Release Date: 2017
Price Point: $16.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Flintlock Titan Master figure, Blasters x 2
Note: As part of the final issue of the Transformers Collector's Club magazine I was given the opportunity to write up an advance review of Sergeant Kup with Flintlock. The figure reviewed here was not a final release version but rather one that Hasbro would use for quality control purposes. Shortly after writing my review for the club I had to return the figure to Hasbro. BWTF thanks both Hasbro and the TFCC for the opportunity to write this review and check out this figure in advance of its mass release.
Kup was introduced in the 1986 “Transformers: The Movie” theatrical animated film. He was a grizzled veteran who was paired up with the young and inexperienced Hot Rod. The two served as excellent character foils and Kup would go on to be heavily featured in the third season of the original “Transformers” cartoon. The character was memorable for his tendency to tell stories from his past as well as his bravery against the Decepticons in battle.
The “Titans Return” line brings fans a whole new version of this character. Sergeant Kup (so named in part for trademark purposes) is a Titan Master, so he includes Flintlock, a small transformable figure that becomes his head. This is a call back to his time as a Targetmaster in the Generation One canon, where his weapon transformed into a small figure instead of his head.
Very early on in the life of the Transformers line the toy line began to move away from the sole gimmick of transformation. Once figures like Combiners were introduced it became clear Transformers could be more than just a robot that changed from one form to another. In 1987 Hasbro and Takara took a bold step into a new play pattern by introducing Headmasters. Headmasters were Transformers whose heads detached and became smaller figures that could then pilot or ride the Transformers in beast and vehicle forms (or in a couple cases, their battle station or city forms!). Now almost twenty years after they were originally introduced the Headmaster gimmick has returned in a new form: Titan Masters!
Titan Masters focuses on the return of small robots to Cybertron that can unlock incredible power, and it is up to the Transformers to merge with them and harness those abilities and strengths. In some ways the story resembles "Armada" which had a similar conceit for the Mini-Cons. In true "Generations" fashion, Titans Return gives us characters from the Headmasters era in new forms that pay homage to the originals.
The Titans Return packaging uses the design of the last few years and updates it. The figure is packaged in robot mode with its weapons to the side. An insert shows you the alt mode along with the names of the Titan Master and character along with the "Titans Return" logo. The side of the insert gives you a look at the character's artwork. Most of the backing card is plastered with a close up of the character's package art. While entire bodies were drawn for this line, the packaging zooms in to the chest and head to focus on the Titan Master gimmick, wth the head hovering a bit over the body as if it is about to connect. The side has the now familiar "Generations" logo with an Autobot symbol on it and the vertical "Transformers" logo under it.
The back of the packaging shows off the stock photography for the photo but more importantly, it shows off a diagram explaining the way the Titan Master play system works. The heads of the Titan Masters can be swapped from figure to figure, and the diagram helps illustrate this across size classes. These also act as cosells. In the case of Kup his cosells include Repugnus, Topspin and Sky Shadow.
Titans Return figures come with a collector card, similar to last year's "Combiner Wars" series. However these cards are shaped differently, with corners cut out on two sides. The front features the character's artwork, giving you a better look at the full body.
The back features something fans have wanted since last year: tech specs! These are not traditional specs with a full motto and so on, but instead there are four qualities reflected here (via icons). The four icons are: A robot flexing arms (strength), a character running (speed), a brain (intelligence) and a missile (firepower). Note: as of this wave these icons are new. The most obvious is the "brain" which is now a robot head with cogs in it instead of a humanoid looking brain. These are laid out on the X axis of a bar chart with lines going across from a scale of one through twenty. Traditional tech specs only go from one to ten, but these tech specs take into account the Titan Master being combined with the Transformer. This extends the line into the zone past the number ten. I'm really glad these were added in as I think it was a missed opportunity not to do so last year. I also appreciate the bright and colorful icons and lines used on the back of the cards.
Kup includes two blaster accessories. Each is a powerful looking weapon with a large barrel and lots of machinery detailing on the sides. The two weapons can actually be combined in the middle by connecting tabs into corresponding slots in the middle. They wind up forming a dual barreled weapon that seems to call back to the design of many of the G1 Targetmaster weapons. This weapon can also serve as a gunnery station for a Titan Master. Both weapons are cast in dark grey plastic. I really like the design of these weapons and I appreciate the call back to the G1 Targetmasters.
The original name of Kup’s Targetmaster partner in Generation One was Recoil. The name “Flintlock” originally belonged to the G1 Targetmaster partnered with the Autobot Landfill. Many names are no longer used in the Transformers toy line due to trademark reasons and it is likely “Recoil” is one of those names. In a way, the name “Flintlock” actually makes sense to pair with Kup. The word refers to an old fashioned type of gun, so having an old fashioned name with an old fashioned Autobot works perfectly.
Despite his name Flintlock forms Kup’s head, not his weapon. The sculpt is very distinctly Kup. The top of the head has diamond shaped crest which leads to bands that wrap to the sides. The face looks “old” with pronounced “jowls” on the face and a rather grumpy expression. In that sense this face design leans towards the current IDW Publishing comics Kup design rather than the G1 cartoon or toy which would have had much sharper lines showing the character's age. He also has hints of the iconic circles on the sides of the head. This piece is mostly grey plastic with light blue on the face and blue eyes.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
To transform the figure you hold onto the back and swing it down, revealing the Titan Master's limbs and body.
In his robot form, Flintlock has some of the details found on G1 Recoil. This includes a curved head, visor eyes and the design of the shoulders and chest. The rest is fairly generic with flat panels. This mode shows off light blue plastic on the torso while the rest is grey. Unfortunately there are no paint apps on the robot form. There are five points of articulation in this form. Keep in mind the legs move together since they are connected at the knees.
Kup’s robot mode is largely based on his G1 appearance but heavily streamlined. The design elements carried over from G1 Kup include:
- The head design (as covered above) features several key features including his unique "helmet" design and an "old" looking face.
- The chest is formed partly from the cabin section, mostly formed by the window.
- The waist area features a "belt" like design complete with raised lines forming the "belt" and a rectangular "buckle" in the middle.
- While his arms are squared off instead of round like the G1 cartoon, they do feature bands that wrap around the forearms, just like G1 Kup.
- There are triangular designs on his legs which come straight from stickers on G1 Kup.
The biggest change which will throw off some fans are the very angled arms and shoulders. G1 Kup had rounded and layered sections on the shoulders and arms. To me the sculpting features enough of the G1 details that this is not an issue, but I can see why some fans would miss those features.
This figure is cast in grey, light blue, teal, black and clear plastic. The robot mode is mostly made up of the teal, blue and grey plastic, all of which are colors found on G1 Kup. Yellow paint is found on his “belt”, knee armor and lower legs (inspired by G1 Kup’s stickers) and there is an Autobot symbol tampographed onto his chest. Grey paint is used on the shoulders, again calling back to G1 Kup’s colors.
There are twenty points of articulation on this figure. This includes five on each arm and four on each leg. The fists each have a 5mm port to hold the weapons. He also has 5mm ports on his back to allow for weapon storage. Unfortunately there are a couple weaknesses here. First, the left leg is oddly loose compared to the right. The figure can stand or pose, but if you hold the figure up and swing it back and forth a bit the leg does move far too easily. The other oddity involves the weapon storage. The right side port has no issues, but the left port is a tad too small so it showed some stress after I pushed the weapon in.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
As I had to return the figure to Hasbro before I could do a step by step write up of the transformation, I will say a large portion of the transformation involves folding the arms behind the cabin section and a very creative unfolding of the legs. They go from solid, bulky looking legs to forming the sides and back of the vehicle mode. I was very impressed by how different and yet intuitive the transformation was. Once I own this figure I will add in the usual step by step instructions.
There have been several action figures representing Kup since Generation One, but this is the first to actually use his G1 appearance as its foundation in vehicle mode. Like his 1986 counterpart, this figure has a boxy front section that slopes downward while the back is a flat truck bed. It is not the most sleek or thin looking vehicle but that is exactly what it should look like since Kup is meant to be an alien, but antiquated vehicle in this form. I am very happy with the look of this vehicle and how much it borrows from the G1 canon. Even better? He has some very cool designs on the sides including what look like storage compartments complete with sculpted doors.
This mode is mostly light blue in front and light blue in the back. The wheels are black plastic and surprisingly have light blue paint on the sides to better align Kup with his G1 look. An Autobot symbol is tampographed onto the top of the cabin section. This mode definitely needs some more deco as the blue winds up looking a bit plain.
There are two 5mm ports on the back and sides of the vehicle to accommodate Kup’s weapons. There are also six small pegs to allow a Titan Master to stand in the back. Two of them are at angles, so you’ll have to fiddle with the Titan Masters a bit to get them to stand properly.
With so many previous versions being interpretations of Kup rather than a direct homage to the G1 character it is great to finally have a version that uses the original Kup as its primary inspiration. There are some loose parts and the left side weapon storage in robot mode does concern me but some of this can be chalked up to this being an early release version of the figure that could still undergo some Q/A changes. I look forward to getting a final version and compare it with the notes in this review. For now I am enthusiastic about this figure and I am looking forward to its mass release!