whites were added above and below to make a stable structure 2 levels thick.

The four quadrants of the saucer where fitted around this central structure. And, on the bottom, I made a 5×5 square using flat white 1x4s to brace the saucer and hold it together.

To attach dishes to top and bottom, 1x2s with a single stud in the middle were used for the one below. For the one above, a flat 2×3 was affixed roughly to the center of the saucer, a single 1×1 stud was attached to that in the exact center of the saucer, and the dish was attached to that.

Fourth, the neck had to be reworked. It was made one layer higher, a translucent yellow brick was added as impuluse engines, and the top level of the saucer was made of two 1x2s with a single stud so that the saucer could attach to it.

This was the result.

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If you ever wanted to know if you can mix and match LEGO and KRE-O, the answer is yes. You can do so with impunity. The Enterprise is now roughly 40% to 45% LEGO parts, partly from additions, partly from subtractions. Other than age and grime (some of the LEGO bricks are very likely thirty to thirty-five years old — and they look it), you can’t really tell the difference.

In conclusion, with a little thought and some modification, the KRE-O Enterprise can look more like Matt Jeffries’ design than it does out of the package. :)

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