Release Date: January 2011
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: "Musket" rifle
The concept of an "aging" Transformer was introduced very early on in the Generation One Transformers series with characters such as Ironhide and Alpha Trion, who were both said to be older than a majority of their comrades. It's sort of a non-intuitive way to think about Transformers since many of them are "old" by human standards, but whether it was having features like a long beard on Alpha Trion or just a sometimes ornery personality like Ironhide's, the concept has continued to this day. In 1986, the animated "Transformers: The Movie" feature introduced fans to another senior member of the Autobots: Kup. Paired with the young Hot Rod, Kup was not the fastest guy around but he loved telling stories, giving him a particular charm (and endearing him to the Dinobots of all people).
Largely ignored over the years, Kup has only recently come back into the spotlight when IDW Publishing made him a huge part of their Generation One inspired Transformers title. There he was portrayed as a character who was not only experienced, but trained many of the Autobots that took center stage in the book including Prowl and Springer. Shown more as a grizzle warrior in the vein of "The A-Team"'s Hannibal, many fans took to this new interpretation of the character (including yours truly). Given that, his "new" name of "Sargeant Kup" makes a lot of sense (and probably helps a bunch with the trademarking of the name).
Kup's Generation One vehicle mode was a Cybertronian style pickup truck. In the "Generations" line, Kup takes a much more Earth-based looking form, but he is still a pickup truck with some influence from his original Generation One form. In terms of the G1 influence, the front of the vehicle has a rather high grille section that curves back very smoothly into the windshield, which then leads back into the rest of the vehicle. This high grille is very evocative of a similar "gap" in G1 Kup's front section in vehicle mode. The Earth based design elements are much more obvious. They include:
- Curved headlights and rear lights.
- Four wheels that show prominently on the sides (whereas G1 Kup had two of his wheels relatively hidden in the back).
- A truck bed in a roughly rectangular shape with a door in the back that can swing down.
- Tailpipes sticking out form the back.
- Sideview mirrors on either side of the vehicle.
- Smaller details such as door handles and vents near the front wheel wells.
I have to say the designers really pulled off something cool here. The way his front end curves is very reminiscent of trucks from the 1950's, but their curves are not quite as extreme, giving them a modern touch. The same can be said for his relatively high grille, which has a retro feel to it. I do find it interesting that for the most part, Kup is very smooth and doesn't have a ton of tiny little details everywhere. Instead, he has just enough to look good, as if he were built more for practicality than show.
Kup is cast in four colors: metallic light blue, clear plastic, silver and black. The blue makes up most of the vehicle mode, but it isn't a sky blue. Instead, it is a very muted, darker blue that matches up very much in tone with the color used on G1 Kup. The silver is not very present in this form, but you'll see it on parts such as his left tailpipe. Flip him over and you'll see a lot more from the robot mode. The clear plastic is used in three sections: the headlights, rear lights and the windows/windshields. I am glad clear plastic was used instead of a brighter color such as silver or something. The muted tone of the clear plastic works very well against Kup's color scheme. Finally, all four wheels are cast in black plastic.
Paint details are relatively sparse in this form. Like the sculpting of the figure, just enough was done to make the figure look good, but not overdo it. On the front and back bumpers along with the sideview mirrors, you'll find grey paint. Silver is used for the front grille and the area behind the clear plastic on the headlights. Small rounded lights (maybe fog lights) on his front end are painted orange. A red Autobot symbol takes center stage on his hood. The last, and relatively interesting color touch is found in the truck bed. There, a slightly darker shade of metallic blue is used to paint the truck bed, distinguishing it nicely from the rest of the plastic around it.
If you flip Kup over, you'll notice his rifle weapon actually forms the left side exhaust pipe. You can detach this weapon and use the clip on it to turn it into his vehicle mode weapon, which is a really nice touch. `Not only does it reinforce his "grizzled battle tested veteran" image, but it also reminds me a bit of G1 Targetmaster Kup, who was able to use his weapon in vehicle mode as well. The rifle itself is called his "musket" rifle, which is a reference to G1 Kup's weapon which was a smaller blaster, but still referred to as a "musket". The rifle is fairly elegant looking, with a long barrel, gunsight on the top and flat end. I can even see Kup carefully picking off enemies at a distance patiently while younger warriors go charging in headlong into battle. I love the way the weapon can be attached in two ways on the vehicle mode as well!
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Flip the vehicle over and swing each of the front wheels out to the side.
- Swing out each of the robot arms to the sides.
- Holding the main body of the vehicle, pull the cabin section and hood piece of the vehicle up.
- Tuck the hood panel behind the windshield.
- Swing the cabin section back, which will rotate the main torso section around revealing the robot chest and head.
- Extend each of the arms.
- Pull the halves of the truck's rear half apart.
- Swing the inner panels on the truck bed down to reveal the robot feet.
- Swing panels on the sides of the area near the knees in, then push those panels down to form the knee armor.
- Place the rifle in either hand.
The vehicle mode of this figure paid homage to the G1 Kup form in some ways, but it is in robot mode that Kup really pays homage to his roots. There are a lot of elements borrowed from both the G1 figure and the animated model. These design aspects include:
- The head sculpt is largely based on the animated model (which was fairly accurate to the G1 toy). The helmet section has a small crest in the center with two raised sections on the sides. His face has angular sections under the eyes, giving him the appearance of having "wrinkles", a major feature of the G1 Kup's animated head design.
- The chest design on Kup is based on the G1 animation model, which featured a shrunken down version of his vehicle mode's front end flanked by two curved sections. Here, the detail is duplicated down to having clear plastic on the top edge of the chest representing the "windshield" of the vehicle.
- On the waist area, Kup has a design that can best be described as a "belt" like design, complete with a six sided "buckle" in the center, similar to a detail on both the G1 Kup toy and animation model.
- Kup's arms are sculpted as curved, tube like forms here, with a rectangular indentation on the forearms. These designs are similar to those of the G1 animation model.
- The leg design is reminscent of G1 Kup, with knee armor that appears to point upward.
Some details belong to this figure alone however. On the back of his thighs are ridged armor sections. His hands are each cast partially open, with each finger in a slightly different position. His head sculpt is G1 based but more rich with details than his G1 figure including a prominent chin and open mouth as if he is barking orders. It's a fantastic sculpt, and really shows off some great sculpting. If you felt the vehicle mode was a bit too "smooth' or "simple", then this mode makes up for it big time!
All of the aforementioned colors are representede in this mode, but this time the silver color helps break up one blue section from the other, such as on the legs where the thighs are silver but the lower legs are metallic blue. Paint decos are done up in metallic blue, red, orange, grey, silver and light blue. The metallic blue is found right on the center of his chest, with a red Autobot symbol over it. This color is brighter than the metallic blue plastic and looks great in contrast. The grey is used on parts like his "belt", with the orange filling in details such as the middle of the belt "buckle" piece. Silver is found on the face and feet while the light blue is used to paint the robot eyes. The helmet section of the robot head is painted in a blue intended to match the plastic color used, but it is a bit darker.
Kup has twenty one points of articulation in this form. This includes six points in each arm and four in each leg. His arm contains one interesting point of articulation where right below the elbow, the arms can turn inward, allowing him to pose differently than most Transformers. His rifle can be held in his hand in this form, but you can also clip it to the back of the figure or attach the holes at the end of the rifle to the peg on the back of his waist section. Either way it works and the figure still stands just fine, the rifle barrel doesn't wind up on the ground or anything.
Sergeant Kup is a fantastic update of a classic character. His design pays homage to G1 Kup very well and he's instantly recognizable. Couple that with a neat weapon that can store in all sorts of ways on the figure and you have a highly recommended package!